SAN JOSE – Retired women's soccer superstar Abby Wambach told an audience of 6,500 at the Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley that she is dedicating her post-game career to a new goal – achieving gender pay equity across all sectors. "We are at a tipping point in terms of gender," Wambach said. "I'm here to tell you every person has to start rocking their own boat. You have to speak up for yourself, for the person next to you and for the generation behind you."
Saying she wished she had "done more" to fight for equal pay while she was a player, Wambach praised the U.S. Women's World Cup Champion team for a recent federal complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging wage discrimination. "You have to stand for something," Wambach told Watermark attendees. "Which side of the aisle do you want to be on? The side that went for it, that fought for it?"
Conference attendees also heard keynote addresses from Mindy Kaling, actor, producer, director and best-selling author of Why Not Me?, John Jacobs, co-founder and chief creative optimist of the Life is good® company, Leila Janah, CEO, Sama and Laxmi, and award-winning social entrepreneur and co-author of America's Moment, Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour, and Pattie Sellers, executive director of Fortune MPW Live Content, Time Inc.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Watermark Conference for Women is the largest personal and professional networking event for women in California, with more than 100 industry and thought leader speakers from across the country. Breakout session topics included leadership, career advancement, personal branding, social media, health and wellness, finance, and more. Conference attendees participated in the popular Career Pavilion, presented by Gilead, with in-person resume reviews by human resource experts, career coaching with coaches from the International Coach Federation San Francisco Bay Area and Local Leader Meet-Ups for one-on-one conversations with local community and business leaders.
"Watermark fights to improve women's status and boost women in leadership roles every day," said Marlene Williamson, Watermark CEO. "Part of being a leader is supporting and helping others, and that is what this Conference embodies. There is tremendous power in this room of more than 6,000 women. We can drive agendas and move the dial for women in the workplace, here in Silicon Valley and across the country."
The Watermark Conference also hosted the QVC Product Search, as part of its commitment to deliver unique programming for entrepreneurs and innovators. Participants had the opportunity to showcase their new idea to a panel of QVC experts, including program host Albany Irvin, and received on-site feedback from the panel.
The Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley is presented by Juniper Networks and generously underwritten by the following sponsors: Akamai, Amazon, Boston Scientific, Cisco, EMC, Ericsson, EY, Gilead, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, KBAY 94.7, KFOG-FM, KGO 810, LinkedIn, Mercer, Mix 106.5, NASH FM, NBC Bay Area, Oracle, Quixey, QVC, rackspace, Riverbed, SAP, State Street, State Street Global Advisors, United, and Visa.
"Juniper is dedicated to continually empowering our employees and providing equal equity and opportunity for women, as well as to setting an example for other corporations in our sector and beyond," said Susan Lovegren, senior vice president, human resources, Juniper Networks. "The Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley offers a unique opportunity to foster new leaders for tomorrow and cultivate inclusive workplaces, and we are proud to sponsor and be a part of this special day."
Watermark is the leading community of top women executives, entrepreneurs and emerging executives in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. The membership organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark supports girls’ leadership programs, as well, to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.
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