By Erin Ward
Claudia Chan hosts a lifestyle event that celebrates women and explains how and why they can rule the world.
Stepping through the door on the second floor of 82 Mercer St in SoHo, New York City, it was obvious that something big was happening “” and it was wearing lipstick and stilettos. The second annual SHE (She Helps Empower ) Summit Conference had drawn together women of all ages from all over the city to engage in two full days of leadership and lifestyle workshops.
The event was the brainchild of Claudia Chan, a mover and shaker in the women’s leadership sphere who started her own company, Claudia Chan, Inc with the mission of connecting women to one another and inspiring them to live with passion and purpose. Claudia Chan Inc provides an online resource for women to find professional and lifestyle advice.
Prior to becoming a brand of her own, Chan was the CEO of Shecky’s, a company that organizes premier social events for women in New York City, for over a decade.
“There’s no denying it, there is a revolution happening for women,” began Chan as she welcomed the 200+ women in attendance. Petite in stature, but largely charismatic , Chan went on to speak about her mission to connect women with one another and share the success stories of today’s change makers.
The two-day networking event featured 15 panels made up of executives and women leaders from various fields and industries. Keynote speakers included CCO of BCBGMAXAZRIA Lubov Azria; Dress for Successs CEO Joi Gordon; best-selling author and life coach Gabrielle Bernstein; VP of Pepsi Co Dondeena Bradley; and NYC Public Advocate candidate and founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani.
The discussions ranged from health and wellness, to motherhood, to navigating the corporate sector. Manisha Thakor, Founder and CEO of Moneyzen Wealth Management offered practical investing advice for long-term money management and Maz Kessler, Founder and Creative Director of Catapult advised the audience to invest in their personal wellbeing by laughing as much as possible.
This balance of corporate concepts and light-heartedness is what set SHE apart from other women’s conferences and events. In between the discussions, as the audience tweeted the quote-worthy tips of the panelists, Claudia would signal dance breaks and small acts of play, which encouraged members of the audience to interact with one another. At the end of each day, the music was again turned up loud and guests gathered to cheers each another over cocktails in the “Marketplace”, the sponsorship area that offered back massages, makeovers, and samples of artisan treats.
Overall, the SHE Summit was a huge success for all involved. The goal is to bring the event onto a national and eventually international scale, connecting women across the globe.
“I have never been more proud to be a woman,” said Gabrielle Lester-Coll, a twenty-three-year-old Brooklynite who works for SakaraLife, an organic meal delivery service based in Manhattan. “Every woman here is here to meet other amazing women. We’re all supporting each other.”
Author and inspirational speaker Agapi Stassinopoulous echoed this sentiment when she wrapped up the first day with the wise words, “We women are a tribe. We are amazing just the way we are. Let’s not be go-getters. Let’s be go-givers.”
Clearly Claudia Chan and her team at Claudia Chan, Inc have found a way to be go-givers, creating a space for women to connect and collaborate.
As I walked out of the event at its close, I overheard a woman by the registration desk ask, “When can I buy my ticket for SHE Summit 2014?”
It appears that the revolution is already here.
Photos by Erin Ward