Global Summit of Women – Building an Inclusive Economy in the Digital Age


Building an Inclusive Economy in the Digital Age

In late 2015 I received information about the Global Summit of Women (GSW) from a colleague at Capgemini. Although I’ve been involved with organizations that support advancement and development of women professionals for many years, I’d never heard of this one before. My first reaction was I needed to be more aware of international programs like this.


Seeking more information and a better understanding of the potential of this organization I checked out the website and was very impressed. The breadth of geographical areas represented and the backgrounds of participants were unbelievable. Not only did I want to attend but I identified a panel on addressing the skills gap in the digital age, where I knew I could make a contribution. I immediately reached out to Irene Natividad, President of Global Summit of Women to introduce myself and offer my service. I wound up attending the 2016 Summit, served as a panelist, and came away forever changed.

Wonderful welcome as you arrive at the Global Summit of Women

Writing about the experience hardly conveys the impact it had on me. At least this blog will provide an idea of how meaningful this annual event is and hopefully encourage more of you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a truly global environment of friendship and support.

Each year the Summit is held on a different continent. Brazil hosted the 25th anniversary program in 2015. In 2016 the location was Warsaw, Poland. In 2017 it will convene in Tokyo, Japan. Over 1200 women from 95 different countries participated. The purpose was well described in Irene’s welcoming letter:


“The Summit’s goal of providing a global forum in which exchanges of effective strategies forged by women in all three sectors of society- government, business or civil society- continues to be timely and much needed.“

“The 2016 theme- Women- Building an Inclusive Economy in the Digital Age– spotlights women’s influence in creating stronger economies in this era of new technologies.”

Speakers at the opening ceremony included:

Beata Szudlo, Prime Minister of Poland

Dnag Th Ngox Thinh, VP of Vietnam

Laimdota Straujuma, Former Prime Minister of Latvia


Honored to meet Atifete Jahjaga, Former President of Kosovo.

The two days of the Summit start with a few plenary sessions in the morning followed by breakout sessions featuring 3 different tracks: Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship, and Issues. One of the plenary sessions on the first day was a Male CEO Forum- Defining an Equitable Workplace. Moderated by Lisa Kassenaar, Editor of Global Diversity for Bloomberg News, the panelists were:

  • Manfred Bischoff, Chair of the Board, Daimler (Germany)
  • Michel Khalaf, Presdient, EMEA Metlife (UAE)
  • Alastair Teare, CEO, Deloitte Central Europe (U.K.)
  • Marco Vilaa, President-Technip, Region EMIA (Italy)
  • Slawomir Sikora, CEO, Citi Handlowy (Poland)


The insights these world leaders shared displayed their commitment to working across countries and boundaries of diverse thinking.


As I shared earlier, I was a panelist for one of the Issues breakout sessions: Bringing More Women Into Tech Careers in the Digital Age. The topic resonated with me as it’s an issue I’ve been working on for years and was looking forward to sharing my perspective with my fellow panelists, Claudine Schmuck, Founder of Global Contact (France) and Katarzyna Majewska, Head of Operations & Technology, Citi Handlowy (Poland). Our moderator Gloria Lorenzo, Senior Director of Software Development for Oracle in Spain, was a master at brining our ideas alive on the stage. Gloria described the panel as follows:


“I learned a lot from three women on my panel. Sheryl Chamberlain, share her experience at Capgemini and her role as Head of Hult Prize Foundation Council. Claudine Schmuck, shared the results of her investigation through Global Contact plus some of the initiatives she is supporting in France and Katarzyna Majewska and her work in a big company like CIO Group and the challenges she has to find good IT girls. All women shared the same goal, to bring more women to STEM. During a short conversation we learned a lot and got very good tips to progress in our own work or to even to progress together. It was a unique opportunity to connect all the work done in different fields”


For me, the perspectives each of us brought to the discussion where inspiring, but more importantly the audience agreed to take action as we returned to our day jobs, at home in our respective countries.

There was a lot of content to absorb in just a few short days. I wish sessions had been recorded since the breakout format meant we were always missing what was happening in the other breakout rooms. But, then the Summit was about so much more than the meetings. It was an opportunity to connect with a remarkable group of women coming from wildly different backgrounds, all committed to make the world a better place by working together.


