Finding Strength in Equity: Reflections on our International Women’s Day 2023 Event

April 12, 2023

When two creative, driven minds collide, there’s no telling what can happen. Multiply that by a couple hundred, and you’ve got a major movement in the making.

That’s what happened on International Women’s Day 2023 when we hosted a Soireé and Panel Discussion with our community, the Monument Women’s Creative Alliance.

It was a night to celebrate each other’s achievements and take action on embracing equity in workplaces. It also allowed us to give back to the community as a portion of ticket proceeds were donated to Marian House, a healing community for women and their children in Baltimore who are in need of housing and support services.

The panel discussion was full of reflection and education on how we, as professional women, can leverage our spheres of influence to forge a world with more equal opportunities. This powerhouse panel featured four women who are working hard to do just that:

  • Brooke Lierman, Maryland’s first female comptroller
  • Dana Ledyard, COO of CodePath
  • Tiffanni Reidy of Reidy Creative
  • Our longtime friend and award-winning journalist, Marianne Bannister, who moderated the discussion.

Honest conversations and uplifting wisdom

From sharing vulnerable struggles they’ve experienced in work to providing practical advice on leadership and improving confidence, each speaker dropped countless nuggets of wisdom.

To recap a just few of the night’s great quotes:

“Embrace your imperfections and be okay with knowing that you don’t know everything and you can ask questions and surround yourself with people who are smart and engaged.” – Brooke Lierman

“Women are over-mentored and under-sponsored.” – Dana Ledyard

“Women, specifically, struggle to take the next step on something even if they’re passionate about it because they wonder who’s going to support them through it and how they’re going to be successful while juggling all the other things they have on their plate.” – Tiffanni Reidy

“The best advice a girlfriend has ever given me is ‘Go in, state the number, and shut the blank up’.” – Dana Ledyard

Synergy between creative and non-creative fields

Another interesting takeaway we had was the relationship between creative and non-creative work, and how we can use it to our advantage.

As Tiffanni Reidy discussed, she could have kept her interior design career focused on decorating. But, eventually, she also pursued architecture and building, amplifying the way she creates amazing spaces.

This resonated with us because we see the value creativity brings to the workforce on a daily basis. We believe there’s space for creativity in all forms of work, even if you’re in a field that isn’t “traditionally” creative like construction, mechanical, or technology. Likewise, women in traditionally creative fields can embrace more technical skills (which are often dominated by men) and take their work to new heights.

After all, we’re all about that left-brain + right-brain combination at Drio.

Finding community

Community is huge to us at Drio, which is why we started Monument Women’s Creative in the first place. Five years ago, we couldn’t have imagined a room full of so many talented women so being able to celebrate International Women’s Day with them all meant the world to us. We’re so grateful the attendees were able to share ideas, find a sense of belonging, and discover new connections.

This is especially true for those who’ve always felt like they have their foot in “both worlds”: creative and corporate.

Here’s what just one of our wonderful attendees had to say:

“Personally, this event made me feel like I finally fit into a networking experience. As a creative who works in a large non-profit, I sometimes find networking events to be too ‘corporate’ or too ‘artsy,’ and I have trouble placing myself in the professional world. But you and Monument Women’s Creative Alliance created a perfect space for me to meet people who are similarly working in the business, but creatively.”

Here’s to new connections

You never know what ripple effects a single new connection can have on your life, your community, or the world. We sure didn’t when Rachel and Hazel first met over a cup of coffee 15 years ago.

So here’s to creating many more of these connections and continuing to uplift one another. On International Women’s Day and every day in between.

Watch the Panel Discussion

If you couldn’t attend the event, check out the video production, courtesy of Aliceanna Collective.

Connect with Monument Women’s Creative

Be a part of the community! You can connect with Monument Women’s Creative on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Or get in touch if you’re a creative professional woman in Baltimore who’s interested in joining.

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