Cracking the Code to Female Empowerment at CES

What happens when you unleash the smarts, passion and strength of a dozen powerhouse women in one penthouse suite at CES? You get rolling waves of "Hell yeah!" with heads nodding in recognition, and more importantly -- a unified force that continues to crack the code to female empowerment. If we could have done it alone, we would have by now!

Before thousands of tech enthusiasts, gadget makers and marketers descended on the Las Vegas Convention Center Floor, over 100 women gathered in The Ipsos Girls' Lounge to hear from senior female marketing executives who have activated change in the workplace. Every phase of the career journey was in attendance, from C-level leader to mid-career manager to high school girls who code from the Genesis Academy.

As adults, we often muse if we only knew then, what we know now. When a high school girl asked what we would tell our 16-year-old selves, we happily shared that it's never too late to opt in and change the game.

Nuggets of wisdom from our Power Conversation:

Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook:
"Saying you 'do it all' is a ridiculous statement. I try to focus my time on what is important, but even after 22 years in the business, I'm still learning how to say 'no' to everything else."

Allie Kline, CMO, AOL Inc.:
"Be excited about what you're doing, or do something else! People who suck energy are bad for your life."

Kim Kelleher, VP, Publisher, WIRED:
"If you ask for help, people are willing to give them to do it."

Tina Daniels, Head of Global Platforms & Publisher Marketing, Google:
"It is important to be financially literate. A meaningful seat at the table is often dependent on understanding how your company makes money and how much your team or division contributes."

Lisa Archambault, Head of Demand Generation Marketing, Zappos:
"Give more than you take. I always tell my team, I need you way more than you need me."

These sentiments resonated and drove home some of my own core beliefs, such as 'think forward and act daily.' Surround yourself with great people. If you're going to regret missing something, don't. Perfection is boring. Screw up! Learn from it. Live your life and never apologize for who you are. And always be generous.

Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP, Advertising, The New York Times, stirred the Power Conversation further with this provocative question:

What's one thing that needs to change to get more women in leadership?

And the ladies passionately shared their insights:

Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase:
"If you want a bigger job, make your own job bigger. Help your colleagues."

Nadine Karp McHugh, SVP Omni Media, Strategic Investments and Creative Solutions, L'Oreal:
"Women need to help each other. Once you get there, reach down and bring other women up."

Tina Daniels, Head of Global Platforms & Publisher Marketing, Google:
"Generous paternity leave...if men are taking as much time off as women for childcare, things will change."

Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook:
"Be vulnerable. The more vulnerable you are, the more real you are."

Lisa Sugar, Founder and Editor in Chief, POPSUGAR:
"It's okay to fail. If you learn from your failures, you will succeed."

Allie Kline, CMO, AOL Inc.:
"Teach girls how to ask for what they want...something I never learned as a kid. Women need to learn how to negotiate and advocate for themselves at a younger age."

Lisa Archambault, Head of Demand Generation Marketing, Zappos:
"Be warm and be confident."

Kim Kelleher, VP, Publisher, WIRED:
"Practice 'Friendtorship.' I've never had more female friends holding me up than I do now. I learn from them every single day."

While Kim may have coined a new phrase, Meredith shared that we learn more in The Girls' Lounge in an hour than anywhere else at CES. I loved hearing that, because it didn't even exist three years ago. What started as a sleepover for women at male-saturated CES in 2013 began with five girls... and the next day there were 50. In 2014, we grew to over 200 women and this year, over 500 female executives came through the suite doors. It just confirms that when women spread the word, it's the most effective form of advertising!

Remember, it's all about WE. Modern feMENism includes men. Share the mistakes you made, so we can empower each other and continue to crack the code. Keep the conversation alive: #ActivateChange