The 2017 AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum Brought Together More Than 260 Amazing Leaders – Here’s What Went Down

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Last week, the third annual AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum brought together over 260 current and aspiring leaders for a day of important conversations at our New York City offices.

Attendees from media, technology, government, and activist backgrounds came together in their shared mission of creating more diverse and inclusive leadership structures throughout society. Over the course of the day, a roster of world-class speakers discussed challenges facing women and underrepresented groups in and out of the workplace, and presented concrete steps that all of us can take to be part of the solution.

Along the way, guests had the opportunity to mix, mingle, and network over coffee, lunch, and evening cocktails. See a few photos from the day here, and watch all the session recordings here.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the 2017 AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum:


A who’s who of business and government leaders



Throughout the day, attendees heard from some of the most powerful leaders in media, technology, and government, who shared personal stories and advice for how our guests can advance in their careers and effect real change in their organizations.


  • New York City deputy mayor Alicia Glen told attendees how they can use their power and influence, or “juice” as she calls it, to create more equitable companies while lifting up other women.
  • Levo chief leadership officer Tiffany Dufu explained how rising stars can achieve their real goals by “dropping the ball” and focusing on what really matters.


A speaker list that took our guests beyond the echo chamber



One of the most distinctive features of the Women’s Leadership Forum was a speaker list that went above and beyond that of a typical business conference. In addition to leaders from business, technology, and government sectors, we were lucky to host brilliant guests in the fields of entertainment, sports, and film.


  • In a hilarious, eye-opening conversation, comedian and disability advocate Maysoon Zayid spoke to Xian Horn to discuss the role of comedy in forging identity, how she uses her platform to advocate for equality, and her mission to “mainstream disability.”
  • The Palestinian writer and director Maysaloun Hamoud described how the worldwide reaction to her film, In Between, revealed how the patriarchy harms women around the globe.
  • Inclusion consultant and former NFL player Wade Davis outlined the critical role men must play in the fight for gender equality.


An interactive experience that brought the conversation outside the conference room


Beyond bringing the right speakers to our event, we set out to create an immerse environment that would help our attendees create real change after they went back to work the next day.


  • Guests were encouraged to pick a card from our “Take Action Wall.” Each card carried a commitment that attendees could perform to create more diverse leaders and make their organizations more inclusive. These included “Encourage a young girl in your life to learn how to code,” “Give radically candid feedback to your team,” and “Nominate yourself for an award or to speak at an event.”
  • Executive roundtable discussions brought attendees up-close and personal with industry leaders. EY partner Janet Balis chatted with guests about the importance of women supporting other women and NBCUniversal SVP Denise Colella spoke with them about the future of media and advertising.
  • Networking sessions gave current and aspiring leaders an opportunity to get to know one another over food and drink.
  • Our partner expo introduced guests to four incredible organizations founded to foster diverse leadership: Civic Hall, Girls Who Code, Ellevate Network, and She Runs It.


An inclusive environment for all attendees


With an eye to Diversity & Inclusion, we took steps to ensure the comfort and participation of every guest, providing the following amenities:


  • Closed captioning during presentations and panel discussions
  • An onsite mother’s room for guests with caretaking responsibilities
  • A meditation session hosted by Exubrancy
  • A wellness room for attendees to participate in guided meditation or simply take a break
  • A business center for guests who had pressing job responsibilities to attend to


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg


Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing lots more about the enlightening conversations and valuable experiences at the 2017 AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum.

Check back here on the AppNexus blog for photos, videos, panel recaps, and exclusive interviews with our superstar speakers.

Filed under AppNexus Updates.

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