W Hotels Announces New Details on "What She Said" Initiative

Suzanne Cohen, Vice President, Luxury Brand in the Americas of Marriott International(W Hotels)

W Hotels has announced the next step for What She Said, the brand’s popular initiative that celebrates femininity. The initiative defines femininity by experience, not by gender, and since launching in 2016, What She Said has given a platform to Diane von Furstenberg, Jenna Lyons, Rachel Zoe, LeToya Luckett, Tig Notaro, Cheryl Hines, Niia and more.

As conversations in society have evolved, W Hotels adapted its What She Said program, which will “focus on providing safe spaces for conversation to drive progress in the gender equality movement by bringing in provocative speakers, cultivating community and sparking conversation that inspires, educates and enlightens.” In addition to panels hosted with experts, W will host at least one dinner each month, bringing often-behind-closed-doors conversations into the light through podcasts, videos and live-streamed content.

“The next iteration of What She Said will once again offer a global platform for essential conversations to be heard, navigating the challenges and triumphs of work, love, play and everything in between,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Our global presence gives us the opportunity to foster meaningful discussions in a safe space, rooted in the idea that change comes from a place of understanding and positivity.”

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W kicks off the 2018 What She Said program on February 23 at W Hollywood as What She Said with writer, producer and director, Ava DuVernay. She is the first African-American woman to win the U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic from the Sundance Film Festival for her film “Middle of Nowhere;” the first African-American woman nominated for a Golden Globe Award for directing; and the first African-American woman director to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (for her work on the film “Selma”). As the director of Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget over $100 million.

“We have a long way to go before we reach a state of equality and platforms like What She Said are helping to do the work,” said Ava DuVernay. “Like film, conversations like these can be a vehicle for empathy, a place to speak honestly about difficult aspects of society today and perhaps must importantly, a space to celebrate one another.”

What She Said will continue the conversation each month at W hotels around the world covering a range of topics, including art, design, architecture, fashion and fitness. Below are some highlights from the 2018 schedule:

  • March 5, 2018: W Boston, Women in Fitness, conversation with Olympian Nastia Liukin and local celebrity chef and James Beard Award Winner, Jody Adams
  • March 7, 2018: W Dubai – Al Habtoor City & W London – Leicester Square, International Women’s Day celebration
  • April 12, 2018: W Amsterdam, Design Panel with designers Antoinette van den Berg, Spijkers & Spijkers, Alexandra Frida, Bibi van der Velden and Loes Vrij
  • May 12-20, 2018: W New York – Times Square, Women in Architecture, in partnership with NYC Design Pavilion and NYC Design Week

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