Announcing Shoptalk Meetup for Women: Make Waves, Not Just Splashes!

Nov 17, 2020 by Simran Rekhi Aggarwal

As a 10-year, 5x woman founder, I’ve always supported the growth and advancement of other women. Exactly one year ago, I felt strongly that we should shift to an all-women speaker lineup for Shoptalk 2020 and commit to parity at all of our subsequent events--making Shoptalk the first major event to take this bold step. I was delighted to have the support of the entire Shoptalk team and community (including Hyve Group, which had already agreed to acquire Shoptalk), but disappointed that the pandemic prevented us all from experiencing what I know would have been a very meaningful and historic moment.

The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted industries, the way we work and our workplaces in ways we’ve never seen before. While no one is experiencing business as usual, women in particular are facing distinct challenges. At the beginning of 2020--before the pandemic--the representation of women in corporate America was headed in the right direction. Between January 2015 and January 2020, the number of women in senior/vice president positions grew from 23% to 28%, and grew from 17% to 21% in the C-suite. There was still a long way to go, but the signs were encouraging.

But between August and September this year, more than 860,000 of the 1.1 million people aged 20+ who left the workforce were women. One in four women is now considering downshifting her career or departing the workforce altogether. If these women leave the workplace, there will be far fewer women in leadership positions and on track to be future leaders. The pandemic has amplified the urgency to address the unique challenges we face as women in the workplace, and work towards greater representation of women in leadership positions.

Women are the driving force behind much of the retail industry--they found and lead some of the most disruptive tech and DTC startups, manage every aspect of large organizations and occupy many important roles. Yet, time and again, we hear the same stories from the women we know, echoed using different words. Women are feeling isolated. They feel like they’re failing. They’re struggling to balance work, children and their households. As the boundaries between work and home blur, they’re overwhelmed by the need to be “always on”. They’re uncomfortable sharing work-life challenges with colleagues or asking for support. Younger women and those who are new to the workforce are searching for meaningful relationships with mentors and allies. 

Given the inability to hold Shoptalk with an all-women speaker lineup this year, and the women-specific challenges that Covid-19 has exacerbated and brought to the fore, I believe it is our responsibility to do something to help--to do the right thing, as we’ve strived to do since we started building the Shoptalk community in 2015. 

That’s why today, we’re launching Shoptalk Meetup for Women. We want to help harness the collective power of our community by creating a space for women to come together to support and empower each other with personal and professional goals, and to inspire and be inspired. A place where we can connect, share experiences, learn from each other and collaborate to propel more women into leadership positions, champion gender equality and work together to lead change in retail. 

Shoptalk Meetup for Women will take place online on May 11-13, 2021 and annually thereafter. It’s a fun and productive way for all women in the retail community to connect online with each other to accelerate business and career goals, make meaningful connections and support each other in a friendly and open environment. It’s a place to work together to amplify women’s voices, accelerate their success, and be a part of a community of changemakers who are ready to roll up their sleeves and work toward driving change--all in the form of thousands of double opt-in 15-minute meetings and 55-minute small group peer discussions we call Tabletalks that’ll be held over three half-days. There are special programs for women transitioning between roles, looking for startup funding, seeking mentors and allies, and looking to connect with other like-minded women. We’ll provide access to a wide range of Experts on topics ranging from executive coaching and leadership to business growth strategies, and offer Tabletalks on a broad range of timely and relevant topics. There’s something for everyone and lots of ways to learn, share, grow, and support each other. You’ll walk away with a new network of professional contacts and social connections, as well as valuable conversations, insights and learnings.

Shoptalk Meetup for Women is one of the initiatives I’m most proud of and excited about. We’re expecting hundreds of women to participate and hope you’ll join us for this groundbreaking event! We’re planning to make waves, not just splashes!