Annual Ideagen UN Empowering Women and Girls 2030 Summit

Aug 9, 2017 2:40 PM ET
Multimedia with summary

On July 20th, we held our Annual Ideagen UN Empowering Women and Girls 2030 Summit hosted by UNCTAD at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. World’s leading companies, start-ups, NGO’s and public sectors joined together to innovate and collaborate via cross-sector innovation. During the summit we focused on a range of issues surrounding SDG 5, including economic development, healthcare, aging, education, nutrition, and technology and how business leaders and entrepreneurs are developing sustainable solutions.

Attendees were welcomed to the summit by Leif Ackerman, CEO of Ideagen, who introduced the talented and influential keynote speaker Paola Mendoza. Ms. Mendoza is a critically acclaimed film director and author who was the artistic director behind the Womens March on Washington; the largest one day mass mobilization in the history of the world.

Paolo Mendoza says, “I am not organizing out of anger. I am not organizing out of hate. I am not even organizing because of injustice, because all of those feelings are exhausting. All of those feelings and reasons actually take away from me and from my power”.  As an artist, Paola knows that story telling is a powerful way to motivate and inspire. Paola states “ I encourage you all to continue to share your stories in anything that you do, in all that you do, because that is the way in which we as individuals, we as women, can connect and make change where people are living in equality, and justice, and safety, and ultimately, love”.

Paola Mendoza was then presented with our Power 100 Award for being the Most Influential Individual for empowering women and girls. Please take a look at our online magazine of the Power 100, a list of the most influential individuals and organizations leading the way for women’s equality.
Our mission to provide a platform for extensive in-depth dialogue on existing barriers and challenges that we face today was delivered through the perspective of our diverse group of experts from each panel and session. The summit discussions covered a wide range of topics from the critical role of women leaders in the workforce, to fueling disruption through dexterity and how we can inspire girls around the world to solve the problems we face today.

The first Panel of the day, moderated by Kamili Wilson from AARP, spoke about the big shifts in the labor market and changing expectations, values, and behaviors around work that require us to take a closer look at prevailing workplace paradigms. Recognizing that our leaders need to be prepared to effectively navigate in this new world order is instrumental in evolving the workforce for women in leadership positions.

Tara Chklovski, CEO of Iridescent, discussed the incredible work her nonprofit is doing with their Technovation Challenge. This challenge invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. We heard the perspective of the girls and a mentors who participated in Technovation and shared their real-life experiences tackling together community problems and what they've learned in creating solutions.

Keri Kukral, founder of Raw Science TV, led her panel of visionary thought leaders with a discussion on how science-fiction, along with visionary communication channels like global wifi, empower girls and women all over the world. The world can be transformed as girls are empowered through science, engineering, and entrepreneurship through access to critical technology like energy, connectivity, and healthcare.
"We can change the world one girl at a time - I can change the world" - Wendy Wecksell

As a leader in gender equality, the UN Women panel by Annette Richardson of Decade Citizen, brought decades of experience to the dialogue on an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, utilizing all social and economic assets and why it is crucial for success. Yet, despite progress, women continue to confront discrimination, marginalization and exclusion, even though equality between men and women stands as a universal international precept—a fundamental and inviolable human right.

We heard the view from Kim Smith, Chief Digital Officer at Capgemini, and her panel of glass breaking female executives talk about what the next generation of workforce needs from large scale high tech organizations to be innovative. Bringing into the discussion the concept of STEAMD (science, technology, engineering, art, math, design) and advancing the cause for organizations to accelerate their commitment to diversity – of thought and culture – to drive disruption and innovation in the markets they serve for the next generation.

“The power of asking questions is more powerful than having all the answers”. This statement by Naomi Whittel, CEO Twinlabs, echoed true as we listened to the trials and triumphs Whittel has endured in order to learn how to truly make a difference. She spoke on the value to listen to what people really need--not what you think they need. Working with the Guna People, Naomi has found solutions on how women can channel their collaboration skills and resourcefulness to hear what is really needed in order to truly make change happen.

June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafones America Foundation led a powerful panel discussion on the challenges that women are facing as entrepreneurs in the international/development setting, as well as some of the solutions, including policy, actual process, and the products. Knowing the difference between women and men when it comes to entrepreneurship in developing countries are instrumental in implementing the correct strategies.

Understanding the impact of gender/sex on health can enhance precision medicine as well as disease prevention and health promotion strategies was the core topic behind the panel ran by Eliza Chin, Executive Director of American Medical Womens Association. Men and women present with different disease symptoms, causes, and responses to therapeutics. knowing this difference and implementing them into health related research will accelerate the translation of gender/sex-specific design elements such as products, programs, policies and protocols.

How we interpret the data in order to form trends that establish the sustainability we are looking for is one of the most important focal points to look at. Data will tell us what is working and what we need to be working on. Social purpose platforms must be at the forefront of every financial services company’s marketing and communications function. Claire Baumann, Senior Editor of Digital Strategy at the United Nations Foundation, knows the data and working with Jamie Stenziano, VP at Clarion Research, is able to interpret what the numbers are showing us.

To create a better tomorrow, we need to lay the foundation for future strategies in all sectors.

A special thank you to all of our speakers and panelists who provided their perspective in dynamic discussions that took place throughout the day:

Ellen Grass - Managing Director, G100 Network
Daisy Exposito - CEO and President, D-Exposito & Partners
Jeanine Liburd - Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, BET Networks
Maja Vujinovic - Chief Innovation Officer, New Tech & Future Work, GE Digital
Keri Kukral - Founder, Raw Science TV/Engineer
Dan Kammen - Professor of Energy at University of California Berkeley, Science Envoy at US Department of State
Jacqueline Miller - CEO, Partnerships for Change
Folasade Kammen - Yale, Human Needs Project
Irina Burd - Director of the Integrated Research Center for Fetal Medicine John Hopkins School of Medicine
Sue Fennessey - Founder, 8App
Sandra Notardonato - Research VP and Investment Analyst, Gartner
Camila Borda Kaul - Industry Manager, Global Business Organization
June Sugiyama - Director, Vodafone America Foundation
Pam Roussos - Chief Innovation officer, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Santa Clara University
Aneri Pradham - Founder and Executive Director, ENVenture
Vivienne Decker - VP, SOKO
Lorraine Hariton - Senior VP of Global Partnerships, New York Academy of Sciences
Amy Cross - Founder, Gender Fair
Annette Richardson - Managing Partner at Decade Citizen, Special Advisor for the UN Women
Emme - Founder, Fashion Without Limits
Wendy Wecksell - Interim CEO, I am THAT Girl
Joy Di Benedetto - Founder, First Ladies of the World Initiative
Michelle Jean - Co-Founder, Zesa Raw & Root Project Initiative
Kim Smith - Chief Digital Officer, Capgemini
Tiffani Bova - Global Customer Growth Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce
Gretchen O’Hara - General Manager Developer Experience Evangelism Marketing, Microsoft
Janet Klein - VP, Global Strategic Services Partners at SAP
Diana Mao - President, Nomi Networks
Eliza Chin - Executive Director, American Medical Women’s Association
Kim Templeton - Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Kansas Medical Center
Saralyn Mark - CEO and Founder, iGIANT
Naomi Whittel - CEO and President Twinlab Consolidated Holdings, Inc.
Tara Chklovski - CEO and founder, Iridescent
Claire Baumann - Senior Editor of Digital Strategy at the United Nations Foundation
Jamie Stenziano - As Vice President of Media & Entertainment at Clarion Research
Tara Abrahams - Executive Director, Girl Project, Glamour