Sarah Soliman Daudin
President & CEO
Soliman Productions, Inc.
Owner & Partner, SarahxCourtney
Motivational Speaker & Writer
Owner & Partner, SarahxCourtney
For igniting the #Meetingstoo movement and creating a partnership to provide mentoring to women
Stanley: Since experiencing sexual harassment during my first job in the meetings industry seven years ago, I have made an effort to bring the issue to the forefront of our community through speaking at conferences and writing articles for industry publications. Just before the #MeToo movement was ignited, I wrote an article called, “Sexual Harassment Is Wrong and It’s Happening in the Meetings Industry,” in which I shared testimonials from anonymous industry peers about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. After the #MeToo movement began to pick up momentum, I again experienced sexual harassment from an industry peer. I knew that I had to work harder and differently to demand that our community strive for better, which is when I realized that we needed to unite our industry through one shared movement: #MeetingsToo.
I shared what happened with Sarah, who was in the process of interviewing me about the problem of sexual harassment in the meetings industry, and we had a raw, genuine conversation about the seriousness of the issue. We each had our own stories to share and agreed that so much more needed to be done.
Together we took the stage at Meeting Professionals International’s 2018 World Education Congress and presented a session called “#MeetingsToo: How to Prevent Sexual Harassment at Meetings and Events.” After that, we went on to present our #MeetingsToo session all around the country, sharing tangible action plans with meeting professionals and engaging in honest conversations with both men and women, exchanging stories and collaborating on solution-oriented ideas.
The #MeetingsToo hashtag has not only been adopted by our peers, but also by the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, which helps to unify our community around the issue.
Soliman Daudin: Courtney and I believe that women achieve more when they work together and when they learn from one another, which is the concept that inspired us to launch our official partnership, SarahxCourtney. Our mission is to help women grow personally and professionally through sharing knowledge and experiences by providing intentional mentorship. So many women struggle to find a mentor, which we believe can greatly impact one’s career. We want to help provide a solution, so we created a one-to-one mentorship program where we coach business professionals in areas such as confidence development, personal branding (digital and offline), mental health and anxiety management, strategic networking, board engagement, and more.
Biggest Role Model
Soliman Daudin: My role model in business has been Kat Cole, president and COO, North America for Focus Brands. I watched her keynote presentation and had a chance to interview her and have been mesmerized ever since. Her story of going from a Hooters hostess to a Fortune 500 business executive before the age of 40 is truly inspiring.
Best Business Advice
Stanley: When I first decided I was going to speak honestly and vulnerably about the issue of sexual harassment in the meetings industry, I confided in a mentor of mine who said to me, “Prepare for backlash. Not everyone is going to believe you, and not everyone is going to support you. You are going to lose some friends, and you have to be okay with that.” I have always found that success without integrity does not feel like an accomplishment. Not only does his advice apply to the work I’m doing around the #Meetingstoo movement, but it also applies to many areas of business and life. To be authentically, unapologetically our best self—that’s real success.