Lee Levi manages online campaigns. But her super power is combining leadership, learning and her fervent will to do good, to create opportunities for women to share their knowledge.
Just a couple of years ago, Lee Levi came upon a discussion on Facebook that ignited her desire to create a platform that would help women share their knowledge. At most conferences, men are still given far more opportunities than women to speak. There are many reasons this might occur, not least of which is because women are sometimes discriminated against. And while Lee is helping more women get on stage to share their knowledge, her journey, is not without challenges.
MEDABROT DIGITALIT – Women Speaking Digital
What started out as a discussion on Facebook about a certain conference that had twenty men speakers, but only two women, ended in Lee making a decision: she would organize a business conference with only women speakers.
Since then, Lee has organized two annual Medabrot Digitalit conferences, and dozens of meetups in which women present their knowledge on subjects they are experts in.
When Lee first took on the challenge of organizing a business conference for women, she had already gained experience organizing events for Tel Aviv’s Bar Association. But she soon realized, that running a conference is utterly unlike organizing an event. Both the amount of details that must be handled, as well as the funds required, make a conference extremely complex. Ultimately, the first two conferences were paid out of Lee’s own pocket, with proceeds from the conference covering only 90% of her expenses.
Lee could have given up there. But as she prepares for Medabrot Digitalit’s third conference, she moves forward learning from previous conferences. While Lee began with what she knew, she continues to build subsequent conferences and meetups on experience, moving forward relentlessly.
Women Supporting Women
There is something incredible about what Lee has set up. There exists a symbiotic relationship between those that come to speak, and those that come to listen; those that come to speak, share their professional knowledge and insights, as those who come to listen, learn and glean from their knowledge, walking away with takeaways of their own that will move them forward in their next endeavor.
But it doesn’t stop there. Because it’s not only seasoned speakers that speak at the conferences and meetups. There is a healthy mix of professional speakers and those that are just starting out.
It is in a setting such as these, that women empower women. Where women with more experience empower and inspire those with less experience, and set an example for the day when those with less experience will have more experience to pass on to others, with less.
I ask Lee about the biggest mistake from the first conference, that she learned from. She is not shy about sharing what she has learned.
1. Have a balance sheet – make sure you balance your finances
“I didn’t know how to manage the balance of a conference. And in the first conference, I made a lot of mistakes, in general, and in financial management.”
2. Create a financial buffer – some things will cost more. It is not always possible to correctly calculate an expense.
“I didn’t know how to make a financial buffer, correctly calculate expenses, and cash flow.”
3.Do not pay contractors all the money upfront – pay a deposit. But save the rest for after the job is done. Not doing this may result in paying in full for goods and services that were not delivered in full.
“I paid in advance because this is how I would have liked to be treated. But in retrospect it was a mistake, because there were people that didn’t deliver.”
4. Analyze risks – this will help you mitigate risks and financial losses.
5. Find sponsors
“I didn’t prepare for this properly. I didn’t apply in time and I didn’t apply the right way.”
In meeting with Lee Levi, I met a woman with a big heart who works selflessly to promote other women by giving them a stage to share their knowledge and expertise. I am so grateful for her time and insights.