Last week while in New York, I received an email, and not just any email. It invited me to help ring the stock market closing bell to conclude The Conference Board’s 12th Women’s Leadership Summit. I was there as a speaker and contributor – women’s leadership and other diversity and inclusion measures are something 3M has consciously pursued for decades. One of the topics – attracting women in STEM to your company – seemed tailor-made for a science-based company like 3M.
It was already quite an honor to be included. And now to participate in the iconic bell-ringing ceremony? As you can imagine, I sent a few emails and made a few phone calls of my own after that, complete with how-to-see-me-on-live-TV instructions.
According to plan, our group hiked down the New York streets and gathered on the studio stage for photos and to be in ready position. Amidst our highly orchestrated (at first) cheering and clapping the countdown began: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1. A solid surround of monitors showed the network pickups as we continued to clap and cheer. The closing conference speaker on cue pushed an oversized button (technology replacing an actual bell), and we continued to cheer on well beyond the moment.
To cement the experience, we were quickly ushered out on the street (feeling quite important by then) to watch the replay of ourselves and our candid photos on the outside screens. Even though I’m a marketer myself, I was lured into the marketing genius of the program and the recognition it provides, and truly grateful for the opportunity!