Ava DuVernay & Time's Up Panel | 2018 MAKERS Conference
Time’s Up Panel with Maha Dakhil, Rashida Jones, Melina Matsoukas, Natalie Portman, Nina Shaw, Jill Soloway and Tina Tchen, moderated by Ava Duvernay, on what’s next for the movement.
Saru Jayaraman, Monica Ramirez, Mily Trevino-Saceda & Jenna Watanabe | 2018 MAKERS Conference
Sheryl Sandberg, Laphonza Butler & David Smith | 2018 MAKERS Conference
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Ava DuVernay.
AVA DUVERNAY: Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. It's so funny, wherever I go, I know I'm going to hear glory. I walk out, they play Glory. It's going to follow me forever, but I don't mind. Listen, I'm here today-- this is Makers, let's give it around, I'm really excited that this is getting started. Really cool, really cool. We're starting it off with some tremendous, tremendous women. No time to waste, I'm just going to get them on out here, and we're going to have a conversation about Time's Up. Because it is. Here we go, Maha Dakhil, Rashida Jones, Melina Matsoukas, Natalie Portman, Tina Chen, Nina Shaw, and Jill Soloway.
This is basically the Avengers. In real life. So happy to be here with you all, and what we're really just going to do is dive into Time's Up, a real intimate conversation about the inner workings, the origins, the future, the intention, so that we can all leave here on the exact same page. That it goes beyond a cool thing that happened at the Globes, or some headlines, and you will really get inside of it and know exactly what we're doing, right? All right, so what the hell is this thing? Who can give us the overview, the logline, for folks who've never heard of Time's Up? Maha.
MAHA DAKHIL: Hi, everybody. Time's Up. Well, the overview and the origin, it really began when Donald Trump was elected. And it was a shot heard around the nation. And I like to think that Time's Up is born of a collective consciousness. I think the reason why this came together so quickly and so speedily, you know, specifically in response to the allegations that you've all heard in Hollywood in terms of sexual harassment. But I think even before that, I think women have been feeling very marginalized and oppressed since, you know, this shocking turn of events happened in our country. And when, in Hollywood, it happened in such a affronting way, we had to respond to it.
So, in terms of how it began, it began in so many different ways. But a few of my colleagues, Michelle Kydd Lee, Hylda Queally, Christy Haubeggar, a few of us sat around and basically just made a list of all the women we knew who were as outraged. And one good thing about agents is we can convene easily and so we invited all these folks and dozens of others of incredibly courageous, wonderful women in our industry to sit around a table and start brainstorming about what we could do.
AVA DUVERNAY: I think it's important to know who the "we" is. So you have agents, you hire private lawyers, you have writers, producers, directors, actors, screenwriters, public advocates, the group is pretty large. It is really multifaceted and very robust. Really dynamic when you get in the room with all of these women that touch different parts of the entertainment industry in different categories. Jill, can you talk a little bit about, because I know that you've been, you know, facilitating some of the smaller convenings.
JILL SOLOWAY: Yeah.
AVA DUVERNAY: But how is it to have all of these women in a room together, and these are powerful, powerful woman, OK? How do we manage that?
JILL SOLOWAY: Yeah, I mean Ava, you know. It's like a dream come true, right? What is happening? We've been, we've all been waiting for this moment. And so you get in that room at CAA with these women around this huge table, and you go, OK we're all here, and this is real, and the revolution is alive, and let's do it. And it's just so exciting. And to me the thing that's most exciting is a sense of collaboration, where there isn't that question usually of politics, where it's like, well who's going to do that, and whose job is that. Well, that's not my thing.
We're all just saying yes and, yes and, what you want me to do? I got this. Just people are all, you know, filling in this space with their enthusiasm and joy for revolutionary connectivity and changing the world together. And for me, when I saw the Golden Globes and I was like, holy shit. Like, we took over a thing. We took over an awards show, and it worked. I mean.
AVA DUVERNAY: In a very small amount of time, too.
JILL SOLOWAY: Yes, it's just like insane.
AVA DUVERNAY: It is, it is. It's dynamic. It's beautiful to watch and to feel. Nina, can you talk a little bit about the mission? Just the overall mission. We'll let the lawyer do the legality. Let us know what the mission is.
NINA SHAW: It's very simple, it's equity and safety in the workplace. And that can really, you know we like to say at Time's Up we can do anything, but we can't do everything. So the goal was to set a mission that really related not just to the entertainment industry, and frankly, not just to women. That's really covered the cross section, and everyone relates to it. And I think that one of the wonderful things about coming out the way we did at the Golden Globes, or really in January 1st in the different publications, is that we were focused on not just our industry. We were focused on a group of women who had written to our actress sisters in solidarity, and we were writing back to them.
AVA DUVERNAY: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the things that's important when you hear the logline it's equity and safety in the workplace. One of the things that Time's Up is doing is to really make that intersectional. And I was wondering Rashida if you could talk a little bit about that. Not only being focused on women, or even men who are dealing only with sexual harassment, but it's really about an equity and a safety in all its permutations throughout the industry, right?
RASHIDA JONES: Yeah, completely. Well I think one of the things we were forced to look at when we we're asking for something is what do we want for ourselves and how do we make change in our own backyard first. And I think the biggest thing is we want our industry to reflect the world. And the world's changed. And Hollywood has got to change with it.
So, with that in mind, you know, I think everybody here and everybody in the movement kind of acknowledges that there is no change unless you bring every single person along who has spent time being marginalized, harassed, assaulted. Whether that means you're a person of color, or whether that means you're a woman, whether you know whether that means you're a disabled person, like there's so many people who have been ignored as we deal with the long tail of the patriarchy, frankly. So for us, I think, intersectionality is the hub, it is the absolute centerpiece of everything that we do.
AVA DUVERNAY: Tina, can you give us, you know I have to ask you the heavy lifting questions. Can you talk a little bit about the strategy going forward, specifically as it relates to the Legal Defense Fund?
TINA CHEN: Well, I'll tell you, one of the great things about Time's Up, and I think the reason it has spoken to so many people across the country, is that everyone here in the entertainment industry really knew they wanted to reach out beyond this industry, and really reach folks who don't have as much means and privilege. And an ability to speak for themselves without fear of losing their jobs or harming their family. And we have real life examples of that, where people who were speaking out are getting sued, you know, for defamation to silence them. Or low income women who don't, you know, have enough damages that a lawyer will actually take their case. So the folks here, the leaders at Time's Up really said we want to do something. And that's where, so I'm a lawyer, that's my background.
AVA DUVERNAY: That why I ask you legal questions.
TINA CHEN: But we knew the only way to help-- You know, one of the real tangible ways that people need help right now is to get them lawyers. Is to get lawyers across the country and sometimes a lot of the big firms that do pro-bono work, can't do this work because they've got conflicts with big companies. So you've got small lawyers, who can't afford to do this for free. And that's why we have this Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.
So $20 million in a month from 20,000 donors across the country, from $5 to millions of dollars. It's been an amazing outpouring of support. Over 200 lawyers have signed up. But I will tell you, we've had over 1,000 requests for help in a month. You know, so the need is clearly there.
AVA DUVERNAY: I haven't heard that number.
TINA CHEN: From all industries. Farm workers, hotel workers, you know, steel workers. I had this steel worker from Indiana reach out to my office. So we've got folks who we thought that was the case, that there are people hurting right now. And Time's Up has really spoken to them. And it's spoken to men and women across the country who need help. Need help getting safety and equity in the workplace.
NINA SHAW: It really spoke to our need to take action. That we didn't want to be a group of people who got in a room and talked about the changes that we wanted to see made. We wanted to be part of that change. And it was so important for us to come out in our very beginning with an action oriented item. What are we going to do? We're going to set up this fund, we're going to invite people who, all people, not just women, not just men, people who fall within the criteria, and then we are going to do something. And that has been I think the hallmark of us as a group. We don't want to just be talk.
TINA CHEN: So I have to give a nod to our sisters that the National Women's Law Center, which is a 45-year-old women's rights organization in Washington D.C. We kind of dropped this idea on them right around Thanksgiving and said, we want to announce it January 1st. So, like, get used to that idea. And they came on board, and it was a big reach for them. But they've given us the infrastructure, the expertise, you know, to get this stirred up. You know, we wouldn't be able to be answering 1,000 requests right now without their assistance. So NWLC.org, if lawyers want to volunteer. For people who are out there watching, if you're a lawyer and you want to volunteer, go to NWLC.org. And we still need donations, so go to the GoFundMe page for Time's Up. And, you know, spread it around.
AVA DUVERNAY: Say the URL again.
TINA CHEN: So it's NWLC, National Women's Law Center, dot org. NWLC.org. If you need help, there is a button on there for you to fill out a form to request help. If you are a lawyer and are able to volunteer your services, please go on there and fill out the form to volunteer. And anyone who can donate or wants to organize a fundraising drive, the GoFundMe page for Time's Up is still up there and we are still expanding our goal because anybody who knows what it's like to pay legal fees knows $20 million is a lot of money, but not a lot of money. It's not that much.
AVA DUVERNAY: Need more. Yeah. One of the things that I really loved about Time's Up is a quest to, and it's just getting started, but a real desire to be intersectional. And I say that word again because it's just incredibly important if we're talking about inclusively that we not just have a narrow view that applies only to us. So me, as a black woman, I can't get completely tunnel vision on the issues of black people and women. I also have to think of native people, I also have to think of Latino people, I also have to think of trans people. I have to think of other people who are not me who need to be included in this conversation. Sometimes that's a push.
And Melina and I work on, she really leads up our, I love the name of the committee. We have a bunch of different committees in Time's Up, but the hottest sounding committee--
NINA SHAW: And hottest.
AVA DUVERNAY: And hottest, the one that's called WOCC, because it's women of color committee. Get it? So she heads that up and we're just getting, we're just trying to find our legs inside of the organization, but I'm going to honestly talk about just transparently how, you know, the challenges that we're coming into and kind of carving identity within a larger movement, and what the goals are for that committee.
MELINA MATSOUKAS: Well like you said, we believe in intersectionality, and there's certain things that affect us that don't affect everybody, and we have to embrace our individualness, you know? And so, woke, stay woke. It's all about making sure all the initiatives with Time's Up include people of color and don't just speak to women's rights, but, you know, people of color we're the most marginalized group of people, historically. And we really want to dismantle systematic racism within our industry, you know? And educate people on bias and prejudice. And, you know, when you talk about safety, there's also racial safety. When you step onto a set and you're the only woman of color on set, like, you're in an unsafe environment. You know, and it's unfair. We're really all joining together to dismantle that power structure. And I think it really starts with the power structure. Who's in the room? Who's making the decisions? And we're trying to change that.
AVA DUVERNAY: Yeah. Absolutely. One thing that I think is so powerful about Time's Up, and I really think, I mean, I know that we would not have had the goodwill and the attention from the press and from the public that we've had if it wasn't for our actress sisters, truly. They are the face, and they put their faces and their careers on the line in a way that a lot of us who work behind the scenes, you know. We can kind of move in and more stealthily, and so I just want to salute our actress sisters, and one of our big leaders in that space is Natalie.
I was going to ask you, it's been a month. I mean, this is crazy. And the reason why this has been able to have such velocity is because of the high profile nature. I just want to let people know, these actresses are, they are warriors. I want to talk a little bit about that contingent because I want to make sure people know it's not just the face of a bunch of people working behind the scenes. Like, you all are real true leaders and architects of this. So just to talk a little bit about how the artists and the actors are fitting into the overall strategy and what those meetings are like.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Well, thank you, that's very kind. And it's been really incredible to gather actresses, because I think something that we realized was that we're usually the only woman at work. And so like many other industries, we walk onto a nearly all-male set and we're usually alone and we rarely get to interact with each other. I've never had, I think Rashida is my only close actress friend until now.
