i3 - September/October 2019 - 10

Q Before the Female Quotient, you ran OTX,
a successful research firm, then sold it to a
consulting firm called Ipsos. Why did you
create the FQ Lounge [formerly known as
the Girls' Lounge]?
A I felt it was a really important place for
women to be with other women so that they
don't have to apologize, to encourage them
to bring their femininity to the workplace, and
to collaborate. There is a boys' club where
women never felt comfortable, so we decided
to create a Girls' Lounge more than six years
ago where everyone feels like they belong. We
discovered two things: there is power in the
pack and you realize your strengths make the
table better. Today we have connected more
than 18,000 corporate women and female
entrepreneurs, and evolved the name to the
FQ Lounge, where women are still the majority, but men feel welcome and comfortable.

in the world. We realized that true change
happens through leadership. It was that
heartbeat moment again where I understood
gender equality is not a female issue. It is a
social and economic issue. You can't just
have women talking to women. We have to
make it a social and economic issue which
becomes a leadership issue which becomes
an ROI bottom line issue. That is where we
need to start rewriting the rules and activating solutions for change and measurement
for accountability. In January 2015, we put
the umbrella name, the Female Quotient,
on top of it and we really operate in three
core areas. We have FQ Lounges of equality
with upwards of 60 lounges a year at major
industry conferences and at companies.
We are rolling out an entire business to do
pop-ups on campuses to attract younger
women to help corporations through entry

Q What do you mean about the power
of the pack?
A A woman alone has power, collectively we
have impact. We're better together. Study
after study shows women who support
women are more successful in business.
Leadership is predominately men, but
women working together is how we'll flip
the script - and the balance - to create the
change we want to see. The power of the
pack is the power of these relationships.
Q Can you talk about the relationships you
have formed?

A I've always felt that building relationships is

the most important aspect of building a business. I'm so glad that I listened to my intuition
and defined my own way of doing business
because I know relationships have been the
biggest secret to my success. We not only

A woman alone has power, collectively we have impact.
We're better together. Study after study shows women who support
women are more successful in business.
Q How did you develop your business, particularly the global nature of your work?
A I sold my online research company OTX
to Ipsos, where I ran global innovation for
83 countries. Ipsos was sponsoring the
Girls' Lounge at the time. It was a heartbeat
moment where I knew that I had to take the
Girls' Lounge, which today is the FQ Lounge,
from a company initiative to an industry collaboration. There are times when you have to
believe in your gut. The easy way is to default
and follow. The hardest way is to take a risk. I
had to follow my purpose and passion to take
it to where it needed to be.
Q What is your business model?
A We created a sponsorship model which is

really a partnership model where it's not my
lounge, it's not your lounge, it's our lounge collectively. We say we started as a slumber party
because we were all sharing rooms. And that
sort of became the model. I don't have the
money to fund lounges across the world at $4
million but everyone is welcome and everyone
bands together to fund this home of equality.
With the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, everyone is now focusing on women



i3_0919_TECH_Innovator.indd 10

Q What are your thoughts on the

broke some rules and had a ton of fun, but
also created a movement where we now have
a community of women globally. No name
tags are required in the lounge, because it
encourages each of us to learn something
new about people other than their title and
where they work. It also becomes the place
where everyone, regardless of level, can
spend quality time together.

A The #MeToo movement has done an amaz-

Q Why do you refer to women as "girls"

level talent to have women find their voice,
stand in their power, own their ambition and
bring their best selves to the table. We have a
whole social influencer team of Gen Z and we
are rolling out our podcasts by Gen Z for Gen
Z. And the third key pillar is FQ Media which is
where our content lies.

#MeToo movement?

ing job of breaking the silence and creating
consequences for bad behavior. We were
ahead of these things in the workplace, but
we can't take credit for it. It took that brave
spirit to speak up and then get the New York
Times to push it out for #MeToo to grow from
a moment to a movement with more women
and more voices. Now it is time to create
positive proactive solutions for change inside
of corporations. If you put people on the
defensive, then you end up going backwards.
About 50% of men today don't want to work
with women because they are afraid they
will do or say the wrong thing, according to a
survey by LeanIn.org. When you put people
on the defensive, you will never win.

and how have you worked to redefine
female leadership as collaborative instead
of competitive?
A I reclaimed the word "girl" as a mindset.
It's about being bold, brave and fearless. It's
about girlfriends, and girls' girls, and supporting one another. It's about collaboration
not competition. We've created this community through experiential pop-ups at industry
conferences within corporations as well as
on college campuses. We need to reverse the
stereotype that women don't support other
women. There is research that shows women
benefit from collaboration over competition.
New research in the Harvard Business Review
shows that while both men and women


9/9/19 6:34 PM


i3 - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - September/October 2019

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