Women Who Disrupt

“Women have so much power to shift culture,” said Rachel D. Wilson, CEO and Founder of LADY Rebranded. On Friday, June 23rd, Wilson hosted the anniversary celebration of LADY Rebranded. To celebrate their first year of success Rachel and LADY Rebranded partnered with City National Bank to recognize other women influencers, creators and entrepreneurs who are doing amazing work not only in their fields of work, but in society and their communities. Honored as ‘Women Who Disrupt,” the event honored Sabrina K. Garba, CEO of Glass Ladder Group, Rachel Sumekh, CEO of Swipe Out Hunger, and Lisa Mae Brunson Founder of Wonder Women Tech.

Amidst hectic schedules, daring to challenge the status quo, and succeeding at shaping society, it is critical to stop and honor women making moves and igniting conversations about what it takes to be  ‘A Woman who Disrupts’. In a society known for the erasure of women’s contributions, it was a refreshing sight as people gathered in Downtown Burbank to listen to the honorees talk about their journey and tips for being successful women. So, what does it take to disrupt? To these leaders, it means knowing who you are, acknowledging your achievements and never giving up.  

Honoree, Rachel Sumekh, defined what it means to be a leader, highlighting that there is not just one type of leader. She was told that she was “too nice” to be a leader. Sumekh refused to accept this. She knew she could, “work hard and be nice.” Rachel asked attendees to ask themselves, “What kind of leader do I want to be? What are the traits I embody? Which ones do I like and which ones do I want to let go and then, OWN IT.” Walk into a room and believe you are a badass! Knowing who you are and knowing that your work matters is so important.

Still, even these leaders forget to give themselves a well deserved pat on the back. Sabrina K. Garba, Founder and CEO of Glass Ladder Group said that up until that night she did not think of herself as a woman who disrupts. It is so often that women forget to look at the work they have done and appreciate themselves. A woman who has been disrupting the intercultural communication field and defying odds, Garba reminded the room to relish in one’s victories and recognize that you, “did that” and you are capable of anything. Her own personal reminder is a quote in her office that reads, “The victor should never forget her victories.” She wasn’t doing that before, but now she has made a place in her life for her victories. She is a strong believer that doing so will “carry you from hill to hill.”

Anyone who has faced an obstacle in their life knows what hills and valleys are. When circumstances get tough and it feels as if it’s time to hang it up, DON’T. Honoree Lisa Mae Brunson wasn’t afraid to share her experiences of tough times. Times she lost faith and was ready to quit. If she had quit, the shift in diversity and inclusion within the STEAM industries would not be as far along as it is. The lives of women in the tech field would have less opportunity to learn, grow and achieve in a male dominated profession. Brunson didn’t give up, because she reminded herself to keep “saying yes” and “figure it out later”. She reminded herself that what she is doing is making a difference.

It was an inspiring night as people took part in advocating, supporting, and recognizing women. The impacts of the work done by Sabrina K. Garba, Rachel Sumekh, Lisa Mae Brunson, and Rachel D. Wilson are global and this is only the beginning. As more women shift and disrupt culture, we are reminded that when she succeeds, we succeed.