One of my new ‘sisters’ is Claudia Freed, CEO & President of EAL Green. EAL stands for Empower Access to Learning. In other words- it provides scholarships. The “Green” refers to how they get the money. They collect excess inventory from major companies (which otherwise would go into landfill), providing sorely needed equipment and supplies to universities at little or no cost, and providing scholarships for students in need. Claudine’s been doing this for over 20 years. This Summit was her second. What made it worth her while to attend?


“I believe it has been an important milestone in my career to be committed to participate in these and other global-scale purpose- driven networking convenings. I want to help improve the world.

“….the most important takeaway is the re-affirmation that relationships take time and that they are invaluable asset not easily replaced with technology or digital communication.”


In 2017 the Global Summit for Women will be held in Japan May 11-13. I already have it on my calendar. I hope to see some of you there.

Boldness & Creativity, Drivers of Success For Women

Women Large

In recognition of my passion for supporting and promoting the advancement of women in business and technology, and of my leadership role in this capacity within our firm, I was asked by Isabelle Roux-Chenu Founder Women@Capgemini and Group General Counsel to organize an event that would present a panel of women leaders discussing the importance of making bold choices to achieve success in business.  It was an honor to be asked to do this and the event was held at Capgemini’s corporate headquarters in Tilsitt, Paris on July 7, 2015.  Isabelle was the host and together we moderated the panel discussion.  The panelists were successful women executives and leaders representing diverse cultural, generational, and professional backgrounds and experiences.  They were:

  • Hélène Barnekow, CEO Sweden at TeliaSonera
  • Nutan Wozencroft, Chief Financial Officer at UNESCO
  • Katherine Corich, Global CEO & Founder of Sysdoc Group
  • Aurélie Sykes-Darmon founding member of WoMen’Up

Each panelist was asked to discuss the challenges she has faced in her professional and personal journey and the bold actions she sometimes needed to take to address those challenges.  The result was a fascinating discussion filled with useful and practical insights, some commonalities, and a mutual understanding of each woman’s unique path.

The audience

Challenges across cultures and generations  

Hélène explained her perspective on the power and impact of more diverse teams. She stated that “in today’s digital world anything can be replicated. To differentiate yourself in the market companies need to ensure they have leadership teams with diverse perspectives thereby instilling fertile ground to drive innovation solutions, cultivating collaboration, and delivering new levels of success”. Recently promoted from Chief Commercial Officer to CEO of TeliaSonera Sweden, Hélène discussed some of the bold steps she has taken to transform her teams by including more women and requiring that at least one woman be included on every short list when recruiting managers. Now, as CEO, she can ensure her vision is implemented more broadly across the organization.


Nutan shared her experience of cultural and social obstacles as a woman of Indian origin born in Austria and educated in England. She chose to follow an unconventional career path with the intent to broaden her skills, beginning as a trainee accountant at a medium-sized firm to gain experience in many types of enterprises and different areas of finance. Frequently finding herself to be the only female and the only ethnic minority in the room, Nutan realized that it was important to define her own working style. Following a long stint as a Financial Controller of a large international charity, she worked as a consultant focusing on strategic planning and change management, impacting countries like Malawi, Kenya, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and South Africa.

GWLN Sisters

When Katherine started working, she found very few role models to provide guidance. About the time she was starting her own business, she decided she wanted to get a pilot’s license. She was told that women couldn’t be pilots. [This was at a time when women did not become pilots.] Rather than give in to that view, she used her own money to learn what it takes to manage a plane and what is required for being a great pilot ultimately becoming a licensed commercial pilot. Key to both: a structure that enabled the pilot to systematically make sure the plane was in good flying condition and all appropriate steps were done prior to takeoff. Katherine used that sense of order to convince her boss to improve their risk management procedures at the London Stock Exchange. She went on to create her own consulting firm – Sysdoc Group, which now has a consultant reach in over 72 countries. Katherine brought that kind of orderliness to her business, implementing policies that provided guidance and creating a healthy environment to empower her employees. She finds these practices are in line with the younger generation’s expectations and are in fact attracting more male employees.


Aurélie shared her thoughts from the point of view of a young woman working as a consultant in the television industry and an active member of WoMen’Up. WoMen’Up is an organization that deals with gender balance issues within the corporate world from the point of view of “Gen Y” or “Millennials” – the generation of people born in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Based on a survey titled “What do men think?” taken by WoMen’Up in partnership with the consulting group Mazars, she explained that “Millennials” have long been exposed to gender balance issues and are thus much more favorably included to having women in the corporate world and working with diverse teams.


