Building tools to support Diversity

Having just returned from presenting a workshop at the ORIGIN (Organisational and Institutional Gender Information Network)annual meeting in Edinburgh, I am brought back to the core of our work, knowledge sharing. I highly recommend any of our partners to take part in such valuable discussions on best practice. The focus was on emphasizing the benefits of diversity and building the business case in the private sector and the social case in the public sector. Participants are diversity and HR representatives from Asean Development Bank, Council of Europe, European Commission, European Investment Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Space Agency, Organisation for Economic Cooperations and Development, World Bank, UNICEF, United Nations, Scottish Enterprise, ICRC, Sodexho, and the list goes on. It is groups like this, whose work often goes un-noticed but has a tremendous impact on how organisations are build into sustainable institutions with a quality blend of participants.

I will do my best provide a tool that enables you to continue the knowledge sharing and expands your ability to share to a larger audience of both people in the field and those impacted by your work. I commend each of you for your passion for the issues at hand and the work that you do. Keep it up! Thank you to Scott and Brian from Scottish Enterprise for hosting such a delightful event. Thank you Maie from UNICEF for recommending me as a presenter. It was a pleasure meeting you all.

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Glad Midsommar

As usual, it rained on Midsommar in Skåne this year. And as usual, despite the rain, we danced around the maypole, celebrated with laughter and joy, the children got soaked. We mixed cultures like a giant salad of Swedish herring, American greens, Lebanese meats, Polish singing and more. We celebrated technology by sending birthday wishes sung in five languages to the missing guest in California over the mobile phone. The children translated for each other to include all in the play. The world gets a little smaller and we become more harmonious in our voices and our actions.

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Inspiring Women

For the past three weeks I have been traveling around the world (literally) attending and presenting at conferences, meetings and experiencing new cultures. As I now sit at my desk in Sweden trying to organise my reflections, business cards and to-do lists, I am delighted in the memories. Each card I turn brings back wonderful thoughts of the interactions. I am struck by the impressions, most often from the least expected. I feel honored to have taken part and to have the chance to work with something that I feel such a passion for. Despite the geographical distance and the disparity in opportunities, we are unified in our will to create change for the better. Each woman I met inspired in different ways. I intend to write a report with pictures. But I feel the need to just express my gratitude while I assemble my thoughts.

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Report from Hanoi

“It is not enough to envision change, you must be the agent for change.” Our hosts from the Global Summit of Women in Hanoi have spent the last three days building the spirit and promoting global women and celebrating their advancement. It was an inspiring event through each speaker, delegate and participant. I feel honored to have been a part of it. I look forward to nurturing the new friendships and connections made in my time here. I will write more as I process all my notes, and sort through the pictures and video on my flight. As I prepare for my departure. I just felt the need to thank the wonderful women of Hanoi for being such delightful and gracious hostesses. Kudos for a successful Summit!

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Professional Network Used Wisely

“Thank you for the invitation, but who are you?” Unfortunately this is becoming more common. Now, the tools to help us connect with the people we do know are great. Thank goodness they are there, they help us keep up to date, as well as to learn more about potential partners and associates. A credible network based on real relationships is of far greater value than one that is purely numbers.

In the past month I have been asked to write a recommendation for someone that I am in the same network (of 6000+ members), but have not met personally. I have been asked to connect to individuals that like my profile, but have no direct relationship with. Today I got invited to attend a seminar on how to maximise presence on social networks by someone boasting 2000+ LinkedIn contacts. Now, some people are social butterflies and maybe this person has an incredible memory for the people he speaks with at conferences. But if someone was to ask him for a reference about each of those people, could he honestly provide an accurate account of what they are like as a professional peer, potential employee or partner?

Maintain a quality network. Do not degrade the value of your network simply for looking connected. Instead, Link when you meet people and feel that you have made a connection. Link while the connection is fresh. Nurture that connection by building it into a relationship beyond the link. E-mail to follow-up your conversation, and keep them in mind as you continue your paths. Something that you discussed in that first interaction might come up along the way and be worth sharing. Take the two minutes to pass it on. When someone contacts them down the line asking about you, they will certainly have a better recall than digging for your LinkedIn page to see who you are. You never know, they might even become both a friend and business partner in the process.

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Asean Women Unite in Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge sharing is in action throughout the Asean region. After meeting with the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations as well as speaking with other women in this region, I feel the rise of collaboration. These tiger ladies are ready to take the world by storm and they believe in doing it together. Of course they are competitive, but in a healthy way. Theý understand the need for knowledge sharing and they have experienced the wave of change. Nice going ladies and keep up the great work. I look forward to supporting your initiatives to connect with other women and organisations in Asia (through the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organisations (ACWO) and Women’s Register) and around the Globe.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, show me your facilities and tell me about your work. Your kindness, sincerity, integrity and wisdom has shown through in each of you. I wish you the very best in your work and look forward to meeting you all again. I might just have to take you up on the offer to speak next International Women’s Day. March in Singapore is pretty tempting for someone coming from the dark winters of Sweden. And, yes, I finally tried the chili crab and it was worth it!

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Buddha’s Wisdom

From striving comes wisdom;
from not, wisdom’s end.
Knowing these two courses
conduct yourself
so that wisdom will grow

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Balance Revisited

After a weekend in Singapore in between conferences, I feel refreshed and recovered. I am practicing my mahjong skills and delighting in all the fresh sights and sounds and tastes unfamiliar. And yet, when I pick up the paper, I see the same stories around the globe: “Help Professional Women Retrain to Rejoin the Workforce,” “The Smart Way to Do it All,” “Women Leaders Need Support,””More Women with Professional Degrees than Men,” “Weren’t We Supposed to be Beyond This By Now?”… These were headlines for articles in Singapore, Korea and Shanghai, and Europe.

Ladies, rest assured, you are not alone in your struggle and we are doing what we can to bring you together for knowledge sharing as knowledge is power. As Angela Yip, a talented artist and entrepreneur in Chinatown, helped me express my vision, I will do my best to help you express yours by creating the portal to knowledge and each other that will empower you to be the best you can be.

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