Due to popular request from both attendees of this workshop and others who were unable to attend, I am posting the slides from the Talent Development for Women Executives Workshop held at the BPW International Congress in Mexico City last week. The video elements do not work with this slide share functionality, so I have removed some and replaced others with still images. I hope this will help make it more fluid. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions about it. Note that it is easier to read the text in full view version (click on easel next to the page numbers).
We are finally getting to the countdown steps of being able to launch the user site of 2BalanceU. It has been over two years since the idea of a better way for knowledge sharing struck me. The last two years have been devoted to building a global network of organisations and network leaders, designing and developing a user friendly tool, traveling far and wide speaking with and (more importantly) to listening to women. The journey has just begun in many ways, but we are getting closer to the major milestone of launching to the member level. It is time for me to sit down and write to all the wonderful people I have met in this journey to tell them the time has come to share with their communities. We shall reconnect over the conversations we held whether in living room, a conference hall or an airplane aisle.
We are sure there will be cause for celebration as well as more fires to put out. I, for one, am quite looking forward to using 2BalanceU for a way to get to the resources I sought when this all began. Of course, the resources I seek are slightly different now. I no longer am “in transition” in the sense of going from inactive in the workforce to active. I still have transitions of my own to seek guidance for. I have learned many lessons through building 2BalanceU, but finding competent people both willing and able to commit to the vision has been the greatest challenge.
Reconnecting with our advocates and building our organisation while we get through the final stages of development and launch is more than a full time endeavor. I do hope you will bear with us as we may not be as prolific on the blog. But we are far from quiet. We are just focusing our energy on developing the core one to one quality relationships that make a network work (both personally and professionally). You may hear the buzz as far apart as China or Chile. Feel free to pass it on. We are here, we look forward to launching full and strong with a site that will exceed your expectations and hopes.
For those of us with a nomadic existence, whether global or otherwise, finding “home” can often be challenging. Whether this characteristic comes from experiences that separate us from our clan, whether our clan is itself nomadic or whether we are just free spirits, the concept of home is often quite different. Cliché expressions like “home is where the heart is” translated into many languages, not simply for use in rhyme.
Every year my extended family gather in the place of our forefathers to reconnect. All airs are set aside, we leave business cards, blackberries (in theory), elevator pitches (many entrepreneurs in the bunch), suits and often watches for the time. When surrounded by people who have known you through every milestone from walking to first blemish to first kiss to graduation and first job to marriage, parenthood and life’s unfortunate dramas, there is little room for pretending. There is something freeing about just “being” and not having to be “on”. I have never lived in this place for more than two months at a stretch, but it is the only place that I have consistently returned to throughout life. It is “home” to me.
The extension of this experience has been that no matter where I am in the world, I meet people that are connected to this home. It provides the base we need to feel free to live a nomadic existence. Many of my family work and live around the globe. I believe that is because of this foundation that I have understood the true meaning and value of knowledge sharing through a network. I love having the opportunity to find ways to connect people with the answers they need and the answers to the people that will find them useful. It is as if it was a seed planted in me as a child in this place. Following the tradition of my ancestors who were involved in the China Trade, American Railroads and telephones, connecting cultures and places seems second nature. It is when I am home that I feel this connection the most.
The philosophy of our family was defined by one of our ancestors, Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Meeting with the founders of grassroots networks continues to validate the need for a tool to connect them to resources from similar networks and women involved in them for collaboration. Building and growing networks is a challenge. The value of and need for them is understood, but most take for granted that they exist and are self sustaining. It is vital to recognise the efforts of the few who are willing to, in most cases, volunteer their time to maintain and build. Much can be learned from shared research, dialog and group collaboration.