AVA DUVERNAY: We think you all just hang out together.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Yeah.
RASHIDA JONES: Now we do.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Now we do. And so the power of just all being in the room together and sharing our experiences and realizing how much we've been endangered by being isolated, by being the only woman in the work environment. How that extends to other industries too, where if you're the only woman in the room, that endangers you, it isolates you, it prevents you from sharing stories. So if there are predators, you don't talk to each other. So there's this kind of secondary thing about, you know, being the only woman at the table or whatever that is very isolating and endangering. And how empowering it is to be in a room, to be on the same team, to say we refuse to be pitted against each other. There's not only one spot. We're going to make room for all of us.
It's really, really powerful. And it's been really incredible. And we have all these new friends. And it's really great. I also have to, I'm kind of distracted right now, because I see, is there some Baltimore in the house? I love you. I'm freaking out, your movie. Did you guys see Step? If you're in this room, you have to see Step if you haven't seen it. You people are inspiring and incredible. I'm distracted, sorry.
AVA DUVERNAY: Fantastic
TINA CHEN: Called out by Natalie Portman.
AVA DUVERNAY: I want to talk a little bit about, how we're doing on time? Oh yep, there it is. Everybody is very organized here except me. There we go. I wanted to talk a little bit about these big events and how we are essentially just hijacking events. Janelle at the Grammys and you know everyone at the Globes, and we're constantly thinking about ways to take these large cultural moments, shift the conversation when everyone is there. But I want to back up because the Globes was such a, it was a cultural phenomenon in the moment that it happened. That permeated way outside of the room. That signaled a coming together of two, I won't say campaigns, but two different ideas about how to achieve equality, Me Too and Time's Up. And who can talk a little bit about the beautiful kind of intertwining and integration of those two, not in a co-opting of one or the other, but I thought it was a very beautiful side by side, harmonius proclamation of what the two mean. Can anyone give definition to what one is and what the other is and talk about that moment?
JILL SOLOWAY: I mean, I think about it as simply, me too, so time's up. It's all of us, so no more. They just kind of connect.
AVA DUVERNAY: But they are two distinct groups. One of them, you know, founded Me Too, founded years before this current moment, by Tarana Burke, right? And that needs to be acknowledged. Woman of color, alone, does this hashtag, is putting a lot of velocity and attention and grassroots organizing around this, that meets with our moment as Hollywood industry people who saw an opportunity to galvanize.
And I was just, I have to admit, in early meetings where they were like, Me Too activists are coming and they're going to link up with actresses on the red carpet, I was like, that disaster. I was like, don't do that, don't do that. It's not going to work. And it was harmony, and it was beautiful, and just felt so good. And it really signals what we want to be doing, which is holding hands. I'm a conspiracy theorist, I think everything is going to go wrong, so I was like, this is bad. But it was beautiful. Can you talk a little about that?
RASHIDA JONES: I think we feel that way too. I think we sort of saw the worst case scenario, we tried to work backwards from that because what was important is that everybody's acknowledged, right? From Tarana to all of the whistleblowers, it was really important for us with knowledge the brave people that got us to a point where we could have a conversation about how to move forward so this never, ever happens again. And it takes all those steps to get there. And I feel like when you look in hindsight at anything that's happening, it all looks really linear, but when it's happening it feels very stop and start, and kind of fragmented all over the place.
But I think for us, to acknowledge women who have been working in this space for so long, is part of, is moving forward. Because you look at the people who have been here for so long and working on this stuff for so long, you want to say, hey what you have done has got us to this point. So you need to come with us. We need to celebrate you, and in doing that we can all work together to move forward. Because we all want the same things. And that's the truth. And I think it's been really painful for people who do speak up and who have, you know, carried the burden of this work for a really long time to do it on their own. So our job, more than anything, is to bolster that work.
TINA CHEN: I have to say, sort of, having spent eight years in the other White House,
NATALIE PORTMAN: The good one.
TINA CHEN: You know, one of the things that I saw was, you were too fragmented as a women's movement. You know, we've been fragmented for years. And we work in our silos, but women don't live their lives in silos, right? They are doing all these things. They're struggling with their health care, and they're struggling with their childcare, and they're struggling with sexual harassment or all of these things at once. And what's great about Time's Up, as Rashida just said, is bringing everything together.
I've been working on the United State of Women, as lots of folks know, and Dylan knows because we announced the United States of Women two years ago here at Makers. And we're going to keep that going, too. And do it again and bring it to Los Angeles. So watch out for that news. But this is all about bringing everything together. And again, I have to give a lot of credit to the women of Hollywood, who really brought this together, gave voice to it. When people said to me, why did this take off? And I say, it's because people relate to Natalie Portman. And they're sitting in their kitchen table, and it's like, if it is happening to her, and then it's, I can give voice to what's happening to me. And then we can protect them, which is why we have them work that we're doing.
MAHA DAKHIL: And I think the reason that it really worked so beautifully and wasn't the disaster that I knew you were afraid it was going to be, is that it was so authentic and so heartfelt by our actresses. And on their behalf, I can say, I think people project, it must be so amazing, it's such an elitist life. But we've been sitting in these rooms and we're not meeting as actresses, agents, managers, producers, storytellers. We're meeting as women who are just using our resources to shine light on the inequality for women, for people of color, intersectional, as we say that is the forefront and DNA of Time's Up. But I think why it works so beautifully is it was authentic. And it wasn't a stunt and the desire was to profile the activists, not the actresses.
NATALIE PORTMAN: And Monica, who started the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, who reached out to us and really got--
AVA DUVERNAY: That broke it open in such a incredible way.
NATALIE PORTMAN: And she said something that was really moving, which was, she was like, we're silenced, and I'm paraphrasing, she said it much more beautifully, but we're as silenced by the shadows as we are by the limelight. That the women, the farm workers, are told no one cares about you, you're in the shadows. You can't, your voice doesn't matter. And the women in the spotlight are told, you're the elite, no one cares about you, stop whining, stay silent. And the uniformity is just like, shut up, no one cares. And all of our voices matter. Like, our voices don't matter more, our voices don't matter less, we all have stories to tell and need to stop being silent about injustice.
AVA DUVERNAY: Absolutely, well So, I wanted to talk a little bit about the Olympics and, talking about things to hijack, we'll just talk about it. No, no, but when we're thinking about what the next kind of national conversation is going to be, in a couple of weeks, I guess it's a week or something, everyone's going to be talking about that. When we have sisters who have come out and talked about the abuse that they've experienced at the hands of their own coaches, with the US gymnastics team. And just wondering as we move that idea 0 Time's Up and elongate that in other industries and realms, how do you think Time's Up will A. Support that, but also what can women in that industry do? This is an example of how the outreach can permeate different industries. If we use that as an example, how can Time's Up affect them and how can their plight affect what we were thinking about? Have we thought about the gymnasts?
MAHA DAKHIL: I mean, I think that since we have started and launched, it has become a worldwide reaction and phenomenon in a way we weren't expecting. And we know we can't answer it for everybody, but we're hoping that the work that we're doing will amplify and encourage other people in industries to convene as well. It's already beginning, where women in tech, women in advertising, women in New York are meeting tonight across industries. Women in London are meeting.
And we, the words Time's Up, which are our sister Katie McGrath and Rashida coauthored, in one of our very first meetings where we spent so much time just naming it, because we knew it was so important to find a name that was gender neutral, that was a response to the moment, and you can't believe how many names we went through. I'm going to embarrass Natalie, the spirit of Time's Up really began with the next generation. Right there in the room, she brought her daughter Amalia to the meeting and only her baby, only in true Natalie Portman elegance and strength, breastfeeding on the hand, planning the Golden Globes on the other. It really was--
NATALIE PORTMAN: I can't do it here.
MAHA DAKHIL: She almost didn't come because of child care issues, and we were like, no, this is the room. I think we are proof of concept. If you convene women in a room and you brainstorm, look what happened in a matter of weeks. Every other industry can do this, and we want to be there to support, amplify it for everyone that we can. We have no staff, but for one person. We hope to grow the infrastructure here and to project in and be hopefully, the Avengers you think that we are.
TINA CHEN: It's about sustainable change. I think what attracted me in the very first time I heard about it was that this wasn't about just getting stuck in the moment. It was about, how do we actually change our workplaces, and what can we do to actually make sustainable, lasting change. And that's, I think, for the Olympics. What can they do to help change and protect those athletes? What can we do in all of these industries? People deserve to go to work and be safe. Be able to make a living and support their families, you know? And how do we change that so everybody can do that safely and succeed in their jobs and their careers.
AVA DUVERNAY: I think one of the things that I love really love and value about Time's Up is what Nina said, is that the immediate kind of institute, the immediate triggering of the Defense Fund was actionable. It wasn't just us talking up here saying, we should do something and things need to change. That was a way that it will change. But I asked the Olympics question because, I put that to women out here who are in all kinds of different industries, or different cities that might not be a major market. People who were watching the Livestream to point out that some of the infrastructure and some of the ideas that we're working with in Time's Up are there to be duplicated.
And we're also there to learn from and to listen from folks that are doing it way better and way longer than we are, right? And so it's that exchange, but you know, we, like you said, can't touch everyone. But there's an example here, that there's a lot of information on the website. There's a lot of information in different panels that everyone's doing. Just to say this can be duplicated in smaller pods, in different categories, different industries. You don't have to have all the star power or the corporate muscle to meet together and just get in the room and start setting some committees and figuring out how to get things done.
NINA SHAW: Everyone can do something. I think there isn't a day that goes by that I, and I'm sure everyone here, doesn't get a call that says, what can I do to help Time's Up? And I always say, in your place, let's think about what you can do. When someone says something offensive, find a way to connect to them and say, listen, if you pull them aside, if you genuinely believe, listen I think you're a great person. I think you're good at heart, but let me tell you why what you just said probably made half the people in that room uncomfortable. And I want to be the person to tell you that. You can do that in your workplace, among your friends, in your social circles.
When men ask, and men ask all the time, how can we help you? How about in those rooms where you are and we are not, you be our defenders. When someone says something that you know that they would never say in a mixed group of people, you don't have to, you can just say, listen, guy, you know. Let's not go there. Because when we go there, we diminish all these women who we say we love. Or these trans people who we say we support. Or these activists who we say we believe in their causes. So there's something that everyone in this room can do in some way, and in that way we are all part of Time's Up.
AVA DUVERNAY: We have just a couple of minutes left. This is the speed round. Everybody OK? We got real glass in here? Dang, Makers. Really nice. Three rounds, going around to every warrior woman here and ask if there's one thing, logline, that you want people to know about Time's Up and you want to people to take out of this session, what would it be Jill Soloway?
JILL SOLOWAY: 50-50 by 2020. It's an initiative of Time's Up. And we can be found at 5050by2020.com. And what we're doing is going to our own leaders and demanding that we go on 50-50 leadership by 2020. Women, people of color, queer people, disabled people, and other otherized people in positions of power.
AVA DUVERNAY: Good. Rashida Jones?
RASHIDA JONES: I think that every industry deserve to be a reflection of the world the way it is now. 39 percent of this country are people of color. That number will change drastically over time, but every person, whether it's woman, person of color, queer person, disabled person, deserves to be equal. And the way for us to do it is just to encourage in our own industries, however we can, to push this message forward. However we can, we're all doing the same thing.
AVA DUVERNAY: Amen Nina Shaw.
NINA SHAW: Don't be on the outside looking in. Stand up, open that door, come through. I know it's-- And listen, as a woman of color, I really understand that a lot of times you're like, oh those white women they're just doing, don't do that. Come on, seriously. We know that happens. Don't do that. Because we don't want to be in the back when the train pulls out of the station. OK?
