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Davos 2015: A top woman exec explains why she’s attending

Carolyn Everson at the Facebook office in New York City.Carolyn Everson at the Facebook office in New York City.
Carolyn Everson at the Facebook office in New York City. Photograph by Mustafah Abdulaziz

For the countless year in a row, the World Economic Forum is being criticized for the shortage of women attending its annual conference in Davos.

As the gathering of business, political and thought leaders kicks off today, just 17% of attendees are expected to be women. While that percentage may seem low, it’s up slightly from 15% last year. Yet as Fortune reported, Davos’ gender breakdown is a reflection of a global reality: Too few women are in top positions at large companies and within the public sector.

Rather than focus of the shortage of women attending the conference, I wanted to hear from some strong female leaders in business who will be on the ground this week. Here’s what Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing solutions for Facebook, had to say about what she is expecting to get out of Davos.

Edited excerpts:

1. What business issues are top of mind for you that you hope will be addressed?
The power of connectivity is important and we have teams at Facebook helping to find ways to provide access to those not currently connected. The Internet enables progress and improves knowledge, economies, lives, and communities. At Facebook, my team works with the marketing partners all over the world, helping them to understand how people communicate in this ever-evolving world. Marketing is transforming – particularly as more people get connected and with the rise of mobile usage – and the shifts we are seeing today are truly impacting people, job opportunities, and also how we communicate.

2. Who are you most looking forward to hearing speak?
I am always looking to learn about how I can best inspire my team at Facebook. I’m excited to be at Davos this week, learning from and sharing with esteemed peers and global leaders. I am looking forward to “The Future Digital Economy,” during which panelists will discuss what is needed to ensure a thriving, open and secure digital economy. I am also excited for a discussion called “Leadership & Teamwork: On & Off the Field” led by Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.

3. How can we get more women to come to Davos in the future?
In the coming years, the number of attendees who are women will rise, as the conversations that are taking place all around us today are going to fundamentally impact the path for women in the future. I’m inspired by the many incredible people who have dedicated their time to programs and research in order to encourage women to pursue degrees in STEM and achieve leadership positions. The formula for future success also begins with how we teach our children about the opportunities ahead of them – and encourage them to follow their dreams, and to look past any real or perceived barriers in order to achieve them.