MAKERS 2019 – Why It Takes All Of Us
The last few years has seen issues of women’s equality dominate the cultural conversation. Movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up continue to push past awareness and towards actionable change to rectify the longstanding structural equality issues plaguing business, politics, media, tech, entertainment and more.
MAKERS predates these movements, giving it a legitimate claim as an organization fighting for equality and justice long before it became fashionable. MAKERS’ annual conference is now a major point on the calendar, convening leaders from across the cultural spectrum for three days of networking and discussion on how lasting change can be created.
This year’s conference which took place in Dana Point, California from February 6-8 was themed “All of Us”, as progress on gender equality is impossible without commitment from everyone. Leaders from every facet of society and across the gender spectrum must work together as a community in order to forge real change. The slate of speakers represented this wide range, featuring appearances from feminist icon Gloria Steinem, actress Jennifer Garner, Time’s Up President and CEO Lisa Borders, soccer star Abby Wambach, musician John Legend, and transgender activist Corey Rae, among others.
Each year, Ogilvy’s USA offices select three women as the agency’s MAKERS, who represent the company at the conference. We asked our three MAKERS@Ogilvy to share their reflections on what resonated with them most and their personal takeaways from the event.
Ogilvy’s 2019 MAKERS Preeti Shah, Charita Lucas, and Vicki Azarian at this year’s Conference
MAKER@Ogilvy 2019, The Advocate – Vicki Azarian, Executive Creative Director
MAKERS was one of the most inspiring conferences I have ever attended. I am still buzzing from it. The theme “All of Us”” is exactly what the movement needs right now. It’s all about bringing our vulnerable and whole authentic selves to the table, both in our personal and professional life. Bring your whole self to every situation. It’s about being real. Because that’s what life is like. It’s messy. Embrace the messiness. Be human at work. Women need to step up and take action. We can’t leave it to the HR department or senior leadership. It takes all of us to make change happen. Women are on the rise, but we have a lot more work to do.
Key moments from the conference:
- Lisa Borders (CEO & President, Time’s Up): In the fight for safe, fair, and dignified workplaces for women of all kinds… “We are here so no woman ever has to say “me too” ever again.”
- Terry Crews (Actor & Activist): “Men need to be vulnerable …and women need to fearless.”
- Rachel S. Thomas (Co-Founder & President of Lean In): “At this rate, it will take 202 years to close the gender pay gap.” This is unacceptable, we need to accelerate change.
- Abby Wambach (American Soccer Icon & Activist): “New Rule: Be grateful and demand what you deserve.” This was a lesson my father taught me, it was good to hear the same on stage.
MAKER@Ogilvy 2019, The Groundbreaker – Charita Lucas, Director, Content Delivery MAKERS was an amazing and awe-inspiring event. I went into the conference a leader and left a warrior! We were constantly reminded that life is happening for us, not to us. I learned to turn my passion into action and to help make the world a better place through selflessness and service unto others. The experience challenged me to declare a bold vision and to recognize that we are all equipped and worthy of our best lives. This warrior accepts the challenge and is looking forward to indoctrinating fellow warriors into this incredible sisterhood.
MAKER@Ogilvy 2019, The Innovator – Preeti Shah, Executive Director, Digital Technology
This year’s MAKERS Conference can be summarized as a rousing call for inclusivity, a passionate argument that incorporating diverse viewpoints will spur innovation and progressive change. Through poignant and emotional personal stories, a roster of accomplished speakers guided us on how to lead with purpose:
- You must arrive with intentionality. Otherwise, the situation “will always default to what existed before.” (Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose Officer, PwC)
- “You need to have purpose to be transformational.” (Kylene Campos, SK-II)
- In expressing your purpose, you must create boundaries and build bridges. “We can’t all be fire starters.” (Abby Wambach) The goal is transformation, not merely confrontation.
- “In complex problems, there is no silver bullet. You try to make things better” (Joanna Barsh, Senior Adviser, McKinsey & Company) by continually testing, learning and adapting.
- ‘Changing the laws does not equate to changing hearts and minds.” (Lisa Borders) Do not deprioritize consensus-building; do not assume acceptance will immediately follow adoption.
- Tell your story to others and make connections. “Prioritize relationships. Be vulnerable. Don’t take relationships for granted.” (Celeste Burgoyne, EVP of Americas, lululemon)
Ultimately the speakers and their stories shared a common theme: It is our very knowledge of how failure looks and feels that positions us to achieve our end goal.
MAKERS has made highlights from various speaker sessions available on their website—watch them here.