AVA DUVERNAY: Amen. Maha Dakhil.
MAHA DAKHIL: I am so excited. I think this is a complete cultural revolution that we're in, that we are so lucky to be alive right now in these crazy times because it is upon us as soldiers, as sisters, and with our brothers to change the world. It's happening now. It's happening overnight. Time's Up is a small reflection of that. It applies to every single person out there. And, as Nina said, you can participate just by changing your own behavior, changing your own outlook. Look at the businesses you support. Are women at the center? Are people of color at the center? Are trans? Ask those questions and there will be ripple effects for years to come.
AVA DUVERNAY: Melina Matsuokas.
MELINA MATSOUKAS: I think, speak up, educate, and fight with us to dismantle white male patriarchy.
AVA DUVERNAY: Simply put, and powerfully put. Natalie Portman.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Gather. Get together with the other women or whatever group you identify with in your workplace to discuss what you can do to change and be radical, be extreme. Be the Che Guevara you are in your dreams.
AVA DUVERNAY: And Tina Chen.
TINA CHEN: Don't be afraid. Part of why this has gone on for so long is the fear that has been imposed upon us. And the silencing that's been imposed upon us. And break through that, don't be afraid. That's why we're all together. We're all in this together. We are, you know, warriors together. That's why we have a Legal Defense Fund for people who need it. For justifiable fear for what they're going through. And that's what we've got to break through. Don't be afraid.
AVA DUVERNAY: Amen. Hashtag raise your voice. Thank you very much for having us. Appreciate you. Have a great conference.
LILY: Saru Jayaraman is one of the founders and the president of ROC, and she is director of the Food Labor Research Center at Berkeley university. Saru is going to tell you about all the work that ROC does and their plans for their future. Saru Jayaraman.
Thank you so much to Lily. She's amazing. She's an amazing spokesperson for these issues. So as you heard, my name is Saru. I am the director and founder of Restaurant Opportunity Centers United, ROC United. We're a national organization that has grown over the last 16 years. Really following the explosion in the industry.
The restaurant industry, as you heard from Lily, right now is the second largest and absolute fastest growing sector of the US economy. It's almost 13 million workers. One in eleven Americans currently works in the industry. One in two of us in America and in this room has worked in the industry at some point in our lifetime.
How many of you worked in the restaurant industry at some point in your life? Will you look around the room? This industry touches all of us, and it especially touches women. And it impacts our lives for the rest of our lives in so many ways.
Because this industry is the largest and fastest growing, but it continues to be the absolute lowest paying, and that is because of the money, power, and influence of a trade lobby called the National Restaurant Association, which represents the Fortune 500 chains. The Applebee's, the IHOPs, the Olive Gardens.
And it turns out that this trade lobby has been around since emancipation of the slaves when it first demanded in an earlier form that they not pay their workers at all. A mostly black, former slave workforce. Pay them a $0 wage and let them live on tips. And that idea of a $0 wage was made law in 1938 as part of the New Deal. And we went from a $0 wage in 1938 to a whopping $2.13 an hour in 2018.
And a $2 wage increase for women over an 80 year period. And over that 80 year period, the Restaurant Association has said, it's OK. These are white guys working in fancy fine dining steakhouses. They're making a lot of money in tips. When in fact, 70% of tipped workers in America are women. They are women working at those same restaurants-- IHOP, Applebee's, Olive Garden.
They suffer from three times the poverty rate of the rest of the US workforce and the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry. Because when you're a woman earning $2, and $3, and $4 an hour in 43 states, your wage is so low it goes entirely to taxes. You're living on your tips. You must put up with whatever the guy does to you, however they touch you, or treat you, or grab your butt because your income, your base pay comes from the customer, not from your employer.
And besides the millions of women that put up with this every day of their lives, there are millions more young women, our daughters, in fact, many of us, for whom this is the first job in high school, college, or graduate school in which we are taught, encouraged, told by managers, dress more sexy, show more cleavage, wear tighter clothing in order to make more money in tips.
And that has led to so many actresses, senators, and celebrities saying to us, you know, I've been sexually harassed more recently in my career and I didn't do anything about it because it was never as bad as it was when I was a young woman working in restaurants. Which means our industry is not only the worst on this issue, it sets the standard for the rest of the economy for women.
But there's good news on the horizon. As you heard, seven states got rid of this ridiculously lower wage. California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, Montana, and Alaska. They require the employer to pay the full minimum wage with tips on top. And we have half the rate of sexual harassment in these states. It proves the point that this is an issue about power.
Because when a woman has power, when she actually gets a wage from her boss, she doesn't have to put up with anything and everything from the customers. And she actually doesn't have to be told by her manager, dress more sexy, show more cleavage, wear tighter clothing to make more money in tips because she doesn't feed her family entirely on tips.
Even better news, there are 500 restaurant owners across the country from Danny Meyer, to Tom Colicchio, Alice Waters, and many more that are working with us to change this policy in many more states. And thanks to Me Too and Time's Up, the Golden Globes, which I was at, and so much more attention that we've gotten over the last few months thanks to the leaders of this movement.
Governor Cuomo just announced, thanks to Me Too, that he will make New York the eighth state to eliminate the lower wage for tipped workers. It is a huge victory. And we're also moving this issue on the ballot in the state of Michigan where we have some of the poorest women in the country working in Detroit and upstate Michigan for $3.52 an hour.
These are women who largely don't vote, feel completely rejected by the political system entirely, are suffering from enormous levels of poverty and sexual harassment, and are excited to go to the polls to vote themselves an actual wage. This is how we're going to turn this country around. By giving these women an actual wage and a voice, and half the rate of sexual harassment.
There is also some bad news. President Trump has announced a new rule that would make tips the property of owners rather than workers. This would exacerbate sexual harassment in our industry by forcing women who already have to put up with harassment from customers to turn around and face it from their managers who now have the right to keep their tips.
But I just told you how we can win. It's women from different sectors standing together and saying, we all face these issues. We all need more power. And together, we can win it. We won it with Governor Cuomo. We can win it in Michigan. We can win it across the country and in every sector. And that is why I'm so happy to be joined by women, sisters, from other sectors as well today.
First I want to introduce Jenna Watanabe, who is a member leader of ROC and also a restaurant worker for 15 years. Also Monica Ramirez. Monica Ramirez who has achieved stardom. She is one of the leaders of the Farm Worker Alliance, has spent her life fighting for women in farm, among farm workers, and actually wrote a letter on behalf of farm workers to Hollywood calling for this kind of solidarity that has led to the victory we're seeing now.
And Mily Sauceda who also-- Trevino-Sauceda, excuse me, who is actually the founder of the Farm Workers Alliance and was a farm worker herself for many years. Thank you so much to all of you for being here with me. Jenna, do you want to start by sharing your own experiences in the restaurant industry?
JENNA WATANABE: Yeah, absolutely. So thank you, Saru, and thank you everyone at the MAKERS Conference for inviting me here. And I just want to call out all the really courageous women and voices that we've been hearing, and also the women that we haven't been able to hear from that may not be able to speak up or raise their voice at this time.
So my background, I worked in restaurants for 15 years. I spent 11 years working as a server in Salt Lake City, Utah and I spent four of those in San Francisco, California. And let me tell you the differences are astonishing. In Salt Lake City, you make $2.13 an hour as a server, which means that all of your income comes from tips. Which means that your income is totally reliant on the kindness of strangers or, in my opinion, the approval of strangers.
When I moved to San Francisco four years ago, that was the first time I actually got paid the same minimum wage as everyone else. Something that was actually above $2 an hour, which started at $10.74 and it's now up to $15 this year. So one of the things that was the most challenging aspect of working in Salt Lake City making $2.13 an hour and working off of tips was dealing with all of the disadvantages that came with that.
So you have income instability. If you are sick for a week, then a quarter of your month's salary is gone. There were four or five months-- it was very seasonal. So there were four or five months where I would be stressed if I could even pay rent. And then probably the most undisclosed but just commonly known is the really, I would say, very sexist undertones that kind of permeate the industry.
Unfortunately, it comes from all different types of people. Not just from the guests, but also from the managers, also from the coworkers. Unfortunately, I have a story that kind of encapsulates this. I was actually taking an order for a family once and I remember asking a little boy how he wanted his steak cooked. And right at that moment I felt this right on my butt.
And I turned and it was a stranger. A man I had never seen before. And he just gave me the sleaziest little, shh. And I didn't know what to do. I was in sever mode. And all I knew was, OK, I have to play it cool. I can't react because if I do, I could lose my job. I could lose tips. I could not make money. So regretfully and painfully, I didn't do anything.
When I went to the back of the kitchen, my behind the scenes, I was met with an even more disappointing response. A lot of my coworkers told me to just take the compliment. A lot of them told me to go out there, ask for money. And unfortunately, one of my managers told me that I should appreciate it while I'm young because when I'm older I'm not going to be getting this kind of attention.
So that was my experience working in fine dining. Imagine what it's like for women that don't work in fine dining. Imagine what it's like for women who are just starting their jobs out. And she was mentioning earlier Applebee's. All those areas, those places where women are starting out and they're just getting exposed to this really toxic culture.
I want to say that a lot of women deal with much more difficult things than what I experienced. And I think it's time that-- well, first of all, I want to acknowledge that there's a lot of restaurant employers that don't respond that way and that they should be honored. But for the ones that are abusive, for the ones that do continue this, that's why I'm a leader in fighting for one fair wage with ROC. Because honestly, the abusiveness of the restaurants' time's up.
SARU JAYARAMAN: This is no less of a problem among farm worker women. And so Monica, we'll start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with this work and the work [INAUDIBLE]?
MONICA RAMIREZ: Right. Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. I come from a migrant farm worker family. My family's used to crisscross the country working in the fields. Picking cotton, and cucumbers, and other crops. And so both sides of my family, my mother's side of the family and my father's side of the family were able to settle out of agriculture and stay in one place year round, which was in Ohio where I was born and grew up.
And as I was growing up, my parents really wanted us to understand our history, understand where we come from. And specifically, they wanted us to know about the conditions of migrant farm workers. And so they talked to us a lot about the fact that farm workers are underpaid, sprayed with pesticides, exposed to dangerous working conditions.
And growing up hearing all the stories of the things that my family members had gone through working in the fields, that really was what inspired me to dedicate my career and my work to representing migrant farm workers. I went to law school to become a farm worker attorney and in 2002 was able to found the first legal project in the United States specifically focused on representing migrant farm worker women.
Because migrant farm worker women face not just wage theft and being exposed to pesticides and other dangerous conditions, but sexual harassment is a major problem for farm worker women. And the few reports that exist tell us that 80% to 90% of farm worker women say that sexual harassment is a major problem.
And it's so common that the fields are referred to as green motels and fields of panties. And so my work is very much focused on representing farm worker women and joining in solidarity with farm worker women to solve this problem because we know it's one that has long lasting consequences. And so that's how I came to the work.
And in the course of creating the first project that I mentioned to you, which started in Florida, I reached out to Mily Trevino-Sauceda who is my mentor and has been my mentor for almost 20 years. And Mily created the first farm worker women's project in the United States in the state of Florida called [SPANISH].
And really, through Mily's leadership and mentorship, I was able to really kind of find my own voice as an activist and advocate. And because of Mily's vision, a number of us worked together for many years-- you know, almost I guess 20 years, and in Mily's case, for almost 30 years-- specifically focusing on the problems of farm worker women.
And as a result of all the work that we were doing all around the country as lawyers, as social workers, as activists, there was this idea that emerged in 2010 to create the first national farm worker women's organization that would bring all of us together. And so actually, I want to just take a minute to call out the fact that we have some of our hermanas here with us today.
So [INAUDIBLE] from La Mujer Obrera. [? Alvida ?] [? Carbajal ?] from the Farm Worker Association of Florida.
