Last Tuesday evening, VidMob co-hosted the second annual Creativist event in San Francisco with our friends at Facebook, Shutterstock, Smartly.io, Pixability, and Shuttlerock. Creativist is a gathering of people, in this case, women, who believe in the power of creativity and diversity to fuel change. We all want better things for our world—we want cleaner air, better education, and equal rights. But, turning those dreams into a reality requires a huge time commitment and tons of grit, which many women tend to doubt they have. The Creativist event is an opportunity to celebrate female-led movements so more women are inspired to become agents of change. We do this by sharing stories to prove to each other that crazy ideas are possible and that every passionate woman has the power to galvanize others for good.
We invited four extraordinary female CEOs to take the stage and share their leadership journeys—Villy Wang (Baycat), Caroline Duell (All Good), Amanda de Cadenet (Girl Gaze), and Shane Murphy Goldsmith (Liberty Hill). These ladies cracked codes, moved mountains, and busted stereotypes all the way to the top. But moving up to the C-suite was never the goal. It was a means to a much bigger, more impressive ambition. They wanted to move others. They set out to become agents of change so every talented, hard-working person can have a successful career, so our justice system doesn’t let anyone fall through the cracks, and so our planet doesn’t die before our great-grandchildren are born. These women saw unfairness, bias, and waste and decided to do something about it.
As was done at last year’s Creativist in NYC, we adorned the event space with power statements. One of my favorite quotes is “If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” These are wise words from American novelist and feminist, Erica Jong, who often wrote about how fear creates a barrier to change. Challenging the status quo is frightening, especially when attempting to do it solo or with a small cohort of disruptors. But, it can be riskier not to try.
What are we afraid of? Failure. Amanda de Cadenet eloquently reframes fear, suggesting that “failure is a part of the journey to success.” It’s a positive signal that we’re trying hard enough. This rings true for Shane Murphy Goldsmith whose team at Liberty Hill fought for three years to secure rental controls in Los Angeles, in partnership with the Uplift Inglewood Coalition. On any given night in LA, 60,000 people are without a home to sleep in. Of those, 9,000 are children. Shane’s team was fearless in their pursuit of justice because the alternative is not acceptable.
Push Back. Break Ceilings. Crack Codes.
Villy embodies this credo in her quest to end racism and sexism through storytelling. Fueled by personal experience with racism, Villy created Baycat to change the lives of underserved youth who have immense talent but no access to creative career paths. In the past 15 years, Villy and her team have educated over 4,250 youth and launched more than 225 careers in filmmaking and storytelling.
Amanda is cracking codes by changing the guard behind the camera, giving female-identifying and non-binary creative talent opportunities to tell stories. The photographs we see, ads we watch, and shows we enjoy are generally created by males. Amanda has set out to level the playing field so content is more representative, so it reflects the whole truth.
Caroline is unearthing truths about how the products we consume are made and leading the way for companies to be more environmentally conscious. To say she fights an uphill battle is a huge understatement. For brands who think short-term, it’s costly to be carbon neutral and sustainability is incredibly inconvenient. Caroline isn’t discouraged because our planet is worth fighting for. She wrapped her keynote with an alarming and much-appreciated story about the toxic ingredients in the most popular commercially available sunscreens which are decimating the coral reef. I think every guest went home that evening and purged all non-mineral sunscreens.
It was an honor to co-host the event with Nerissa McDonald and her awesome Global Partnerships team at Facebook, Patricia Marchetti Global Partnerships Lead at Facebook, Mindy Loverin VP Strategic Partnerships at Shutterstock, Theresa Go VP Platform Partnerships at Pixability, Kim Weiner SVP at Shuttlerock and Stephanie Semaan Head of Sales at Smartly io. Every design detail was impeccably crafted by the inimitable Sara Musselman, Brand Creative Director at VidMob and behind the scenes were event logistics gurus Cathryn Walker, Senior Marketing Manager at VidMob and event producer, Jenn Hagan. Giant kudos go to the lovely and amazing Kelsey Fugere, who took stunning “power pose headshots” in our pop up studio. And, there are no words to describe my deep appreciation for Jill Goldstein who helped us craft the inspiring phrases that adorned The Assembly, a beautiful wellness and co-work space for women.
Villy Wang, CEO Baycat
An acclaimed TED Speaker and Founder and CEO of BAYCAT, Villy Wang exemplifies the power of creativity and diversity to lead social change. SF-based BAYCAT helps underserved youth and minorities access jobs in the creative field through innovative training programs.
Caroline Duell, All Good
Caroline Duell is the CEO and founder of the Certified B-Corp All Good, an organic, sustainable skincare brand and member of 1% for the Planet. After years of working in emergency medicine, wilderness education and holistic healing, Caroline turned her farm-based salve-making hobby into a booming business. Caroline has been a vocal leader in the movement to get brands to operate sustainably and to get consumers to care deeply about how the products they buy are made.
Amanda de Cadenet, Girl Gaze
Amanda de Cadenet is the founder and CEO of the transformative creative tech company Girl Gaze, which is changing the way content is produced and experienced, by putting females behind the camera. So much of the content we consume is expressed through the lens of males, which we all know can be very different from the female perspective. Girl Gaze is changing that. Amanda is also a renowned photographer and host of The Conversation where she interviews fellow badass females like Lady Gaga and Hillary Clinton. She is also the author of two best-selling books, It’s Messy and Girl Gaze: How Girls See the World.
Shane Murphy Goldsmith, Liberty Hill
Shane Murphy Goldsmith is the President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation, one of the nation’s most prestigious social justice organizations. Based in Los Angeles, Liberty Hill has changed national policies, launched massive social movements and nurtured hundreds of community leaders who fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, homeless people, underserved youth and our planet. A prominent public servant in Los Angeles, Shane also serves on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, and is the co-chair of the California Executive Alliance for Boys and Men of Color SoCal Region.
On a Personal Note
A Creativist quote that inspires me every day is “If not me, who? If not now, when?” Many famous people have said it, but I think its origins date back to Hillel the Elder. This proverb reminds me to have a bias toward action. To be the problem solver instead of the complainer. My 5-year old daughter Sadie has a debilitating brain disorder called Rett Syndrome which has been proven in lab experiments to be curable. Sharing her story publicly to raise funds for research has been incredibly humbling and, at times, frightening. But, if I don’t do it, who will? Being surrounded by badass women at Creativist fuels me to act. It inspires me to be a change agent because with passion and purpose anything is possible.