Ladies, Wine & Design

Ladies, Wine &
Ladies, Wine & a bit of Design

Empowering creative ladies
around the world

Ladies, Wine Design was started by Jessica Walsh after writing this article as an initiative to foster women in the creative industry. Only a tiny percent of creative directors are women, and LW&D wants to help change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, and creative meet-ups. In less than two years of launching, we've spread to chapters in over 170 cities all over the world (for access to all chapters, click main menu) . In New York, LW&D is a monthly salon night limited to a small group of creative women. We’ll wine, dine, and have casual conversations on a wide variety of topics relating to creativity, business, and life. If you’re a student or creative and would like to join, please do email us. It's free to join!

NYC Events
Dec 4, 7pm, 2017 Portfolio Reviews

Bring your portfolio or website and we’ll have a discussion about your work, and and how to shape your portfolio based on your goals. Closed

Nov 13, 7pm, 2017 Inspiration & Process

Where do ideas come from? How do you start a process in order to come up with a good idea? What are the best methods or tricks for working creatively? Bring a project you’re working on, and we’ll discuss the concept and thinking behind it. Closed

Oct 16, 7pm, 2017 Creative Labels

Art director? Designer? Illustrator? Do you want to specialize, or generalize, or are you unsure? Let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s of both directions, using your existing portfolio as a guide. Special guest host: Sara Blake Closed

Sept 19, 7pm, 2017 Creative Labels

Art director? Designer? Illustrator? Do you want to specialize, or generalize, or are you unsure? Let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s of both directions, using your existing portfolio as a guide. Special guest host: Sara Blake Closed

Aug 14, 7pm, 2017 Work in Progress

Bring a piece you’re working on that you need advice on and lets all talk about the work and ideas on how to make it better! Closed

July 17, 7pm, 2017 Designer as Author

As designers we don’t need to only make other peoples brands look great. We can develop our own content & ideas and use design as a tool. Special guest host:
Irene Pereyra Closed

*DATE TBD* Social Media

Should social be kept personal or used for work? How can it be used to promote your work, gain feedback from others, and network? Lets discuss! Special guest host: Debbie Millman Closed

April 17, 7pm, 2017 Creative Leadership

Women still only represent a small percent of creative director positions. Let's discuss what we can do to shift these numbers, and discuss topics around business & creative leadership. Special guest host: Roanne Adams Closed

Mar 14, 7pm, 2017 Portfolio Reviews

Bring your portfolio or website and we’ll have a discussion about your work, and and how to shape your portfolio based on your goals. Special guest Host: Lotta Nieminen Closed

Find Your City

Chapter Website
Why are there so few women in leading positions?

It is crazy but there are only 3% of women in the creative industry working as creative directors or leadership positions. It’s the same across all industries: only 5% of CEOs are female. Why is that? Often companies are unconsciously biased and show preference for men candidates. If women do make their way in the hiring process they still face a lot of obstacles to advance in companies into senior leadership as they are less likely to get promotions in comparison to men. Why is that? Well, a lot of people still tend to think of men as assertive natural leaders while misjudge women leaders as bossy or pushy. Also women face an erosion of ambition because of stress and having trouble to balance work and family life.

As a consequence to that, there is a lack of female role models.

All those factors can affect a woman’s confidence and aspirations making them feel insecure and constantly self-doubting themselves. It is no wonder impostor syndrome affects far more women than men.

What can I do to help change the numbers?

While the numbers are staggering simple things can change them:

  • Make sure women are considered for promotions, receive feedback to get to higher positions and create action plans helping women build skills to grow as leaders;

  • Don’t only trust your personal feelings and perceptions about equity at work. Instead gather actual data and establish real parameters and gender parity metrics in the workspace;

  • Create gender-neutral career paths and encourage everyone to take part of it;

  • Do not penalize or discredit people for needing work-life balance and flexibility;

  • Keep searching for candidates until the company reaches an equal number of male and female employees;

  • Make gender parity a top-down strategic objective for the organization. Don’t just listen to what happened to a woman, but also plan what to do next;

  • Do not normalize other forms of sexism by accepting mansplaining, manterrupting, gaslighting or bropriating.


The act of explaining things in a condenscent way to a woman immediately assuming she does not have sufficient knowledge about a certain topic.


Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man, who assumes he needs to “educate” her. Then he explains obvious things to women as they are incapable of understanding it.


