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Members on the Move

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Sunday, March 25, 2018

Watermark member Barbara Mark, Ph.D., of Full Circle Institute/A Time of My Own, invites you to participate in a research study and share your experiences of being a woman leader in the Prime of Your Life – 40s, 50s, 60s. The purpose? In our youth-oriented culture, little has been written about the experiences and contributions of mature women as well as the challenges they face that are unique to midlife women. To learn more and participate, download her PDF!

Watermark member Margaret Graziano, Chief Talent Strategist for Keen Alignment, invites you to Ignite Power: Awakening Feminine Leadership, a weekend designed to help you experience more energy, vitality, joy and peace – and transform your leadership presence. The program is set for May 2-4 at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley. Register here – use 1440 for the code and save 50%.

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Leigh Wasson Joins Watermark Board of Directors

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Saturday, March 10, 2018

Watermark welcomes Leigh Wasson to our board of directors.


Leigh brings 28 years of investment management and client relationship experience to her role as a Senior Wealth Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management where she collaborates with team members and advisors to develop and implement comprehensive wealth management solutions for entrepreneurs, founders, executives, philanthropists and their family members. Leigh’s areas of specialization includes working with business owners and founders to accelerate the value of their businesses.

Prior to BNY Mellon, Leigh was Regional Managing Director of Northern California for Citi Private Bank. Leigh's background also includes 16 years at JP Morgan with both the private bank and the institutional investment management division, where she was a Managing Director with assignments in Australia, London, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Newport Beach.

Leigh is a member of the Board of Directors of The Japan Society of Northern California, a member of the Advisory Board of Astia and is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor. Leigh earned her BBA in Finance from The University of Texas and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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The Power of Your Voice and Your Story: Join the Movement

Posted By Marlene Williamson, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What an amazing Watermark Conference for Women! We're thrilled that you chose to spend this past Friday with us – more than 6,500 women and men marking Watermark's 25th Anniversary with inspiring speakers, new connections and a common vision of more women in leadership positions.

As Reese Witherspoon asked: "Does anyone feel we're on the precipice of something very different?"

I certainly do – and I am so inspired by Reese's commitment to giving women a stronger voice. A commitment so strong that she's taking matters into her own hands to bring better female roles – and authentic stories – to the forefront.

I am equally inspired by Amal Clooney's story – and how inspired she is by the students of Florida and young people everywhere.

Their messages – and those of all our speakers – carry a powerful thread: We all have a voice. We must use it.

Turn Up the Volume
At Watermark, we use our voice in a number of ways. March, in fact, is Voice Month, with exciting programs including Your Story is Your Power with Elle Luna and Susie Herrick and Is Your Voice as Powerful as You Are?, a hands-on, interactive workshop with voice coach Hillary Wicht.

We firmly believe that the power of our voices, backed by data, will help us reach gender parity in the workplace. We know that companies with women in leadership roles crush their competition, generating a return on equity of 10.1% per year vs. 7.4% for those without.

In our recent Women in Leadership survey, our own members report landing exciting new positions, promotions and big business wins, citing Watermark as providing the inspiration and leadership development programs that help them get ahead in their careers.

And they proudly recognize their own companies – many are Watermark sponsors and Make Your Mark Award winners – as role models in diversity and inclusion.

On the flip side, the majority of our survey respondents believe it's still far easier for men to advance their careers than for women – and more than half are survivors of sexual harassment. Of those who reported it, very few were satisfied with the outcome.

This is entirely unacceptable. Our voices, our stories and our commitment to women helping women are key to making a difference.

Three Steps Forward You Can Take Today
At Watermark, we take great pride in offering you the opportunity to:

1. Grow and nurture your network.
We host more than 60 networking and professional development events every year. We've connected thousands of women (and men!) with the proper resources to grow their careers and break glass ceilings. If you're not yet a Watermark member, now's a great time to join. We're offering a six-month trial membership – sign up this week and enjoy the full benefits of the Watermark community.