[INAUDIBLE] from the Worker Justice Center of New York. These are just some of our members, but today we now have 17 organizational members around the country, all of whom are working specifically to address the issues that impact farm worker women, and really came from the vision of Mily to organize all of us and bring us together.
And we now work advocating and organizing from the fields to Capitol Hill. And we are pushing to ensure that farm worker women no longer experience workplace sexual violence, but that they also do not have to confront wage theft and some of the other issues that I mentioned.
And so I want to give an opportunity for Mily to talk about her vision and sort of what's brought us here today as a greater movement. So Mily, will you talk to us a little bit about your vision for the farm worker women's movement and how you started it?
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: OK. As Monica said-- gracias, Monica. [SPANISH] I do come from a migrant farm worker family. I did start working as I was eight years old. We were migrants, some of us. We were ten children in our family and it was very, very hard. And we went through so much. Some of us were born in the state of Washington, others in Idaho, and others in Mexico, and it was very, very hard.
So not until we arrived in California was when we, we learned about the United Farm Workers movement. And our family, I was working with my, my father and my brothers picking lemons. It's a hard, very hard labor. You have to as you pick and fill up the sack, it's 90 pounds. And that's 16 of those sacks in the bin.
So we would have to, like, get three, four, or five different bins during the year. The, the day. Excuse me. And not only that, it was all the issues that our families confronted. And not only us, it was the pesticide drift, women being discriminated because if they were pregnant, that you could not, you were not allowed or there were some jobs you were not allowed to, to be in.
And there were just different issues. The exploitation. All that. Our family learned about the UFW and we-- we started organizing with. And UFW was only involved with grape workers and we were lemon pickers, so we, we did that kind of organizing.
And it was a life experience because from there, I wanted to organize everywhere. But of course, in other places I was fired. It was very easy to fire people. Especially women. So but with time, our family was very well known in the Coachella Valley here in California.
And so with time, I started doing other kinds of jobs and then we did a needs assessment with farm worker women in the late '80s. I was an organizer. I was doing a lot of things and, and working with legal services, helping out and whatsoever.
But then when we did this, the needs assessment, it was very, very interesting because the needs assessment was bringing out the issues of farm worker women. The women were sharing their, how they felt. What were their experiences about housing issues, worker related, even harassment.
But they never said it happened to me. It happened to someone else they knew. The domestic violence, the violence against women, the discrimination. Everything was happening to someone else. While I was organizing in the fields, I was sexually harassed not only once, I was sexually harassed many times. And why? Because I was, I was raised very, very, very traditional.
And so when I had the chance or I wanted to talk about what was going on when the person was harassing me, I went to my dad and my dad, bless his heart, he didn't know how to deal with it. So he started instead of asking me, started questioning me. So I silenced myself. I just cried. And from there on, I just didn't want to talk about it.
And it, it happened at other times in the same place, and then in other companies the same thing to the point that I did, I silenced myself. I didn't talk to anybody about it. I was afraid, I was ashamed, I felt shame, all that. And then not until we did the needs assessment-- that was like 10, 10 years after. Or 11 years after.
The women were sharing that that was happening to someone else. And I remember saying the same thing. It happened to someone else. So just to make this shorter-- because people that know me know I talk a lot-- but what, what happened from there on is that the women were sharing stories where it was the first time many of them said, someone was really interested in hearing their story.
And so when we, when they shared that, it was interesting because then they said, we asked them actually, you are sharing with us all these problems and issues. Do you think there, there's, do you have recommendations or you think something can be done?
The majority of them in their own words were saying to me-- oh, mind you, a lot of them were complaining about what was, if the services were being given good, good services, and they all complain about the services. But just at the end they said, if there could be an opportunity for us to organize or actually get together to support each other, to do things, to do something for others, then let's get together.
And that's how we started that movement. We never thought it was going to become a movement. We just wanted to get the women together. And the women themselves-- right now the woman that, one of the women that was the co-founder, one of the co-founders, [INAUDIBLE], she's 96 years old and she's still working with us as one of our organizers.
Talking about since 1988 until now, OK? So I'm very happy for that. We started that movement with the [INAUDIBLE] Campesinas here in California, and this is how we started meeting other women in other parts and met Monica. And then we organized more women and blah, blah, blah. OK, [INAUDIBLE]?
MONICA RAMIREZ: So Mily, what would you, what would your advice be to folks in the room or folks who are watching via live stream about how to get started as an activist from the lessons that you've learned?
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: You know, one of the, one of the biggest things that I would like to share is this. We-- even we, even if we come from the community that we want to be targeting to work with, we're not the saviors. Let's listen. What helped me was listening to what was going on with these women because then they helped organize, help us organize more, more surveys.
And listening, and then believing that they have the strength, and it's about us supporting and helping them so that they can enhance their leadership. It's, it's just, I mean, if we trust, we, we believe in them, we have the patience. I mean, we all are very resilient. So let's believe in each other. Let's trust each other.
Because we are very smart. We're bad ass. And we call ourselves chingones in Spanish, which means bad ass women.
MONICA RAMIREZ: So there are a lot of things that are happening politically, and certainly it's been difficult with some of the immigration enforcement that we're seeing. You know, more than half of migrant farm workers in our country are undocumented. And so for farm worker women who are undocumented, threats of violence against them by perpetrators who use their immigration status is a huge concern.
And it's one that we've been trying to advocate on for a long time to get a new immigration bill passed. So will you tell us a little bit about what you believe some of the priorities are for your industry and what, what members of Congress or other politicians can do to help?
SARU JAYARAMAN: Yes, so first there's something everybody can do, which is that we have an app that tells you how restaurants fare on issues of wages, benefits, and promotion practices. You can find it at our website, rocunited.org. You can use it to communicate with restaurant owners. Say, I love the food here, love the service, but I'd love to see you do better on your wages or I'd love to see you get an award in this app.
But policy wise, you know, as Jenna mentioned and I said, we need one fair wage. We need it. It's such a reasonable request. Let women in this country be paid an actual wage from their employer rather than having to rely on the kindness of customers or tips. Let them have tips above wages as they were always intended to be, and let them keep their tips.
President Trump, let them keep their tips. And we can win that together working together as farm workers and restaurant workers and many other workers across, you know, all of us work. So all of us working together as women to fight for power, greater power and equality on the job.
We just want to close by asking each of us what brings us hope, you know, as we move forward in this work. Do you want to start?
JENNA WATANABE: Sure. I would say something that brings me hope is people that fight for the underdog and really advocate for people who are underrepresented. And then, you know, more importantly, conferences like these that are including voices from all different levels, all different backgrounds. Because let's be honest, it's not feminism unless it's intersectional.
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: I want to read this. And it's short, so, OK. I wrote this. It says, bringing visibility to this issue has opened doors to hope and trust. The power of the collective-- that means that all us, of us working together-- has gone stronger as we work in solidarity to support each other.
We need to support each other. Not just say we're going to collaborate with each other. We will continue strong and we will succeed eradicating the issues that are creating so many problems against us. Let's work together. That's hope. Thank you.
SARU JAYARAMAN: Thank you.
MONICA RAMIREZ: For me, I, all, all of us in this room give me hope, and the fact that we're all here together listening to the issues that impact our lives. And I think certainly from what we saw with Time's Up and what happens at the Golden Globes, of us really looking across sector, across movements to figure out how we can both lean on each other as well as support each other. That gives me hope.
I think that I don't recall ever seeing something like this happen in the way that it's happened in the last couple of months. And I believe that it's by working together and by lifting each other up that we're going to be able to address some of these issues including ending sexual harassment and making sure that people are being paired, paid fair wages. But we have to keep meeting like this, and we have to keep having these conversations in order to make the changes that are required.
SARU JAYARAMAN: Totally. And I would just add what gives me hope is that I have a five and a seven year old, two little girls. And whether they choose to work on a farm and be a farm worker or work in a restaurant, both of which are highly dignified professions with a lot of skill and integrity and should be valued as the professions that they are.
Whatever they choose to do, I will be darned, I will be darned if by the time they grow up they experience what we've experienced or what the women in restaurants and farms experience. I will be darned if all of our daughters experience it because time is up for all of us and for our daughters as well. And I think we can express that power and unity through a unity clap. So Mily, will you lead us in a unity clap?
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: OK. Let's all stand up. All right. The unity clap is that you start clapping slow and then you go quicker and quicker. But then when you do the max, then you go slower, slower, slower, slower. And then we're going to say, can we do it? And you say, yes, we can.
SARU JAYARAMAN: Si, se puede.
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: And then I'll say it in Spanish, si, se puede. You're going to say, si, se puede. OK. Is that too much? OK. All right. OK. Let's start.
Can we do it?
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: Can we do it?
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: Se puede!
AUDIENCE: Si, se puede!
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: Se puede!
AUDIENCE: Si, se puede!
MILY TREVINO-SAUCEDA: Thank you. Thank you.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Marcia Clark and Nancy Armstrong.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Every time I watch it it makes me cry. I mean, I produced it and I usually tailor them to make people cry and feel something. But I'm so glad you're here, because your story is so critical to the discussion that we've been having over the last 36 hours at this conference. And you're coming into a pretty incredible third act, which was ignited in part by a resurgent interest in the Simpson trial.
And more specifically, in your role in it. The FX series from 2016, "The People Versus O.J. Simpson" won a Golden Globe and shed light on aspects of this trial that kind of went over our head in the 90s. You know, didn't really penetrate the American consciousness. So it's been wonderful to reframe this. But I have to ask, you had nothing to do with the series. What was your reaction when you found out that this whole saga was going to play out on national television again?
MARCIA CLARK: I was miserable. I was miserable. Well first of all, actually, my initial feeling was when I heard about it, the rumblings they were going to do this, I thought, never going to happen. Then I heard Ryan Murphy's making it. Oh, shit. It's going to happen. And then, I heard Sarah Paulson was going to play me. I said, wow. You know, I mean, that is an honor. I think she's a genius.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: She did an incredible job.
MARCIA CLARK: She's amazing. So I thought, OK, whoa, at least somebody-- but what I never expected-- so then, of course, I predicted no one would watch. So obviously, if you want to know how a show is going to do and how to predict the ratings, don't ask me, because I said no one's going to care about that. And then, of course, it was a huge hit. And then, the most surprising thing of all was that Ryan Murphy chose to shine a spotlight on the sexism in the case, which no one had ever commented on and I thought no one ever would. And then it became something completely beyond simply a television series.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: So how many remember watching the so-called trial of the century back in the 90s? Raise your hand. Oh, that's a lot.
MARCIA CLARK: Oh wow.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Yeah. Well, the interesting thing is that we didn't realize this at the time, or at least I didn't, but feminism was a little bit radioactive in the 90s, or maybe a lot radioactive. And no one wanted to talk about sexism. And here you were, walking into work every day into a courtroom that was ground zero of sexism and misogyny. We saw the Ito clip, which was appalling enough, but there are other clips of Shapiro calling you overly emotional and Cochran calling you hysterical in a moment when she was clearly not hysterical. It was on camera. She was just winning the argument. And do you think they had any clue what was going on? Did they have any sense that it was just so wildly inappropriate?
MARCIA CLARK: Right. So you and I, we were talking about this. And you were kind of thinking that they were doing it on purpose, that they were saying these gender things, making these gendered remarks to kind of get to me. And throw that stick in the spokes.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Or distract. Distract from the evidence. Let's tap into the gender bias that exists in America. And then people would go, oh, well that's true, and undermine you.
MARCIA CLARK: And my answer was no, don't give them that much credit. They were not aware of their own misogyny. They were not aware of their own gender bias, the sexist behaviors that they engaged in and the sexist thinking that was so much a part of them. It was just what they were thinking. This is the way you talk about a woman. You talk about her as being emotional. You talk about her as being hysterical. Anytime a woman raises her voice and be shows her power, they find a way to reduce it, to minimize it.
