Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

By Drew Shula

Pay women. Promote women. Respect women. All women — white women, women of color. This note is dedicated to all the women in my life, but especially my two daughters, Acadia and Cali. It chokes me up just writing this now — I love them so much, and I want a fair and equitable world for my girls.

I’m proud my company, Verdical Group, leads by example. VG is largely led by women: 84% of our current team members are women (!!), and women lead 5 out of 7 of our internal teams (71%)! We’re committed to pay scale equity and continuing to grow diversity within our firm. We hope other companies will commit to improving as well.

Unfortunately women around the world are still discriminated against and treated as unequal to men (including in the US where women still earn 16% less than men on average). Women are paid less, promoted less, and deal with harassment. Men need to do better.

With VG’s annual Net Zero Conference we seek to lead in proving how conference programming diversity makes for the best possible event with as many perspectives as possible. Last year we had 100+ speakers at our nationally leading event, and our goal for all featured speakers in our programming, award winners, and keynotes, to be at least 50% women and 50% people of color. I’m proud to say we beat that goal and featured 66% women and 53% people of color! Other event producers need to step up and do better.

Shoutout to the incredible women leaders and influencers we’ve honored at our annual Net Zero Conference Trailblazer Awards, including: Wawa Gatheru, Sara Neff, Lindsay Baker, Sandeep Ahuja, Kristy Drutman, Nichol T. Whiteman, Janine Benyus, Gabrielle Bullock, Wanda Dalla Costa, Nancy Sutley, Lauren Sparandara, Katerina Markov Schneider, Ellen Jackowski, and Elizabeth Heider. Check them out here and attend this year’s Gala 9/18 at the Anaheim, CA House of Blues! 

Another shoutout for our past Net Zero Conference keynote speakers: Winona LaDuke (Honor the Earth), Kiana Kazemi and Diandra Marizet Esparza (Intersectional Environmentalist), Jamie Margolin, and Kate Williams (1% for the Planet).

Today I’m celebrating my girls, and all the women in my life, but also looking for us to make faster progress. This isn’t it y’all. Happy International Women’s Day, Women In Construction Week, and Women’s History Month!

PS — I love you Mom! Thanks for making me who I am today.