Alessandra Lariu: For 14 years SheSays’ mission has always been getting more womxn and non-binary people into leadership positions. SheSays’ new venture The WEI’s mission is to use technology to do that at scale. The WEI stands for Womxn (with) Epic Ideas and it will help exponentially grow our impact from helping 50 womxn every month to helping 500. We believe that advancing womxn’s careers is the secret sauce for positive economic impact everywhere. When womxn rise, all boats rise.
AL: The WEI was created by SheSays. SheSays is an award-winning organisation for womxn in the creative industries. It was founded in 2007 in London and runs tailored engagements for corporate clients as well as free events and mentorship for 70,000 womxn in 55 cities worldwide. SheSays is a pioneer in the womxn’s space, including the first all-womxn hackathon, the first speed mentoring event, the first womxn’s speakers list as well as industry representation in No10 and the White House. SheSays’ activism creates tools and campaigns to empower creatives, such as the IRL mentorship scheme Who’s Your Momma, a career advice tool with advice tailored to individual needs called BOOM, and a campaign for equal parental leave.
INT: What are the major challenges you’re facing, and why?
We want to revert this scenario. And the more womxn The WEI helps rise to the top, the more likely we are to solve for inequalities including the pay gap and the motherhood penalty. We’ll also bring a more diverse perspective on inclusion. We believe that if we guide womxn creatives to unlock their leadership potential, we’ll create a fairer workplace. It’s called equitable learning. And talking about equity, The WEI is optimised for – but not exclusive to – womxn.
INT: Tell us a bit about your background, or the background to the organisation, and what led you to this point.
It’s Nice That: What is your mission, and what about the creative industry are you hoping to change?
AL: The WEI is solving for the opportunity gap that exists mid-career. According to the World Economic Forum, only 27 per cent of seats at board level are held by womxn. The current pandemic has made the situation worse, with womxn losing their jobs almost twice as much as men. A study by Exeter University showed that Covid could set the pay gap back 200 years.