But it's not, I think, a planned thing. It's just the response. And it's the way that I think men were raised to think about women. And in ways that are really kind of shocking. They framed me up, so to speak, as someone who went with my gut. I go with my gut instinct. Believe me, in trial, you have no choice. You must be extremely prepared, but then you must go with your gut, because your decisions get made like this, like this, like this.
Object, don't object, think, don't, stand up, don't stand up, look at the jury, don't look at the jury. These are second by second. You must go with your gut. When they say that of a man, he goes with his gut, it's considered to be a wonderful thing. It shows his power, it shows his strength. For a woman to go with her gut, to take on that kind of power, they refuse. You know, women cannot have that kind of power. So when a woman goes with her gut, she's accused of being impulsive. You know? Same kind of thinking.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: What was that like for you though? I mean, going in, as Natalie Portman said, on Monday, you were isolated. What was it like to walk in knowing every single day that was what was going to happen and how did you feel at the end of a day like that, every day for a year?
MARCIA CLARK: So the sexism was not the thing that was foremost on my mind. I was used to it. Most judges were not like Ito, I have to say. He was a uniquely awful example. And most, even though they might have been older and some of them were former detectives, which can be very sexist, were still, when they saw me stand up and work the case without any qualms, without fear, they gave me full respect.
Ito was a different story. But what upset me, what was the painful thing was the fact that the rulings were going to come in badly every day. Every day I walked into court knowing the wrong thing was going to happen. And it was going to happen over and over again, no matter what I did. And that Ito would personally get in my way. But more importantly, in the way of the case. And so I knew that justice was going to get thwarted every day, no matter how hard we worked. That was the hard part.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: And the disappointing thing, too, is that the media was totally complicit. I mean, was it so shocking in 1995 to have a woman in that position with that kind of power? Or were they simply reflecting a more pervasive attitude in the country that a woman didn't belong in that position? Why should you have that position?
MARCIA CLARK: It's a really hard question to answer, because there's so-- you know, how to unpack that. I think that when you talk about the feminist revolution that supposedly occurred 20 years earlier, well when I think of revolution, I think of real change and I think of objective change. I think of change that gives you childcare, maternity leave, no glass ceiling, equal rights when it comes to pay, equal rights when it comes to job promotion and the ability to get a job. Those things hadn't happened. What you did have were the omens of change, the icons. Like Gloria Steinem, who is one of these people who opens her mouth and pearls fall out. She's amazing. And she was like my hero.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: She's in here. Where is Gloria?
MARCIA CLARK: Is she here?
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Is Gloria still here? No, she's not here. She was here.
MARCIA CLARK: She was always, she was my hero. She was the woman who I looked up to and thought, that's where it's at. That's what we want. Now, you need those people because otherwise you have to see it to be it. If you don't see it, if you don't see that person standing up and being that person, you don't know to dream. So they're necessary and they're important, they're incredibly important.
But the changes that a woman like that is asking for have not yet taken place, had not taken place. The fact that I was, in '95, the first woman in special trials unit? What's that about? You know what I mean? There should have been many before me. There weren't. Now there are. And so we're starting to see the change, and of course the "Me Too" movement, "Times Up" movement are incredibly important.
Now, we're seeing some real grassroots movement. Now we're seeing physical change in the world that can make women's lives better and allow for the kind of revolution we were talking about before. But in the 90s, it had not yet happened. The sexist thinking was still there. Women were still expected to really basically be home caregivers, child raisers. And when they stepped out into the work world, there was still a great deal of skepticism and suspicion and even derision, because you were abandoning your role.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: What were the labels? I mean, you were just doing your job and the qualities that made you effective in your job-- aggressive, outspoken, relentless-- were all in the glare of the media spotlight. You know, qualities that cast you with a few labels that were unpleasant. What were some of those labels?
MARCIA CLARK: Oh, I don't even know if I can say them here. A bitch, shrill, strident, emotional. I love that one, emotional. Yeah, I was pissed off. I mean, every day. I don't call that emotional, I call that accurately pinning my finger on the pulse of what was going on in that courtroom. So yeah, it was that kind of-- and all of it, when you think about it, all of it is demeaning, all of it is minimizing, all of it as a way to shrink a woman into basically a child.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Particularly in light of the fact that those same characteristics were clearly abundant in the six or so male attorneys that made up the defense counsel, and they also received a new label.
MARCIA CLARK: The Dream Team.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: That's right.
MARCIA CLARK: Though they whined and bitched and moaned. [LAUGHTER] I called them on it all the time.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Well here's where there's hope, I think, drawing a line between your experience and what's happening in the world today is that if those dynamics of sexism and misogyny would play out in a courtroom today, there would no longer be a collective shrug, there would be massive public outcry and a movement to shut it down. And that's progress.
MARCIA CLARK: I agree. And in that respect, social media has really been a great thing for women, because we can actually see each other speak. We can actually see what each other is doing. We can do Instagram, we can do a lot of ways in which we can reach out to each other and you can see other women doing it. You can get support from one another. And women, I think, would be more supportive in today's world, wouldn't be so afraid to stand up and say, hey, this is wrong.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Let's talk about the issue made at the time of you being a working mother. This was portrayed in the FX series really brilliantly, the way in which you were inexorably wedged between perfect professionalism and perfect parenthood. Which, by the way, is a fantasy concept. And just the audacity of a working mother to go for the top role. And what was the climate around being a working mother and having that kind of a job?
MARCIA CLARK: So let me start by saying a perfect this or a perfect that, no one's perfect anything. Even if you are a child caregiver and you would elect to be at home and do that full time, you're not going to be perfect. If you elect not to have children and you go to work, you're not going to be perfect. So the idea that you could do both and be perfect is insane and it's not real and it's another way of keeping women locked up in that kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.
With respect to doing both, having children and also having a high power career, again, this is about not allowing women to have their power. You know, all of it is about keeping women away from the levers of power, keeping women out of the workplace, keeping women away from places where they can have an impact on the world by saying, "you can't have it all," quote, unquote, even though, of course, men always have. So, I mean, this is definitely something that we need to fight against and we need to overcome.
I think there is still some degree of skepticism, suspicion, negative impact of seeing a woman who has children working and doing a high-powered job. And I think that's something, that kind of bias, is something we need to overcome. I think women less so than the men we work with who still, I hear them asking, so are you going to go get pregnant? What about your children? In a job situation where you'd never ask a man that. And, I mean, I heard this happen just not a few-- this was like within the past month and it was an interview. And the man in the group asked this woman who has a two-year-old child, well what about your kid? And I thought, if she was a man, would you ask her that? Right.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: So what about this issue now with all of these new rules and regulations, and a lot of men are saying, you know, I don't know how to act now. I don't know who I should talk to and I'm afraid to work with women. I mean, what do you say to that and what's your advice?
MARCIA CLARK: Oh, boo fucking hoo.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
I mean, you know? My heart is breaking. I mean, really? Seriously? Dude, you know, first of all, learn what it's like to have to mince your words, hold back, worry about offending, worry about upsetting, worry about threatening. We've been doing it for how many thousands of years? And we had to figure it out. More than that, you know, really, is there no way to know? Is a woman not sitting next to you? Do you not have a mother? Do you not have a sister? A daughter, a cousin, a niece? Come on, man. So yeah, no, I understand. I appreciate them asking the question. I do. But really, get a clue.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: So what do you say to a woman who is in a position that is not as visible, that doesn't have a voice and that is currently dealing with a situation where she has sexism and gender bias and misogyny thrown at her on a daily basis?
MARCIA CLARK: Well, but she is visible. She is visible to her male coworkers. She's visible to her brothers, to her fathers, to her sons, to her nephews. You get the picture. There's something you can do on a daily basis to make sure that you make a difference . By talking to them, by teaching them what's the right way to act, by telling them when they step out of line, by saying, no, that's not OK.
When they make some kind of sexist remark, call them on it. These are the people close to you. You can talk to them and that will make a difference, because those men you're talking to are somebody else's coworkers, somebody else's boss, somebody else's employee, somebody else in human resources who can have his mind opened and understand how to behave with women and how to act so that they are not making gendered remarks, sexist remarks.
You can make a difference every single day. Of course, there's "Times Up," these are movements that you can contribute to. There are women's marches, and I think the ability to show solidarity and see all of us together, to see how much support we actually have and can give each other is really important.
Which brings me to the other part is we must support each other. Women, for too long, have undermined other women. I see it less so now. I actually see women much more capable and much more willing and eager even to stand up for one another. But it's critical that we do, because if we don't, we can never move forward. We at least must be our own best friends.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: OK, quickly before we wrap up. You have two very exciting projects coming up. So tell us quickly about the first one with A&E.
MARCIA CLARK: So A&E, "The First 48," it's been a longstanding running show on A&E and I'm a spin-off as "The First 48: Marcia Clark Investigates." it airs March 29 on A&E and we'll be doing notorious cases.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: What kind of cases?
MARCIA CLARK: These first batch of seven will be notorious cases. Chandra Levy, Robert Blake, Jam Master Jay, that kind of-- you know, those.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: All female victims killed by men they knew and loved.
MARCIA CLARK: Shocking.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: What about your-- you just inked a deal with ABC.
MARCIA CLARK: So yes, and I just sold the pilot with my co-writers, show writers Liz Craft and Sarah [? Fain ?] with [INAUDIBLE] Productions, [? Laurie ?] [? Zacks. ?] It's a one hour drama pilot based on kind of a little bit of my life. Maya Travis is the lead attorney who loses a big case, leaves the DA's office and then when it appears the defendant killed again, they bring her back. And what happens when she goes back into the DA's office to prosecute again.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: I love that. Well, good luck and thank you so much for being here with us today.
MARCIA CLARK: Thank you so much, it was an honor.
NANCY ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Marcia.
MARCIA CLARK: It's an honor. Thank you for having me.
PRESENTER: Ladies and gentlemen, Allie Kline and Lowell McAdam.
ALLIE KLINE: Good morning. How are you all? Really? How's it going? After all that data? Yes, we are thrilled to be here and I am thrilled to be here with someone I have tremendous respect and admiration for, Lowell McAdam, who is the CEO and chairman of Verizon. So thank you so much for making time with us.
LOWELL MCADAM: It's great to be here. And I have to say Tim had a great idea to do this conference that he's had you know unbelievable support and people like you that are leading it now. And when I look at who's in the audience, wow, it's a great group. And when I look at I'm glad I'm on first because if I had to come in later I'd disappoint you. So I'm glad to be on and we're glad to support this and we'll continue to support it.
ALLIE KLINE: Awesome, well let's get right to it.
LOWELL MCADAM: OK
ALLIE KLINE: OK. So we're going have some serious talk on then we're going to do some fun stuff.
LOWELL MCADAM: OK good.
ALLIE KLINE: OK. So you are the chairman and CEO of you know Fortune 15 company, one of the most successful companies in the entire world. How do you think about and looking at the data that Joanna just presented or the research a lot of these women in here have the ability and influence to go make those issues a CEO issue? What's the counsel you give to us?
LOWELL MCADAM: Well I'll give you an example of this weekend. People ask you know how do I get noticed by the CEO? And I remember when I started out there were Harvard Business Review things about you know make sure you do this and this and this in your career. I went in to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl this weekend and I met with the leaders of the team that brought that network, you know I won't brag about that that'll take too much of our time. But the two biggest leaders of the team on the ground were women. And that's how you get noticed.
