November 2, 2015 Opportunity

Women Leaders Discuss Achieving Power and Purpose with Starbucks Partners

Women are one of the most powerful demographic groups the world has ever seen, according to the World Bank. They own or lead more than a quarter of private businesses worldwide and have vast purchasing power. A recent McKinsey Institute study found if women had equal economic participation, between 12 and 28 trillion dollars would feed into the world economy by 2025.

Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli, coauthors of the new book “Fast Forward: How Women can Achieve Power and Purpose,” joined a panel discussion with Starbucks partners (employees)  to focus on how women can accelerate their economic power, while also finding success and meaning in life. The conversation — moderated by Annie Young-Scrivner, executive vice president of Starbucks Global Digital and Loyalty Development — took place in front of a packed audience of more than 250 partners in the company’s Seattle headquarters on Friday, October 30.

“The change of women’s growing power, the case for women’s economic participation and the connectivity that it represents is what we propose and assert in our book” said Verveer. “If we truly know our power, find purpose and connect with others, there’s no telling what we can do.”

“As women are ascending to power, they generally are including purpose,” said Azzarelli. “They are using their power for purpose and in the process, are redefining power and success.”

Verveer and Azzarelli are the founders of Seneca Women, a global women's leadership platform connecting women, ideas and organizations around the world. They’re on a mission to demonstrate that when women progress, the world progresses. To take their work a step further, they collaborated on “Fast Forward,” which highlights interviews with more than 70 successful women leaders, including Young-Scrivner.

In addition to their work with Seneca Women, Verveer is executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security and in 2009, was nominated by President Obama to be the first-ever U.S. ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State. Azzarelli is a cofounder and chair of Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and a legal, corporate and philanthropic advisor.

The panel discussion also included Margo Georgiadis, president of Google Americas and Mona Locke, senior vice president of Communications and Marketing for Intellectual Ventures. Demonstrating the vast possibilities for women in the workplace and beyond, both Georgiadis and Locke shared their advice on how women can advance in their careers.

“As women, we don’t always ask for opportunities. Instead, we do an amazing job with our head down, hoping someone will take notice,” said Georgiadis. “We have to change that. Successful people don’t get that way because they are lucky, but rather they put themselves in the path of opportunity.”

“Push yourself,” Locke added. “The worst thing that can happen is you fail and no doubt you will learn from those failures and eventually reach success.”


Photograph by Matthew Mar (from left to right): Annie Young-Scrivner, Mona Locke, Melanne Verveer, Kim Azzarelli, Margo Georgiadis

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