Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ambition abounds in women around the world

I read a nice story today that demonstrates that ambition, focus and determination can help you get results in the world of business. Voice of America reported on UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and a program called EMPRETEC which trains entrepreneurs, men and women, to develop skills and grow their businesses. The article comments that 40-50% of enterprises in developing countries are owned by women.
The article focuses on Sapphira Nyabunwa who set up a cleaning business in Uganda. She not only cleans but also offers lawn care services, defumigation, and laundry among other services, and has large clients in health care, hotels, and government. She talks of her path to setting up the business on her own. The endearing part of the article isn't simply another woman based business but the ambition it has instilled in her daughter to own her own business when she grows up. Role models are so incredibly important in the next generation.
Sapphira received second prize in the Women in Business awards now set up by EMPRETEC to award successful role models.
The first prize went to Sana Zaal Burgan, from Jordan, she had received EMPRETEC training earlier in her business career. One quote that I love is that from the training she, '...realized that I am not crazy and that thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world share my personality traits.'
A complete list of the nominees and prize winners can be found on the EMPRETEC website.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What a Day in Politics!

I was interested to find this video from the Blogher site where Erin Kotecki Vest has been attending the Democratic National Convention. She attended a panel entitled, Cracks in the Glass Ceiling. After the panel Erin interviewed the panelists, which included Marie Wilson from the White House Project. I happen to be a huge fan of Marie's book, 'Closing the Leadership Gap'. I completely agree that it is critical to get more women into politics because that is were some fundamental decisions get made that influence everything that follows. However I was a little disappointed to hear that the panelists were so keen to push for a percentage of women in government. This is a tough debate, I am still of the opinion that pushing for a quota if qualified candidates aren't available won't help the real cause.
There was an interesting turn of events later in the morning when John McCain announced his running mate to be Sarah Palen - this is a calculated vote generating move - how it plays out will come with time.

Why Are Lists of Powerful People Important?

Today Forbes posted a list they believe to be the most powerful 100 women in the world. The SFGates wrote an article highlighting that 5 women on the list come from the Bay area. It was interesting to read the comments left under the article. The posts mostly commented on the purpose of the list, or who should be higher on the list. However a numbered list of people is an easy article to write, and numbers in headlines apparently sell publications - I'm always interested in reviewing lists of people - this list brought to my attention some people I had not previously heard of like, Safra Catz President of Oracle, and Susan Decker, President of Yahoo! from the Bay area. Whenever I read about women who have made it to the top ranks it always instills a feeling of support, and thanks to them for pushing forward. Only 3% of corporations are run by women, so the article says. Many on the list are in politics, and the number one person on the list for the third year is Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.
So why are lists of powerful women important - maybe it isn't scientific but it does get attention on women forging the way for others. Lots of work to do to even make that a double digit number. I wonder if there are any predictions on when that might happen?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Most Powerful Women - Take a Break and Be Inspired

I am inspired by Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit. These are the top women in business. There was panel with lots of high flyers - Andrea Jung (CEO Avon), Anne Moore (CEO Time Inc), and Ursula Burns (President, Xerox). Here are links to three video clips from the conference.

Mentors to Most Powerful Women

Clips also on that page: Mentoring the next women CEOs (5 min) & Breaking the CEO Glass Ceiling (apologies - i wanted to link to these clips but was shortcut-hyperlinked challenged on the Fortune site).

The next summit is in October, however with a price tag of close to $4K dollars for 3 days, I'm doubtful many of us will attend, but staying tuned to hear the quality sound bytes will be worthwhile.

Now sometimes the tricky thing about keeping a blog, is that as you're about to publish a post you come across another slew of interesting information. Here's the best link I've found so far with links to video and content from previous 'Most Powerful Women' events. I haven't had a chance to check it out, but it certainly looks like empowering content. May be I shouldn't be going on vacation tomorrow, there's so much to do, and so many lessons to learn from these amazing women. But... sound body and mind is also a key foundational block for any future leader!