From Politics to Retail, Diversity to Harassment, Sleep to Power: In 48 Hours, Fortune MPW Covers It All

October 20, 2017

Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit is both thought provoking and motivational. The networking is unparalleled but, the truth is, the broad range of topics is what keeps me coming back each year. The conference alternates locations between California and Washington, D.C. each year, and being in our capital gave it a different vibe. Senator Amy Klobuchar kicked us off by reminding attendees how women have to go where it is uncomfortable to go to make true progress, and that collaboration among our elected officials can make a difference.

A glimpse into the conference:

  • Two brave women got a standing ovation – Sally Yates and Billie Jean King.
  • Ivanka and Kellyanne (no last names needed) showed us that some in the White House can stay on message.
  • The majority of women had their hands up when asked if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted.
  • Jewel’s beautiful ballads brought the house down.
  • An extraordinary panel of African-American corporate leaders reminded us that we are simply not doing enough to promote and advance diverse women in the workplace.

In addition to these words of wisdom, over dinner the second night I made a few new friends over laughs and the commitment to get the two Canadians at the table a photo with Justin Trudeau. The mission was accomplished and numbers were exchanged (not Justin’s, unfortunately). Being in the company of powerful women is a treasure, a constant inspiration and a reminder of how far we have come, and how far we still have yet to go.

It was an inspiring two days that left me thinking about many topics, and what I can do to make a difference. Here are a few of the quotes that are sticking with me as I marinate on all of the knowledge that was imparted…

Workplace Issues…

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion…


Doing the Right Thing…



Barri Rafferty is CEO of Ketchum, one of the world’s top communication firms, with offices and affiliates in 130 markets in more than 70 countries. Barri leads Ketchum’s Global Leadership Council to guide the strategy, client service and performance of the agency.

Outside of Ketchum, she participates in a number of groups including the sustainability task-force for the World Economic Forum and is a member of Arthur W. Page Society Page Up program. Rafferty sits on the board of StepUp, an organization with the mission of empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, and career focused and she is also a member of the governing body of OmniWomen, Omnicom’s Leading Women’s Network, for which she holds quarterly panel discussions featuring prominent women. She is the recipient of the Plank Center Milestones in Mentoring Award.

Barri is a graduate of Boston University (M.A) and Tulane University and enjoys watching soccer, volleyball, and dance – especially when her son and daughter are involved! Connect with her on Twitter: @barrirafferty