This year’s International Women’s Forum (IWF) World Cornerstone Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, sparked feelings of exhilaration and inspiration for each of us – Edelman’s 2016 delegates representing Argentina, Canada, Hong Kong, Spain and the United States. During the three-day conference with 500 of the world’s leading female thinkers, creators and doers, we discussed the future of leadership and examined pressing global issues that we’re already applying to our client interactions:
- The “Startup Nation” – Although Israel is an innovation leader with more startups per capita than any country in the world with a tech industry representing $4.4 billion in venture capital, there are more open positions in technology and science fields than ever before. Undermining growth is a global skills gap, particularly for women, as evidenced by U.S. females receiving less than 3% of venture capital funds.
- Artificial Intelligence – Robots are helping scientists and analysts generate hypotheses, process data and connect subtle patterns, generating breakthroughs in global health, the environment and the economy. Will artificial intelligence take over? “We can’t predict the future. The most we can do is analyze the situation,” said Cecilia Tilli of the Future of Humanity Institute. In the meantime, we must reinforce the role of research and analytics in our communications marketing programs.
- Collaboration – As discussions jumped from the water revolution and cyber security to NASA’s planned journey to Mars, collaboration between disciplines is fundamental to address many of the world’s problems.
- Digital Connectivity and Security – Gartner, Inc. research predicts that there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020. This increase will unleash unlimited opportunities for mobile marketing, storytelling and engagement among companies and organizations. Adoption of a hacker mindset is necessary to address cyber
- Women in Leadership – The definition of a female leader will change when there are more women in key positions across industries and government. A Catch 22 that we continue to address.
- Storytelling – From Sivan Ya-ari’s story of how the Innovation: Africa program brought water and electricity to African villages to the story of how Israel became the “startup nation” from Israel’s ninth President Shimon Peres, it’s evident that personal stories inspire solutions to major problems.
President Peres summarized the conference perfectly by saying, “No matter where you are in the world, women positioned in leadership benefits society.” There’s no doubt that women are at the forefront of the world’s greatest evolutions, driving innovation and solving global challenges.
We are thrilled that Edelman is the premiere sponsor of this important initiative for women. This partnership speaks volumes about the way our firm views its future leaders.
Lucia Carballeda, account director, Madrid.
Natalia Soler, account director, Argentina.
Sarah Nazzaro, account manager, Toronto.
Ashley Huggins, senior account supervisor, Washington, D.C.
Sofia Yip, senior manager, Hong Kong.