A group of marketing professionals at a large firm had a tight deadline to meet, and all week they gathered in the conference room for brainstorming discussions. The group mostly comprised young men in their late 20s, who had recently earned advanced degrees in marketing. Denise, a recent hire, felt out of place in the group - not because she wasn’t as qualified to be there, but because she was the only woman, and nearly twenty years older than everyone else.
Throughout the meetings, none of the other group members invited Denise to speak, and when she did present an idea, they dismissed it quickly. She grew frustrated and eventually stopped contributing to the conversation - which was too bad, because her idea ended up being the one that would have been the most successful.