Closing the discussion, Katherine reminded all women to know their personal and professional worth and to negotiate their careers with confidence based on this knowledge. And Nutan added: “It was interesting to see that, despite our different backgrounds and cultures, we  (as women leaders) upheld common principles.  I feel strongly that as women in position of influence we must think about the policies and management ethos that we promote and whether they limit access. Being a role model is good, but we really need women leaders that advance the cause for ordinary women.”

Women Large 2

The question for senior women leaders is- What can you do to support other women to be successful in whatever they choose to do? As for male leaders- What can you do to raise awareness of and reduce subtle biases that hinder advancement of women in your organization and elsewhere?  In case you’d like some guidance, here are some useful resources:

Change Tomorrow Today – Maximize Human Potential Through Education


Did you know that more than 100 million children under the age of six in developing countries currently fail to reach their potential in cognitive development? Can we be part of the solution and find innovative ways to deliver quality early education to millions of underprivileged children who desperately need to get education at the earliest ages in or near the world’s cities? This was the challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.

Hult Prize and Clinton Global Initiative

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton – Hult Prize Finals NYC

The Hult Prize competition is a response to President Bill Clinton’s call to action for the world’s brightest minds to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. In the past, the Hult Prize Challenge tackled housing, energy, education, food security, and healthcare challenges on a global level, and the competition has yielded teams with powerful and transforming ideas. Winning teams managed to not only develop these ideas but also implement them in serving the greater good. In its 6th year, the Hult Prize challenge asks global university teams to find new sustainable social enterprise approaches to promote and increase early childhood development and help the not so privileged children access quality education. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture. This year 20,000 applications were received from more than 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

Hult Prize Judges


A key element of the story, and the power of Hult Prize, is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world. Another equally important part of the story is about the opportunity and gratification of being a judge. The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders, and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

This is my 3rd year as a Hult Prize judge. I will be working with Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of Hult Prize, to create an alumni group of judges providing a unique opportunity to continue the experience and impact of being a judge, in addition to building a foundation upon which past and current judges can collaborate on providing a platform for extending the impact of social entrepreneurship. More to come in the next few months on this topic.

Hult Prize Regional Competition

Faces of Students

Faces of Students

An international rolling judging process follows the sun starting at Hult campuses in Dubai, Shanghai, London, Boston, and finishes in San Francisco. At my location in San Francisco we had 4 groups, 4 judges for each group, and a morning and afternoon pitch contest, 7 in each session. One difference in the process this year was having peer group students listening to the pitch and providing feedback to the judges prior to the deliberation process. I facilitated the discussion between the students and my fellow judges and found that, while the day was longer than it had been in prior years, interacting with the students provided additional insight supporting the decision making process.

Selecting the San Francisco Regional Winner

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

After hearing the presentations of the final 8 teams, the 16 judges convened in a tent at Levi Center to vote on the San Francisco regional winner. You would think that after a long day of judging (over 10 hours) that we would exhausted from the long day. Instead, each of us came to the room initially voting for the team we had brought to the final selection process. Via deep discussion about the winning criteria, which included innovative idea, clear business plan, partnerships, and a line of sight to execute against their vision, we concluded and selected Athollo, University of Tampa, to move to the New York finals. Their tag line – Maximizing Human Potential Through Education. Their vision, provide top quality early childhood education for children living in urban slums of developing nations through the utilization of mobile phones of female micro-entrepreneurs. In doing so, they endeavor to alleviate the inaccessibility of education around the world. It will be interesting to see how their idea matures through the summer Hult Prize accelerator program.

Call to Action

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  This year Hult Prize brought back the online challenge round, which gives all of the entries a second chance to make it to NYC as our “sixth” regional winner. The online round runs from March 16 – May 8. Join us there

Together, I am confident we can make a difference.

Honorable Mention

Amanda Boyek, San Francisco Regional Director, Hult Prize

Amanda Boyek, San Fran Regional Director, Hult Prize

Kicking off the San Francisco regionals was Amanda Boyek, 2014 finalist and after graduating SF Regional Director, Hult Prize.   She was on Team Monterey, the team my group of judges selected. We are now connected forever with our shared passion for social entrepreneurship and the Hult Prize. For me Amanda, young, bright and passionate is already showcasing the impact of her leader’s legacy.

Shape Your Mobile & Cloud Strategy Join Me @VMworld Barcelona


VMworld Europe will bring together individuals and entities from 92 different nations to share and compare the latest in virtualization technology developments, innovations, solutions, and directions. Since technology adoption varies from country to country, it will be interesting to learn how the adoption and implementation of VMware technology and products affects organizations virtualization data center transformation strategies and their journey to the hybrid cloud.

