Kicking Ass And (Literally) Taking Names

October 29, 2012

Last week I came across a brilliant little widget called Find A Token Woman. A self-described “half-fun, half-serious” digital tool, it is designed to help create an ever-growing list of talented women in fields where the ratio is not in the female favor. The open-source tool is a living, breathing document that users can embed in their blog, Tumblr, etc., and curate, comment and contribute to the list.

Find A Token Woman is the latest innovation from Ale Lariu, one of the 3 percent of female creative directors in the U.S. and #29 on Fast Company’s 2010 100 Most Creative People. Ale, who was also recently included in Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women (May 2012) along with the likes of Hillary and Oprah, appears to be on a quest to change the aforementioned “ratio” and put more women at the top.

As her own bio states, Ale has been kicking ass since as long as she can remember. I had the honor of meeting Ale when I attended a Hyper Island Master Class in 2010, where she shared some of the stellar digital work she was doing as a creative director at McCann. Since then, she’s left her post at McCann to focus on her personal project SheSays (a global creative network for women) and launch a collaboration platform for women in digital advertising called Shout.

SheSays offers events, mentorship, courses and career management for women in creative and marketing businesses. It has expanded to cities across the U.S. and Canada and beyond to Australia and Europe.

Shout, launched just last year, is a next generation take on crowdsourcing.

From the website: Shout is a radical new way for women in digital advertising to collaborate and get paid. And for companies to harness the collective wisdom of women to improve their business. What differentiates shout from most other crowdsourcing sites is the fact that our community gets to know each other, virtually and in the real world. We have a clever little algorithm that puts women together based on their skills and expertise – matchmaking for professionals. Another thing that sets shout apart is that each member gets compensated for what they do. For everything our community gives us, whether it’s a comment on someone else’s work or a full answer to a brief, we’ll reward them in credits.

Last week when I saw the announcement of Find a Token Woman, I sent Ale a note to congratulate her and I asked her what is the one most important piece of advice she would offer women striving to get ahead in the creative business. To which she responded, “Always push your limits and try and be scared at least once a week.”

Amen, I say. Keep on keepin’ on sister!