9 Key Takeaways from My Wall Street Journal Women in the Workplace Conference [Pictorial Edition]

I attended The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Women in the Workplace Conference hosted at The Assembly in San Francisco a few days ago. The Conference is part of their Womenin Series, which explores women’s issues in today’s world.

It was an opportunity for me meet, engage and connect with women from diverse career backgrounds and to learn how to navigate the workplace from an equally distinct, and as you’ll see, impressive panel of speakers of women and men.

It has been one of my life long dreams to attend a Wall Street Journal event. It’s taken a couple of decades to get here but it was worth the wait. The conference was insightful, interesting, and inspiring. It was everything I had imagined a WSJ event to be plus much more.

Here are 9 key takeaways from the conference presented in beautiful pictures (you know we love telling stories in visuals around here.) I hope they will be as valuable and inspiring to you as they were to me.

And stay tuned to the end of the blog post for a glimpse of my journey to this event and the superb space where it was held.


1. Seek diversity in mentorship

“You don’t have to have only women mentors. Seek out people with different experiences”

– Belinda Johnson, COO, Airbnb

2. Put yourself out there

“Women rate themselves based on how they have proven themselves as opposed to what they are capable of doing (future potential) – put yourself out there.”

– Belinda Johnson, COO, Airbnb


3. Change the narrative on what you say to your sons and little boys

“Rethink the norms that you perpetuate for your sons and little boys. It’s not about being a real man. It’s about being a good man.”

– Marianne Cooper | Sociologist, VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab, Stanford University




4. Be committed to diversity

  • “Align your values with your business.”
  • “Diversity and inclusion is not an objective but an outcome.”
  • “Practice a blind performance review process – focus on contribution to business, developing talent.”
  • “If you care about profits you should care about diversity and inclusion.”

– Art Peck, CEO, Gap

We need men as allies to achieve real change for women in the workplace.


5. Choose your words carefully

“Language matters. The way you describe a job determines who sees themselves in it. Gender neutral descriptions fill jobs faster.”

– Kieran Synder, CEO, Textio

Love innovation that is actionable! Textio blew me away!



6. Pursue your dream today

“Women are always deferring their wishes.” “Take the leap but have a plan.”

– Min Jin Lee, Author, Pachinko

Funny, Smart, real and inspiring. Loved her!


Excited to add this book to our gapmuse Bookshelf!


Couldn’t pass up an opportunity for a photo op during Min’s book signing!


7. Create a safe environment

  • “Give people a safe space to speak up.”
  • “CEOs of high growth companies need to have good deputies who can champion diversity and inclusion.”

– Erica Joy Baker | Senior Engineering Manager, Patreon


8. Champion diversity and inclusion

“The only way to achieve exclusive excellence is through diversity and inclusion.”

– Frances Frei | Professor of Technology and Operations Management, Harvard Business School


9. Don’t put limitations on yourself

“You don’t have to wait until you’re a CFO (in the C-suite) to be a board member.“

– Robin Washington | EVP and CFO, Gilead Sciences


The Journey: How I Got Here 

I’ve been a Wall Street Journal subscriber from my early days in college (which at the risk of dating myself is ions ago!) In that time, I have wanted to attend one of their events but have not been successful.  When the opportunity came about and I received an invite, I was ecstatic (picture me jumping up and down like a kid!) Because the invite was not a shoe-in, I was determined to do everything in my power to get in. What power you might be thinking would sway the Wall Street Journal?  The power of this blog!  After I filled out the invite form, I followed up with an email outlining why the event was so important to me – my passion for women’s issues and making the world a better place where we can thrive – and attached one of our blog posts: How Women in Leadership Fail Women in the Workplace & How They Can Do Better {With Real Life Stories]. Can’t thank you enough, our readers, for making this blog possible!

My nudging must have paid off (or least I’d like to think it did) because a few days later, I received my invitation confirmation! I was invited to the conference but not the Gala in the evening because there were limited spots available. Though disappointed that I couldn’t attend the gala, I was elated that this girl from humble beginnings was finally going to a Wall Street Journal event. And not just any! One solely dedicated to women!

So many good things happened at the event. From making new and wonderful connections, an invite to spend the day at The Assembly and to attend one of their programs from the Chief of People Operations, a free autographed book and photo op with Author and Event Speaker Min Jin Lee, to a potential feature in Quartz, a highly regarded publication to follow up on a question I raised during one of the sessions, I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling way to spend my day.

I came away feeling more enlightened, knowledgable and inspired to make a difference in my life and those of women and girls everywhere. My hope is that the insights I’ve shared with you here will empower you too. Also, I wish that my journey inspires you to never give up on your dreams no matter how small or big they may be.

Enlightened, Empowered, Happy


Making new and exciting connections. Such warmth and graciousness from this lady!


Feeling a sense of community.


The Space

Formerly a church building and nestled in the Mission in San Francisco, The Assembly is a colorful, inviting, and warm space for women to connect, engage, collaborate, and stay healthy. I was struck by the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, the delicious food (the most amazing chocolate croissant ever!), the event spaces, and high tech amenities provided for the event. Everything flowed effortlessly, a testament not only to the Wall Street Journal Women in the Workplace team, but also The Assembly staff.  If you’re looking to host a high quality event, check it out.  We promise you won’t be disappointed.

Pleasantly surprising!


Comfortable, warm, and aesthetically pleasing.


An abundance of delicious breakfast options before the event.


Lovely coffee bar with the friendliest staff!


Beautiful event spaces with high tech amenities to boot!


Be inspired.

2 responses to “9 Key Takeaways from My Wall Street Journal Women in the Workplace Conference [Pictorial Edition]

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