It is the emotional violence of manipulating a woman making her question her own sanity or capacity. Do you know that guy who calls all women “crazy”? He is the personification of gaslighting.


It happens when a man appropriates of a woman’s idea and takes credit for it.

Is there really still a pay gap between men and women?

Women earn less than men in 439 of 446 major U.S. occupations. As designers women earn 79% of their male counterparts. The average for men is $55,835 and $43,845 for women. The most effective way to change the pay gap in the industry is hiring women, paying attention to their results and efforts and rewarding equally. It sounds simple but we are not always aware of how much unconscious misogyny we might have. That means constantly questioning ourselves and making equality a central topic in our lives.

Besides pay gap, how does women experience sexism at work?

Sexual harassment is still a central major topic. 75% of people who experience it do not report it because of embarrassment or to feel threatened to not get a promotion or even be fired. But even when they do little is done. More than half of the official allegations of sexual harassments result in no charge.

Motherhood also plays a big role in the industry as woman with children have less chance to be hired. When women and men finish school and start working the gap is not that large in comparison to the next two decades.

People can be biased. And that means many times women don’t have their voice heard in meetings or are not properly credit for their ideas. It also means invalidating a woman’s hard work and attributing her success to other attributes instead, such as beauty.

Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer are  the CEO of a startup called Witchsy, an online marketplace for feminist witchy art. After weeks of slow advances and short disrespectful e-mail responses, they decided to start signing as a man – fictional Keith Mann. After that, they got fast responses, status updates and would even be asked if they wanted anything else.

How can I empower women who work with me?

Many times women’s voices are not heard and their ideas get lost in meetings.

Men are usually confident because of the subtle advantages and perceived abilities that were “naturally” attributed to them. So they instantly get their own space in the table and feel comfortable to voice their opinions and demands. So first, make sure women have their physical spot in conversations, not getting elbowed out by others. If someone interrupts her, be direct and ask the interrupter to wait for his turn to speak. If a woman’s idea gets immediately shut down, repeat, reference and credit that idea over and over. This technique is called amplification and we owe this to Obama’s administration.

Be supportive to other women at your workspace. As said before in my 12 Kinds of Kindness project, maybe some women are competitive and unsupportive of each other unconsciously because our chances of success in the industry are so much slimmer than our male counterparts’. But if we could channel this competitiveness inwards and challenge ourselves to progress as human beings, versus spending energy judging and diminishing the accomplishments of others, imagine how much more talent would be cultivated. Let’s root for each other and watch us grow.

I am not sexist. Or am I?

Most people won’t deliberately identify themselves as misogynists. So why is there so much sexism in the industry? Well, there’s something called unconscious bias. That means that even if you believe women and men are equal, the world we live in has sexist roots. Chances are that your preferences, perspectives, associations, roles and behaviours were heavily influenced by a sexist culture.

Unconscious bias can manifest in different ways, whether resisting to trust the choices of a woman or even responding different to her than you would to a man. Even Anne Hathaway went through that.

How do I have THE talk? How to tell a co-worker he/she is sexist.

Everyone wants to be kind and treat others equally. When someone has a negative attitude it might be hard for them to assume it because they don’t always identify themselves as sexists. To avoid a defensive reaction and no productive results try to point out the bad consequences of their attitudes to others instead of simply saying they are sexists. This does not mean by any way being soft with misogyny, but rather make sure you disagree with the attitude itself – not the whole person.

Is Ladies, Wine & Design a feminist project?

Yes! And you know what? You are probably a feminist too!

But first let’s first find out what side of History you are, right?

Do you think women should earn the same salary as men to work in the same positions? Do you think women should be able to vote and be voted? Should women have the right to manage their money? Should women be heard and be credited for their ideas? Should they be able to choose when and if they want to be mothers?

If you answered yes to all those questions, congratulations! You are a feminist and you believe women and men should have equal rights.

And by believing in that too, Ladies, Wine & Design foster women creativity through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews and meet-ups. We are building a global community of amazing women who want to have their voice heard in the creative industry.

How can I support LWD cause?

Start by empowering women in your workspace, make sure you are not unconsciously biased and hire the same number of women and men.

You can also follow us on Instagram, attend or sponsor a local event. They are a lot of kick-ass ladies in the creative industry. Championing them is the best way to support LWD so one day we don’t need to exist.

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