On Tuesday, March 8th, Caiman Consulting held its inaugural International Women’s Day celebration in both the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. Both teams held similar events, hosting speakers from leading companies including Starbucks, Concur, Kiva, and Sur la Table. Both events encouraged discussion about gender equality and parity in the workplace. The theme for this year’s event globally was “Pledge for Parity,” aiming to improve gender balanced leadership, respect and value differences, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures, and root out workplace bias. The “Pledge for Parity” has been, and will continue to be, a key focus area as Caiman grows and evolves.
In Seattle, Caiman invited several speakers to form a panel and discuss the issues of the day. Kathleen Owens, independent consultant at KO Consulting, gave the keynote address in which she shared her lessons for life and success. Additionally, Claudia Myers of Concur, Christina McPherson of Starbucks, Renee Behnke of Sur La Table, and our own Marci Marra spoke about the challenges they’ve faced in their leadership growth. The day ended with support from Caiman's own Karen Dixon and Rebecca Lashley. Karen discussed her career path and inspired those in attendance by illustrating how she overcame challenges and reached the next level. Rebecca drove our breakout sessions and led everyone through small group discussions on how Caiman can apply the speakers’ lessons moving forward.
In the Bay Area, our team invited celebrated author and activist Bob Harris to join the discussion. Having written “The International Bank of Bob” about the microfinance organization Kiva and its impacts worldwide, Bob and the team engaged with one another about the benefits and realities of microfinance across the planet, and specifically with respect to women. Bob enlightened his audience with information about his worldly travels, his personal experiences with the people to whom he had lent, and how immensely powerful microfinance lending can be. As part of the final exercise of the day, Caiman participants joined the Kiva "Friends of Bob Harris " subgroup and each participant made a loan that was matched by Kiva in honor of International Women’s Day.
On the whole, Caiman’s 2016 International Women’s Day celebration was a grand success. In Seattle our consultants listened to established female business leaders and learned about how to better bridge the gender gap, and in the Bay Area our team had a fruitful discussion with a proven philanthropist about how to have an impact on improving gender equality and parity worldwide. This year’s event was a terrific beginning to what will become a longstanding and impactful annual tradition. A large thanks goes out to all of our speakers, organizers, and participants, all of whom have set the bar high for next year’s event.