We were up triple the volume than we've ever been before. And they took me around and they introduced me to one of their superstars who happened to be born in Romania, educated in Germany, is an immigrant to the US, we work with her to make sure that she's going through all the process. So in that day I saw why immigration's important, why diversity's important. And I think I'd sum it up, Judy Spitz who was our CIO in one of our big business units used to say to me all the time Lowell you'll never win the game if you leave half the team on the bench. And that's sort of the mantra that we've accepted.
ALLIE KLINE: So what is-- so that's you're an evolved man in many ways. How do you get the attention of a CEO that may not have that same default perspective? How do you make it a business imperative or a business issue?
LOWELL MCADAM: You beat them. No I mean seriously I'm a big believer in diversity of thought. And as you bring that whole team to bear you end up with a better strategy, with better execution, and you go out and you win in the marketplace. And I do honestly believe that people that don't make people of color, and diversity, with men and women a front page issue for them in the top of their mind they're aren't going to do as well in the marketplace.
ALLIE KLINE: So you talked about the Super Bowl and the impact of I assume what Nikki's team was doing there. There's two women that I've been really fortunate to work with on your team, Nikki Palmer, who is the chief network officer in charge of all of Verizon's wireless network which is huge, and Chandra McMahon who's your CSO head of all security. What's the impact of having women in those positions that are typically held by men?
LOWELL MCADAM: Look those are two of the most critical positions in our company. And Hans Vestberg, who's our CTO, gave Chandra a very high compliment. When he was the CEO of Ericsson he worked with 154 companies around the world. And he said Chandra is the best CSO he's ever seen. So she has-- when she speaks people listen. And Nikki's the same way. And you know I'm especially proud of folks like Nikki and Marney who's beside herself that she can't be here, she's got the flu. But we identified them early in the career. You know they had the mindset, they had the drive, they delivered the results. And our job was just to help move them into the right positions.
And Magda Yrizarry right here in the front row, Magda is our chief diversity officer. She's invaluable to me because she's in my face. She says Lowell you know we got this position. Here is a list of the candidates, and it's like yeah I got it, OK, let's figure out the right way to move them through the organization and get them you know so they can make a difference. And when they do, boy they sure stick out.
ALLIE KLINE: Yeah. OK let's talk about Me Too.
LOWELL MCADAM: OK.
ALLIE KLINE: What are your thoughts on the movement?
LOWELL MCADAM: So we need the movement but I wish we didn't have the movement. And let me just tell you a quick story, a mom story. So my mom stayed home with me until I was in first grade and then she went back to teaching full time. And she carpooled with another teacher to a school that was about a half hour away because she didn't want to teach where she had three boys, we were all ill mannered, not really, but she boxed our ears a few times, she didn't want to be in the school. So anyway she'd head off to school in the morning, I would go home with a friend, she'd pick me up on the way home, and we'd deliver the other teacher home.
One day I'm in the backseat seat you know wherever you are when you're in first grade years old, and all of a sudden the car lurches forward and she takes off. And I look around and the teacher's husband, who had stuck his head in the window of the car, is lying on the ground. He'd hit his head, those old cars from the 60s, I know many of you are too young for that but they had this big metal pillar between the front and the back door. And she hit the gas, he hit his head, and he's laying out on the ground out. Mom, mom, you just you know to Mr.-- he's out. She says, he put his hand in the wrong place.
And she looked at me and she said Lowell, don't you ever touch a woman without her permission. OK mom, I got it. You know but that story sticks with me. And so we need the movement but we shouldn't have to have the movement. And I think as I look at the big examples that you see between family, between coworkers, between business leaders like me, we have the responsibility to not have to have a movement like this. But you know we'll do it, we'll do it well, we'll make sure to your point about CEOs that don't get the message, they'll get the message if you know if we have this sort of movement.
ALLIE KLINE: Is this something you all talk about at the CEO level?
LOWELL MCADAM: Oh absolutely. I mean we don't have to talk about it anymore to be honest as far as the business goes. When we've had bad actors in Verizon, look you know no matter how good we are on some of these things I always have there's a higher gear we can always do more. But we've had a couple of examples that I can you know somebody had been with us 10 days and made a pass at one of his subordinates that was a woman. Boom, he was out. Diego fired him without any consultation. The person was gone. And unfortunately we've had many examples like that but people know you do that in Verizon you're out.
ALLIE KLINE: That's great. We're going to change the topic a little. And how many of you all this is your first Makers? Wow this is your first Makers? Wow that is amazing. OK so for those of you that have not seen this before Gloria Steinem holds the record. She is here, which is a Maker's Minute. We're going to do a Maker's Man Minute with Lowell and see if you can beat Gloria. No pressure. You're a Fortune 15 CEO. You can do it right? OK.
LOWELL MCADAM: No I've met my match.
ALLIE KLINE: Who's got a phone and a minute timer? Yep you got it? OK great so you tell me when to go.
LOWELL MCADAM: Is a Man Minute longer or shorter?
ALLIE KLINE: A man minute's like seven minutes don't worry so yeah. It's like dog years. Kidding, kidding, kidding. ready? OK. Best word to describe you?
LOWELL MCADAM: Deliberate.
ALLIE KLINE: Beyonce or Taylor Swift?
LOWELL MCADAM: Taylor.
ALLIE KLINE: A female who inspires you?
LOWELL MCADAM: My daughter.
ALLIE KLINE: Toilet seat up or down?
LOWELL MCADAM: Remember the story about my mother? Down.
ALLIE KLINE: Something that makes you hopeful?
LOWELL MCADAM: This movement, this Makers conference.
ALLIE KLINE: Something that pisses you off?
LOWELL MCADAM: People that don't take accountability.
ALLIE KLINE: Something you're afraid of?
LOWELL MCADAM: Washington politicians.
ALLIE KLINE: If you could be a woman for one day who would it be?
LOWELL MCADAM: Boy I'll have to-- I don't know, I don't know.
ALLIE KLINE: You don't know?
LOWELL MCADAM: No.
ALLIE KLINE: Something you wish you did more often?
LOWELL MCADAM: Worked out.
ALLIE KLINE: Something you wish you did less often?
LOWELL MCADAM: Stressed.
ALLIE KLINE: Something you've never tried but would like to do?
LOWELL MCADAM: Safari in Africa.
ALLIE KLINE: OK well I want to ask him one more. So you got 11, she had 16, that's close.
LOWELL MCADAM: There you go.
ALLIE KLINE: Headline you'd most like to see on the cover of the Wall Street Journal tomorrow morning?
LOWELL MCADAM: Verizon stock at 100.
ALLIE KLINE: Two more just because I can't resist, that would be amazing. I would love that. Favorite thing about your job?
LOWELL MCADAM: The variety.
ALLIE KLINE: And what's your biggest vice? This one I just want to know even if yeah--
LOWELL MCADAM: I collect old cars.
ALLIE KLINE: Oh nice, OK. All right last question for you. We have a lot of Makers app partners of which Verizon is one with this one in the audience. Tomorrow many of them will be getting up and making a pledge on how they're going to raise their voice. How will you and Verizon raise your voice going forward?
LOWELL MCADAM: You know Allie I'd say we're very proud of the things that we're doing. We're investing in STEM education for females through a program called WiTNY. We're moving people around the business, we're bringing people in like [? Michaela ?] from outside the country. I have a saying, there's always a higher gear. And in our credo it says our best was good for today, tomorrow we'll do better. And I think that's rather than one thing, it's doing all of those things and figuring out how to do more of it and do it better. And that's our pledge I think.
ALLIE KLINE: Great, thank you so much.
LOWELL MCADAM: Thank you Allie. Good luck. Enjoy the conference
- Ladies and gentlemen, Katrina Lake and Molly Wood.
MOLLY WOOD: Welcome. Hi, everybody. It's so nice to have even the women backstage cheering for us when we walk out. What a great place to be.
KATRINA LAKE: Amazing.
MOLLY WOOD: So we are, Katrina, here in the middle of Hollywood, so it is a little hard to say that Silicon Valley is the worst when it comes to the treatment or representation of women. But I think we can agree we have our own special level of hell. For example, in 2017, I wrote this on my hotel note pad, 17% of startups had female founders. That number has been flat for five years. McKinsey, I think, yesterday, showed some research that said that 4.4% of venture capital deals go to women, 2.2% of those deals go to all women teams.
And yet, in this landscape you conceived, got funding for, and eventually had a successful IPO of a $1 billion unicorn company, Stitch Fix. Katrina, start at the beginning. I mean, when you look back on that journey and those meetings with venture capitalists, like, the number of no's, are we talking, it can fill a bath tub or like an Olympic sized swimming pool?
KATRINA LAKE: It was-- I mean, actually, I can't tell you how many people said yes. And it's the three people that were investors in Stitch Fix. And I have a Google spreadsheet of all the no's and all of the why's, and yeah, it's probably more in the swimming pool range than a bath tub, it's 50 plus.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah, because not only were you a woman founder, you were also pitching a company for women, so double whammy, one assumes. But what were the why's that they would give you?
KATRINA LAKE: There were, you know, there were a lot of-- I think one of the things that was a blessing to me in starting a company was that in some ways, like, I was, I don't know, I was naive. I had never managed another person in my life when I started Stitch Fix. I had been like, an associate at two different companies, like, producing investment memos. I really hadn't done this before and so I could look at everything with a fresh set of eyes of just like, how should this be done? And who should I be working with? And what-- you know, how should this all go?
And so in some sense, I was a little bit insulated from like, the odds are so stacked against you and all of the kind of negative things that you can tell yourself when you're starting a company. But the no's were all kinds of no's. It was no, like, I just don't believe this can-- I don't know, I just don't believe that many women will shop this way.
There was no where it was like, I would come in and I would have a box that was a fix, and like, a guy looked at it and was like, I just don't understand why anybody would ever want something like this. And like, I appreciate the honesty, I'm like, OK, great, this doesn't seem like a fit. I'll move on and find somebody who is excited about this. But there were-- trying to think what some of the other no's were.
I mean, the harder no's were the ones that were like towards-- there are seeds-- there are seed stage no's which are really around like, this is a good idea, are you the right person to execute it? I don't know. There are-- the later stage no's are the harder ones. And so the Series B no's of like, I have a business that is generating millions of dollars, people are waiting 60 or 90 days to get a Fix because like, we don't have the infrastructure to serve like the millions of people that this is an attractive proposition for.
And I have an amazing team, I have the COO of walmart.com who's my COO. And the guy who ran all of the algorithms at Netflix, like runs all of algorithms at Stitch Fix. I have an amazing team, the business is working, clients love it, and they're waiting to get the service, and yet, people were like, I just-- I just can't get excited about it.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah.
KATRINA LAKE: And like, those were really hard because it was like, I knew that I was pitching a female-oriented product to a very male-oriented audience. And so I really like-- and there are some VCs out there that you can ask, and they will tell you that I was the entrepreneur, more than anybody they've ever met, that knew my numbers inside and out.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah.
KATRINA LAKE: I knew every number inside and out. I knew every single metric. I knew all-- I knew all of this stuff. And so even if I couldn't appeal to like, somebody gutturally loving the concept of it. I wanted to appeal to like the capitalist part, and like, you can make a lot of money doing this. And like, it was hard.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah, and even then sometimes-- Well, and there was a great Bloomberg headline that basically said, Stitch Fix has had to do more with less. On top of all of that, you got a little less money, right?
KATRINA LAKE: A lot less money.
MOLLY WOOD: A lot less money.
KATRINA LAKE: This is a company that's doing basically a billion in sales in the last 12 months and we did that with less than $50 million in capital.
MOLLY WOOD: Wow. Wow, right? And then, I also feel like this would be a great time to point out that when you had your initial public offering, your public photo of the IPO was you with your baby. Not for nothing, there are also babies in this story. And you were on stage with your one-year-old.
