Achieving financial independence through entrepreneurship and vocational skill-set training was founder and chief visionary, Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute, Jane Wurwand’s platform to inspire a packed house of more than 1,200 participants at the half-day Status of Women conference hosted by Mount Saint Mary’s University at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
“What’s most urgent for women today is to acquire transportable vocational skills,” says Wurwand. “Vocational training is the fastest route to entrepreneurship.” A professional skin therapist and the founder of a global skin care brand; Wurwand understands from personal experience the value of vocational training and how it can help entrepreneurs achieve the American dream. She arrived in Los Angeles in 1983 from the UK with her beauty school diploma and skin therapy teaching credentials. Today, Dermalogica is not only one of the world’s leading professional skincare brands, but also an industry leader in skill-based education for professional skin therapists beyond the state licensing requirements.
At the conference, Wurwand served on a dynamic panel exploring the systemic causes and potential solutions for gender inequality. Moderated by acclaimed journalist, Tess Vigeland, Wurwand was joined on the panel by Rangita de Silva de Alwis, SJD, associate dean, international programs, University of Pennsylvania Law School and visiting fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, and Academy Award winner Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Additionally, the event’s keynote was delivered by Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”.
The Conference celebrated the release of the University’s fourth annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California, which revealed eye-opening statistics regarding gender inequalities in pay, the seeming paralysis in executive leadership by women of CEO status in California, and other critical areas of opportunity and challenge. In addition, for the first time in the history of Los Angeles, Mount Saint Mary’s University partnered with the mayoral team of Mayor Eric Garcetti to create a report on the status of women and girls specifically in Los Angeles. This second report, commissioned by the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, will help city governments advance gender equality in Los Angeles.