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Xavier Hermosillois the President of CrisisPros, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 20 years ago ( and is based in his native San Pedro, CA. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning print reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He is an elected member of the Board of Directors of CGI Holdings, Inc., ( a publicly-traded company that is headquartered in Chicago. He co-founded a NASDAQ company based in Chicago, serves as a Hearing Examiner for the L.A. Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds Honors degrees in Administration of Justice, Marketing and Management. He can be reached at

May 2, 2005

There has been a campaign in this country in the last few years, helped along by the media, to encourage young girls to pursue science and math in schools because we were told there would be a shortage of women in science, medicine, and related fields in the years to come.

It worked on me because my wife and I did all we could to prepare our youngest daughter for the future by introducing her to computers early in life, getting her early tutoring for math and science, encouraging her to take classes in middle and high school that challenged her in those areas, etc.

Now in her junior year in college, she’s heavily into the world of science, she’s a computer whiz, and I am glad we helped close the gender gap in math and science by one person.

Now, I am not so sure that there is a gap any more and while I would be the last one to discourage anything that lessens students developing their skills in math and science, I just had an experience on this topic that I thought was worth sharing.

In my role as a Director of a publicly traded (American Stock Exchange) company comprised of several technology companies, I was asked to attend an Internet trade show called Ad-Tech. This
digital marketing conference for marketing leaders included both online and offline advertising, marketing, and communications agencies, Internet giants like Google, and firms you have never of who operate behind the scenes and make it easier for us to shop, research, and in too many cases, waste hour after hour online.

Without a doubt, the most startling impression I got from the three-day show was how many young women were there as owners, high level technology executives, or in charge of sales and major accounts. I guess I had expected to see a lot of guys named Raj and Sinder with heavy South Asian accents dominating the convention halls.

Instead, I found the age 21 to 35 female demographic in very heavy supply. They were talking SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Rich Media, affiliate marketing, remote DNS servers, and other words of the English language that most Americans have never heard. The gender breakdown was about 50-50, but the women were generally more of a magnet for the 5,000 attendees of both genders.

They were a savvy bunch in technology, sales, and in the intricacies of many of the industries represented by the attendees who were looking for solutions for their businesses. Equally, there were multitudes of women, of all ages, strolling through the exhibit halls looking for products and services for their technology companies.

It was enough to make a guy wonder why, if women have made such great strides in the renowned industry of the future, there has been such a hue and cry about the lack of opportunities for women in the business world, and such a lack of women prepared to compete in the world of technology.

There was a slightly different picture when you left the exhibit hall and went to the more than 50 conference sessions where all the experts and Internet gurus dispense advice. I found that approximately 22 per cent of the conference speakers were female, but in terms of the moderators or facilitators of the sessions, the role of women increased to 33 per cent.

The world of advertising in technology is still evolving, as is the use of the Internet by average people around the globe, especially in developed nations. Yet, it is clear to me that women already are significant players in this industry and I don’t think enough attention has been paid to that.

More importantly, YOUNG women appear to comprise the majority of the up-and-comers in the ‘E” world and I would have had to be blind to see that. From the hip hugger jeans exposing the pierced navels, to the tattoos on the exposed lower backs and tops of the ankle’s backside, to the young vocabulary that dominated the convention, it was clear youth was in charge.

One vendor even held a private “booze” party for 21 to 26 year-olds in a private penthouse at a swank hotel several blocks from the headquarters hotel. He told me that “the kids want to be kids and get drunk AWAY from their bosses and customers.” The young people are the lifeblood of the fastest growing and probably most innovative business sector to come along in decades, if not centuries, and this carries its own level of stress. For young, fairly inexperienced entrepreneurs and employees, it’s a great field to be in, but they too need an outlet for that stress.

It reminds me of the axiom that “when I work, I work hard, and when I play, I play hard.” I think the news media needs to pay more attention to the tremendous inroads young people, especially women, have made by taking the time to master a little bit of the worlds of math and science.

There is always the need to motivate our youth because too many aren’t sure what they want to do in life. But it wasn’t more than six to ten years ago that the media parroted the woeful drones of educators and business leaders that the future of U.S. business was doomed because we lacked the ability to stay competitive in math and science.

I think we should concede that we are well on the way to avoiding such a brain drain disaster, at least in the world of technology and in one of the newest industries - advertising, marketing and communications on the World Wide Web.