Sausalito, a small town just outside San Francisco, was the perfect backdrop for a recent event sponsored by ZS’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI). That’s because the rare cloud-free sky offered crystal clear views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and “building bridges” was the central theme of this year’s two-day summit.
Each year the WLI, a group dedicated to supporting women in building successful, long-term consulting careers, brings our firm’s women together to discuss topics of particular interest to women, share stories and best practices and gather inspiration from peers.
“The ‘building bridges’ theme applied to both strengthening our relationships with our clients, and forging connections with ZS women across offices and oceans,” said Mary Ann, an active WLI member and organizer of this year’s event, which attracted 60 women.
The summit kicked off with discussions around the power of vulnerability and courageousness, and how both attributes enable ZSers to innovate and inspire others through their daily work. Later, female executives from the tech and pharma industries joined to share their career paths, their perspectives on growing their networks within their companies, and gender-related adversity they’ve experienced and overcome.
Other sessions centered on expanding into new areas of expertise areas, reflecting on the WLI’s progress, and looking ahead toward the expansion of unconscious bias education at ZS. Representatives from the WLI chapters at our local offices provided highlights from events and activities designed around the WLI’s five pillars of respect, support, flexibility, connections and impact.
Men were represented at the summit, too. ZS’s Managing Director Chris Wright offered up simple and practical techniques that have contributed to his success and helped him balance his life and his career. In a final panel discussion, a group of male and female ZSers shared stories about influential women in their personal lives who have shaped their thinking and molded their work behavior.
Jeanne, a principal from ZS’s Princeton office who attended this year’s summit, is already looking forward to the next one. “The summit gives us the rare opportunity to meet likeminded ZSers we wouldn’t normally meet throughout the course of our daily work and connect with them on a more personal level,” she said.