2. Invest in yourself. Tap into our partnership with Athena Alliance if you're ready to serve on a board. And take advantage of our partnership with BetterUp and receive personalized professional development coaching to help you realize your potential. You'll be paired with a certified coach and resources for one year, including:

• Self assessment using BetterUp's Whole Person Model

• Weekly sessions with a professional coach

• Unlimited messaging with your coach

• Activities and microlearning hand selected for you by your coach

• Reflection point assessments to measure your progress

3. Celebrate your role models. Nominations are open for our Make Your Mark Awards, our annual celebration of the Bay Area's organizations and leaders most supportive of women in leadership. Nominate your company, men who champion women – and the women leaders you most admire. This year's event is set for Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Santa Clara Marriott. Stay tuned for details.

25 Years of Women (and Men) Making Their Mark
Ever since Denise Brosseau and Jennifer Gill Roberts founded Watermark 25 years ago, our commitment to helping women reach our full potential has never wavered.

We have you, we hear you, we support you.

And we invite you to join us as we continue to make the world better for working women everywhere.

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We're Ready for Your Nominations

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, February 22, 2018

Who Are The Women (and Men!) Who've Made Their Mark?

Watermark is currently accepting nominations for our 2018 Make Your Mark (MYM) Awards. Entries will be accepted online only through Friday, May 28.

The MYM Awards are open to all professional women – and we even have an award for men!

Our award categories:

• Connection Award: A woman who connects women (and men)
• Development Award: A woman who helps develop women
• Advocacy Award: A woman who advocates for the advancement of women
• Bill Campbell Award: A "Man Who Gets It"
• Impact Award: A company that demonstrates a commitment to advancing women

Click Here to Submit Your Nomination

You may recall last year's fantastic winners:

Irana Wasti of GoDaddy: Connection Award
Ritu Mangla of Mobilytet: Development Award
Olga Mack of Women on Boards: Advocacy Award
Cloudera: Impact Award
Rami Rahim of Juniper Networks: Bill Campbell (Man Who Gets It) Award
Margaret Kelleher of VMware: Watermark Emerging Executive of the Year
Heather Jerrehian of Massdrop: Watermark Senior Executive of the Year

Who else has created such an indelible legacy? Submit your nomination today.

Deadline: Friday, May 28

Mark Your Calendars: Our Make Your Mark Awards are set for Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Santa Clara Marriott. Details to come!

Questions? Please send an email to: events@wearewatermark.org.

Make Your Mark

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Peppercomm’s Ann Barlow Elected Watermark Board Chair

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Sunday, February 18, 2018

Watermark, the Bay Area’s largest organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in leadership positions, has elected Peppercomm’s Ann Barlow as board chair for 2018-2019. Ann, who has been a board member since 2014, will lead the organization in its 25th year of promoting women’s advancement in business.

“The demand for Watermark’s services has never been higher given the focus on issues of equity and the balance of power,” Ann says. “The organization’s team and board are actively developing plans for expansion so we can make meaningful progress on a complex, intractable problem.”

With support from many of the best-known companies and entrepreneurs, Watermark already hosts dozens of webinars, training sessions, networking events and conferences each year. This month, the nonprofit will host its annual Watermark Conference for Women, the West Coast’s largest of its kind, at the San Jose Convention Center.

“The challenges around equal opportunity, treatment and power are complicated and deeply rooted,” says Marlene Williamson, Watermark CEO. “If they weren’t, we’d have solved this by now and Watermark wouldn’t need to exist. As it is, we do have a better understanding and more openness around the problems than perhaps ever before. I’m optimistic that with the leadership of Ann and the other board members, along with the efforts of the entire Watermark team and the broader community of women and men, we can make real progress this year.”

Ann succeeds Lynne Born, CEO of New York-based Perelson Weiner, who will remain as co-chair. Ann is the west coast president of Peppercomm, a leading integrated communications and marketing firm. She has received various industry accolades, including being named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the Bay Area, PR Professional of the Year and Top Woman in PR by PR News, and Watermark’s Women Who Have Made Their Mark.

