Inspire ME!!! Young Women Entrepreneurs

As we are entering the final stages of our Women as Change Agents Program, we have had several presentations, exhibits, and exercises exhibiting to women that we, as female, have the ability to make a profound impact. Whether starting an NGO, fighting for a cause, or starting a business, women are emerging in society as strong and competent leaders.

Today, in our program, we listened to many young women entrepreneurs that have experienced success at many different levels. All of them had important and relevant advice and offered hope and inspiration to many of us. Often, as young women, we tend to believe that there may not be opportunities like this. This day proved that with passion and will, dreams do come true. Women can harness their energy, and promote equality and empowerment while following their hearts.

I want to share these valuable skills that the women on the panel discussed with the participants in our program. These are helpful bits of advice could potentially save like-minded women time and energy. We can take these tips and hopefully learn from the many ups and downs they experienced as they began their businesses. The many adversities that they endured in the initial phases of their organization’s development could serve as a guide for potential women leaders of tomorrow.

A common theme emerged in the panel discussion. Time management was the buzz word, as these women talked about the necessities to have a healthy balance in all areas of their lives. Many of these women reflected on the difficulties in prioritization, when juggling a family and a robust career.

Passion is at the heart of all that they do. It was so transparent in all of the women speaking. You could see the light in them radiate when they discussed what many of them referred to as their “baby.” N each of the women interviewed, there was no question why they were so successful. Their passions were driven by their inner spirit, and each of them harnessed this energy in such a way it was truly inspirational and motivational for prospective women change agents.

To begin the process of starting a business or an organization, the women discussed their networking skills, having a mentor, and copying the best/leaders in their respective industries.  They all agreed that flexibility was a critical skill, and that it was extremely important to always set goals and write them down. I head a quote from a successful entrepreneur once. Tom Black, known to many as the boxcar millionaire, said, “Goals are just secrets if you don’t write them down or tell someone.”  What he was saying, and so many of these women seemed to be in agreeance, is that progress is only measureable if you make yourself accountable. To do so, it is important to write down goals with special timeframe. Some may be weekly, some may be annually. It’s important to track your progress on some level and measure where improvement and more time may need to be spent, to then move further in the right direction. Accountability is key. Making ourselves accountable, even if just to yourself, is very critical in measuring success.

Challenges and adversities were used by these women to help advance their specific passions. A strong foundation with proper time and organization is necessary for sustainability and success. It was also said to surround yourself with life minded individuals. Often there aren’t many who share our exact motivations, but that’s okay. The things you don’t do well may need to be outsourced. There were creative suggestions given for this process as well. Often trading one service or product for another was helpful in times of financial hardship, often the situation for many start-ups and non-profit organizations.

All in all, the advice and stories shared were inspirational and effective on so many levels. The way they spoke to us resonated in a way that inspired and educated. These women are proof that we can, make a change in the world, as women, as leaders, and as agents of change.

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Women who shake the World

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Now a days we are facing different problems around the world, such as violence, inequality, lack of human rights, drug trafficking, bullying, human trafficking among others etc.

However, there are many people worried about making a real change in society. for example starting revolutions, initiatives, opening schools, NGO’s, being Politicians and Fostering a new generation.

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The Women in the World Foundation is a powerful initiative dedicated to driving solutions that advance women and girls. The Foundation was born out of Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s anual Women in the World Summit, launched by the publications’ editor-in-chief, Tina Brown, in March 2010. An intimate and impactful gathering centered on vivid storytelling and live journalism, the Summit brings together women from all over the world. From CEOs and world leaders to grassroots activists and firebrand dissidents – each year the Summit brings to light the incredible stories of women and girls, looking at both their challenges and triumphs, and inspiring solutions to women’s issues (Women in the World, 2012).

 

The Daily Beast’s & the Women in the World Foundation published the 2012 “150 Fearless Women” List incluiding women from different countries, these women are making their voices heard and really became real Change Agents.

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In the Women as Change Agents Program we have different activities  such as Workshops, Panels with different Entrepreneurs and discussion time called “Coffee chats”. This Chats became very interesting, because we discuss in small groups different  kind of topics. One of the Coffe Chats was about the 150 Fearless Women, every participant choose one of this Women and tell why she is considered a Fearless women and what she did now a days.

