Shelley Zalis Creates A Networking Community For Professional Women With The Ipsos Lounge

When I saw Shelley Zalis speak at Advertising Week and found out she was the person responsible for The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge, I knew I needed to interview her. She has been able to take this idea to have a place for women to congregate and network at male-dominated conferences and events and built a community of encouraging women from it. It was an inspiring story that I wanted to share with Social Media Week. Here is what she had to say:

I first came across the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge at Advertising Week, but this idea has been around almost two years. Tell me why you think this idea has become so successful.

SZ: I had no idea that The Girls’ Lounge would become so important to me and to so many other women in our industry. It all started so spontaneously as a last minute sleepover with a few girlfriends that I knew were attending the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013. By the end of the week our little party of 5 had become a party of 155.

Today, more than 3,000 women have connected in The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge and it has become the go-to destination at some of the largest industry conferences in the advertising, marketing, media, research and technology spaces. There is power in conversation and we are seeing first-hand how really good ideas come about when women get together. Women come into the Lounge as ‘women in business’ and leave as supportive and generous ‘girls’ girls.’

Do you feel that the power of social media has helped you spread your message?

SZ: Absolutely! We just wrapped a national tour with our #ConfidenceIsBeautiful Bus and the response has been amazing! We were a featured activation at Oprah’s “The Life You Want Weekend” and at New York’s Advertising Week – where we brought an awesome 40 foot bus to women at these conferences and set up a social selfie station where they could express their unique ‘confidence signature.’ The #ConfidenceIsBeautiful message became a movement overnight and was shared on digital billboards across the country, including New York’s Times Square!

There are so many conferences in a year, how do you decide where the Girls’ Lounge will be most useful? 

SZ: We saw the power of connecting women in technology at CES, so we decided to connect women in marketing, media, research and advertising. Once I heard that the CTO needs to be best friends with the CMO, we decided to connect female executives in related industries. We now have CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, COOs… and guess what? They’re all women! We created Girls’ Lounges in all the major conferences that these women attended so that over time they would develop relationships of trust and authenticity. Today, we are energizing self, soul and sisterhood. It’s becoming a corporate sorority!

What is on your wish list for things you’d like changed in corporate culture?

SZ: I believe it’s our responsibility as women in leadership to opt in to create the changes we want to see. We need to break the rules that never made sense for us as we were rising the ranks and create new rules that will allow people to have a better life at work. We need to change the corporate game from rules of rigidity to rules of generosity. We shouldn’t have to work to live, or live to work, work should be a dimension of life.

What’s the best story you can remember coming out of the Girls Lounge thus far? What show was this at?

SZ: There are so many that we capture in something that we call “the rose file.” We all inspire each other and it’s just a remarkable feeling when you actually leave The Girls’ Lounge and go into a conference and see women just wanting to be together with their pink streaks of hair and pink(y) swear rings. My most recent favorite was the pajama party we threw on our #ConfidenceIsBeautiful Bus at the ANA Masters of Marketing. Women marched through the hotel lobby in matching Girls’ Lounge pajamas to go hang out together on the bus. We did what girls do: laughed, cried, talked…and of course, ate lots of chocolate. It was unbridled fun, incomparable bonding and power deals were done.

What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new projects?

SZ: One of my favorite expressions is, ‘If we could have done it alone, we would have by now!’ Building this network of women who champion, support and mentor each other is critical. The more we advocate for each other and do good together, the better business and life will be for everyone. So, while the next ‘official’ stop for us is CES in January – conversations for other pop-up experiences and surprises are actively underway!

 You can read more about Ipsos Girls’ Lounge and Shelley here.



Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She also currently writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

Yunha Kim, Founder of Locket: Why I Quit My Job To Launch A Startup

When you initially meet Yunha Kim, you wouldn’t automatically assume that she is the mastermind behind Locket, the super successful lock screen app for Android, but that’s before she begins to speak with an intelligence and passion that you would expect from the head of a company. I’m not the only/first/last person to take notice. When companies like TechCrunch and VentureBeat are writing about your company and when Tyra Banks expresses interest in investing in your idea, people are bound to jump on the band wagon. During my visit to San Francisco, I got a chance to speak to Yunha about her journey from Investment Banker to Founder and CEO of  her very own startup. Find out below what exactly it takes to get an idea from concept to realization.

1) You started your career as an Investment Banker and with your switch from iPhone to Android user, you quickly found the calling for this company. Can you tell me a little bit about your first couple of months of the company?

YK: I can barely remember the first couple months of the company. It was just so crazy.

In the first month, I was running around pitching our idea for investment. After getting funded by Great Oaks VC, I was then running around pitching to advertisers and I did that for a half year. Then I started pitching again for another round of funding.

When we had no money or product, I was getting somewhere around four hours of sleep every night. I was living with five other guys out of a two-bedroom apartment with three dogs and a hamster where we worked and lived. We were also getting by with hot dogs and ramen noodles.

Sometimes, I wondered, ‘What did I sign up for?’ but I think I was really happy, getting things off the ground, creating something out of nothing.

2) This idea actually came from our culture’s tendency of constantly checking our phones. Can you give us a little more insight into that?

YK: While pulling long but boring hours in investment banking (prior to Locket), I wasn’t able to do anything fun on my monitor, so I was checking my phone a few hundred times per day. That’s when I realized I keep on checking my phone every single day, bringing it to the restroom, everywhere I go. Every single one of those moments I was unlocking my lock screen which was a picture of a daisy which came as a default lock screen with my Galaxy S3.

One day, I was looking at it wondering why anyone wasn’t doing anything with the most valuable real estate in advertising. If people check their phone 150 times per day, with 71 million Android users, that’s 10.7 billion glances on the lock screen every day in the US that we have not been able to monetize. It occurred to me that this will be the next big thing in mobile advertising.

3) What do you feel are some of the benefits of Locket?

YK: Locket brings content you care about to your lock screen based on your interest, swiping habits and time of the day. It’s a quick passive way to learn about what’s going on around you, in your world. I am too busy to check out all my apps on my phone, but with Locket, I am consistently updated. I was able to learn about a fire in Soma which is only a few blocks away from our office through my lock screen, then I looked outside my window and I saw that fire.

4) How do you find a life work balance with being in such a busy and quickly expanding company? What does your typical day look like?  

YK: When you are in a startup, it’s really difficult to balance your work and life (if you even have a life). It’s like when you have a baby (your startup), and the baby cries, you can’t really say you are off your work hours and let it cry. So, it will feel like you are on call 24/7.

5) I know focus on the company has changed, can you tell me a little about that?

YK: Recently, we have stopped our paid-per-swipe-ad service. We are now focusing on contextual content on your lock screen. Based on an user’s interest, swiping habits and time of the day, we serve content that people care about in a visually delightful way on the Android lock screen, and as the apps is consistently used, the content becomes more relevant

For more on Yunha and Locket, please visit:

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress.  On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.


Social Media at Sochi: The Impact of Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

The Olympics have always been a time where nations gather around television sets worldwide, and watch to see how their country’s athletes measure up in the grand scheme of things. What’s different this time around, is that social media has evolved so much that this is not the only view we’re getting of the Olympics.

Because of the power of social media, athletes’ freedom to post whatever they want has been suppressed by the International Olympic Committee. Sharing on different social media outlets has become so influential that guidelines needed to be provided as to what was considered acceptable. This advisory apparently does not apply to journalists covering the event, who have been posting their less than livable sleeping quarters. There’s even a Twitter handle named @SochiProblems, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the games that they would not have been privy to otherwise. The focus on the Olympics now becomes not just about the games but also the conditions surrounding it. In fact, the supplementary Olympics content being shared on social media may be getting more buzz and overshadowing the games themselves.

