The Next Generation of Women & Worth: What Gen Z Learned From Our Summit

On March 2-4, Worth held our three-day Women & Worth Summit. The theme was ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ because coming off of the pandemic and a year of racial and gender injustices, we recognized that now it is imperative for us to discuss how we all can take action to accelerate progress and affect true change. During our summit, we were once again joined by a team of insightful, intelligent and ambitious young women from Être, a program started by Illana Raia that offers mentorship to middle school- through college-aged girls and women and aims to inspire confidence in young women to stay true to what they really love. Here, they tell Worth about what they learned from our summit and what they hope to take with them in their own careers one day.

“After all three days of the Women & Worth Summit, all I can say is wow. I am so grateful to have heard from such amazing speakers, from all different backgrounds, who shared their insights. A couple of my key takeaways from this event included we, as a society, need to help each other rise to the top because it is the only way for all of us to have a seat at the table. To level the playing field, we need to support one another, especially during these times. Another takeaway was to be courageous and take risks in every aspect of my life because although I may be the first person to carve out a path, more will eventually follow. This conference gave me tips on how to educate myself but also change the world around me at the same time.” – Ashley Kong

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“The Women & Worth Summit was wonderful. Over three days, this summit taught me a lot about how to be a better member of my community by helping uplift others who are too often discriminated against unfairly in our world. I learned that we need to take action in every aspect of our lives, whether that be in commerce, in the workplace or in our personal lives. The changes that we have seen in the wake of 2020 have been promising, but constant work is needed in DEI to keep this momentum going. I was inspired by the talk, ‘How 2020 Impacted DEI in the Workplace and Where We Go From Here.’ The speakers were amazing, and they proved that changes are possible for big companies and that this movement in DEI work will not fizzle out if we keep charging forward. As a young woman, it was very inspiring to hear from women who are the change they want to see in the world, and it inspired me to keep going in my endeavors in DEI. I want to build a better future for those who come after me, just as those women have built a better future for me. This has been a truly enlightening experience, and I hope to apply all of this knowledge in my future endeavors.” – Paige McCullough

“As the three- day Women & Worth Summit came to an end, I left feeling inspired and grateful for the opportunity I had to attend this noteworthy event. The women who spoke provided advice that I will take with me through my career in business and in my everyday life as a college freshman. This summit helped open my eyes to the drive and passion that women have, even amidst a global pandemic. One of my favorite parts was being able to listen to different perspectives and outlooks across a variety of business platforms. In the session ‘Putting More Women on the Pathway to Leadership,’ the vice president of Hennessy, Jasmin Allen, shared a piece of advice that really stuck with me: ‘I wouldn’t be sitting here if there weren’t firsts, if there weren’t people who took a stand and tried to effect change…So, don’t be afraid to be that person.’

“Another piece of advice that stood out to me was when the founder of SheEO Vicki Saunders, said, ‘There should be no convincing for anyone who is not coming to you with energy and love for what you are doing. It will be a painful relationship to be in. Walk away and assume abundance.’ In conclusion, I left the summit feeling inspired after hearing women and visionaries share their experiences and stories as leaders. The conversations of passion, drive and the confidence displayed will be kept in my pocket as I continue to embark on my career journey.” – Lauren Buonomo

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“I am deeply grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the Women & Worth Summit again on behalf of Être. I loved hearing from all the amazing leaders and how they empower themselves and others. It is such a great and inspirational experience to be able to listen to those profound conversations. Some things that I will carry with me that I have learned from the summit are the importance of truly doing what you believe in and continuing to break barriers for women. As a college freshman and being a part of Gen Z, I think it is vital that we hold ourselves accountable for what we do because the little or big decisions that we make now can make an impact in the future, just as Beatrice Dixon and Sara Rodell mentioned during their panel on ‘Making a Difference Through the Power of Commerce.’ I hope to carry on the qualities that the empowering women from the summit have and implement them in my career in the future.” Bryll Bautista

“Attending the Women & Worth Summit: Actions Speak Louder Than Words was an incredible experience. I had the valuable opportunity to hear and learn from highly successful women dominating their respective career fields. My favorite session was ‘Why Women Are Crucial to Building Communities That Thrive,’ featuring Lucy Lang and Valarie McCall and moderated by Marcus Glover. From this session, I had the opportunity to learn the ways in which women bring different perspectives to the field of public service and law enforcement. Lang’s statement regarding how it is largely due to the tireless work of the moms, sisters and women that we know as much as we know now about police violence and the need for police accountability deeply resonated with me as it reemphasized how powerful female-led community activism is. I am also deeply grateful for Marcus Glover’s reminder to question daily what I am doing for other women of color in my life. I know that it is incredibly important for women, especially from BIPOC communities, to provide opportunities to other females and uplift them so that they can be the best versions of themselves. At its core, learning from two accomplished women who are public servants was very enlightening as I also aim to enter the field of public service.” – Devangana Rana

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“Attending the Women & Worth Virtual Summit was an amazing experience. Even as a high school student, who isn’t in the workforce, I left the summit feeling inspired. It was fascinating to hear so many accomplished people speak about various issues surrounding women in the workforce. I was particularly inspired by what Jasmin Allen said about being a ‘first.’ She said, ‘I wouldn’t be sitting here if there weren’t firsts, if there weren’t people who took a stand and tried to effect change…So, don’t be afraid to be that person.’ Coming out of this experience, I feel more confident advocating for myself and not being afraid to step out of my comfort zone and be the ‘first.’” – Emma Pearlman

“Going over the theme of this year’s summit, I think the main takeaway for me is the realization that while ideas and intentions may change the world, it takes clear-cut action to make it happen.

“Pushing for impactful change in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion is among the significant challenges of our time, and if the current state of things reflect how we are responding to this call for action, then it is pretty obvious that it takes more than affirmative action and inspired policies to enact these ideals.

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“As someone who can tick off the boxes on this predicament—being a biracial female trying to carve a path in a field where women, of color and of certain socioeconomic strata have always been underrepresented—it is empowering to know that there are conscious efforts being made to address these issues at every level. Knowing that mega companies like Verizon, for instance, are taking that kind of awareness seriously and embedding DEI values deep into their corporate structure—so that both their employees and customers not only see the changes taking effect, but all the more being active participants of the change they want to see—is truly encouraging.

“I’m only in high school right now, but as a future member of the workforce, I am hopeful that discussions like this will keep pushing us forward towards a more equitable future for all. Seeing to it that companies practice what they preach, and leaders are held accountable for enforcing these ideals to level the playing field, enables people like me to realize our full potential without fear or hesitation. Speaking from what I have gathered in this summit and in the previous one [the Women & Worth Virtual Summit held in September 2020], pushing forward requires a range of motion, a commitment, an active sense of direction, but it is when words are matched with actions that there is movement, and in the same breath, progress to be made.” – Sophia Llanos-Crowder

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