Vmworld 2014

This is my 10th VMworld all of them in fabulous cities including San Francisco, Cannes, and Copenhagen. This spring I joined Capgemini from EMC to lead our partnership with the EMC Federation of companies; EMC II, VMware, Pivotal, and RSA. Moving from a product company to a services organization has been a big change for me, a good one for all, and one that brings trusted relationships and a shared vision for what is possible for our partnership and customers.


VMworld is an important event for Capgemini’s collaboration with VMware.  There are three major strategic initiatives for our partnership: 1. Software defined data center (SDDC) with Service Integration, 2. SAP Hana on vSphere, and 3. Enterprise Mobility (AirWatch). A few key points about these strategic initiatives and the impact to our partnership and customers from Patrick Nicolet Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member:

Patrick Nicolet Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member @VMorld San Francisco 2014

Software Defined Data Center – Service Integration

Service Integration helps clients remove the complexity of IT transformation through the aggregation of services orchestration and management capabilities.  In 2013, Capgemini established our services integration partnership with VMware through the executive sponsorship of Pat Gelsinger (VMware CEO) and Patrick Nicolet (Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member).  Both are visionaries and committed to co-innovation, having had the forethought to  develop our first  offering, Services Integration founded on VMware’s ITBM technology and Capgemini customer knowledge and intimacy. This offering resulted in Capgemini receiving 2 awards this year: VMware’s Consulting and Integration Partner of the Year, and Hybrid Cloud Innovation joint award with one of our clients at vForum in Paris on June 4 2014. 


Harish Rao Capgemini Infrastructure Services CTO discusses managing enabling servces orchestration @VMworld 2014

SAP Hana on vSphere

In May of 2014, as part of Pat Gelsinger’s keynote presentation at EMC World,  Patrick Nicolet announced another level of our partnership: a three-way go to market play with VMware and SAP for the deployment of Hana in highly virtualized environments.  In June, in recognition of its outstanding contributions as an SAP partner, Capgemini received a 2014 SAP® Pinnacle award as the SAP HANA® Adoption Partner of the Year. SAP Pinnacle awards are presented annually to the top SAP partners that have excelled in developing and growing their partnership with SAP and driving customer success.  

Cindy Borgman Capgemini VP Infrastructure Services Global Operations, SAP Business discusses partnership with SAP and VMware and the value for customers

Enterprise Mobility with AirWatch

Building on a foundation of earlier successes, on September 9th Capgemini and VMware announced the expansion of our strategic partnership centered around enterprise mobility management and end-user computing, More specifically, the partnership allows us to leverage AirWatch’s Enterprise Managed Mobility solution as we bundle it with our Mobile Solutions service offerings.  At VMworld Barcelona you will have a chance to hear from Fernando Alaverz, Capgemini Senior Vice President and Head of the Mobile Solutions Global Service Line.  Fernando has said, “For Capgemini, the bigger picture includes positioning its mobile divisions around the internet of things and corresponding data and analytics, which he called “the next big thing.”  So don’t miss Fernando’s keynote at VMworld on Wednesday, October 16th at 16:30.


Now in its third consecutive year in Barcelona, VMworld offers an attractive venue to bring together diverse cultures for sharing, comparing, and collaboration.  Barcelona is a city rich in culture and history, offering a picturesque waterfront site to stimulate minds and imaginations alike. 

Join me and the leadership team of Capgemini in Barcelona where we are once again proud and honored to be a VMworld CIP (Consulting & Integration Partner) Platinum sponsor.

Learn more about disruptions and innovations with partners in this video with Lanny Cohen, Capgemini Corporate Chief Technology Officer.

Student Innovation: Changing the World

Hult Prize Inspires Cross Cultural Leaders to Unite While Building Communities of Social Change

Students Kick Off The Day

Students Kick Off The Day

Can we build a social healthcare enterprise that serves the needs of 25 million slum dwellers suffering from chronic diseases by 2019?  This was the Challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.  The Hult Prize is a global competition and start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton at Hult Prize Finals 2013

More than 11,000 applications were received, but only 300 start-ups selected to present ideas to judges at the 6 regional competitions held this past weekend (March 7-8, 2014) in Boston, Dubai, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.  Although inspired by the experience of responding to this challenge, students are also motivated by the award of $1,000,000 in seed capital to the winners, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community in an intensive six-week Social Enterprise Accelerator held at IXL-Center in Boston.