Instagram was launched in October of 2010, so it didn’t even make the February 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. This has given us an entirely different avenue to view Olympic content. Adhering to the guidelines that the IOC has set forth, athletes have been posting photos in their uniforms, videos from their practices, and documenting iconic moments, like the Opening Ceremony. This way of sharing content has become so influential, that even a publication like The New York Times is posting Instagram compilation articles. That being said, Instagram and Vine videos are also new to the games. These outlets are not only creating a way for viewers to become a part of the conversation but are also becoming another way to document history.

According to metered-market results, the television ratings for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics was down, Forbes commented on the lackluster spectacle as well, but it didn’t stop numerous outlets from “live blogging” about the event. The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Mashable and more, all were providing their own play by plays in real time, commenting on what was being aired. This of course wasn’t live, since the ceremony was air-delayed for the US and sparked a negative backlash on Twitter with the hashtag #NBCFail, proving once again, the voice of the viewer and the exponential growth of social media since the last games.

This year’s Olympics in Sochi are a perfect example of the influential power that social media has on everything. It can completely change our view of an iconic event like the Olympics because we’re now getting more than the one view of what we’re seeing on TV. In the future, I can see our experience evolving to include something similar to Google Glass, so we can feel like we’re walking around at the Olympics, while never leaving the comfort of our own home. Until then, we can always live vicariously through participant’s Vine videos or whatever sharable media they come up with next.

Want more Vine and Instagram? Make sure you check out Nokia’s Now Studio at Campus next week! We’ll have on-hand stars from the platform to show you how to maximize shortform content.

More interested in dealing with regulation? Then, you’ll want to check out our special three-hour track with LiveWorld/Pfizer.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

10 Questions with PINCHme’s Executive Chairman, Jeremy Reid

When I was introduced to PINCHme at TechStyle Lounge in September, I knew the Australian venture was going to be huge before they even debuted in the US. The thought behind it seemed like Birchbox, but free. The idea of getting complimentary care packages sent to you with products that you choose seemed too good to be true.

Since their US launch on November 12th, 2013, the company has had over 400,000 people signup for the chance to get their very own blue boxes sent to their homes. I had the chance to pick Jeremy Reid’s brain, PINCHme’s Executive Chairman, to find out how they started this consumer revolution.

  1. How did you come up with the concept for PINCHme? 
    JR: I started looking at the way CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies were marketing their latest products, and it became evident that product sampling was the most effective means. However, I realized that product sampling in its traditional form is very wasteful and inefficient, so I started looking at the ways in which the CPG industry had embraced the digital age. It became apparent that in comparison to other industries, CPG was significantly behind the curve. I thought that if I could marry both in an efficient and accountable sampling platform, it would prove as a pretty exciting initiative.
  2. Where did the company name come from? 
    JR: ‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming. How great is this? I get to try all these new and great products for free in exchange for my feedback.’
  3. What made you decide that the US should be your second market?
    JR:It was always our intention to launch PINCHme in the US. We launched first in Australia, serving as our beta market since the PINCHme business model did not yet exist, or rather had been tested before in the US. Following the success of the Australia launch, it was always our goal to expand to the US within 12 months, which we achieved.
  4. When PINCHMe launched in the US, the website advertised an once in a lifetime trip to Australia for two winners and their guest. Were the winners chosen?
    JR: The competition closed on December 31, 2013 and winners will be announced next week.
  5. What can you tell me about your experience with “the power of free” through this experience so far?
    JR: Free clearly sells very well. In the past 8 weeks alone, we have had over 400k consumers sign up to be members of PINCHme. This, by any means, is extraordinary growth. Our goal, over time, is to build a multi-member community, which we are on track to deliver.
  6. How do you decide what products get featured? Are there only specific items you guys are willing to showcase or is it “the more, the merrier”?
    JR: Yes, we have a curated approach where we are really trying to offer our members both exciting and new quality products to try. In order for sampling to work well, consumers must have a rewarding experience with the product. Thus, it’s important for us to ensure that we maintain a high standard of offerings to keep both our members engaged and to deliver an attractive experience for our brand partners.
  7. What’s the craziest story you have through the brand thus far? It could be pertaining to a customer or brand or the experience of building up the company, etc. You can be as vague or specific as you want.
    JR: We recently ran a campaign for a major car air-freshener company. The company was focusing their marketing efforts on an older demographic that they believed were buying more expensive cars and wanted to keep those cars smelling nice. Once they offered the product on the PINCHme platform, we saw significant demand from a much younger demographic. Particularly, 18-29 year olds.

