What’s Hot What’s Not–Generation W

By Patti Minglin

I love any panel that begins with “this is going to be a really fun panel” so I was particularly excited when Dr. Nancy Snyderman walked out onto the stage to begin this afternoon’s session, “What’s Hot What’s Not”.

The fun of this panel began as soon as the members were introduced:  Lisa Gersh, former president & CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Christina Norman, media executive & strategic consultant and Pat Geraghty, Chairman of the Board & CEO of Florida Blue.

The first bold topic of discussion?  Our nation’s growing obesity epidemic and how can we get this country back on track.

“I think we are seeing a movement towards more movement,” said Norman.  “Sports are hot, professional teams are hot. All this energy translates into more movement  for our kids.  But more movement needs to be coupled with more access.”

That more access is something Florida Blue takes seriously.  “We have a partnership with Walt Disney World and families can go to Epcot and get information on nutrition, dehydration, etc.  We also have great partnerships with professional sports teams,” said Geraghty.  “You can access this also via online and mobile units.  We want to engage with kids.”

Engagement– something that has been made more difficult with the abundance of technology.  “We spend all this time telling our kids to get off the phone, but look at us as adults,” said Gersh.  “We just got these things and we can’t put them down. This is reality.  We have to marry tech with outside pursuits such as making videos of our activities. Harbro has a new product where you can use your iPhone in Nerf guns for laser tag. It’s about integration.”

Tech allows us to connect with others and promotes peer to peer inspiration.  “Kids love to post & share with each other.  And those posts can be used in very positive ways,” says Norman.  But are we sharing too much?  Panelists went from not wanting to even give their name at Starbucks to putting their human genome online–although none have a Facebook page.

“We all have to decide on our own limit of what feels right to us,” said Gersh.

What technology do we wish we had?  Wireless chargers, smarter phones & even smarter homes.

“I want a healthier, smarter home that keeps us out of hospitals longer,” says Snyderman.  “We need to make it easier for us to help others,” adds Geraghty.

With all these changes in technology how do you keep a brand relevant and successful?  “Discover the real roots of your brand.  That’s what we did at Martha Stewart Living,” said Gersh.  “You have to constantly reinvent your brand to stay relevant.”

And that reinvention is something that is an overall hot topic for women, added Norman.

Other hot topics for women?

Plan B, the morning after pill, is now being sold over the counter in Georgia.

Expanding Medicade in the state of Florida.

Having it all–a rewarding career & family life.

“Having it all–it’s a discussion that is really hot right now with the whole Sandberg versus Slaughter debate,” said Snyderman.  “Why are we still having this discussion?”

“I think it’s a class issue more than a woman issue,” said Norman.  “Some women do not have the option to lean in or not.  If they don’t lean in, their family doesn’t eat.” And, Norman added, “not everyone wants to be a CEO of a corporation, maybe just the CEO of your life.”

The session ended with all panelists sharing the one thing their parents did right that led to their success:

Gersh:  “They believed in me–gave me a really long leash.”

Geraghty: “My Dad always said ‘Make it a great day’–not ‘Have a great day’.  You have the power to make a difference.”

Norman:  “My parents never discouraged us from pursuing what we wanted.”

Snyderman:  “Sit down to family dinner– we have to get back to those.”


pattimAbout the Author
Patti Minglin is a sales and marketing expert with substantial experience in marketing to women and marketing to moms. She is a product of the publishing industry having spent more than 17 years in senior executive positions in circulation, advertising, marketing and new product development.  Patti served as the Associate Publisher- Advertising/Marketing for Chicago Parent and launched Go Girl Communications, a sales and marketing consultancy, in the spring of 2011.