2019 Changing the Game Awards Event Recap
By Natalie DeGenova
Written by: Lauren Lombardo
She Runs It honored seventeen women across five award categories at the annual Changing the Game Awards on April 10th. The event, hosted in the iconic Gotham Hall, featured a keynote speech from Colleen DeCourcy, co-President & COO of W+K and recipient of the Fearless Voice Award.
DeCourcy granted the audience an intimate glance into her conceptualization of fear. She started her remarks by calling on the room to understand that “we have such a gift and responsibility to use our voice, and in some cases to move the world forward”.
When speaking of the fear associated with using that voice DeCourcy humbly noted “I’ve often second guessed my work, haven’t felt worthy of recognition. I think now that that’s a cop-out. I think as women that negation is an excuse”. She added later “If we don’t fear the power that we have, the messages that we put out into the world, the impact we have on society if we are without fear we are without conscience”.
DeCourcy used her platform to set the tone for the rest of the event, with several women who spoke afterward echoing her remarks or building upon them.
After lunch, the program concluded with brief panel conversations featuring the recipients from the remaining four award categories: No Apologies, Paradigm Shift, Brainwave, and Quantum Leap.
The panel segment began with recipients of the No Apologies award:
- Seema Bansal, Founder | Venus Et Fleur
- Kiersten Barnet, Global Head, Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index | Bloomberg
- Jacqueline Corbelli, Founder, Chair, and CEO | BrightLine
- Mish Fletcher, Managing Director Marketing & Communications | Accenture Interactive
Each of the women in this category highlighted how they are unapologetically pushing the world forward, one idea, project, or business at a time. Seema Bansal urged the audience to “bring forward” ideas that could drive change while Kiersten Barnet encouraged women founders that “investors are waking up to the power of women”.
The Paradigm Shift category highlighted:
- Sophie Bambuck, VP, Global Nike Sportswear Brand Marketing | Nike
- Kristen D’Arcy, VP or Integrated Marketing and Media | American Eagle
- Cheryl Grace, SVP Strategic Alliances | Nielsen
- Jessica Rodriguez, President, COO, and CMO | Univision
These awardees shared the challenges they faced, the lessons they learned, and the change they made while working to push the organizations they work for, and the communities those organizations represent, forward. Jessica Rodriguez called on the room to make sure that “everyday women are the heroes in the stories we tell” while Cheryl Grace used data to drive the conversation, saying “Of the 3.8 trillion dollars of buying power that our multicultural communities have, women are controlling most of that. That’s the power of She”.
Brainwave, designed to recognize those who have changed the way a brand or product is marketed, was given to:
- Heidi Browning, CMO, and EVP | NHL
- Ukonwa Ojo, CMO, Cover Girl | Coty (formerly)
- Anita Patil-Sayed, SVP, Director, Human Truths Group | Dentsu Aegis Network
- Cherilyn Williams, Director of Global Portfolio Marketing | Marriott
The Brainwave honorees discussed the tribulations they faced when shifting the way some of America’s largest brands and products are marketed. Specifically, when talking about spearheading large changes, Ukonwa Ojo stated “whenever you’re doing something big there is a lot of fear. . . you’re either going to break it or your going to build it. Lean into that fear”.
The last award category was Quantum Leap, recipients were:
- Anne-Claire Berg, Culture and Engagement Director | Danone
- Fiona Carter, Chief Brand Officer | AT&T Communications
- Amy Cheronis, Chief Integration Officer | MSL
- Lynn Lewis, US CEO | UMWW
The recipients of this award, honored for their ability to align their organization to meet new challenges, concluded the events formal agenda by sharing the wisdom they gained while working through difficult change. To this end, Fiona Carter called on the audience “ to break the rules that don’t make sense anymore and . . . make new rules”.
Seventeen women shared a lifetime of knowledge at this year’s Changing the Game Awards. While it was a joy to witness these women receive the accolades they deserve for their decades of hard work, it was even more powerful to watch them share their passion and wisdom with those in attendance.