For more information about Watermark, please visit http://www.wearewatermark.org. For more information about Peppercomm, please visit http://www.peppercomm.com.

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm connects brands, messages and people through data-driven insights, cross-channel communications and brilliant customer experience. Employing an omni-channel approach, the company uses customer insights to determine the right mix of tools and platforms to help clients reach, engage and influence customers along their path to purchase.


Founded in 1995, Peppercomm has received numerous accolades, including The Holmes Report’s North American Corporate/B2B Agency of the Year and Bulldog Reporter’s Midsized Agency of the Year. The agency has been listed as one of Fortune’s 10 Best Workplaces in Advertising and Marketing, 100 Best Workplaces for Women, 50 Best Small and Medium Workplaces and 50 Best Workplaces for New College Grads. For more information, visit http://www.peppercomm.com.

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Upcoming Women Like Us Networks

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Friday, February 16, 2018

Expand your networking circles with Our Women Like Us (WLU) Networks, held 5:30-7:30 p.m., throughout most of the Bay Area, and 6-8 p.m. in Marin. Please use the links below to register.

Tuesday, March 6, Peninsula, DLA Piper, Palo Alto
Thursday, March 8, East Bay, Gensler, Oakland

Tuesday, March 27, Marin, San Rafael (held 6-8 p.m.)
Tuesday, April 3, South Bay, Juniper Networks, Sunnyvale
Thursday, April 5, San Francisco, RSM US LLP, San Francisco

These are among our most popular events – an excellent way to connect with other Watermark members and fans who live or work near you. Enjoy some great wines and hors d'oeuvres while you're at it!


Join us! We'd love to see you. Questions? Send us an email, and we'll get right back to you.


What Watermark Women Say About Our WLUs

"I meet the most interesting women at our WLUs. Great conversations among a very welcoming group of professional women. I highly recommend the WLUs to any members and potential members."

Indigo Ocean Dutton
Awaken, LLC


"WLUs provide an easy way to connect with other Bay Area women leaders. I have learned so much from our meaningful conversations about our challenges and successes – it's helped me become a better leader in my business."

Elizabeth Dean
TM Financial Forensics, LLC
San Francisco WLU Co-Lead

"Attending WLUs has fulfilled something I was really craving – connection with other business women I can relate to. I've met so many inspiring and enjoyable women at these events and have made valuable connections for my business."

Joie Seldon
Executive, Leadership & Emotional Intelligence Coaching

"I love attending the WLU events. Since the focus of the evening is on networking and getting to know one another, I find that you have more time to spend engaging in fruitful conversation with members and guests!"

Allison Padilla


"I have been to several WLUs and have always felt welcome – never having awkward moments where you don’t know anyone at first. There are always interesting conversations to join and interesting women to meet."

Jackie Kleinman
KB Financial Advisors

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Zach Barasz Joins Watermark's Board of Directors

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Watermark welcomes Zach Barasz to our board of directors. Zach is a partner with BMW i Ventures, a €500m fund created to support technology companies reimagining transportation, manufacturing, and mobility. His investment focus is on autonomous driving, industry 4.0, electric mobility, and AI / data applications. At BMW, he has led investments in Proterra, Xometry, and a stealth sensor technology business.

Before joining i Ventures, Zach was a Senior Associate at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) in the Green Growth Fund (GGF), a $1b fund focused on high growth companies leading in sustainable ways. At GGF, he focused on transportation and services business across sectors. Before KPCB, he was an Associate at Altamont Capital Partners, spent time as a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, and has worked in strategy at the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading international conservation organization.

Zach earned his degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

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Fuel the Leadership Fire of Your Team: 25% Off Our World-Class Workshops

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Updated: Saturday, February 17, 2018

Watermark wishes you a red-hot Valentine's Day! To show our love, we're pleased to bring our world-class workshops to your office at a 25 percent discount throughout the month of March – a perfect time to deliver leadership development programming customized specifically for your staff, clients and partners.

