I attended a retail tech conference in New York City last week called GrowCommerce and was happy to see there were many women in retail and e-commerce speaking there. According to a blog post by Veronika Sonsev, one of the organizers of the event, this was by design. In fact, this year the GrowCommerce team worked hard to feature as many women in retail tech speakers as possible. And, as the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle, that’s good news to me!
What’s even more good news is that GrowCommerce’s hard work worked: Sonsev said that women represented 43 percent of GrowCommerce’s speakers and 50 percent of its keynotes at the event. Speakers included Miki Berardelli, CEO, KidBox; Prama Bhatt, vice president of e-commerce, Ulta; Bree Casart, vice president of e-commerce & digital marketing,West Elm; Julie Daly, vice president of digital commerce, Ashley Stewart; and Jessica Jacobs, director of marketing, Wayfair.
Why the push for women speakers at a retail tech conference?
“In recent years, the industry has endured a huge outcry about its under-representation of women in leadership roles and as speakers at tech conferences,” Sonsev wrote in the post. “Based on a 2015 study conducted by Startups + Venture Capital, women represent [less than] 25 [percent] of tech conferences speakers — this is a huge problem, one that GrowCommerce is committed to addressing.”
Sonsev went on the explain that she believes visibility gives rise to opportunity. So, “if we want to see more diverse leadership overall in the tech industry, we must start by offering more diverse voices and perspectives at high-visibility events. At GrowCommerce, we’re helping by changing the ratio of women speakers.”
GrowCommerce and the Women in Retail Leadership Circle have similar goals in this regard. While our key mission is to help enterprise-level women in the retail industry learn, connect and grow, we also believe it’s important to feature as many successful, motivated and passionate women in the retail world as we can on our website, in our e-letter, on our social channels, and at our events. We too believe that visibility gives rise to opportunity, and the more senior retail women we highlight and celebrate, the more senior retail women there will be!