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How Women’s CoLab creates a future of work that works for women

Jen Bennett tells us how bringing women together can help them thrive in their careers – and beyond.

Two women at work

Women’s CoLab’s mission is no small task. It’s even a very, very big one. The organization aims to create a future of work that works for women. And they’ve got what it takes to do so.

We asked Jen Bennett, director at Women’s CoLab, about how bringing women together can help them thrive in their careers – and beyond.

Accelerating career progress for women

It all started with facts. 5.4 million jobs were lost in 2020 by women in the US workforce. In a study from Verizon, 72% of women surveyed were concerned about difficulty finding a job that matched their existing skillset, and 59% said they couldn’t afford the training to remain competitive.

For Bennett, the takeaway is clear. “Many women feel that they don’t have the access to resources that can allow them to grow their careers.” That’s why, with the support of Verizon, Women’s CoLab was created.

“Women’s CoLab offers a collection of resources, completely free, through our Degreed platform. We also know that our personal networks are so important for peer support, learning, and access to different companies and roles, so Women’s CoLab aims to build a strong community that expands women’s networks.”

Bringing women forward together

“Community is so important — it allows us to bounce ideas off each other, learn from each other, and lean on each other when needed,“ says Bennett. The organization has worked tirelessly to give women access to industry leaders – but also each other.

They’re launching the Women’s CoLab Fall Summit* on September 22 for that exact purpose. “We’ll be joined by an incredible group of leaders from brands like Verizon, Luminary, The Estée Lauder Companies, Etsy, JPMorgan Chase, and more to speak throughout the day. We also have Suzy Batiz, CEO & founder of ~Pourri, joining us for a keynote on ‘Resiliency, Creativity and Following Your Gut.’

“All of the Women’s CoLab partners have been so generous with their time and helping us expand our network of women leaders willing to offer their time in the spirit of lifting other women up.”

The Summit is offering a mix of inspirational and very actionable content. “Anyone who is able to join us in NYC at Luminary will also be able to get new headshots, ‘Rock Your Profile with LinkedIn’ workshops, and attend our evening networking event at The Glass Ceiling.”

Making growth accessible to everyone

Because they know not everyone can attend the physical event in NYC, Women’s CoLab developed a hybrid event with free tickets for those attending virtually**.

“The top perk is the broader access for women — Women’s CoLab is for women in every stage of their career journey and that doesn’t only apply to women in a specific location. 

“The biggest challenge is making sure the event is engaging for that virtual audience. Being in-person at an event has a different energy, so you want to make sure to bring as much of that interaction as possible to the virtual audience. And it’s a challenge that we look forward to continuing to work to improve on over time, through more events and listening to our community.”

“Women’s CoLab is for women in every stage of their career journey and that doesn’t only apply to women in a specific location”

To take accessibility even further, in-person ticket proceeds go to the Luminary Fund which provides Illumination Grants to women in need. “Luminary is in the business of uplifting women. For every 10 annual memberships purchased, they provide one annual membership to a woman in need who meets their criteria. That’s impressive and an amazing way to support women who wouldn’t otherwise have access to their space and programming.

“We could not be happier to have a partner like Luminary. Cate Luzio created such a beautiful space, has a wonderful team working with her, and Luminary provides lots of programming to their members — and they make some of the events available for free to our Women’s CoLab community regularly.”

By women, for women

Organizing the event has not tarnished Bennett’s excitement for the Summit – starting with its kickoff panel. “We’re going to start with a panel about mentorship. It’s such a hot topic in the career world, but it can be so confusing! 

“We also have conversations for our entrepreneurs out there like ‘Pathways to Success – Fundraising and Access to Capital’ and ‘Building Your Brand’ as well as conversations for our more traditional employee track attendees like ‘Using Emotional Intelligence to Build Workplace Success’ and ‘Buying In Without Selling Out.’ 

“And the keynote? How cool is Suzy Batiz?! I can’t wait to hear her talk. I might be biased, but all the conversations are going to be amazing! I don’t think I can pick just one.” Needless to say, passion is a key ingredient for the team at Women’s CoLab.

If the Summit is an ambitious project, it reflects everything Bennett wishes her younger self had been advised – “don’t put limits on how big you can dream and don’t take yourself too seriously.” This is what the event aims to inspire.

With the team behind Women’s CoLab, they found the recipe to make this dream come true. “Put together an amazing event, have conversations between powerhouse female leaders across industries and wrap it all in as much fun as possible. If you do that, the promotion naturally comes alive and the attendee experience is primed to be great.” Plus, the team has designed some gorgeous Full Print Hardcover Notebooks for the event. Great experience, check.

Follow Women’s Colab on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to learn more about upcoming events.

*Registration is available for the US only. In-person attendance is limited. The in-person ticket fee is a donation to the Luminary Fund which provides Illumination Grants to women in need. Learn more here.

**Virtual attendance is free. Registration through Sched is maintained by Luminary. Your registration information will not be shared by Luminary with any third parties. 

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