Looking for a way to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8? Bring in our Step Onto a Bigger Stage workshop – or perhaps our sessions on Leveraging Mental Toughness, Five Keys of Influence or Boundary Spanning Leadership.

Need to expand your efforts in inclusiveness? We've got workshops on Unconscious Bias, Self-Awareness, Managing Diverse Teams and Communicating Across Cultures.

From Negotiating Effectively to Building Meaningful Connections to Enhancing Conflict Management Skills, Watermark has expert and engaging facilitators on every leadership subject. Each unique program is strategically designed to foster career, personal and corporate development.

Here's what our workshop attendees tell us:

  • "I thought that I was a great networker, but this workshop opened my eyes to the fact that my current network is not going to help my career development. I was astounded by the gaps that I have. I now have the tools to be more strategic with the process." – Oracle Executive

  • "This program was very relevant, engaging, fun and inspirational – there were also a number of a-ha moments." – Ericsson Executive

  • "I came out of this session with some tangible and useful skills. What a phenomenal facilitator!" – VMware Executive

Check out our world-class curriculum and contact Kate Byrne to get your workshops scheduled!

Happy Valentine's Day from Watermark!

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Thank You for Joining Us at Daniel Pink

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Many thanks to everyone for making our Daniel Pink event such a success this week – and especially to Nevro for hosting us! What a great night!


Your feedback is important to us. Please take a few moments and share your thoughts about the event. We use your suggestions as we plan our many programs throughout the year.


We so appreciate all the great posts to social media! We've included our favorite tweets below. If you don't already, please follow us on Twitter and Instagram and @WeAreWatermark on Facebook and LinkedIn. #WeAreWatermark


We hope to see you at the one of our many Watermark events coming up!


Thank you again, and may your timing always be perfect!

– Watermark Team


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Do Women’s Networking Events Move the Needle on Equality? Ours Do!

Posted By Mary Thorsby, Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Watermark is thrilled to announce our new study with happiness researcher and Conference for Women veteran Shawn Achor, published on Feb. 13 in the Harvard Business Review. You can read the full article at HBR, but here are our main takeaways:

  • People can be cynical about the utility of women’s professional conferences. Shawn's [male] seatmate on a recent flight said “I’m all for equality, but I’m not sure what good it will do.”
  • What good CAN it do? Shawn spoke with fellow happiness researcher Michelle Gielan, and the two decided to survey attendees in advance of the 2017 Conference for Women.
  • They wanted to know what, if any, financial or intellectual impacts could be measured among attendees.
  • They surveyed 2,600 women, using prior attendees to study outcomes and first-time attendees as a control group.
  • Among attendees who had never attended the Conference, 18% had received a promotion over the past year. During the same economic period, 42% of women who had attended the Conference received a promotion.  
  • The likelihood of receiving a promotion doubled after attending the Conference for Women.
  • 5% of women in the control group received a pay increase of more than 10% compared to 15% of women who had attended the Conference.  
  • Attendees of the Conference for Women had triple the likelihood of a 10%+ pay increase.
  • 71% of prior attendees reported that they “feel more connected to others.” Shawn’s book Big Happiness argues that social connection is the greatest predictor of success and happiness, and tangentially leads to longer, healthier lives.
  • 29% of prior attendees reported that they “agree a lot” with the statement “I feel happier.” 78% of prior attendees reported feeling “more optimistic about the future” than before the Conference. 25% of prior attendees reported that they “agree a lot” with the statement “I feel more capable of handling stress in a positive way.”

"Something special happens when you see that you are not alone," notes Laurie Dalton White, founder of the Conferences for Women. "Making connections and building relationships with other attendees and speakers helps women form an understanding of their worth, and then they learn strategies to ask for promotions, seek fair pay, and even become a mentor to others.

‘We invite women like Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg to speak at our conferences not just because of their own personal success stories, but because they are role models who inspire women in both big and small ways," Laurie adds.

Shawn's findings suggest that business leaders ought to encourage employees to find social connections in a professional context. The result may be a happier and healthier workforce.


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