At Ellevate Foundation, our purpose is to foster leadership. Our annual Women's Leadership Summit is our flagship event where we gather each spring to share a special experience focused on leadership, empowerment and self-care. Proceeds help us fulfill our mission of providing financial grants for women to attend professional events.
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While celebrating a friend's birthday during an healthcare industry event, a silly party favor of tiny plastic men (in their tiny briefs) with their names written on their butts, such as Mitch or Chad or Brad, took on a life of its own. What happened next was strange and beautiful — a few of the friends started sharing pictures of "Mitch" having all sorts of adventures, and a hilarious group text thread was born.
These tiny plastic men went hiking, they went out for cocktails, they went on vacation, to the pumpkin patch, and plenty of conferences. In between these photo antics, these women would share their challenges, frustrations, business questions, and achievements with each other. In didn't take long before a sisterhood of support and camaraderie was born.
That triggered an itch to pay it forward – to share and expand this sense of sisterhood beyond just those in this text thread. One of the women started thinking about how cool it would be to host retreats of some kind to get female leaders together. Right around the same time another one of them was getting ideas of her own, and approached the others…. what if we hosted a conference focused on female leadership and empowerment?
From the beginning, we were committed to ensuring a collaborative and inclusive approach, and decided while this was solely focused on women, we were not discrediting our male counterparts. Thus, we created the Mars Squad, in homage to Dr. John Gray’s 1992 bestseller, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. Forty of our amazing male colleagues have readily donated $250 to join, a statement of support for their female counterparts.
The Ellevate Foundation, in conjunction with our yearly Women's Leadership Summit, is now on its fifth year of celebrating women's empowerment and focused on our goal of providing tools and resources to help grow personally and professionally. We welcome you to join us.
Yet, a study by McKinsey & Company revealed that women make up 67% of entry level staff. They go on to assert that creating sponsorship opportunities is one way to help women advance professionally. With women being 21% less likely to be promoted than men, there’s a clear need for both informal and formal social networks for women.
We intentionally limited that first summit to 100 participants to ensure a successfully curated experience. Our next annual WLS event was scheduled for March 2020, but of course we were forced to delay it due to the COVID pandemic. We finally hosted our 2nd "annual" summit in 2022, which grew to 170 participants. The Ellevate Foundation was founded shortly thereafter by the original team that launched WLS in 2019 with a mission to create an educational non-profit for the purpose of elevating women both personally and professionally.
Our 3rd WLS, in 2023, was the first summit we hosted as Ellevate Foundation and we were delighted to welcome 200 participants. Everyone loved the new Ellevate Pop-Up Shop in the expanded Marketplace, which also featured additional shopping and self-care experiences, all inspired to Ellevate the women in attendance. The program itself was also a huge hit from beginning to end, and we have even more in store for our 2024 participants!
At its core, WLS strives to create an atmosphere that encourages relationship building, frank and open discussions, and most of all, an opportunity to learn and grow. Our 2024 event will continue to build on this heritage of uplifting both current and aspiring female leaders and we can't wait to see you in Las Vegas at the J.W. Marriott in 2024.
I saw a need to create a space where females could come together and learn, grow and support each other. In a world where competition is all around us this is a space to be inclusive and lift each other up.
I'm on this team to nurture, promote and demonstrate female leadership and diversity. It's time to break down our own underlying barriers, and for me it's very personal. This sisterhood is something I want to celebrate and magnify.
I spent years without a tribe of female friends and mentors. I want to create a space where others who also feel alone can connect and grow together.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together” - it wasn't until I had a community of fierce leaders did I realize how capable I truly am. A fire was lit and they help fan my flame. Building this community to help cultivate that same fire in others is why I choose to show up.
Being lifted up by female leaders, empowered to go farther than I could comprehend and surrounded by a support system that enabled me to be ME has been the gift of a lifetime. Paying it forward is where I find joy.
When faced with the choice to be the kind of woman who gets where she wants by stepping over other women or the kind who strives to encourage, empower and "ellevate" them, I chose the latter and said "yes" to the foundation. I've been blessed ever since.
We welcome and appreciate donations to our foundation, which exists for the exclusive purpose of ELEVATING women as leaders through tools, resources and funding to grow and thrive both professionally and personally.