    What we discovered through our insight was that the product was substantially more popular for younger people who were smokers concerned with keeping their cars smelling good. Through the PINCHme platform, this brand now has a whole new target market to go after.

  8. Your company is very social media driven. Can you tell me why you think this was important for PinchMe?
    JR: In today’s world, where everybody is connected online by numerous social media platforms, it’s critical for all brands to have a strong social media presence. Additionally, brands  need to be well represented within the social realm, as many consumers today will look at peer-to-peer recommendations before buying a product.
  9. What would your dream accomplishment from this company be? 
    JR: From a consumer standpoint, PINCHme is the go-to destination where consumers can discover, discuss, and buy new CPG products. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, PINCHme is the preferred media platform for launching new consumer products and receiving valuable feedback.
  10. Any exciting news coming up for 2014 that you’d like to divulge? 
    JR: PINCHme is currently in discussions with several major CPG companies, where they will be using the platform to launch new and exciting products into the market. Also, we are on target to have the largest database in the sample box category.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

Is the Ability to Use Our Phones “Gate to Gate” a Good Thing?

If you took a plane at some point during the recent holiday season, chances are you noticed the flight attendant’s intercom announcement included the allowance of continued Portable Electronic Device (PED) usage, as long as it remained in airplane mode. So what does that change entail?

Back in the day, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) claimed that phones needed to be turned off during takeoff and landing because radio signals from the devices could interfere with an aircraft’s communications, navigation, and other systems and therefore cause a safety issue.  After an aviation expert study late last year, they discovered that airplanes could in fact handle the radio frequencies from PED’s without interruption. FAA deemed electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, and e-readers allowed for use from “gate to gate,” with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) following suite a month later. 

Phone calls are still prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but they also have a proposal to allow that going forward. Once an airline carrier proves their compliance to the FAA, they can begin participating. 

Delta Airlines and JetBlue were the first two airlines to file after the ruling was approved, but a list of additional domestic airlines that are participating can be found here.

Is this new change a good thing? The most noticeable change is that the FAA and airlines are partnering to try to create less of a life disruption when traveling via plane. It does make a difference, especially with the notoriety of trying to get through airport security without a hiccup. Those that need to stay connected for work can now do so with ease, and airline attendants no longer need to police passengers about powering down their phones. It could be argued that another positive aspect of the change is the ability to be reached in case of emergency, but unless action can be taken remotely, nothing can really be done until landing. In the case of Justine Sacco, you could potentially eliminate eleven hours of unknown social media backlash. Of course, that’s assuming the flight provides WiFi, and even then, it needs to be purchased.

What could be seen as a negative side effect, though, is that planes were known as one of few places where someone could not be reached, like underground subways. But that’s changing for both modes of transportation, now. This is a loss of one of the few times when people could get offline; and this fuels the tech addiction that we face daily of needing to be reachable at all times. It adds one more dimension of a phone being almost attached to our fingertips.

Do you think the new policy is a positive change? Share your opinions in the comments below:

Regardless of whether or not this new change of policy is ultimately for the better overall, it is clear that the FAA’s main concern is safety and not making our lives harder, which is comforting news. As technology advances and becomes a more constant of our daily lives, the world around us will continue to mold to fit those needs. And that’s something you can learn more about during SMW NYC, with events like 2020 Vision: Your Life 20 Years From Now and The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Diana Walker/TIME