On International Women’s Day – How 3 Women Leaders Choose To Challenge
The theme for Women’s Day is Choose To Challenge. A call to action to not accept the status quo, to instead push for change to keep moving forward.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge. It’s a clear call to action to not accept the status quo, and to, instead, push for change. Because change moves us forward – as individuals, and as a society.
Change is an opportunity. Change is also often uncomfortable. It requires a vision. It requires action. And strong leaders who inspire.
Today, we highlight three inspiring women leaders who embody the Choose to Challenge mantra and brought real, tangible, beneficial change to their industries. This inspiring documentary film highlights how these three leaders helped move their business – and industry – forward to be more agile, inclusive and sustainable.
Challenge Accepted: Sustainable Fashion
First, we meet Stephanie Benedetto, CEO and Founder of Queen of Raw. Queen of Raw is a new fashion technology company that works with fabric suppliers and buyers around the world to re-sell and re-purpose unused fabric, helping to reduce fashion industry waste while saving corporations millions of dollars.
Her passion and dedication springs from two sources: her great-grandfather and her two young children.Benedetto’s great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. chasing the American Dream. To make a living, he built a successful business repurposing old fabrics and fur, turning them into beautiful fashion.He produced his garments with minimal waste or toxins, and while he never called it sustainability, that’s what it was. It made sense for his customers, and for his bottom line.
Benedetto is on a mission to make this kind of sustainability a bedrock of fashion profitability moving forward. Every year, there is about $120 billion of unused fabric wasted around the world. By connecting with fashion company inventory systems, Queen of Raw can connect buyers with unused fabric from anywhere, in real-time.“Our vision with Queen of Raw is about how can we use technology to get back to the way my great grandfather did business,” says Benedetto.Because waste is not only environmentally irresponsible – it also has value. Not only was Queen of Raw able to help save over 1 billion gallons of water, by selling their waste some enterprise customers were able to help them save up to 15% of the bottom line.
Challenge Accepted: Inclusive Data
Time and technological innovations change the core of our sports, and Mickey Lawler, President of the Women’s Tennis Association, is focused on leveraging the inevitability of change to pave the path of inclusivity for women’s tennis. Lawyer comes from a family of professional athletes. Her father was a champion hurdler. Her grandfather played soccer at the national level. For this family, sports was the great connector that came with great responsibility.“My grandfather always used to say, ‘It’s about more than the ball.’ What he meant was that sports drives a platform, and you want to use that platform to its greatest benefit,” says Lawyer.To do that, Lawyer is making data more accessible to all levels of players –- not just the top professionals. Now, up-and-coming players and their coaches have access to data to improve their game. Sports reporters can bring data into their broadcasting and enrich the viewer experience. Even recreational players can measure themselves against the pros.
This friendly competition fuelled by increased visibility to the fundamentals of the game has grown women’s tennis participation around the world. With the help of data players can see how their position affects the speed and height of the ball. Or, how the racket position affects the placement of the ball with a particular swing.For younger generations, this data is an intuitive extension of their on-court practice and builds a new level of competition and possibility of success.
Challenge Accepted: Agile Business
With an innovation mindset engrained deeply in its corporate culture, Honeywell showed how agile a large global company can be. Through the guidance by leaders like Que Dallara, President and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise, and with science and technology at its core, the company was able to roll-out new product offerings in a matter of weeks, to better support the changing needs of their customers.
Having emigrated from Vietnam in her early childhood to a new country, where she didn’t know the language and where her family struggled to make ends meet, Dallara started her business experience early on.At the age of only 16, she founded a tutoring service, and discovered the power of technology to reach her customers and grow her business. Today, Dallara continues to use her understanding of technology to help bring groups of people together to do otherwise impossible things.Having risen to the challenge the global pandemic has thrown at businesses across the world, the company changed its portfolio across the different business units to offer products to make buildings and environments safer. From designing a UV cabin system that cleans an entire aircraft in roughly 10 minutes, to healthy building solutions that allows people to get back into the office.“It really is inspiring to see how the company responds to these challenges,” says Dallara. “This is tens of thousands of people working together.”That sentiment is the exact same as the one that got her into technology to begin with – the ability to work with the brightest from around the world to produce otherwise impossible solutions that keep people safe, happy and healthy, no matter who they are.
Watch the documentary to meet these inspiring women and hear how they have helped change their industries – and our world – for the better.