Faces of Students

Faces of Students at Final Judging in San Francisco

A key part of the story, and the power of Hult Prize is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world, this year seeking solutions to improve chronic disease healthcare in slums.  Another part of the story is about the effect and gratification of being a judge.

The Judges

The Judges Team 2, Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO Matternet; Chris Stacy, Director IDEO, Sheryl Chamberlain, EMC; Lacy Caruthers, Principal Google;  Chris S. Thomas, Chief Strategist Intel

The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  In total approximately 1,200 entrepreneurs spend an estimated 1.4 Million Man Hours on Hult Prize.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University

Last year I participated in the Boston regionals where the Challenge was to end world hunger. At the time, the United Nations estimated over 870 Million people in the urban slums are uncertain of food sustainability.  The 2013 Hult Prize winning team from McGill University, now a start-up posed to tackle this challenge head-on, was team Aspire. Their game changing idea?  Insects (see my blog Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize).

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

This year I was local, participating in the San Francisco regionals, with a group of 25 judges separated into 4 groups.  Each group spent the day listening to pitches and deliberating as a team to select a group winner.  Then all of us together, competitive, rowdy, and filled with passion agreed on the regional champion, MIT’s Wi Care.  Their start-up concept – the Wound Pump. When left untreated wounds can become infected lead to death.  This is true everywhere in the world, but especially in the slums.  It will be interesting to see how their winning idea matures and flourishes after they spend the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator in Boston.

MIT Wi-Care

San Francisco Regionals Winning Team:  MIT Wi Care

So you have a good sense of what it is like to be a judge I asked my fellow judges to share a quote about their personal experience. Team 3, MIT’s Wi Care was the winning idea.

Team 1 UPenn Nexus

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terri Mandel BioMedLink

Kate O’Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terry Mandel BioMedLink

The Nexus team’s plan is aimed at providing cheap but first-world quality drugs to slum dwellers by (1) remotely diagnosing underserved slum dwellers via SMS, and (2) redirecting currently wasted near-expiration drugs from the U.S. and selling it at low cost to local clinics.  Terry Mandel, colleague, friend, healthcare leader, and CEO BioMedlink, “While their proposals covered a wide range of ideas, viability, and market readiness, the teams universally displayed a passion for, and commitment to, reducing human suffering through sustainable business innovation. I found out later that the UPenn team we advanced for their plan to stock Indian health clinics with first-world pharmaceutical drug “waste” comprised all undergraduates! Like the other teams, they were keen for feedback and mentoring to move their idea towards proof of concept.”

Team 2, My Team Monterey Institute of International Studies (one of many all women teams)

Monterey Institute of International Studies

Monterey Institute of International Studies

This all women team impressed me through their focus on solving high blood pressure, by targeting remittances and creating a partnership with local community healthcare workers. A two fold idea creating jobs while solving the issues associated with high blood pressure. I asked Chris S. Thomas who was the judge quote king for the day, succinctly summarizing each pitch with a pithy quote, for his impressions. At the end of the experience:  “Incredible rapid fire pipeline of quality ideas and innovative teams.  It was like “Speed Dating 4 Innovation” with the judges arguing over who to take home.”  Chris S. Thomas 
Chief Strategist 
Director of Architecture 
World Ahead 
Intel Corporation.

Team 3, the WinningTeam MIT Wi Care

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, the Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare said, “The MIT team demonstrated unusual insight and commitment to their chosen problem, open-wound care. The solution included not just a novel, safer, and easier-to-use device with proven business model based on their field work, but also addressed aspects like the local manufacturability and care-giver training to make this a successful social enterprise.”

Team 4 Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Introducing Hult at the regional finals was Kate O’Keefe, Chief Innovation Officer at Cisco.  Talking about powerful women committed to changing the world, Kate a recent Sydney/Bay Area transplant received standing applause, during her deliberations.

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

Kate O’Keefe Chief Innovation Officer, Cisco; Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

“It was a privilege to be a judge for the Hult Prize, to be involved for just a moment in the incredible journey these social entrepreneurs from schools all over the world have been on… What impressed me most was that none of these teams were there to build businesses to enrich themselves – they were all there to enrich the lives of the world’s poor through addressing chronic illness.” Kate O’Keefe, Cisco.

