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.