Some feminists would certainly bristle at the sea of pink, the
slumber-party vibe and the embrace of the word "girls" to describe
grown women. But Ms. Zalis, a "girls' girl," says that's
"I want women to bring their femininity to the table, bring
female intuition to the table," Ms. Zalis said. "A woman who wants
to be a man is a waste of a woman."
Plenty of companies want to be part of the movement. Ipsos, for
one, is firmly behind Ms. Zalis, who now has about 10 full-time
staffers, including hair and makeup artists, dedicated to the
"Like anything 'new,' this was met with lots of support but also
some skepticism -- myself included," said Elys Roberts, CEO of
Ipsos Marketing Practices U.S. "I did not take it too seriously at
first, but I soon saw the positive impact it was having, and it
changed my perceptions completely."
Business deals evolve organically and intimate friendships take
root, Mr. Roberts said. He has clients who are "devotees" of the
lounge -- and that's certainly good for business, though he says
the lounge isn't necessarily a business endeavor for Ipsos. "There
are a lot of benefits for our bottom line, but honestly, we don't
even track ROI as it relates to the lounge," Mr. Roberts said.
"Quite simply, we know that championing and supporting women in
business is the right thing to do. We're all in."
Companies from Tumblr (headshots) and Atlantic Records (live
music) to Hershey (chocolate)
and Tequila Avión (liquor) sponsor the lounge and "give with
love services that will help other women," Ms. Zalis said, but you
won't see any branding.
And that seems to be a big part of the magic. In the lounge,
name tags are shed, business cards are tucked away and, regardless
of the budget you wield, you're just one of the girls. "There's no
hierarchy. Everyone who enters is instantly part of the sisterhood,
regardless of age or title," said Marjorie Schussel, corporate
marketing director at Toyota. "The Girls' Lounge allows us to
motivate each other and network without a predetermined agenda or
The Girls' Lounge has a presence at nine annual industry events,
including CES, SXSW Interactive and the Cannes Lions, as well as
the 4A's and ARF. In the coming months, a portable "Girls' Lounge
in a box" will launch. Ms. Zalis said she plans to take the box to
between 10 and 12 college and corporate campuses annually.