Girls’ Lounge Fosters Camaraderie Among Female Marketers

Are complimentary salon services the secret to empowering female marketers? Shelley Zalis believes so, and other marketing professionals are jumping on-board. Zalis, CEO of US-based research company Ipsos OTX, is the founder of Ipsos Girls’ Lounge, an indulgent hotspot featuring free pampering at major ad agency, marketing and media company events. Reserved for women in marketing, the area offers complimentary hair, makeup, nail and massage services, plus occasional extras like headshot-taking, live music and the “Sisterhood Closet,” where female marketers of all levels can shop for clothes and accessories.

Seem a touch sexist at first glance? In actuality, there have been positive outcomes of the lounge worth examining. Simply put, the area supports women in business, says Zalis. Other professionals acknowledge that the Girls’ Lounge provides a platform for business deals and close friendships to develop, naturally.

And interestingly, no one’s cashing in on the idea. The names of brand sponsors (which have included biggies like Atlantic Records and Hershey Chocolate) are hidden – as are nametags of women. The reasoning? To remove all sense of hierarchy, while allow females to network and inspire each other, free of hidden agenda. The Lounge also features a “Power Conversation,” where women and men can discuss important topics such as pay equality and “work-life styling.”

It’s tough to argue an event aimed at supporting and empowering women in business, while inspiring a gender-balanced workplace. What do you think of the Girls’ Lounge?