Fairygodboss

It’s been another year of the pandemic. Women are more burnt out than ever. We’re tackling changes in how and where we work, advocating for our seat at the table and trying to make sure we’re paid what we’re worth. Being a woman in the workforce isn’t always easy — and this year’s Inspiration Summit showed us that despite our challenges, we can find empowerment, support and even joy at work.

On April 13, 2022, thousands of Fairygodboss community members came together for our second-annual Inspiration Summit. With the theme “Lifting As We Climb in 2022,” accomplished thought leaders, innovators and leaders shared their strategies to increase your earning potential, manage burnout and serve as an ally for other women and underrepresented minorities in the workplace. Here are some of our top takeaways from this year’s event.

1. We need to advocate for other women — but we also need to advocate for ourselves.

On par with this year’s theme, a major takeaway was that we all need to be advocates for other women at work, no matter what position we’re in now. As LaFawn Davis of Indeed told us, to be a helpful advocate, we need to ask and listen to what others need, not take action based on what we assume they need. Cherie Caldwell of Salesloft shared that we need to uplift and join the work of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). And, through all we do, we should be sure to use our voice to represent others and bring the people who need to be at the table, to the table, said Stacy Lynett of General Motors.

While we should lift up others, we also can’t forget to advocate for ourselves. Mica Mayo of Service Now shared her recipe for being a self-advocate: 

2. We need to give ourselves a break (even a short one).

Even these incredible leaders sometimes struggle with work-life balance, but, during the summit, they shared some good pointers. To start, even if we only have five or ten minutes, we need to take breaks and give ourselves time to pause and reset. And the best work-life balance isn’t accomplished alone — we should ask for help when we need it, take as much support as we can get and delegate where we can.

Whether we’re team members or team leaders, we can set an example by making our boundaries clear at work. That might mean sending a message to our team to let them know we won’t be available during certain hours, or openly talking about how refreshing our mid-day walk was. When we give ourselves a break and let others know, we open the door for a culture of transparency, openness and healthy boundaries.

3. Being authentic is an asset.

Being who you truly are at work matters. Not only does being authentic make us feel supported and validated, but it can even help us succeed at work. Sally Susman of Pfizer shared her story about being an authentically gay woman in corporate America: “I had to face early on the idea of being truly myself. Having crossed that bridge, people received me more authentically, and I gained their trust. Being gay turned out to be an asset for me, professionally.”

What “authentic” really means can look different for everybody — but at its core, Zohra Yafai from Cisco says “[Being authentic] is being honest and true to yourself and being comfortable. It’s knowing your strengths and weaknesses and bringing them to the table. It’s about being yourself. That’s what’s going to make you stand out.”

4. Purpose can power us to do great things.

Our purpose is what takes us to the next level at work — it makes us feel inspired and motivated to keep showing up, day after day, and put in the work. According to BlackRock’s Michelle Gadsden-Williams, “It’s understanding your ‘why.’ It’s the spark that ignites within all of us. What’s my inner voice telling me to do? [Intention] distinguishes those who seek out their goals and those who get stuck.”

But how do we even find our purpose? Zohra Yafai of Cisco suggests making three lists:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What does the market reward?

5. It’s not about perfection, it’s progress that matters.

"We’re going to make the best decision in the moment. We’re not always going to get it right, and that’s okay. We’re going to give ourselves the space to grow.” —  Rhonda Nesmith Crichlow, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, Charter Communications.

Instead of striving for perfection, we should strive to do our best every day, even when what our “best” looks like changes day to day. It’s trying, even when we stumble and make a mistake, that really matters. 

Angela Clark Head of Program Management - Learning & Quality at Robinhood, taught us not to even think about perfection when we’re working toward our goals. “There’s no such thing as perfection,” Clark said. “I think we, as women especially, are so focused on perfection. I don’t even know what perfection is. I go out there, and I do the best work that I can. I screw up along the way, but then I get back up and do it all over again.”

Thank you to these inspiring leaders for doing what they do best — leading the way for more women to take charge of their careers and lives, while feeling inspired, supported and empowered along the way.

You can find recordings from the day's sessions below or by following this link.

You can view the transcript from the attendee chat here


Summit Opening

Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-founder, Fairygodboss & Romy Newman, President and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Defining and Achieving Your Career Ambitions (Presented by Spectrum)

Rhonda Nesmith Crichlow, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, Charter Communications

Katherine Pope, SVP, Head of Original Content, Charter Communications

Moderated by Ybeth Bruzual, Anchor, Spectrum News 13

Keynote: Own Your Purpose, Gain Power & Pursue Your Passion as a Woman at Work with Michelle Gadsden-Williams

Interviewed by Romy Newman, President and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Panel: Advocating for Yourself

Christina Bosserd, Senior Vice President, Internal Audit, Eaton

Stacy Lynett, CIO, Global Product Group at General Motors

Mica Mayo, VP of Operations – Digital Innovation & Transformation, ServiceNow

Moderated by Ann Senne, Head of Advice & Solutions, RBC Wealth Management

Keynote: Bringing Your Whole Self to Work with Zohra Yafai (Presented by Cisco)

Interviewed by Karen Eisengruber, Vice President of Customer Strategy, Fairygodboss

Keynote: Finishing The Fight for Women's Empowerment with Reshma Saujani

Interviewed by Romy Newman, President and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Fireside Chat: Challenging The Status Quo

Ceah Justice,  Director of Global Engagement, Raytheon Technologies

Interviewed by Alexis Smith, Brand Strategy Manager, Fairygodboss

Panel: Equity Is A Team Effort

Cherie Caldwell, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Salesloft

Robin Strup, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Dataminr

Nichole Thomas, Regional Vice President, Dish Wireless, DISH

Moderated by Kate Mortenson, Founder & CEO, iPondr

Keynote: Achieving Personal Empowerment

Emily Reilly, SVP and Chief People Officer, GlobalFoundries

Dereca Blackmon, Founder and President, Inclusion Design Group

Know Your Money Mindset! (Presented by RBC Wealth Management)

Catherine Chen, Financial Advisor, RBC Wealth Management

Cyndy Ranzau, Wealth Strategist, RBC Wealth Management

Kimberly Shappee, First Vice President — Financial Advisor, RBC Wealth Management

Discovering Your Path to Success (Presented by Robinhood)

Angela Clark, Head of Program Management - Learning & Quality, Robinhood

Keynote: A Daily Commitment to DE&I – Supporting DE&I in Everything You Do with Lindsay-Rae McIntyre (link coming soon!)

Interviewed by Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Keynote: Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Career with Sally Susman (Presented by Pfizer)

Interviewed by Romy Newman, President and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Panel: Practicing Self-Care and Wellness

Tara Langsdorf, Director of Clinical Operations, Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group

Shakitha Gibson, Global Diversity & Inclusion Partner, ABB

Letitia Moye-Moore, Vice President of Diversity Talent, Citi

Moderated by Maureen Greene James, Diversity Business Partner, Reality Labs, Meta

Fireside Chat: The Great Realization

LaFawn Davis, SVP, Environmental, Social & Governance, Indeed

Interviewed by Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-founder, Fairygodboss

Summit Closing Remarks

Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-founder, Fairygodboss Fairygodboss & Romy Newman, President and Co-founder, Fairygodboss