All is Bright Campaign featuring inspirational women - Shelley Zalis
To celebrate the strength, bravery and light of women around the world, we've interviewed a collection of truly inspirational women to share with us their journey, inspirations and advice for the future. Today's guest is the Founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, is on the Board of Directors of MAKERS Women and is a member of the Washington Speakers Forum. It is our pleasure to introduce Shelley Zalis.
Q: Shelley, thank you for agreeing to be featured as part of our All is Bright campaign - the work you do around female empowerment and gender equality is incredible and The Female Quotient is such a powerful initiative. For our followers in the UK who may not know what the organisation does, could you tell us in your own words what you’re working on?
A: The Female Quotient says when you add women to any equation, you get a return on equality. We advance women to advance equality. We’re curating the largest collection of women in the workplace and conscious consulting, helping companies to become equality-fit and curating content for education and awareness which will ultimately lead to action and impact. Our ultimate goal is closing the gap.
Q: When you were younger, was there anything that you remember lighting the fuse or flicking the switch of your career in female empowerment? What inspired you to become such a leader in this particular field?
A: It was not intentional. It happened by accident, we went from a moment to a movement pretty much overnight. I was the only female CEO in my field, I knew I acted differently but my perception was that I needed to conform to the leadership style of those ahead of me (men) but those rules didn't work for me - being a Mom and a CEO. I got the name 'trouble maker’ - I broke the rules to bring my true self to the table. I realised I didn’t want to be the exception to the rule, I wanted that to be the norm for women in business. I had to follow my heart and this is where It took me. I needed to own my truth and how I wanted to lead my life while hopefully making a difference for others who follow. Subconsciously, I guess I was impacted by my Mom. She created the first conference for Women in the state of California, bringing them together to share and unlock opportunities. Now I look back and think wow, I didn’t realise that affected me so much but now look.
Q: If there’s a woman reading this somewhere in the world right now and perhaps they’ve recognised some type of injustice toward them or their friends or colleagues - how would you advise them?
A: There are a lot of barriers right now, people say ‘unconscious’ bias - but I disagree - people are conscious. I say to women, be you, recognise your strength, stand up and stand together and have that confidence in who you are. If you don’t believe in you, no one else will. Also, we all have a voice in our head - an impostor syndrome - both men and women have it but most men ignore it while for women it often becomes louder. Shut that bitch up and push her to the side.
Q: Origin’s All is Bright campaign is shining a light on iconic women, hence your invitation to speak with us today. We’d love to know, did you have a female icon growing up and who do you look up to now?
A: I look up to all women that pay it forward to others and give back with generosity. For me, I pay it forward because I want to give back what I wish I had as a younger woman rising the ranks. I look up to women who understand the power of the pack, how we’re stronger together and for me there are so many. I have such a powerful community of women who I know will be there for me. I have to say too, growing up obviously my Mom. She’s the anchor in my life and taught me that confidence is beautiful.
Q: Finally, we know 2020 has been a crazy year. Our campaign is hoping to inject some much-needed positivity this season. As we look towards the Christmas period and 2021 - what are you hoping for, for next year and do you have any words of wisdom for us?
A: I hope that everyone stuffs their stocking with hope and gratitude and that we pivot with positivity to create a better and more equitable future. That requires intentionality and choice. When purpose meets passion you’re unstoppable. We’re unstoppable as long as we do it together.
We'd like to thank Shelley and her team for their time and support and we hope you finished this feature feeling as inspired as we do! Up next we have a keynote speaker for the United Nations and a true champion for women's rights around the globe that you'll not want to miss. Released in 7 days...
This series is celebrating the launch of our Brave Woman t-shirt. You can get yours here!