Shareablee and WimLink, which connects women in media and tech to promote leadership and professional development, are holding a special event, “Advancing Women – Leadership in Sports and Digital” on Thursday, April 26, 6p, at Shareablee’s offices. Tania Yuki, Founder and CEO of Shareablee, shares what it’s all about.
Cynopsis: How did you and Shareablee get involved with wimLink?
Tania Yuki:I founded wimLink in 2008 when I was very early in my professional career. I had been excited to be invited to a luncheon which was meant to be honoring amazing women leaders, and instead the entire conversation focused on what they had given up and sacrificed. It was totally depressing – more like a victim’s support group than anything else – and frankly unhelpful for me, as someone who just wanted to know what worked.
I began researching events that were action-oriented and designed to inspire and provoke positive momentum for women and really didn’t find anything that excited me. So I scheduled our first event five weeks from that luncheon and have been holding them ever since. In the last 10+ years, we’ve grown to over 5,000 members strong with a range of backgrounds including VPs and above at all the major media networks, venture capital firms, finance industries and founders of start-ups and established technology companies.
Personally, the wimlink network was a great support to me when I founded Shareablee in 2013. Having that sort of network to tap into can be invaluable when you are creating a new company or just building out a new idea. But I really just started wimLink because I wanted to create the sorts of events that I personally wanted to attend, and I hoped that would be helpful for other women, too.
Shareablee has been supporting wimLink from the beginning, and it’s been a great forum for us to highlight some of the amazing women at our client companies too – who are often too busy doing wonderful work to be focused on telling their story. But we believe they need to!
Cynopsis: What are the issues you plan to address with the event?
Yuki:The vision for wimLink is to focus on the stuff we want more of – more women CEOs, leaders, founders – rather than on the things we want less of, which are already well covered in the news. So our events focus on the real-life stories of women who have achieved extraordinary heights and what it took for them to get there, strategically as well as tactically speaking.
At the wimlink event on April 26thwe will have inspiring and accomplished women executives such as Laura Froelich, Global Head of Sports Partnerships at Twitter; Jennifer Storms, Chief Marketing Officer of NBC Sports Group; and Deirdre Lester, Chief Revenue Officer at Barstool Sports all tell their story. Then Amy Hudson, Sports Media Partnerships Lead at Facebook will moderate an in-depth Q&A to make sure we unpack everything and the audience really get the juice out of their wisdom and experiences.
This event is the perfect opportunity to learn from the collective experiences of these trailblazers and put those lessons to work immediately. Discussions will include how these individuals met their goals, solved seemingly impossible challenges while continuing to push through and exceed expectations. And what didn’t work too, to hopefully avoid wasting time along the way.
Cynopsis: Is digital marketing in sports lagging behind other sectors as far as gender equity?
Yuki: Gender equality is an issue faced by every single woman in the world across all industries. However, I do believe there is a higher probability in digital sports marketing, given the intersection of two typically male-dominated worlds – sports and technology. I have seen movement, though, in the last few years as more women begin mentoring the next generation and more female athletes inspire others by taking stands and paving the way (Aly Raisman and Abby Wambach to name a few). Also, an increasing number of technology companies are being founded by women – who are looking to foster more women in the industry.
Since founding wimlink and Shareablee, I’ve come to realize that if I want to see changes made in the industry that I need start with my own company, I can’t expect others to do it for me. That is why I enjoy gathering together leaders from across the industry and learning from their journeys.
Cynipsis: If you could change three things about women in media and tech, what would they be?
Yuki: First, the perception that the women who have succeeded had any special magic or unique mentorship or special privileges, which I think holds some women back from even trying to reach their highest goals. I have held nearly fifty events in over ten years, and success has almost always come through a combination of resilience, hard work and persistence.
Second, the lack of visibility of women leaders. Women need to speak up more about their stories and their accomplishments, to create more visible models of what’s possible for the next generation of women leaders. Without the visibility, the perception remains that there are no women.
And finally, the lack of confidence that many women have about their ability to start something up from scratch, or to really rise to the top of organizations. Yes, there are biases and discrimination, but without the ability to magically wave a wand and make that go away, the next best thing is to have more women smash through these perceived barriers. The more women do that, the less ‘special’ it becomes until eventually, hopefully, it’s simply expected.
Every time you gather smart women in a room, things happen, synergies spark and change happens. Given the environment we are living in currently – the time is right to move forward and make our industry what we want it to be for us and future leaders.
Advancing Women – Leadership in Sports and Digital
To attend, you can register here.
Shareablee’s office at 123 William Street, Level 19, New York, NY 10038
Arrive at venue 6:00pm for drinks and networking
6:30 – 7:15 Presentations
7:15 – 7:30 Around the room intros, questions
7:30 – 8pm Panel Q&A
8:00 – 8:30 Glass of wine, snacks, networking