Vishwa is a member of Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board. In 2019, she participated in Plan’s “Takeovers” for International Day of the Girl. Here’s her experience, in her own words.
A few weeks ago, I sat in a boardroom of NBCUniversal executives. They discussed their projects. They shared their ideas. They genuinely supported each other’s visions. And their team was made up of both men and women.
As a young person, witnessing equality and collaboration at such a high level was incredibly encouraging. Because when there’s female representation on a company’s executive team, there’s female representation in the company’s media output.
My experience with NBCUniversal was part of a Girls’ Takeover with Plan International USA. In honor of International Day of the Girl, I had the opportunity to assume Linda Yaccarino’s role as NBCUniversal’s Chairman Advertising and Partnerships.
The goal of Plan’s Takeovers this year was to bring awareness to gender inequality in media and equal representation for girls and women through the campaign #RewriteHerStory. As I spent the day with Linda and her staff, I learned about their journeys as women in the business. They’d worked their way into media leadership roles, and in doing so, they’ve not only rewritten their stories — they’ve also helped rewrite the stories of young women like me, by showing us that women are successful leaders, and women’s stories deserve to be told.
Linda’s humility and empathy for her team reminded me that no matter how high of a position you’re in, it’s critical to keep your values and respectability intact. I felt grateful to take over a position in which a woman is already present, and a woman who has admirable values and leadership skills. Her advice to me for my future endeavors? Stick to my gut. And never lose self-respect.
My Takeover ended sitting in the front row as actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and Paralympic and Olympic female athletes Melissa Stockwell and Allyson Felix took the stage. They spoke at this year’s Advertising Week dinner, which was co-hosted by NBCUniversal and Plan’s partner The Female Quotient. The women talked about their journeys in fighting for equal representation, equal pay and equal resources.
I met many other women at the Advertising Week dinner who are changemakers in a range of areas. They’re working to ensure that girls have an easier time joining the fight to achieve gender equality. That way, the next generation will know a more equal world.
From executives at a major media network, to award-winning athletes, to an A-list actress, to me — we’re all connected. We’re all women who know what gender inequality looks like, no matter the form. We know there’s an uphill battle in fighting for women’s and girls’ rights, but all of us are more than ready to rewrite the story.