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs; Ki

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs

Recounting the entire day’s experience, Hugh Molotsi, Vice President, Intuit Labs Incubator at Intuit.   “It was a long day rewarding day with lots of impressive teams.  MIT’s Wi Care team came out on top but I hope many other teams keep going.”  Fellow judge and blogger Shahid Kahn Innovation Evangelist & Coach at PayPal said, “One thing that lit my fire is that these young women and men could empathize with the poor living in slums, while they are from a completely different background. Check Shahid Khan’s blog on the Hult San Francisco Regionals.  Lacy Caruthers, Principal at Google said:   “The Hult Prize excels at finding and supporting the best and brightest entrepreneurs globally. I was blown away by the creativity and drive of the teams here, and look forward to seeing many of these ideas in action.”

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

After the program I had a chance to catch up with Hitendra Patel, Ph.D and Managing Director of the IXL Center.  Hitendra and Ron Jonash Senior Partner at the IXL Center both Hult International Business School Faculty wrote the Challenge in partnership with CGI and Hult. Hitendra said, the students answer the challenge completely on their own, and offered us a Challenge to work with the students, so they too can incubate their idea.

Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge
Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students, and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  Together, I am confident we can make a difference. Learn more about this year’s regional winners at Hult Prize 2014 Six Finalists and look for my post on the Hult Prize finals coming this September. 

the tent

Getting Back In The Game

I believe that women represent a tremendous, untapped resource that has produced and will continue to yield huge returns for organizations and the communities they support. Through the power of women’s entrepreneurial activity, we create growth and prosperity while driving solutions for business and social problems. We, in partnership with men, are now a driving force of entrepreneurial growth and leading real, fundamental economic change that is reshaping the world. That’s why I said YES, when Johanna Wise invited me to be the morning keynote at the inaugural Connect•Work•Thrive Conference.

Sheryl Chamberlain and Johanna Wise Connect Work Thrive Conference Founder

Sheryl Chamberlain and Johanna Wise Founder of Refresh Your Career: Connect Work Thrive

“The goal of the conference is to provide job seekers, who are returning to work after a career break or looking to make a career change, with practical tools and advice to better market themselves in the fast-changing Bay Area marketplace,” said Refresh Your Career:  Connect•Work•Thrive Founder Johanna Wise.  The conference target audience is men, women and employers.

I was joined by fellow keynote speaker Vivian Steir Rabin CoFounder iLaunch who said “The longer you’re away from work, the more you need to determine whether your interests and skills have changed.  For those who weren’t terribly happy in their jobs before they took a break, this is all the more important. For those people, the break is a gift.”  Vivian is the co-author of the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work and the co-founder of career reentry programming company iRelaunch. iRelaunch’s signature product is the iRelaunch Return to Work Conference, which has attracted nearly 3,000 attendees across the US and in London.  After attending Vivian’s workshop it was clear Vivian inspired Johanna, me and all the lives she touches.

Vivian Steir Rabin Co-Founder iRelaunch

Vivian Steir Rabin Co-Founder iRelaunch

Feedback from Brenda Bernstein, Founder and Senior Editor and event speaker, “My favorite moment of the day was in my Traversing the Resume Gap workshop. I put a section of one of the participant’s resumes up on the screen and asked for feedback from the group on how he could better leverage his experience as a “stay-at-home dad.” The feedback and suggestions from the group were amazing! Spot-on and exactly what was needed. This exchange was a testament to the quality of the attendees. I hope they are able to continue to support each other into the future!”  Brenda Bernstein is the Author of the Best-Selling e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… and 18 Mistakes to Avoid

Brenda Bernstein Author

Brenda Bernstein Author

Participant at Sara Ellis Conant session titled Having it All: Combining a Meaningful Career with the Relationships You Desire said, “I loved your workshop yesterday on “Having it All”.  The presentation really resonated with me as a working mother with a beautiful six and two year old and constantly feeling torn between two worlds.  I am not usually a tactile/visual type of person but I am planning on filling a jar with my priorities (rocks and pebbles) and putting it in my home as a reminder to listen to my heart and also to bring me back when things get out of balance.”

Sara Ellis Conant

Sara Ellis Conant

Before speaking at the program Karen Burke, Director of Connect•Work•Thrive Public Relations interviewed me about my personal brand and qualities employers are looking for in their job candidates, why collaboration is key to a successful and fulfilling work, life, and the focus of my upcoming keynote entitled, “Burnish Your Brand – Using Your Best Talents More Often”.

