The Fearless Girl Across Generations—Just How Fearless Are We?
Sometimes you look at something and know it’s a teachable moment. Maybe it’s because you are the mom of a 16-year-old boy, and there have been many teachable moments in his lifetime. Maybe it’s because you see yourself in your 21-year-old intern, or your Millennial PR manager who takes on any challenge with a smile. Maybe you just love the theme of Marketing Nation Summit, “The Fearless Marketer.” Maybe it’s divine intervention. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck.
But when I saw the breakout session at this month’s Marketing Nation Summit on “The Fearless Girl” I knew it would be a moment I couldn’t resist. It was the only breakout that my team had time to attend, because of the busy schedule at Summit, but it was the best 40 minutes of the entire week.
I asked Lynnie Lucas, our new corporate communications intern at Marketo to write a blog about it. Yes, Lynnie is Steve Lucas’s daughter, but she is also an aspiring communications pro who has three years of college classes in communications, PR, digital marketing, and a ton of enthusiasm for learning.
Below is a back and forth from me, with 20 plus years of experience, and Lynnie, a senior in college with her entire career ahead of her, about what The Fearless Girl means to each of us.
A Fearless Marketing Tactic
If you do a simple Google search, it is rather easy to find an inspirational quote or two about what it means to be “fearless.” Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and Taylor Swift, all have their own versions of what it means to be courageous. While I believe I could just copy and paste one of those quotes here and call this post “good,” I learned as an intern at Marketing Nation Summit what a different kind of fearlessness looks like, and it resonated with me in a way I was certainly not expecting.
I attended a breakout session about the inspiration behind The Fearless Girl statue in New York. As an avid Twitter user seeking a blue “verified” checkmark, I have been aware of the statue’s notoriety for some time, so when Lori asked me to attend the keynote and write a blog post on it, I jumped at the chance.
I barely knew any information about Fearless Girl other than the barrage of posts I had seen of friends standing by her side, so the session was illuminating, to say the least. In summary, we have State Street Global Advisors and their amazing team to thank for the beautiful image of a young girl staring down the Charging Bull, inspiring women worldwide. I was unaware, however, that Fearless Girl was created with an agency in an effort to drive executive diversity. Their marketing, truly what is the epitome of “fearless marketing,” began with a basic model and cost far less than one might think. The purpose was pure, the course was clear, and the original timeline of seven days on display was expanded into one, powerful, provocative, Year of Women.
For me, a college student pursuing a degree in strategic communication, The Fearless Girl brought up emotions of fighting to be equal. No matter where I apply, what organization I want to be a part of, or how good my resume is, someone doesn’t think I am as qualified as the men around me.
The point is that as a woman in marketing who is looking to be just like her dad someday, I hit roadblocks every day. It’s very hard to be a Fearless Girl when at every turn, you’re treated more like the Shove Me Around and Call Me Cute Girl.
Fearless Girl Beginnings
I too have experienced that for 20 years, Lynnie. My first job in television news required me to be a “one-man-band” reporter. Notice it wasn’t “one-woman” band. It was me, my camera, deck, tripod, lights, and microphone—about 50 pounds of gear that I carried around with me. Actually, lugged with me is a better description. People would ask “Where is your photographer?” and I would say “Oh, he’s sick today.” Never did they think the photographer was a woman, and never did they think I could do the job by myself. I’ve worked with some great photographers, men and women, over the years and I’m proud that people don’t still ask that question when they see a woman behind a camera. Some things have changed.
When I left television news, I worked in public relations at a manufacturing company. While we made cool technology like cooling systems for laptops, I was often the only woman in meetings. We had one woman on our executive leadership committee, and one woman on our 10-member board of directors. The Fearless Girl statue, which came many years later, was about getting more women in leadership at Fortune 500 companies and on their board of directors. Not only did The Fearless Girl garner all those likes on Twitter, but it began a movement to change the faces of boards across the land—and it worked. In the past year, 150 boards in the US added more members who are women. Still a long way to go, but there is much progress to report thanks to a little girl defiantly looking at Wall Street. Progress that Lynnie is already seeing and feeling…
Fearless New Voices
In the three days I spent in San Francisco at Marketing Nation Summit, I was never in a room with fewer than three women at one time. In fact, there was a time when my dad was the only man in the room. That has never, in my entire life, happened to me. I am used to being the minority, not the focus of an entire keynote with Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn! I didn’t know it was possible that I could grow up to live in a world where every day, bit by bit, women are commanding positions of leadership and authority. We are astronauts, scientists, designers, engineers, developers, salespeople, CMOs, and creators.
We are suddenly a voice that is credible, taken seriously, and held at higher value. Fearless Girl is the face of a legacy that began with the right to vote and will come to its culmination when we are all held at equal value among humanity. State Street Global may not have known what exactly the future of their little creation would hold, but Fearless Girl holds in her tiny, bronze hands the future of an entire generation of women, men, and human beings of all kinds.
A Fearless Future Together
Amen, Lynnie. I hope when I have a granddaughter—not for a while of course, because my son is only 16, but when I do, I hope that The Fearless Girl is still on display. I hope we can all stand next to her and say thanks. Thanks, because her tiny, determined face led the nation to a huge change. A change that allowed half the population to be considered exactly like the other half. A symbol for young women like Lynnie and the hundreds of others who joined us to hear about The Fearless Girl story, who dream of big things. One step, and one fearless face at a time.
Two weeks after the conference on a trip to NYC, Lynnie posed with The Fearless Girl, excited about what the future would hold.