 

My experience with this activity was awesome, first I had never heard about the  Women in the World Summit and “150 fearless women” List, also somenthing something that caught my attention was various artists who are considered fearless by his great social work. Also, getting to know the different problems living in different countries and how women act in different ways to solve problems. In the chat we discussed about this women and the similarities between each other, among this women are passion, dedication, determination, and they’re constantly focus in their goals. It is interesting for me that most of the women that we choosed have different personalities, but at the same time they all have one thing in common, helping others.

 

For more information you can look and meet 150 women who shake the world:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/features/150-women-who-shake-the-world.html

 

Different videos of different 150 fearless women:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/the-daily-beast-150-fearless-women-media_n_1325121.html#s758785&title=Tawakkol_Karman

 

 You are interested to see who´s coming to the the fourth annual Women in the World Summit 2013?  Check the link below:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/05/see-who-s-coming-to-women-in-the-world-2013-speakers-participants.html

 

*Women in the World. (2012). About us. Retrieved march 12 from : http://womenintheworld.org/pages/about

The Woman as an Agent of Change in the World

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She walks quietly, but under that calm appearance, is all fury, pure power. The common woman is as common as a storm. – Judy Grahn

In my opinion this phrase resumes what I think a woman is. Energy, light, movement, and full power.

And that’s why now days it is very important to study Women as Change Agents. Because it’s as simple as it sounds. The woman is an agent of change in every and whatever place or environment she is at. As near as in our own houses, families, friends, school, work or political office.

The woman has the power to change what she touches, whether for good or ill, thanks to all of her abilities. Some of them like kindness, passion, perseverance and determination.

So the thing is to use all of that for the good of ourselves, our family, society and country. It is our responsibility, our compromise; at least it should be, to all of us who want to make a change.

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Obviously each country has it’s own obstacles and the way they face them. The problem with women in my country, Mexico, (besides of the still existing violence and discrimination) is:

The battle and difference between the women who are starting to stand up for all of us, women and more people who have already noticed that there is an issue with the way women are still seen and treated and that it needs to be changed (and cannot be unless we start it ourselves)

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The ones who still don’t see the problem, who still think that any type of violence towards woman can be permitted and won’t do anything about it.

So I think that’s our major goal, to make even the number of women who want a change to the women who don’t have any idea about it.

AND that could be a goal for the entire world because the issue that Mexico crosses is very much likely to the one the world does. There’s still violence and discrimination to women worldwide, although in some countries more than others. We’re missing not the desire to make a change, not the information about it, not the needed tools to do it; but all the “other half” of women who aren’t on our side. On the side of change. On the side of success, opportunities, freedom, power… on the side of equality.

To change the subject… on this course that I’m taking -Woman as Change Agents- has helped me so far to learn more about leadership. I’ve learned really useful skills to persevere and to not let down the work that is being done or the one I want to make because of external factors, obstacles or own weaknesses. On the contrary to encourage myself and the other people to move forward. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT. And if you have passion and determination you have everything that’s needed.

Any type of major or deep change does not come easy and does not happen overnight, at least in those changes where change has been successful.  -John P. Kotter

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Embera Community

This past Sunday March 10th we, the Women as Change Agents 2013, had the wonderful opportunity to go visit a village of Emberá Indians. It was a wonderful day filled with learning and excitement for we got to learn about the way of life of this very interesting culture. I was amazed at how much I learned from these people in just a couple of hours, so I will share some of the learning I attained during my visit.

Their religion is based on two gods, the sky and Mother Nature. Since Mother Nature is their god, they live their life´s in accordance to this, all their buildings and structures must adapt to the earth. They rely on plants to be their medicine and to keep them healthy. And lastly when they are out hunting they are very careful with the animals they choose to hunt, they try to choose older ones and preferably males so they do not interrupt the normal life cycle as much.

I was so intrigued by their colorful and cheerful community I began to ask to the natives about their rituals and traditions. I was amazed to learn that women had active rolls in their traditions, for instance women could be Caciques of their community if the people voted for her.

I believe we can learn a lot from them, their way of caring for the earth and their way to work as a community and joining forces disregarding gender and focusing more in the qualities of each person. I think it was a blessing to go on this visit because I related to them and understood the importance of working together with your peers and the earth. I understand that working together we will get farther in life and achieve more things than if we work alone.

