FEMALE FOCUS: As #MeToo culture continues to morph, Moira Forbes saw an opportunity to rework a video series with successful and high-profile women.
Although the series is not exactly new, with publishing scion Forbes having started to host videos years back with successful professional women, it has been less than episodic. But with all the talk happening around women’s issues and professional experiences, from abuses of power to pregnancy, Forbes, who serves as executive vice president of the company and publisher of its Forbes Women vertical, thought it was the right time to reframe and expand her series.
“I want to build a much larger narrative around what’s going on with women today,” Forbes said. She added that while there have been previous iterations of the series, this time around there will be a focus on scaling the talks across Forbes’ social platforms, something that wasn’t done previously, and “serializing in a meaningful way.”
But she doesn’t want the conversations to be all talk of strife and struggle, although experiences with power abuses, the pay gap, etc., are many.
“Women have been facing these challenges for decades, but [I want the series] not to just recognize [the challenges] but to drive meaningful changes,” Forbes said. “There’s this new thirst and hunger for dialogue around how women today accelerate in their industries and continue to break barriers… What are the common qualities of women who have achieved uncommon success?”
Forbes brought in a number of different types of women in various fields to parse that question. The first video features Katrina Lake, founder and chief executive officer of Stitch Fix, and the 11 others are equally bold-faced names: Stacey Cunningham, the first woman to become president of the New York Stock Exchange; Dia Simms, president of Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Combs Enterprises; Halima Aden, a Muslim model and activist known for wearing a hijab; Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller; Maye Musk, a model and the mother of Elon Musk; Alicia Glen, the first woman deputy mayor of New York City; Winnie Harlow, a model with vitiligo and activist; Eva Chen, head of fashion partnerships at Instagram; Cecile Richards, an activist and former president of Planned Parenthood, and Padma Lakshmi, host of “Top Chef” and an ambassador of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“When you put the head of the New York Stock Exchange next to a Somali refugee, their trajectories are obviously very different,” Forbes said. “Not one woman has achieved success in the same way, but they have an entrepreneurial mindset that has allowed them to identify challenges as opportunities.”
Forbes used Lake’s early experience trying to get venture capital funding for her idea of a tech-driven subscription styling service for women as an example, saying Lake was turned down outright about 200 times and only managed to initially put together $42 million in VC funding for Stitch Fix, which isn’t much.
“At the time she wished she had more money, but it fueled her and created a stronger business,” Forbes pointed out.
Similarly with Cunningham, Forbes said she came to see being the only woman in any room of colleagues as an opportunity to stand out and be remembered from of a sea of men in suits.
“It’s not to say there isn’t so much work to be done, but sometimes within these challenges, we can look to identify opportunities,” Forbes said. “Where’s the crack of light under the door?”
For More, See: