Last week, Above the Glass was fortunate enough to attend the United State of Women Summit. We met inspiring women in business and politics, and heard from politicians, advocates, and entertainers on the issue of gender equality. As a company, our mission is to empower women with information and tools to start businesses, but sometimes it is important to step away from what we are doing and take a look at the world around us for continued inspiration to keep hustling; and that is exactly what our trip to DC did for us.
We had the honor of seeing a sitting President speak, in person, on a topic close to our hearts: feminism. He told the crowd, “I did want to stop by and make one thing very clear. I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like.”
We heard Vice President Joe Biden speak about the crowning achievement of his life’s work, the Violence Against Women Act, followed by a conversation between Michelle Obama and Oprah on topics ranging from charitable work, to careers, and family.
One theme was front and center at the Summit: the issue of gender equality falls on all of our shoulders. We at Above the Glass believe it’s good business to make a social impact, and the gravity of what we hope to achieve keeps us motivated on a daily basis. The process of moving women up the ranks will take more than just women helping women; the responsibility also falls on the shoulders of men.
“Be better. Be better at everything. Be better fathers. Good lord, just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world, showing them what it feels like to be loved. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me.”- First Lady Michelle Obama
Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images
We left the Summit most touched by the diversity in age, race, color and sex we saw in the room of 5,000 attendees. If places of employment looked more like that room, we would be seeing a far more productive, inclusive, and effective workforce.
“Be a better employer. When you are sitting at a seat of power at a table of any kind and you look around you just see you, it’s just you and a bunch of men around a table, on a golf course, making deals, and you allow that to happen, and you’re OK with that — be better.”- First Lady Michelle Obama
Rest assured, we would not let an opportunity in Washington DC go by without a little play-time. In between keynote speakers, our team ducked out for a quick tour of the White House. We were able to invite four of our favorite women to join in the fun, relishing in the experience and time spent with people we truly admire.
Following the Summit itself, Above the Glass partnered with WeWork and Percena to host a millennial-facing after-party. As a startup, we work hard to foster relationships with companies we admire, and this paid off for us greatly in putting the event together.
We relied on the generosity of our brand partners and sponsors to host a kick-ass event – and they didn’t disappoint. Dogeared jewelry donated lovely necklaces as gifts for our attendees, I Heart Radio provided a DJ, Falcor Wines and Heineken provided the alcohol, and WeWork provided the venue. The evening activity ended up being the perfect way to recap and unwind after the day’s events.
The opportunity to attend the Summit and visit the White House, the empowering messages heard and the enduring relationships we made, will forever shape how we do business moving forward. But the most important takeaway from this experience was the realization that we created this opportunity for ourselves. We had an idea, had the courage to act on it, created a product, and earned ourselves the recognition that has opened innumerable doors. For most people in life, things aren’t just handed to you. We all need the courage to begin, the willingness to take a risk, and the tenacity to hustle hard once we get going. We are incredibly proud and honored to be building this business, and create the life and opportunity we want and deserve for ourselves. We hope that our work will enable other women to do the same.