The 2018 Marketing Hall summit and awards ceremony kicked off with an opening address from Hillary Adler. Hillary was senior editor at DMN when we began to put this event together. She’s now senior content manager at SheKnowsMedia, the women’s lifestyle digital media company. Here are some edited highlights.
In 2005, on a summer day when it was 90 degrees, I stood by my mother’s side while helping her fix the broken fan hanging from our ceiling. She had me hold the bolts and the screws and the directions – which neither of us could make sense of – and for two hours I stood there sweating, complaining about the fact that we didn’t have a man around to help us. I said, “Can we please just go get Mike the neighbor. It would take him half the time.” To which she replied, “Hillary, we can do anything a man can do, even if it takes us longer.”
In 2015, when I left graduate school, I was sitting at a German bar on the Lower East Side, talking to a 70-year-old woman, whom I had just met, who had spent her career working on Wall Street. At the end of our conversation, she looked at me and said, “Just remember this for the rest of your career: Men aren’t likely to invite you into the room. But if you make your way through the door, you better make sure as hell they invite you back.”
Those are two pieces of advice I have carried with me to this point in my career.
Many have called the last year the “Year of the Woman.” We have risen up from decades of voicelessness to discuss, with and without fear ,what it means to be a woman today. We have pushed the needle, and changed the course of conversation, at the highest levels of government and business.
We have empowered, and encouraged, and championed both change and hope in a tumultuous and oftentimes dangerous political climate. Each of us, I know, is thankful to the women who stood up and spoke out about their stories of sexual assault, of racial harassment, of the varying degrees of disadvantages women have faced in and out of the office.
As leaders in the world of business we have the distinct privilege and responsibility to continue the work set forth by our sisters on the front lines: Those who shouted “#MeToo” those who questioned policies that entrenched and exploited women— especially women of color; those who called out for fair and equal pay, and equal opportunity for all.
We have done the work that has been necessary for so long, but we are not done. And we sit on the edge of a new era: One where we can stand up at the podium, in the boardroom, at heads of government – to say, “We are here.” And we will not back down.