What a day it was, on Monday, October 24, 2022, at the Westin Hotel in the Seaport district of Boston. Nearly 600 professionals attended the 2022 Ad Club’s Women’s Leadership Forum, which featured female leaders from diverse backgrounds and experiences who were changing the world for good. The event kicked off at 10am with an optional live networking session and podcast presentation, followed by the start of the conference at 11:30am, which involved a seated lunch and a live music performance! Presentation spotlights can be found below [I was lucky to attend as my company was a gold sponsor]

Ruby Ibarra, Rapper, Producer & Director
Ruby, an up-and-coming rapper and former scientist, showcased her musical songwriting talents in the opening act, “Someday [I’m gonna make it here].” In her postperformance interview, with award-winning journalist, Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Ruby discussed her experiences growing up in the US as an immigrant, and also gave the audience some excellent advice: “You have to bet on yourself,” as she recently decided to focus solely on her music career.

Andrea Campbell, Democratic Nominee for MA Attorney General
Andrea bravely recounted her childhood, having faced adversity and major loss in her family at such a young age. With resilience, she became a successful lawyer, mom, and democratic nominee for attorney general in Massachusetts. Her very powerful speech ended with a reminder for everyone to get out and vote on Nov. 8th.

Eve Rodsky, Lawyer, and NYT Bestselling Author of ‘Fair Play’ & ‘Find Your Unicorn Space’
Eve, a lawyer, humorously discussed the inspiration for her newest book, Fair Play, which detailed her experiences traveling on business trip as a working, breastfeeding mom. Supported by her own self-conducted research with women on social media, she pointed out how many childcare responsibilities STILL default to women.

Laurie Weingart, Professor of Org. Behavior, Carnegie Mellon, and Author of ‘The No Club’
Laurie, a professor, gave the audience some very helpful advice: just say “no” to NPTs (non-promotable tasks), as research shows that women are more likely than men to either volunteer or say yes to these at work. More career wisdom can be found in her book, The No Club.

Jennifer Haigh, Award-Winning Author of ‘Mercy Street’
Jennifer, interviewed by Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist Sacha Pfeiffer, detailed her experiences as a novelist (i.e., it takes 5+ years to write a book, most of which is spent in solitude). Her latest book, Mercy Street, details women’s abortion rights, and just happened to be published on the heels of the Roe vs. Wade overturn.

Young Leaders Forum: Lily Joy Winder, Student, Native Activist; Batouly Camara, Founder of W.A.K.E., Former UCONN basketball player; Nadia Nazar, Artist and Climate Change Activist
This interactive forum featured three young leaders. Interviewed by author Jen Deaderick, these well-spoken women proudly shared what inspires them to make a positive change in the world. For Nadia, she uses art to promote climate change and activism. For Lily, she uses social media to petition to remove Native American mascots from schools. For Batouly, her success as a D1 college basketball player led to her own foundation, which provides girls around the world access to play basketball.

Age Diversity Forum: Tobi Russell, Public Consulting Group; Karen Kaplan, Hill Holliday; Yasmin Cruz Ferrine and Tia Thomson, Visible Hands; Sarah Fay, Glasswing Ventures; Yvonne Garcia, State Street
*Admittedly, I missed this forum. However, per the original agenda description, this session boasted a multigenerational panel, which explored the power of age diversity, and how we can help each other think differently and innovate to get to better ideas and outcomes.

Other fun happenings: Kelsee Kimmell, who performs in the new Broadway in Boston show, ‘SIX: The Musical’, performed the song “Heart of Stone” in character as Jane Seymour—one of Henry the VIII’s ex-wives, best known for producing his only male heir. Her voice and was so powerful & breathtaking. In addition, Veronica Robles' All-Female Mariachi Band performed towards the end of the conference.

Furthermore, outside the ballroom, in addition to coffee and pastries, there was a booth sponsored by Havas media where attendees had the opportunity to fill out a card, detailing likes/interests, which were then turned into a custom digital avatar. [My pink ‘female empowerment’ avatar can be found above.]

Huge thanks to the Ad Club team for producing such an inspiring and empowering event! The Ad Club, which has been in existence for 100+ years as “the trade association for New England marketing & communications,” can be found here: Women’s Leadership Forum 2022 | The Ad Club--You Belong Here.