Shelley Zalis: This One’s for the Girls

April 12 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: What’s Wrong With Being Girly?

Have you ever noticed how the term “girl” is sometimes used as an insult or said in a snarky way? We’re all too familiar with phrases like, “You throw like a girl,” or, “You’re such a girly girl.” But I’ve never heard anyone solidly reason what’s so wrong with that. Femininity doesn’t have to be a barrier to strength and success. I know that you know that you know this. But how can we, as women, channel our femininity to amp up our lives and take us to that next level of success?


Success. That word can mean many things to many people. An obvious interpretation issuccess in the financial field. Hear me out: Did you know that 10 percent of global billionaires are female. Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oreal makeup heiress, graces the list at #11.Sitting proud (and no doubt, looking good too), that also puts Bettencourt on the pedestal as the wealthiest woman in the world. It’s encouraging to see women’s names on lists like these. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be reading your name one day.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Shelley Zalis, founderof The Girls’ Lounge

Reflecting on women and the stigma often associated with being referred to as a “girl” makes me wonder: How do we end gender inequality in the workplace? Would you believe me if I said that being a girly girl, doing our nails and sporting pink just might get us there? There’s a fabulous woman who believes that technique—of embracing rather than erasing the word “girl”—is key. Her name is Shelley Zalis. Four years ago, Zalis started The Girls’ Lounge, a place for businesswomen to relax, network and, simply put, have a place to be girly. What does a place like this actually look like? Well, Zalis works to secure open spaces for women, whether that’s at business events or national conferences—sometimes scoring a hotel penthouse—so women can recharge in between meetings and presentations. Pink-hued M&M’s, mini hair and makeup makeovers, freshly cut flowers, plush pillow-topped furniture and an on-hand confidence coach are just some of the benefits that come to those who embrace the space Zalis has created. Yes, this conceptactually is reality. No, I have not yet tried to recreate the space in my spare bedroom. Why do you ask? Zalis has some pretty cool partners, if Google and Visa ring a bell. In 2016, she intends to take The Girls’ Lounge to 10 major business events. So far this year, she’s brought The Girls’ Lounge to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and to South By Southwest, the music, film, tech and interactive festival in Austin, Texas. Zalis’ overarching goal withThe Girls’ Lounge is to create a supportive environment that makes women feel secure and confident about themselves, which hopefully translates into women being more successful at work—and feeling more empowered to call themselves a girl.


So, let me ask you. How do you want to use your girl power to leave a mark? I think we can all learn a lesson from Shelley Zalis. She herself said:

“A woman who tries to be a man is a waste of a woman.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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