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emberá

The Emberá

Visiting the Emberá

DSC08170One of the activities I like the most in our Global Leadership program: Women as Agent Chang 2013 had been the fact of going and visiting the Emberá. This is a beautiful indigenous ethnic group who lives in Panamá where we have the honor to visit them and see all their culture.

DSC08053To me it was such a great experience to see that they still preserve many of their traditions even when they live from the tourism, for example when we first arrive we saw their typical women dance while the men were playing the musical instruments. After that we could look for their crafts and we could eat their delicious fish with patacones just cooked by an Emberá woman.  It was amazing also to have the opportunity of being dancing with all of them and have that relationship so close with the ladies and the kids, I think playing with  the kids was for me the nicest because I love kids in general.

Apart from this we could also learned the way they live, the cacique or the on in charge of the indigenous region group told us about the way they construct their houses close to the rivers and all the materials they use to do it. He explained us that the houses are constructed very tall to be more secure, in case of a flood or to be apart from the animals. Also he told us that they cure themselves in case of being sick, they have their own botanical plants and they are really prepared for that. The community in summary live from the tourism also, so they were explaining us the way that they separate their roles, each of one has an specific one so its easier to carry out their way of living

DSC08084A point that I realized was that the cacique for me is a person who is really updated in the way of thinking and aware of the issues in the actual world, but he still preserves the Emberá culture. I could see that he is very open-minded in the idea of getting contact with the outside of their community and he believe that their kids should go to school and learn to be more independent once they are grown up, idea which I liked very much.

DSC08047What I also like was that the green area where they live is very conserved and protected from the indigenous people, I could see that they are very aware of the fact that they should not cut the trees if its not necessary and for example they don’t fish the small ones, they know they still have to grow up to preserve more the specie.I was very impressed of the way of living and thinking, that´s why I really like this activity a lot, for me is very important to know the culture before trying to do a change, so I am really happy to going there.I hope I can come back to this indigenous group again in my life and share even more that I share this first time.

Women are women’s worst enemies!

“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture…

Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.” 

Erica JongFear of Flying

On Saturday Ms. Peterson, an HR and organization development consultant,  gave us a talk about women as agents of change and what role they play in society. At first, the first thing one can think and does occur in most situations is that women suffer severe discrimination in the social aspect but also in the labor aspect. At some point in our lives we have heard or even experienced the situation where men have a better job than a woman and not by their skills and experience but simply by the fact of “being a woman”. Therefore, it becomes a constant struggle of women to compete with men, to be respected and that their coworkers realize how valuable it is women as employees and leaders in a company.

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However, I realized I had been wrong because in the middle of the exposition one of the attendees said that she worked in a bank, one of the places you might call “men’s world”, however, she had no problems currently with a man, instead she had it with a woman and was for a competition issue. Then, Ms. Peterson said this quote: “sometimes women are women’s worst enemies”.

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At first I did not understand how this could be possible, but then Ms. Peterson explained that both women and men have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of women was that they internalized too much what other people say and therefore are more easily affected, whereas men were more practical.

The important thing is to realize what strengths we have and what strengths men have and find a middle ground between the two, so we will better be able to overcome the adversities that we will have along our way.

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If we analyze the phrase “women are women’s worst enemies” also follows the idea that women tend to be their own worst judges. We tend to be very unfair to ourselves and feel guilty for the things we do and we are constantly apologizing for our actions. For this reason, we find it hard to recognize in front of others our achievements because we believe that “bragging” is something negative, but it really is not.

The first step in getting other people to respect us is to RESPECT OURSELVES. We should not feel bad for talking about our achievements, because if we do not talk about them NOBODY WILL DO IT FOR US. We must realize how valuable we are and feel proud of our accomplishments. In this way, we will be able to reflect leadership and confidence and we will be more able to be an example for others. If you really know yourselves you are going to be able to identify what are your strengths and what are your flaws, do not be afraid that people around you know that.

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Finally I want to leave you with this message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MRikcyYOZ4

I hope you enjoy it!

Interesting speaches for leadership skills…

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So far my classes have been very interesting and very useful to my knowledge and my development as a leader (and as a person of course).

As I can’t decide which activity to write about that has caused more impact in me (because the majority of them have) I’ve decided to put three and talk a little about each of them.