KATRINA LAKE: It's-- you know, it's amazing-- it's like a very odd time in your life to start a company when you're a start-- I started a company-- I started this when I was in my late 20s. In the seven years since I started Stitch Fix, I met my husband, I got married, I had a baby, I took a full 16 week maternity leave, like-- you know, there's never a good time to do anything. And you could argue this wasn't really a good time to do it. And that picture ended up meaning, I mean, so much to me, and I think, so much to many people. And it was totally unplanned.
I mean, the story with the IPO was like, the two weeks leading up to it you do like, a road show and you meet all these investors, and like, it wasn't going well. And like, we were going to price below the range of where we thought we should be able to price. And it wasn't-- we had this moment where it was like, this isn't going as planned and you know what? This feels comfortable, we've been here before. Things have not gone as planned before, and we actually found strength in that and found empowerment in that.
And so, it was really, to me, feeling like, F- it, this is our IPO, we're going to do it our way. And I had my son, who, at the time, was just over a year, was in New York to be there for it. And he had-- I head held him during the dress rehearsal and he was super chill and happy to be there, so I was like, let's just do this. And he was up there with me the whole time. And it wasn't-- it wasn't like, thoughtfully, strategically planned but it ended up being important.
I have a workforce that is-- we have almost-- we have over 5,000 employees, many of whom are women, many of our stylists are prioritizing their families to be able to do a more flexible job. It's important because-- it's important, of course, there's a lot of-- there's some themes yesterday around if you can't see it, you can't be it. And it is important because my mom is an immigrant, I'm mixed race, it's important because I have a child up there. It's important for little girls and boys to be able to see other examples of what somebody going public looks like.
But it's also actually important for the white venture capitalists males, who are going to encounter an entrepreneur who's pregnant or an entrepreneur who's 30 and just got married, and he might think to himself, maybe she's going to have a baby. It's important, even for them, to be able to see the example of like, these are achievements that you can have, and at the same time, live the life that you want to live.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah. And now, Katrina, along the way you, unfortunately, encountered what, I think, so many female and would be female founders, encounter, which is sexual harassment in the VC community that you can't talk about. Which is, sort of, also part of that whole problem, right? That whole toxic ecosystem. But I would like you to talk to us about the choice that becomes part of that. Like, as a founder, the company is the baby too, and so how do you make that-- walk that line about how sometimes you have to get through?
KATRINA LAKE: Yeah, and I mean like you said, you know, there's nothing specific that I can talk about with that. But my journey as an entrepreneur was not easy. And I'm so grateful for Time's Up and for Me Too and for the media and for so much that has happened to create a safer environment for entrepreneurs. And an environment that's more inclusive for entrepreneurs.
MOLLY WOOD: Has it? Do you think that's happening?
KATRINA LAKE: You know, I think that at least the worst situations are out there. I think-- one of my fears is that I think there are probably a lot of managers who are doing things that aren't great. And, you know, that there's still-- I absolutely don't think that it's eliminated everything. But like, I don't know, I think that it's net/net we're better off.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah.
KATRINA LAKE: It's hard to imagine we could be worse off.
MOLLY WOOD: Well, and one of the things we've been talking about a lot, and that has really been a theme in this conference, is using your power once you get it. You know, and how do you become not just a successful CEO, but someone who is influencing the people around you. And sometimes saying things that they have never heard before. Like, tell us your hot tub story. I mean, this is just-- you know, when you think about culture and how deep some of this stuff goes, you've got sort of a perfect example of being the only woman in the room.
KATRINA LAKE: I mean-- I couldn't have been the only woman in the room. But I was at a conference, that was actually kind of like this size, it wasn't a huge conference. And there was a VC who was being interviewed who-- well, Chris Sako was being interviewed up there, I've already outed his name on there.
But Chris Sako is being interviewed, and he was like-- he was saying like, I have a very untraditional approach to VC, like, I don't even live in the city, I don't even have an office, I live up in Tahoe. And like, you know, I invite entrepreneurs up to my place in Tahoe and I have them tell me about their company over beers in the hot tub. And I can get to know them more as humans that way.
And I was sitting in the audience like, literally pregnant. I was like so-- I am-- you're asking people to come pitch to you in a swimsuit and I'm literally pregnant, and I actually can't come into your hot tub, and I actually can't drink your beers.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah.
KATRINA LAKE: And like, you know-- and you're-- I was in a room with like, hundreds of people, and maybe they were all thinking the same thing. I don't know if they were or they weren't. But like, it was just it was stated out loud. It wasn't tweeted, it wasn't controversial, and this was two years ago. So I think that things like--
MOLLY WOOD: But you said something.
KATRINA LAKE: I didn't say something at the time.
MOLLY WOOD: No, but later to people who were like, oh, I didn't think of it that way.
KATRINA LAKE: But I did-- and at that time, it was so funny because I remember talking to the woman who was doing PR at Stitch Fix. And I was like, I'm so offended, I feel like I should light him up on Twitter. And I literally went through the whole thought process in my head. And I was like, there's no downside to lighting him up on Twitter. He's going to tweet storm me, like, what is the upside in doing this? And I'm embarrassed that that was true, and that I-- and I didn't do anything at that moment. But it-- I do think this is where I think change actually has happened. Because I do think now it's a little bit of a different time.
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah. Well, now, when given your opportunity, you did go after some of your colleagues over their-- over Uber, right? And that toxic culture.
KATRINA LAKE: Yeah, and so as we segue into the now what? And where do we go? Like, I think there are a couple-- what would I say? So I'll bucket my-- should I just segue there?
MOLLY WOOD: Yeah. You're doing great. You're totally segueing, it's happening.
KATRINA LAKE: [LAUGHING] There are-- I think there's like-- there's two things that I think are big things that we can all-- or that some of us can do. And then there's a bunch of little things that every single one of us can do every single day. On the two big things-- and I'll talk about the Uber thing also, but I think one thing is around I'm using a market-based pay approach. And so, that's one thing that we did at Stitch Fix, where it's not perfect, it's still-- there's still imperfections in it, there's still challenges with it.
But if you use a market-based pay approach and you're looking at people blindly based on their years of experience and their responsibilities, and you're not looking at who is the squeakiest wheel and who yells the loudest, it's a much better place to start from. So if you're in a position where you can implement that at your company or you can push for it, I would encourage that.
There's one other thing as-- we'll talk about the Uber thing, I might have to come back. But so the other-- I have another thing-- well, so in the use your voice and your influence topic, I'm in a place now where I am able to have a direct line to more people, and so I'll have a big and small way to talk about this. But I think in a big way-- Bill Gurley is an investor in Stitch Fix, he was on the board Uber for a very long time. And when the whole Uber culture stuff started coming out, I was just kind of appalled and horrified, and like many of you probably were too. Like, I can't believe this company culture exists today, in 2017.
And so I wrote Bill a strongly worded email. And in that moment, and what I've realized, is there are all these decisions that you can make where, like, what's the worst thing that can happen? Like the worst thing that can happen is that Bill says, thank you I respect your opinion but I'm good. The worst thing that can happen is nothing. And the best thing that can happen.
And I wrote him this strongly worded email about how he and I both have this responsibility in the world to create the future, not just as companies, but also of company cultures, and where people work and what those companies stand for. And the best thing that could happen was that I could have been the straw that broke the camel's back, that that caused Benchmark to do something. And they did something. And Benchmark deserves a lot of credit for what happened from there.
And even if you don't have Bill Gurley's ear, there are other small examples of things that I can do. And so for example, when I was pitching to-- during the roadshows. I was meeting hedge funds and fund managers, and meeting all these 12 investors at once. And I was in a meeting where it was like six people on this side, and there's a young woman who was leading the meeting, and then the partner or whatever was sitting next to her. And he was like, at the very beginning of the meeting, he was like, all right, sweetie, why don't we get started.
And like, I'm kind of like, did that really happened? Are you her dad? And he wasn't.
KATRINA LAKE: And--
MOLLY WOOD: Right. Just to be clear.
KATRINA LAKE: Just to be clear. And look, like, I wasn't in a position where I was going to be able to light him up, and I shouldn't have lit him up. But what I did is after that meeting, I sent her an email. And I was like, it was such a pleasure to meet you, you are a bad ass. And what's the worst that can happen? Nothing. What's the best that can happen? That she reminds herself, I'm a badass and no one's going to call me sweetie at work. Or like, I'm going to start my own hedge fund and I'm going to make my own billion dollars. There are potentially good things that can happen if you just nudge it a little bit. And I think there are little things that we could all be doing every day.
I just remember my second thing too. My second thing, so--
MOLLY WOOD: We're at zero. Like, is Dillon going to run out? OK go.
KATRINA LAKE: OK.
MOLLY WOOD: I'm going to give you like, 15 seconds. Go.
KATRINA LAKE: So there's market-based pay. The other thing, we can all do this. So you know when you RFP? You're like, OK, I need a new ad agency, or I need an investment bank, or I need a law firm. Many of us are influencers and decision makers in this room, and you send our RFPs. And you say, tell me a little bit about like what your capabilities are, what would your strategy be? Ask about gender and diversity metrics. So I ask--
KATRINA LAKE: I asked-- when we worked with investment banks, I asked them, what percent of your-- can you share your gender diversity metrics for your VP and above people in your investment banking division? And, look, to be honest, that wasn't the main decision criteria, but people had to go and talk to their boss, talk to the head of investment banking, they had to go get the data. Then they had to explain the data and say, why is this not what we would hope it is? And what are we doing about it? And so if nothing else, I created conversations in all of these places that maybe would not have happened. And that's something that I think all of us can do in our day to day as the decision makers that we are.
MOLLY WOOD: Katrina Lake, CEO of Stich Fix, everybody. Thank you.
KATRINA LAKE: Thank you.
[MUSIC PLAYING] - Ladies and gentlemen, Sheryl Sandberg, Laphonza Butler, and David Smith.
DAVID SMITH: Well, I'm certainly delighted to be here, my first Makers Conference.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Welcome.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Congratulations.
DAVID SMITH: There's two incredible Makers Here. And in our book, "Athena Rising," my co-author, Brad Johnson, and I talk a little bit about how a lot of the successful, talented women out there and their experiences with male mentorship, and the one skill set that they found to be most effective was listening, was really listening. Listening with gender humility and not making assumptions about what women need or what they want. And certainly not looking at them in a way that they were somehow some alien species that they couldn't relate to or identify with.
And that men who approached women and their mentoring relationships with a certain amount of gender humility, really had a learning orientation and that women said that it was really helpful because it made the relationship feel more collegial, more mutual, and more reciprocal. And so today, in the spirit of practicing what we preach and walking the talk here, I'm going to shut up and we're going to listen and learn from these two change makers who have really inspired a whole generation of people and really touched a lot of lives out there.
So with that, Sheryl, certainly you have been out there and you've applauded the Me Too movement and the long awaited visibility and accountability it's brought to the workplace. But also you've talked about the harmful and potential unintended consequences out there. And so what is some of that backlash that you're concerned with?
SHERYL SANDBERG: Well, I think everyone here knows that we have a real watershed moment here. This is a moment to get things right. The Me Too movement is critical because it's shown how much sexual harassment was there. A lot of people think there's a lot more out there, and the need to end it now forever in a really institutional way. And that means not just change for the moment, but long term institutional change. It means organizations of all sizes and all types need policies that take any report seriously, that do thorough investigations, that take swift action.
It means victims need to know there's no retaliation and they are going to have the services and the legal support, something you've worked so hard on, that they need. And it means we really have to end the culture of complicity, where someone looks away and it's not their problem. It's everyone's problem. We also have to make sure that we continue getting women into leadership roles. I mean, you just saw Rachel, the amazing head of Lean In, tell you the state of the world. And those numbers are bleak. 6% of the Fortune 500, 20% of the Congress, 11 countries in the world.
