Local Companies Co-Host 2nd Annual International Women’s Day Event
(From L to R) Mary Kennett, Head of People & Experience at Deckers Brands, Kerri Murray, President at ShelterBox USA, Lena Requist, President of Ontraport, Jennifer Somer, Global UGG Women’s & Lifestyle, GM Koolaburra by UGG at Deckers Brands (Photo by Braydon Russell)
By Hannah Rael
Santa Barbara-based companies, Deckers Brands, Ontraport, and ShelterBox USA co-hosted the 2nd Annual International Women’s Day event at Ontraport Headquarters [March 7th] in Santa Barbara.
More than 100 guests attended the event, which featured nine local female leaders who shared about working toward gender equality, women in technology, and how to best overcome challenges women face in business.
The speakers included Ashe Kelly-Brown and Cristin Brown, Owners of Pura Luna Women’s Apothecary; Michelle Greer, Senior VP of People at Procore Technologies; Mary Kennett, Head of People & Experience at Deckers Brands; Kerri Murray, President at ShelterBox USA; Diana Pereira, Co-Founder of Impact Hub; Lena Requist, President of Ontraport; Jennifer Somer, Global UGG Women’s & Lifestyle, GM Koolaburra by UGG at Deckers Brands; and Leslie Zemeckis, actress, author and award-winning documentarian.
Murray discussed how ShelterBox helps empower women and enable their self-recovery. She told the audience that 85 million people around the world are displaced by disaster or conflict and 75 percent of those are women and children.
The organization launched their She campaign at the event, which seeks to shed light on gender disparities in disasters and conflict and highlight ShelterBox’s support of the most vulnerable.
Actress and author Leslie Zemeckis shared inspiring stories of the women she highlights in her movies and books. She left the audience with the empowering statement that has pushed her through her career: turn every “no” into “know” — know what you need to do to pursue your dreams.
A theme throughout the night was pursuing dreams while balancing work and life. Human Resources initiatives by tech and lifestyle brands Ontraport, Deckers and Procore have taken this balance into their own hands. Highlighting their additional parental leave policies, and on-campus childcare. Lena Requist, President of Ontraport noted that these policies make a positive impact on retention on the local economy.
Business owners and wife duo Ashe and Christin Brown talked about following their dreams, bringing them to Santa Barbara to start a business. Meanwhile, co-owner of Impact Hub, Diana Pereira discussed the troubles she faces as a leader in a male-based industry. Both businesses were started to provide a space for women to thrive.
Girls Rock SB, a local nonprofit organization, performed live music during the event and food was provided by Jack’s Bistro, Anna’s Bakery and Berry Man.
Women and men attendees who were interviewed at the event, stated that events and conversations like this night are what pushes our community toward balance.