First of all, the speaker Debbie Pshycoyos. She is the founder of ProEd, which is an NGO in charge of promoting quality education through more enthusiastic and prepared teachers and the transformation of class rooms.

Second, on the visit we had to the US Embassy in Panamá, we had a speaker named Sajira, but known as “Candelita”. Candelita is the name of her own company that she founded herself after a lot of thinking and a lot of work and obstacles. And maybe thinking that she had anything on her favor or on her side she is finally one of the best on what she does, little scented candles. She really is a leader because she combines humility with determination and passion.

At last but not least there was this panel where women from different countries and organizations or companies came and talked to us about the process they’ve been through and the obstacles they’ve faced to make some action. It really caught my attention because I could take with me phrases or advices that can be useful for me in the future.

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For example Leanne Moss said “It’s better to say I did it rather than I gave up”. And encouraged us to take risks.  For Ellise Judge it is important to know yourself so that you can know what you’re passionate about. And Eva Rodriguez who is a total entrepreneur and the broker between china and Latin America besides of owner of different fragrances, thinks that there’s always a solution you just have to work harder, and keep on improving everything you do. She concluded a woman CAN have it all, it’s all about balance

I liked this three expositions a lot because in some way I feel related to them, to the story or the purpose of the organization. For example, with Debbie I feel related with the kind of work that she does because it involves education, kids and in consequence transformation and change in a community. Besides I’ve always seen so near education and improvement of teaching because my mom is a principal of a school in Monterrey and has always cared for that same cause. I liked the project so much I think I’m going to take it to my city.

With “Candelita”, it made me kind of feel like if I was “at home” because her story and the way she told it and where she comes from seems so easy to get. And not easy as if anyone can do it, no. But because it was hard and because she could go trough all of that and at the end get it, makes you feel like you can make it too.

WE CAN ALL DO GREAT THINGS, IT’S JUST A MATTER OF DETERMINATION.

To know more about ProEd: https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/15110/research.pdf?sequence=2

Women and Power.

Topic: Women and Power

Speaker: Claire Peterson

Ms. Peterson is an HR and organization development consultant based over fourteen years’ experience as supervisor, training, project management, US and international non-profit management, program development, fundraising and technical assistance.

She came to the women as a change agents program to share with us her experience which is quite a lot, a really inspiring and role model woman, she exposed the topic through a workshop named women and power; basically analyzing the role we play in a team, how you overcome your challenges, why are we here, what’s our goal and mission on life and finally a comparison between women and men with an activity called “role play debrief”.

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So there’s some ways of handling situations of be living in a inequality world; through a brain storm and personal experiences we came out with solutions or positions that you need to take in order not to be affect by that negative feelings such as pray, step by step, responsibility, maturity, adaptability, shut up!, tolerance, don’t take it personal, mirror image, re-framing, creative thinking, take away the ego and patience.

She made us make an activity really interesting; it consists in act two different situations at work;

Situation A: It was an employee who was running late to her work so she needed to confront her boss whom was a leader direct and hard. During the conversation it turned into discussion by the way in which the boss is closed to understand the excuse and reason why the employee was late, this leader was only interested about the tasks that had to be done, no matter what reason the girls had, so at the end they couldn’t get a solution and he just fired her.

Situation B: This situation was about the same girl who had running late for work but with a female boss, this conversation took a different course to the last, the conversation was in a reciprocal manner, the employee felt more comfortable and took a positive attitude toward wanting to solve the problem and put her efforts just because of the positive and empathic attitude of the leader which made ​​her feel important to the company, yet understood by her boss.

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So this speaker gave us a really good picture of the reality of women as a leader, we are capable of do amazing and huge things, because is on our nature to be more empathic and using a really interesting tactic: the “positive-negative-positive” which means we know how to say ok, you did a great job past week (positive), BUT you had been running late for several days (negative) but I know you can fix it and get back to work as usual (positive).

In conclusion we need to get the best we can do and the best men can do to create that perfect combination and make the change.

I recommend a book which the speaker, Ms. Claire recommends: the three levels of leadership by James Scouller. You can have an online view access on this link:

http://wdn.ipublishcentral.net/management_books_2000/viewinside/21722192784414

By: Melissa Méndez Rodríguez.

