This week, Porter Novelli’s Purpose Practice hit the floor at CES, the world’s largest gathering of consumer technologies, to see the latest at the intersection of tech and Purpose. Many major companies made Purpose-focused technology announcements this week, from P&G’s personal care brand DS3, which is billed as “liquid free” to combat future water stress, to LG Electronics’ newest line of ENERGY STAR certified products.
At the event, Porter Novelli convened experts to discuss a pressing issue within the tech industry — how to best empower females in the space — on the panel “The Future is Female: FemTech for Good.” Kate Cusick, CMO at Porter Novelli led the conversation among two of the foremost female leaders and thinkers in tech: Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital and Cathy Hackl, futurist and AR/VR author at You Are Here Labs. Here are some quotes that resonated with us from the conversation:
· “Every place is a place for women” When asked where there were opportunities for women in tech today, Sarah Kunst reinforced that “every place is a place for women,” encouraging women to not feel alienated from the tech space. Kunst also encouraged men to “look around the table” and ensure women are there. And if not, to work to fix that.
· “Be a Connector” On the topic of mentorship, Cathy Hackl espoused the need to “pay it forward” and “be a connector” for younger females in the space. Kunst built on this by talking about her own experience with mentors. She said to think of “mentorship as a buffet,” not as a life-long commitment to one individual. Kunst suggested you may have different mentors at different moments or for different needs.
· “Sell your sizzle” When discussing the difference between men and women in a product pitch situation, Kunst said women tend to gravitate to the building blocks and functionality of an idea or product, or what Kunst deemed “the steak.” Men, according to Kunst, focus on the big idea or “the sizzle.” She encouraged women to know the facts, but also create a story, closing with the thought: “everyone has sizzle, sell your sizzle.”
As we close out this year’s CES, it’s clear that we’re on the cusp of a host of groundbreaking technologies, but also a new page for women in tech. With a more open and inclusive environment for women in the industry, increased mentorship and shift in thinking about our roles, the possibilities seem as endless as the big ideas brought forth on the showroom floor.