(Photo by Flickr user Shane Hebzynski, used under a Creative Commons license)
On Wednesday, March 8, organizers of the Women’s March on Washington are planning “A Day Without A Woman,” a general strike that, much like February’s Day Without Immigrants, is meant to recognize “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system.”
March 8 also happens to be the date of International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual global initiative that celebrates the achievements of women. With this year’s theme “Be Bold for Change,” the IWD organizers are challenging women and men to be leaders “within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.”
On March 8th, I personally will not be participating in the Day Without a Woman. Instead I’ve been granted an opportunity to leverage my position within my own sphere of influence to organize the PACT Foundation Breakfast, and I hope you’ll join me there, to celebrate the value that women add to our innovation community.
As director of events at PACT, I’ve been working to produce this annual event that supports STEM-based initiatives and women-led enterprises through the PACT Foundation. And unlike most of the hundreds of events I’ve planned over the past twelve years, this particular event has inspired me to reflect on my career and my place in the working world.
Through conversations with the event’s planning committee — a diverse group of women at varying career stages, chaired by Corrinne Good, Partner at EY — I‘ve gained a broader awareness of the specific ways that workplace experiences vary widely between men and women, and among women as well, particularly within the tech community. While there may be roadmaps related to education, professional development, fundraising, job transitions and more, there’s no preferred way to navigate a career or build a company. The ideal is that your path is marked by informed decisions that are authentic to you.
That insight led us to the theme of our event: “Connect. Engage. Grow.” Through a series of lightning talks, the PACT Foundation Breakfast aims to highlight the diverse ways that women and men build professional networks, advance their careers and grow their businesses.
Speakers at the 2017 PACT Foundation Breakfast will include:
- Lucinda Duncalfe, President & CEO of Monetate
- Bethany Edwards, Cofounder of LIA Diagnostics
- Lisa Skeete Tatum, Cofounder and CEO of Landit
The program will be moderated by Nancy Dunleavy, Founder, President and CEO of Dunleavy & Associates.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit AWE Ventures, powered by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a crowdfunded, donation-driven capital pool exclusively in support of women-led startups and emerging enterprises. Since its inception in 2015, AWE Ventures has approved investment in 19 early stage women-led enterprises.
I know that PACT, along with its partners and sponsors in presenting the Foundation Breakfast, hope that the women and men who attend the event are inspired by our speakers to advocate for diversity and gender parity within their own spheres of influence in the Philadelphia innovation community and beyond. I hope you’ll join us on March 8.
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