Women as change agents and issues they face

Why should we study women as change agents? For some people is not worthy, but for me it is like asking if a person of today should know how to send e-mails or use a cell phone. Our world is always facing changes, sometimes they come with wars, others with science, just to name a few; but there’s always something evoking change and evolution. Germans have a very peculiar term called “zeitgeist”, which is used to refer to a person, situation or mood that describes a specific. I think that today’s zeitgeist is definitely technology and women movements and leaders. Both of these aspects are causing great continuous change all around the world.

Women are taking on activities that were reserved only to men, making a sort of stand by showing their capacity to do them. Women are thriving in different areas such as science, entrepreneurs, organizations, social studies, etc.; but they are not stopping there. Women are changing the way of things, throwing away old ways and making new ones. By studying women as change agents we are keeping up with this constant evolution, were an old male world turns into this new equity modern one.

We should be admiring at these women that risk so much in the process of changing. It’s fundamental that we study how they think, work, act, take decisions, and deal with problems, etc. since it’s our turn to carry on with this evolution.

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(Retrieved from:
http://spinsucks.com/entrepreneur/changing-the-world-for-women-one-organization-at-a-time/)

It all sounds so ideal, right? Women deciding to make a change and making it happen. But in reality is a lot harder than in seems. It’s a real struggle where they face many issues. In Mexico I think the biggest issue women face is the very closed, very male chauvinist mentality most of the population has, both men and women. Even thought Mexico has an annual growth rate of 3%, the mentality hardly changes. Some people my age have the same mentality of a 80 year old Mexican, for example that women and men are not equals, that women should earn less, that their role in life is to have and raise children, and the ones that work are bad mothers. I believe this issue is the hardest women as change agent have to deal with, because beliefs are the hardest thing to change.

Women worldwide face this same problem, along with others. I think the greatest issue women face around the world is ignorance; people not knowing what equality can do to the world in every aspect. How by hearing what women have to say can benefit all of us. Men and women are not the same, we differ in a lot of aspects; each on their own can do great thinks, but we need to realize that together we can go much further. Ignorance has another side: women not realizing their power and their capacity to change and improve. Women need to stick together and realize all they can when they support each other. Move past that competition with one another I think we all have experienced and just be happy for other women who move forward and get to places. We need to really help each other and make individual problems our own. Only by realizing this, women will be able to overcome this oppressing ignorance. For the rest if the world to believe in women, women have to believe on them selves and on each other first.

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(Retrieved from: http://wp.clicrbs.com.br/saudedohomem/?topo=52,1,1,,170,e170)

Women can be the Change!

Why should we study Women as Change Agents, first is because many times we think we know what is happening around us, even we do not realize about the different issues of women happening around the world. Sometimes we believe that in our social circle we don’t have experienced violence, inequality because we are in front of student groups or social projects but it doesn’t mean that this occur everywhere.

Another important reason to study Women as Change Agents is how women’s can be empowered to be real change agents, but what is empower woman? In conclusion is to give women the tools to make them believe in themselves, give them the power to do it.

In my own way I think that studying Women as Change Agents will help me to learn about the problems or issues that women are currently living around the world and how the empowerment can apply to women to became those people who take risks, generate ideas and create change in their environment. Also is important to realize that we have the power to make things happen.

The main problems or issues that my country is facing are the inequality in public charges or the lack participation of Women in Politics. As Ana Guezmes García, the regional director of the UN Women said in a interview that “The Political participation of women in Mexico is insufficient to meet the international commitment that is to occupy at least 30% of elected positions” (El Universal, 2012).  This is something that should really worry. The reason of why Women do not hold Public charges isn’t lack of leadership, capability or the potential. As we see in world history there have been women been in front of governments and social movements, but the problem here is the inequality the barriers that society still puts on us, and the lack of knowledge we have about each has the power to being in those charges and make the change.

As we seen in the program first we need to understand what is a change, My desire is that we become interested in learning more about these topics related to women leadership, there are many things to discover, learn and a lot to change not only in our environment. We need start the change first in ourselves in order to spread it to others. This experience the Global Leadership Program, Women as Change Agents is a great opportunity to learn more about Women’s Leadership

Make  things Happen!

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El Universal. (2012). “Incumple México metas de acceso político a mujeres” Retrieved from:  http://mujeres.especial.eluniversal.com.mx/2012/03/08/incumple-mexico-metas-de-acceso-politico-a-mujeres/