And one of the things that men have always had more of than women, and particularly than women of color, is mentorship. And mentorship is critical for getting into leadership roles in all industries. That's been proven over and over again. And so Lean In and Survey Monkey launched a survey. We reported it today. And today in the US, almost half of male managers are afraid to do basic work activities of the woman.
So if the reaction to what's going on in the workplace is going to be an excuse to not mentor women or to isolate women further, that is not the answer and that is unacceptable. Because-- yeah. Yes.
We need to end sexual harassment, now and forever. And we need to invest more in women, not less. And we believe this. We believe this very strongly.
DAVID SMITH: As you mentioned, we've certainly both spent a lot of time around the importance of mentorship and sponsorship and written about it and studied it for years. Tell us a little more about today's exciting day and the launch of a mentorship around Lean In.
SHERYL SANDBERG: We're launching Mentor Her, hashtag mentor her, because everything needs a hashtag these days. And we're calling on leaders to do two things. The first is to mentor women, both men and women. But importantly, men are going to have to be part of that mentorship because look at the numbers. Women can mentor women, and that's hugely important. But if men don't do it, we know what the data says, which is women won't get the leadership roles they deserve.
We also want and demand, really, that access is equal. Equal. Our survey shows that men, senior men right now, are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have dinner alone with a junior female colleague than a male colleague, five times more likely to not want to travel with a female colleague than a male colleague. If you're not going to have dinner with women, don't have dinner with men. Have breakfast and lunches with everyone.
I told this story in Lean In five years ago. There was a partner at Goldman Sachs who realized he didn't want to have dinner with men. And he announced and said-- sorry, didn't want to have dinner with women. He said, and I won't have dinner with men. I'm only having breakfast or lunches. Whatever people want to do, they have to be explicit and make access equal, because the only mentorship that happens, happens with real relationships and one on one conversations.
Those conversations need to happen. They need to happen in a workplace that is free of harassment, that is safe and secure for everyone. But those are critical to changing the dynamic. And by the way, it won't shock anyone, guess what organizations have lower levels of sexual harassment? More women in leadership. And so we know. We know more women in leadership is critical to ending sexual harassment long term. We know it's critical to how people are treated. We know organizations that are more diverse perform better and have better-- organizations with more women have better work life policies.
So this is in everyone's interests, but we're going to have to be explicit. It's going to have to be an explicit call to treat women equally and have equal access.
DAVID SMITH: Absolutely. Laphonza, we'd love to hear your perspective on the role of mentorship and women and some of the unique challenges that you're facing with the workers that you represent.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Sure. You know, I said this to Sheryl earlier when we were just chatting. She wrote and dedicated an entire chapter of her book, Lean In, to mentorship. And there's one simple line where she says, if we want something to change, you have to do something. And to me, that's what this entire conversation is about. That is what Mentor Her is about. It is the responsibility that we all have to do something. We don't get to sit on the sideline anymore.
We don't get to sort of be passive in our engagement. We have to do something. And so I'm excited to be a part of the conversation and be here and to share a little bit about the workers that I work with. You know, there's a couple of numbers that I want the audience to appreciate. First, 10,000 people a day turn 65 in the United States of America. I represent women, women of color, who are caregivers to our elderly and disabled in our communities.
And the next number I want you to know, if you are a Californian, is 14,000. That is the average wage that caregivers earn in the state of California. The next number I want you to appreciate is 48%. All of these women go to work every single day, work full time, and 48% of them still qualify for public assistance. This is the moment where we all have to do something if we're going to create the kinds of communities that our children and grandchildren deserve. This is our time and this is our moment to do something about it.
DAVID SMITH: Great.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Yes.
DAVID SMITH: You know, there's been a lot of focus on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, in corporate America broadly. What are the resources that the women need, in particular, as you think about the women in the caregiving industry to handle these issues? What are the resources that they need for that?
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I think Sheryl talked about a number of them. And I think it's important before we get to a solution, we just take the time to understand the problem. These are women whose job it is to love, where touch is inherent duty that they perform each and every day, whether it's bathing, providing medication, getting them up and dressed. Any touch that they offer is one that is intended to add value.
These are also women who exist in people's private homes, and often find themselves in very vulnerable positions, late at night. Some of their patients have mental disabilities, Alzheimer's, dementia, can be aggressive. And so it's understanding the problem that we can start to formulate solutions. So policies, policies are critical to protecting women in this industry where their touch every single day is one of good intentions. And we've got to demand those kinds of policies.
Second is courage. We all have to have the courage to support them, whether they are in our homes, providing care to our children, to our grandparents, to our parents. Let's have the courage to stand with them as they begin to raise their voices in joining women in media and entertainment. Let's encourage them to also join those voices. And lastly, I would I say, because I work for a labor union, collective action. Women are not standing alone anymore, whether they are home care workers or farm workers. I saw the panel earlier, women are choosing today that we're not standing alone anymore and that collective action has to be a part of whatever solution we come up with.
DAVID SMITH: Great. So it seems that we're still far from living in a world that, again, is inclusive and equal, and that part of that challenge and that problem is this power imbalance in the workplace. What would you tell someone who wants to be a more inclusive leader and an ally for any underrepresented group in the workplace.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I would tell them what Sheryl said. Just do it.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Lean in.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Lean in.
SHERYL SANDBERG: I mean, I think there's a lot to say here and it's super important. One of the things I deeply believe and I hear over and over is that if leadership at the top, particularly if it is white and male, which it often is, is going to speak that they want diversity. They're going to have to really show they mean it. And the best way to do that is to say that it's the right thing to do because I believe in it. But it's also the smart thing to do. I believe my company's performance will be better if we have more diversity at all levels, and especially in leadership levels. And the data shows that.
More diverse teams outperform. And so saying, I believe in this so that people believe you, which means it has to be tied to the results, the right thing and the smart thing is really important. And then you really have to recognize the biases. I think people sometimes are afraid to say, wow, there's bias we all feel. We all feel it. Ready? I'm going to prove it. Men, men only. Raise your hand if you were called bossy as a little boy.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Two.
SHERYL SANDBERG: It's a man.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Two.
SHERYL SANDBERG: There's usually one or two. OK, women, raise your hand if you were called bossy as a little girl. Right? Now what do we know? We know the data. We know that little girls are not any more assertive or aggressive than little boys. In fact, it's usually the opposite or equal. But look at that result, right? Men, raise your hand if you were told you're too aggressive in the workplace.
In your performance review, too aggressive. Women, too aggressive. Yes. That's the problem. But you know what? We can solve that. At Facebook, we're doing searches through performance reviews for the word aggressive, assertive. We know that when women get feedback, they're often given feedback even by the most well-meaning people, on their personal style. And when men get feedback in the work, it's more often the hard skills they need.
You can make sure that women, as you mentor them, as you sponsor them, as you work with them, get the same kind of feedback. Pay, every company should be scrubbing its pay cycles every time. We do it at Facebook. We make sure women, and people of color, and people of all ages are being promoted at the same rates, rated at the same rates, paid fairly. Every company can and should do that.
And you can also take the steps to stop the bias. There's nothing stronger than the most junior woman, junior man, senior woman, senior man saying, you just interrupted her. Can I hear what she had to say. Or actually, that was Dylan's idea. When it's attributed to the man, who's been through that?
Anyone else can say, actually, that was Dylan's idea. And we can stand up for and correct the biases. We also have to dig deep into the biases on women of color. Because there are all these biases on women, and then there are all these biases on race. If you have two identical, the same resume, you have a white sounding name and a black sounding name and you send those out, that white sounding name is worth 50% more callbacks, that's eight years of experience in the workplace.
The other major bias we have is on motherhood. Two identical resumes, one says PTA, just a mother, one doesn't. You see eight years of experience in the workplace differences. And so if you are a black working mother, you've got them all. Right? You've got the gender bias. You've got the race bias. And you've got the motherhood bias. So we need to pay a lot of attention to the gender bias, a lot of attention to the motherhood bias, and a lot of attention to women of color who are facing all of these multiple biases.
And we need to acknowledge we have them to fix it. Because pretending it's not happening and it's not happening in your company, in your organization, is often the root of the problem.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: The only thing that I would add is that these are biases that don't exist just within institutions, whether it's a company or an organization. These are biases that exist in our communities. And fundamentally, what our companies are, what our organizations are, are microcosms of our communities. And so we've got to take the individual responsibility as well. Each person in this room should leave here saying that I'm going to mentor a woman of color in some way, shape, or form. I am going to make a difference. I am going to make a contribution.
Because we don't come to these kinds of conferences just to build our network. I know women. We come to these kinds of conferences to build our communities. And so let's not just network together. Let's build our movement together. Let's start here building our movement and changing our communities because that's where these biases exist. And that's where the real change will come.
SHERYL SANDBERG: And we saw this today with a Mentor Her launch CEO. I know Tim Armstrong is here. Bob Iger of Disney, you know, from person to person to person, what we saw were men stepping out and saying, I am proudly going to mentor women. I'm not going to take this moment and shy away. I am not going to take this moment and do anything but make the investments we need to make to get to more equality at the top. And that's what I think everyone here is committed to doing.
DAVID SMITH: Someone asked the elephant in the room. So men are still in this majority of leadership positions across industries today.
SHERYL SANDBERG: The great majority, like more than the majority.
DAVID SMITH: Yeah, more than the majority.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Not like 51.
DAVID SMITH: Yeah, not like 51.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Like, a lot of the majority. All of Rachel's data she shared with you.
DAVID SMITH: And it's clear that if we're going to make advances and move forward into a safer and more equal workplace, that we need men's support. So for the men out there, what advice do you have for them? If they're men who really want to get it and they want to do the right thing in this very important moment of time?
LAPHONZA BUTLER: You know, again, it's not that complicated. Right? It is not--
SHERYL SANDBERG: Amen.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I'm sorry. It just feels like we're studying for the LSATs or something. It's not that hard. My grandmother always-- I grew up in the South. My grandmother always told me, when you know better, you do better. And part of doing better and making sure that men are able to lean in as allies, is teaching them the data. Rachel just gave an incredible presentation. Every man in here should have been taking notes and making sure that they're going back, talking to their fellows at the barbershop. Hey, boys, we got to do better.
It's not that complicated. I would say, try to know something, learn something, and then do something.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Agreed. And know that it's-- and believe that it is not just good for the organization but good for you. If you are the most junior level man, or the most senior CEO, and you can work better with half the population as women, then put in people of color, you're more than half, you're going to outperform. That is a powerful reason to do it.
At home, real partnership. You cannot talk about real equality until we talk about real equality in the home. Women still bear the great majority of the responsibilities in the home. That is holding them back. And there's nothing more important than doing the work of being a parent. And it's so important that men should do it too. I'm going to ask a question of men here. How many men have been-- how many has someone said to you, should you be working? Anyone? Anyone? Women. Women. OK, 70% of mothers are working and they are breadwinners for their family, implying that that is a choice that they could make is absurd and insulting and doesn't recognize the reality.
And so we need equal partnership. Where there are heterosexual couples, if a daughter sees her father, sees her father, doing his share, not good enough to say, oh, dear, you can do anything you want. You actually have to do stuff. You have to help in the house. By 14, that girl will have broader career ambitions than someone who doesn't see her father doing some. Children with active fathers are happier, healthier. They do better in school. They do better professionally.
On anything you want to measure, that investment pays off for men at home and in the workforce. And I think, what was your grandma's thing? I love that.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: If you know better, do better.
SHERYL SANDBERG: If you know better, do better. If men clearly see the benefits to everyone of equality, they will know better and do better.
DAVID SMITH: Well, that's all of our time here today. And I just want to say that, again, trying to role model this, I listened and I learned. So I'm going to be better. And I commit to mentor her. Thank you both.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Yay.