Philly Businesswomen Band Together on “A Day Without a Woman”

They came together to draw attention to the successes and continued challenges women face in the workplace.

On International Women's Day and A Day Without A Woman, Monetate president and CEO Lucinda Duncalfe explains how her relationships fueled her career.

On International Women’s Day and A Day Without A Woman, Monetate president and CEO Lucinda Duncalfe explains how her relationships fueled her career. Image via PACT Foundation.

In celebration of International Women’s Day and in honor of women’s contributions to the global economy, women around the country are taking part in the Day Without a Woman strike.

Back in January, millions of women around the world gathered in defiance of the Trump regime and today’s strike, as the administration moves to defund Planned Parenthood and stall abortion services, was another effort to highlight the sexual harassment, discrimination, job insecurity, and lower wages that women often face in the workplace.

While organizers asked participants to stay away from work, avoid shopping at big businesses, and wear red for solidarity, hundreds of women in Philadelphia convened at a PACT Foundation breakfast to discuss how the region can push for more women-led and women-owned businesses. 

For Danielle Pinto, PACT’s director of events, bringing Philadelphia businesswomen together is one way to foster support for the “seen and unseen” contributions that women make in the business world. “Being bold for change is about being a driver for change in the unique way that your resources and your platform enables you to be,” she said. “Being a woman in tech and in business in general can be a struggle. Entrepreneurship involves being able to jump on a plane for a meeting at a moment’s notice, but we sometimes don’t have that luxury because of other obligations. Coming together like this calls attention to that. And for some reason, this year we’re really feeling like things are taking off.”

And in keeping with the spirit of International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, some of our region’s leading women in business shared their stories of success and failure in the workplace and what they’ve done to “connect, engage, and grow.” Here what they had to say:

  • “Every women needs to build a personal board of advisors.” –Lisa Skeete Tatum, Co-founder and CEO, Landit
    Tatum’s built Landit, a platform that’s being called the next LinkedIn for women. Through the platform, women looking to find a new job or reinvent their careers are given access to curated job opportunities and coaches who can evaluate their talent and personal brand. According to Tatum, women can grow by crafting a personal board of five advisors that includes a sponsor (the person who sings your praises), a connector (the person who can get you in the room), a point expert (the person you learn from), a close friend (the one who sees you cry), and a coach (someone who tells you how you can be better).

  • “There’s beauty in business.” –Lucinda Duncalfe, President & CEO, Monetate
    Duncalfe said she was utterly directionless when she entered the workplace. At one point in her career, she had seven jobs in five years. After attending business school though and seeing that her skills could be an asset, she recognized that there was beauty in business and nobility in doing work and building meaningful relationships with others. With much luck, Duncalfe says she made the right connections, like working for Josh Kopelman early on, that paid off over time. Along the way she realized some important lessons: “ You don’t have to be the ideas person,” she said, “You can work really hard on someone else’s idea.” And most of all, business is about the relationships we build with people. “When you’re the kind of person people want to work with, they’ll work with you,” Duncalfe said.

  • “Lia was fueled by creativity and a relentlessness to build beyond what’s known.” –Bethany Edwards, Co-founder, Lia Diagnostics
    Edwards, who’s developing Lia, the first-ever biodegradable, flushable pregnancy test, says she wasn’t designing paper pregnancy tests her whole life. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania and eventually made her way to Philadelphia to study at Temple University. And it was only after she’d worked in advertising for some time after college that she moved into the work she’s doing now. And two major shifts happened. Internally, Edwards became fascinated with design and motivated by an idea best expressed in a Richard Fry quote: “The problem is not to design things to be recycled but to make them temporary to be completely disposable.” Externally, Edwards was moved to act and reinvest in herself after her father’s death. So Lia was “built out of grit” and a conscious decision to engage and grow.

Follow @fabiolacineas on Twitter.