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A Look at The Female Quotient: Its Mission, Founder Story, and Partnership with Vocal to Celebrate Motherhood

by Laurie Weisberg about a year ago in career
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The Female Quotient has taken on the crucial job of brokering equality for women and girls around the world – and I am proud to share their mission with the Vocal community.

Of all the gratifying aspects of my career - of which there are many - it is a wonderful thing indeed to have built and maintained such a rich and meaningful network of relationships. Even more rewarding is to keep finding ways to work, all these years later, with the incredible individuals that I originally ‘came up with’ – particularly the women with whom I have, for obvious reasons, established a noteworthy and crucial kinship.

One of these outstanding women leaders that I am honored to call a longtime friend, fellow mom, collaborator and endless source of inspiration is Shelley Zalis, founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, or The FQ, an organization wholly committed to advancing equality in the workplace.

Vocal x The FQ "Boss Mom" Challenge

Just last week, Vocal announced a new partnership with The Female Quotient, with whom we launched a unique Challenge, the Boss Mom Challenge, just a few days before Mother’s Day.

The Challenge prompts Vocal’s creators to share stories revealing the indelible marks their mothers (whether biological or chosen) have made; the wisdom imparted and lessons passed down about femininity, gender roles, career, motherhood, friendship and more. To select the winners, Shelley herself has the role of guest-judge along with another exceptional guest judge, Brooke Ellis. By trade, Brooke currently serves as Vice President of WW (formerly Weight Watchers), but her life’s mission is larger than the workplace – much of her efforts are focused on advancing the voices and images portrayed of marginalized youth. The FQ operates within all industries and all career levels – their efforts to make the world better for young people is one of their most urgent charges. As a woman, mother and leader myself, the Boss Mom Challenge is all the more pronounced given that we partnered with a brand like The Female Quotient to make it happen, which holds a special place in my heart for its mission and accomplishments during the 6+ years it has been in operation.

To put it succinctly, The Female Quotient is a brand that I only wish had existed 25 years ago when I was at the precipice of my career. Now, as a female member of Creatd’s executive team, I feel an acute responsibility to help promulgate The FQ’s mission to the Vocal community and am excited now to give some background on its crucial mission from my own corner of the world, as well as the remarkable woman who brought the organization to life.

When I explain The Female Quotient to friends, colleagues and family, it is about all the exceptional work that Shelley and her team have done to raise awareness of females in the workplace, but has more recently delved into equality and diversity – all of which are topics that I have personally sponsored and championed throughout my career. Shelley – a successful and fearless leader who learnt very early on how to thrive in the competitive, historically male-oriented world of technology – took on the job of making this cause her career and built this organization from scratch to the worldwide community that is known as today. It is through our careers in technology that I met Shelley, and to this day I continue to learn from her, not only through the data-driven research her team produces, but also from the beautiful stories and heartfelt connections of people she meets and sponsors through her work.

The Female Quotient Is Born

With 30+ years of exuding grace and grit in every company she touched (including companies of her own creation), Shelley founded The Female Quotient to educate and resolve the facts that:

  • Gender inequality and inequality in general still exist in the workplace; and in many cases, they’re getting worse.
  • For all the efforts made to date, organizations still lack effective ways to close their equality gap.
  • There is a lack of community and a platform for women to raise their visibility in the workplace.

Shelley and her incredible team provide companies, entrepreneurs and business leaders of all kinds with key research, tools and opportunities to promote equality. To name just a few of these initiatives, the Female Quotient has brought forth:

  • The Equality Lounge: A platform which features panels and discussions among corporate leaders, female entrepreneurs, thought leaders and change-makers. You can view upcoming Lounges here, or Watch Equality Lounge @ Davos 2021.
  • FQ Global Pack: A virtual dinner party program designed to foster a global community of women. These virtual gatherings are hosted in countries all around the world, bringing together women on the local, regional and global level for good conversation and productive collaboration.
  • Modern Guide to Equality: A series of interactive audio guides – each produced in collaboration with industry leaders – all centered around the goal of generating ideas and inspiring action around equality. Each issue covers topics ranging from workplace equity throughout history, workplace trends, and today's key challenges, along with proposing viable solutions for change.
  • Modern Guide to Equality: Call for Code: Recently, and as part of their Modern Guide to Equality series, The FQ teamed up with IBM to produce a special segment spotlighting some of the incredible achievements of the women involved in the IBM-founded Call for Code initiative (which invites developers and problem-solvers around the world to contribute to technology projects that address social and humanitarian issues.) One of the women spotlighted in the series was Chimka Munkhbayar, a native of rural Mongolia who forged her own path through two male-dominated fields (agriculture and technology) to ultimately find a way to help farmers face climate change. This five-part Call for Code series is a fascinating and inspiring watch in its own right, and makes the undeniable case for why gender parity in the tech sector is gravely necessary.
  • FQ Next Gen: A community cultivated by and for young professionals and students worldwide who connect through a slate of programming and events to educate, share with and motivate one another.
  • FQ Collection: A branded, virtual shop which supports women and girls around the world by giving back 20% of gross profits through Plan International USA.
  • The FQ Lounge, their signature pop-up experience that has built a strong and recurring presence at the major conferences of the calendar year, whether in-person or virtual (think: SXSW, Davos, CES, Advertising Week, and more.)
  • This, of course, only scratches the surface in describing the breadth of how The Female Quotient draws upon the power of collaboration to transform how society thinks about equality, and what we do about it. Beyond the above (among many other) collaborative events, the FQ worked with and consulted the world's leading brands, including Google, Citi, P&G, Disney, Facebook, and L’Oreal, to educate their leadership on how to foster diversity and inclusion in their corners of the world. On a human level as much as a professional one, I have an acute appreciation for The Female Quotient and their ability to utilize storytelling as a way to enact important, systemic changes for women and girls worldwide.

    The Job Ahead

    It is relevant to mention here that Creatd (Vocal’s parent company) has a strong representation of women – constituting for over 65% of our current employee base. Such statistics have a ripple effect that reverberates throughout an organization. In this way, Creatd, with its much-higher-than-average proportion of female representation (including two female members of the C-Suite), has a responsibility to be ‘Vocal’ about this very fact. Our intention is for this partnership with The Female Quotient to serve as an important reminder, less so that our company has gotten gender diversity right, but that there’s far more that we can and must do. Our Creatd team comprises the next generation of female leaders, moms, daughters and sisters – my hope is that the Boss Mom Challenge is only the next in an endless fight to inspire other companies to follow suit.

    And so, I welcome you all to participate in the Boss Mom Challenge. At its core, The Female Quotient’s communities operate by doing the thing that we, at Creatd as well within as the larger Vocal community, hold so dear – sharing what matters to us through stories about the people and experiences that shaped us.


    About the author

    Laurie Weisberg

    CEO of Creatd (NASDAQ: CRTD) and Vocal. A mother first, media executive second and finally a lover of the oceans and nature.

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