What can happen when you gather ten Power Women in your living room to take on one of this generation’s most complex issues?
The email invitation from Lily Kanter, the CEO of Boon Supply and co-founder of Serena & Lily, said, “I’m inviting the most influential Women change makers I know to join me for a Living Room discussion and to spark a national conversation on what smartphones are doing to humankind.”
Okay, first off, wow, how honored that she would include me, being a “newbie” to the whole Founder/Director world. And my second, and much more humbling, thought was, “how incredibly smart, impactful and just plain cool to harness the power of some of Marin County’s most get-it-done-now company founders, directors and CEO’s in one intimate living room setting (and, um, yes, it is like a page out of a Serena & Lily catalog, gorgeous).”
We were gathered in a circle of love and support with Tiffany Shlain, the author of the new book 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, which explores how turning off screens one day a week can work wonders on your brain, body and soul. As parents, we are all seeing first-hand the damaging effects on ourselves and kids of being…well let’s just say it and admit it…completely dependent, if not outright addicted, to our smartphones. We know that too much screen time is impacting our teens’ mental health in a way that has become an epidemic in our county. And we see our families become more and more disconnected to the seeming point of no return.
Sometimes big changes can come from small acts when coordinated universally. So when our group was challenged with the question, “how do we get people to realize the benefits of disconnecting to connect, just one day a week?”, my head spun listening to the swift, accurate, intelligent and big picture solutions these Power Women came up with on a dime.
Guess that’s what happens when you get Tina Sharkey (cofounder and co-chairman of the board of directors of Brandless), Patricia Zeigler (cofounder of Banana Republic and Republic of Tea), Lisa Bougie (former GM of Stitchfix), Zem Joaquin (founder of Near Future Summit), Suzanne Felson (founder & CEO of Reso and The Jewish Skinny), Susan Griffin-Black (founder and co-CEO of EO Products), and two senior executive leaders from Boon Supply, Christina Snyder and Mercedes Feller in the house. Add in one very special, honorary man, Scott Neeson, who has single-handedly saved and transformed the lives of 10,000 people in Cambodia through his Cambodian Children’s Fund, and things get done.
They say “if you want something done, ask a busy person”. In this case, if you want cultural change, ask the most purpose-driven doers, passionate problem solvers, and courageous risk takers you know.
The result? We’ll be announcing the 24/6 Challenge movement to restore digital balance very soon.
Sally Newson, the Founder and Executive Director of Wellify Teen (www.wellifyteen.org) , has over 29 years of experience in the business and marketing fields. She founded DesignTemps, a creative staffing and payrolling company that served clients Charles Schwab, Oracle, Levi’s and more for over 15 years. Concurrently, she is Creative Director of her marketing agency, Story (www.story-sf.com). Newson is also founder of Mind Tank Work Clubs and Mind Tank HQ, which offer flexible workspaces in Marin County.