Sheryl Chamberlain Interview with CWT (Connect Work Thrive)

Sheryl Chamberlain Interview with CWT (Connect Work Thrive)

CWT: What do you hope will be your presentation’s key takeaways for conference attendees?

A: There are many ways to be a successful leader in the world. By giving examples of leaders, some of whom are not well-known [have not had the spotlight focused on them] who achieved success by executing against their vision, I hope to inspire audience members that they too can make a career doing something they love.  Essentially, burnishing, or polishing, your brand will provide the path for you to be more successful more often.  I also want to encourage attendees to use their success to help the next generation of leaders and innovators.

CWT: What is a “personal brand?” Are there any specific “brand” qualities employers are looking for when hiring candidates in today’s job market?

A: My brand is being an agent of change.  In every situation, I think creatively to develop new solutions to problems and, at the same time, engage leaders from every level in the organization as partners in the plan.  To do this, I combine business acumen and process to execute on strategic initiatives while fostering trust and building partnerships.  I routinely involve myself in multiple work streams while staying focused on my individual objectives and delivering results.  A big part of my brand is providing support and development opportunities for members of my team and my partners, and recognizing them for their contributions.

Today organizations are looking for individuals who are not afraid to challenge the status quo, but understand they must be part of the solution.  While it is important to have a social media footprint, it must be one that adds value to you and your organization. I would add, learning on the job is acceptable as long as you have positive energy and fresh ideas.

CWT: In the past, you have talked about the importance of collaboration and developing a community to achieve success in both work and personal life. Why is this important?

A: My good friend Kare Anderson, Emmy Award Winning Journalist and Forbes columnist is committed to building a world that is better together, one of our shared passions.  When we live a life where we work together with and for each other in our work, personal interests, and social life, we will live better, more impactful lives. Results can be achieved in three ways:

Kare Anderson

Sheryl Chamberlain and Kare Anderson

1) Use our best talents more often

2) Grow your circle of friendships

3) Be part of something larger than ourselves while recognizing the possibility and power of unintentional allies.

CWT:  As a successful corporate executive at EMC Corporation, what gets you most excited about coming to work every day?

A: I get up every day, knowing I have two jobs: 1. Identify new opportunities for creating local and global communities of leadership and innovation and 2. Lead Industry Standards and Open Source Strategy in my role within the Office of the CTO. Together these two passions give me the energy and drive to come to work for EMC every day.

CWT: Can you name some men and women who have inspired you throughout your career?

A: I am surrounded by amazing executives at EMC, VMware and VCE many of whom have held out their hand of support freely. They include Pat Gelsinger, VMware CEO; Frank Hauck, VCE President; Joel Schwartz, EMC SVP; Dan Campbell, EMC SVP; Helene Barnekow, EMC SVP.  But when I consider the work I have done in the community, there are two people that stand out: Rayona Sharpnack, Founder & President Institute for Women’s Leadership and Linda Alepin Founder and CEO Global Women’s Leadership Network and 2013 Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award Winner  Both of these women have committed their lives to changing the world and have created leadership programs to train and support women to achieve ground breaking results.

Linda Alepin, Eleanor Roosevelt Award Winner

Linda Alepin, Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award Winner

This past week I had an opportunity to reflect on the power of this conference, and impact on the employers and attendees.  Employers which included EMC Corporation, Stanford Graduate School, Bain & Company, Yale Silicon Valley Club, and Gleam had an opportunity to share successful back-to-work approaches in today’s job market while networking with on-site with local firms.  Additionally, Pam Fox Rollin delivered a session called “Onboarding Executives:  Grasping The Opportunity to More Senior Teams Forward”.  Pam an Executive Coach, IdeaShape regularly facilitates senior leadership team workshops shared tips from her book 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role

Johanna met her goal to provide job seekers, who are returning to work after a career break with practical tools to better market themselves in the fast-changing Bay Area marketplace.  But most important attendees had an opportunity to:

  • Assess personal skills and determine applicable careers
  • Address the gap years on a resume and during job interviews
  • Determine necessary job search resources and how to leverage them to get a job
  • Maintain confidence during job search and dress for success
  • Identify and reach powerful job networks
Employers attending Pam Fox Rollin's session

Employers attending Pam Fox Rollin’s session

I look forward to staying connected to this community led by Johanna Wise, while helping men and women get back into the game, finding employment, and refreshing their career.

You can learn more about this Johanna Wise and Connect Work Thrive by going to these links:  In The NewsAbout Connect Work Thrive,  SponsorsCWT on Facebook .

