I came across an article written on New York magazine’s website that stated women empowerment events don’t empower anyone. In the article, Ann Friedman writes:
“But empowerment conferences are less a product of this friendly brand of modern feminism than they are the result of changing media business models and the rise of superficial corporate do-gooderism. Consumers are so wary of traditional advertising that one of the only ways for brands to make an end-run around skepticism is to claim, ‘Hey, we’re doing some good here.’”
Friedman makes a very valid point. Branding has become an essential facet in the media business model. Through the advent of technology, it is not enough to just publish or produce one aspect of media. It is essential corporations create a brand with events that can bridge the gap between the corporation and its audience members.
While I have not been to a women’s empowerment event that is held by a publishing company or a corporation, I have attended an event held by New York Women in Communications, Inc., an organization for communications professionals in New York City. It was roughly two years ago when I heard people like Demetria Lucas, New York Times bestselling author, blogger and media maven; Taiia Smart-Young, executive editor of Juicy magazine; Lola Ogunnaike, host of “Arise 360” and a veteran in the media realm; among others.
Like with any empowerment event, the women discussed their backgrounds and as Friedman put it how they “made it to the upper echelons of business and politics.” However, this event was truly empowering for the 23-year-old me. Following the panels, I had the opportunity to introduce myself and receive helpful advice that has helped me become a better media professional. I am still in contact with some of the women, who’ve been kind enough to allow me to interview them for various assignments while in graduate school.
I say this to say: while I agree with Friedman when she says companies should “require that all sponsoring companies agree to implement a set of baseline policies” that will help all women climb up the corporate ladder, I think many of these conferences do empower women. However, it is also what you do with the information after that’s important. Yes, many of these events are not cheap, but if you join your designated profession’s networking group you instantaneously have access to discounted prices for a variety of empowerment conferences. Most groups have fees based on your career level such as: entry-level, intermediate, etc. For student-members, most fees are so cheap one can make other sacrifices to ensure they have access to events that can help propel you to a higher level in your career. Some networking groups also offer mentor programs.
Ultimately, you have to spend money to make money. So find the best networking group that can fit your budget. They’re out there. This way you can have access to discounted prices for an empowerment conference of your choice.
Have you been to an empowerment conference? Did you feel empowered afterwards? What’s your take Clutchettes?