Unlike CES, SXSW has always done a better job of representing and attracting women. Whether you’re into music, film, interactive, gaming or self-improvement, women always have had a voice in Austin.
As I review my overly ambitious schedule and the sessions I’ve ‘favorited,’ I am already impressed by the diversity of opinions, backgrounds, specialties and talk titles I’m about to immerse myself in this weekend.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, I feel not just honor-bound but downright excited to share a list of some of the fabulous women I’m most excited to check out at SXSW.
Hiring for cultural contribution versus cultural fit always builds a better, stronger and smarter team. So, I am starting with a session that aligns with this belief: “The Future of Business is Female” with panelists Stephanie Lampkin, Sonal Shah, Jennifer Stybel and Cindy Whitehead, which should set me up nicely to think big picture about how the intentionality of equal opportunity hiring is the cornerstone for building successful businesses.
The indomitable Melinda Gates needs no introduction and has been a leading and inspiring female voice for years. Her keynote, “The Company We Keep,” about the potential that exists in rapid new shifts in our workplace structures. Continual improvement is always a timely message and one that we should challenge ourselves on daily.
The always engaging psychotherapist and author, Esther Perel will talk to her audience in one of the nine languages she speaks (!) about modern relationships. She is known for making waves with her point of view about infidelity, and I’m fascinated to hear how she brings that into workplace relationships which we all know can sometimes feel just as charged and high-stakes as anything we experience at home.
Kristen Green of Forerunner Ventures and Emily Chang of Bloomberg Technology will be talking about how to #BustNorms, helping women in the tech space identify their purpose so they can persevere through adversity. What I like about their panel is that they’re not speaking about gender alone, but putting it in the context of representation and diversity, overall.
Amy Gallo is hosting a mentorship session that is relevant to all of us: turning difficult work conversations into opportunities to build relationships. Her HBR guide “Dealing with Conflict” is a must-read. Her insights are spot on and important at any career level.
Finally, the title that caught my eye the most – WomanCode: Biohacking Hormones, Cycle, Creativity and Success. Alisa Vitti is a nutrition and hormone expert and has been pioneering female biohacking for over a decade. Honestly, at first blush, I raised an eyebrow at what this might be but the more I read, the more I realized I am – we all are – a sum of our parts and how well do I really know my parts? And better yet how do I make them work for me? Can’t wait to find out!
As I reviewed this list, one of the things that struck me was how powerful it is when women are a true part of the conversation. Many of the topics above just simply couldn’t come from anyone other than a woman, and they’re enhanced by the unique perspective each speaker will bring to her session.
See you cowgirls and cowboys out there soon!