By Karyn Brodsky
Hey, North Texas! Ready to be inspired? Be sure to show up at the S.H.E. Summit Bacardi Dallas on August 16th and prepare to be motivated by S.H.E. Summit founder Claudia Chan and a host of other influential thought leaders and movement drivers.
The S.H.E. Summit is a yearly global leadership conference dedicated to the global advancement of women and gender equality and has been named one of Inc.’s “10 Most Innovative Conferences.” This is the event’s first year in Dallas and is hosted by Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP and Bacardi’s Women In Leadership Initiative in collaboration with S.H.E. Summit. The day-long Summit takes place at the Omni Dallas, 555 S. Lamar St., and will focus on empowering and cultivating female and male leaders.
Women’s leadership expert Claudia Chan, the brainchild behind the S.H.E. Summit, says that the event serves as a tool to lead culture change and accelerate equality, so both women and men can rise to their highest potential. S.H.E. Summit is a business unit of S.H.E. Globl Media, a women’s empowerment company that provides Fortune 1000 corporations with strategic and operational tools for employees to create permanent culture change.
Shaped by her upbringing in New York City by immigrant parents, Chan was influenced by her very strong mother. She attended an all-girls school and later graduated from the all-female Smith College. Prior to launching S.H.E. Globl Media, Claudia was President and Co-Owner of the popular women’s entertainment company Shecky’s for 10 years. As she ascended in her career, women’s issues became increasingly important to her and in her 30s, she ignited her passion for feminism. “I realized that women weren’t being represented in corporate conferences or empowerment seminars,” she explained. “In the 2000s, I started studying and looking at my own life, as well as the state of women and girls in the U.S. I noted that although we’re a first-world country, we still have many third-world problems, such as sex trafficking.”
Chan launched her first conference in 2012 in New York City to convene inspirational leaders to care about and become change agents for women’s issues: essentially empowering women to empower other women. She understood that she and others could influence the private sector in gender equality by partnering with companies to influence the workplace.
Originally, S.H.E. was the acronym for “She Helps Empower,” but eventually that changed to “She and He Empower” to engage men in the movement. Chan’s goal is to educate and activate.
“Through education we strive to push a community of like-minded professionals to rise in their thinking and activate, so they can take action,” she says.
Chan is a firm believer in women being able to change the world and works toward this goal by making empowerment content, conferences and programs accessible to all women. She also thinks women should balance their career with their personal life. A mom of two small children, ages three years and seventeen months old, she takes parenting very seriously. “My first child is my career, but raising my actual children is the most important job in my life,” she notes. “I manage each part of my life as a department; it’s about mindfulness, what matters and how to manage it, while also being joyful in life.”
While it’s a great time for women to be starting a business or rising within a company, Chan worries that women haven’t been taught enough about balancing childcare and work. “Much is born on the women; it’s a paradigm shift to figure out how to create and maintain a balance. We haven’t equipped women with how to handle this, and we need to value parenting in this country more,” she says. “We’re shaping a new generation, which is profoundly the number one leadership role in society. Now that I’ve been a parent for three years, I’d like to see more conversations around mindful parenting; how can we support both parents more in this transition?”
In addition to Chan, a host of speakers will present at the S.H.E. Summit, including keynoters Cynt Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, Dallas Mavericks and Ellen Latham, MS, Creator and Cofounder, Orange Theory Fitness; as well as nationally recognized journalist and Emmy Award winner Shelly Slater, and William Munck, Managing Partner, Munck Wilson Mandala LLP.