Leadership Lessons – Advice From Women of Influence

On October 16, 2013 I had the great honor to lead “A Day of Excellence Through Leadership”, a full day program and a sponsored by the New England Diversity Council and led by Ameerah Mukayed.  The program is an annual event which brings together a diverse mix of successful women leaders who discuss topics pertinent to today’s workforce in order to educate, inspire, and encourage attendees to reflect as they strive to advance within their organizations. The panel sessions were moderated by my EMC colleague and friend Stacy Schaeffer and myself. Panel topics included:  Becoming a Person of Influence in the Workplace and Community, Perceptions of Assertive Women, Winning at Office Politics, Prepping for a Position of Power,  Maintaining Your Value During Shaky Economic Times.

Leadership Panel

Left to right, Carrie Webb, Stacy Schaeffer, Ritu Jyoti, Sheryl Chamberlain, Stephanie Sonnabend, Juliette Mayers and Danielle Duplin

Our five panelists had a broad range of experience covering different industries, cultural backgrounds, and points of view. Panelists were Danielle Duplin, VP & Executive Program Director at Fidelity Investments; Stephanie Sonnabend, Former President & CEO, Sonesta International Hotel Corporation Founder & Chair, 2020 Women on Boards; Carrie Webb Olson, Partner, Day Pitney LLP;  RItu Jyoti, VP Product Management, startup Kaminario; and Juliette Mayers, Executive Director of Multicultural Marketing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

The panelists shared their thoughts on this event in this short video: 

Chandra Jacobs, BRS Marketing shared her perspectives on the day in her Blog, which, to be honest, is a must read post.  Another one of my guests,  Blessing Chiedza Chimbindi shared her leadership lessons with the audience also.  I was so impressed by Blessings reflections I wanted to share her learnings with a broader community of leaders .  As you read through Chandra and Blessing’s posts, remember these are examples of how we, as leaders of our current generation, have the opportunity to support the next generation of leaders.  As women of influence our leadership lessons have the potential impact to last a lifetime. 

Blessing Chiedza Chimbindi-Entrepreneurial, Innovative, Masters in International Business, BSc Computer Information Systems

I have written this to document the key lessons I attain from various women in leadership. Growing up, I was continuously selected for leadership positions. I even earned leadership scholarships in college and graduate school. However I have always viewed leadership to be something that can’t be built overnight, it takes time and an intentional pursuit of evolving in leadership. I am naturally passionate about learning, and being a leader is a continuum of learning and growing.

Women in leadership symposium

I had the privilege to attend the Women in Leadership Symposium. I am grateful to Sheryl Chamberlain from EMC who invited me to the event. Here are some of the key lessons I learnt from the symposium.

Becoming a person of influence in the workplace and community

There are three types of computer engineers

1) Has a problem and no solution.
2) Has a problem and three alternatives.
3) Has a problem, three alternatives and choses one of the alternatives and explain the outcome.

Make your own opportunity, be entrepreneurial and bring solutions to the table.

My Reflection

Being influential comes with being valuable. Demonstrate the value you bring by being solution and results driven, taking initiative and thinking critically. I really liked the panelist who mentioned that even if you do an excellent job you don’t have to tone it down to make other people around you feel better. Being a leader whether male or female requires that you rise above the status quo and motivate others to do so. Leaders are trendsetters and that is what sets them apart, they lead by example. By doing so you influence change and you impact the community around you.

Besides the more we all do well and strive for excellence, the better the

a) company brand becomes
b) products/services become
c) customer satisfaction increases

Perceptions of an assertive woman

Three tips on how to be nice

1) Listen: Listen with your ears and your eyes.
2) Develop relationships: Ask people about themselves and continue to be supportive.
3) Lead by example: Engage with people of all levels

This creates a culture of caring

Three tips on how to be assertive

1) Speak up: Participate, volunteer for high profile projects, self -promote, acknowledge compliments
2) Develop a strategic plan (personal and professional). Start with your passion and define the skills and resources you need for pursuing your passion.
3) Have thick skin: Be subtle and expand. Let go and focus on the bigger picture. If your point is dismissed but listened to when another counterpart states the same point you could respond saying, “As I said before”
 Continue being assertive but also continue to be nice.
 Don’t participate in trashing other employees
 Do your own work well. Believe in your idea.
 Stay focused and don’t be hungry for a pat on the back.

My Reflection

At the beginning I perceived myself as a nice person and after the panelist described the ways of an assertive person I saw myself fitting into that as well. I believe assertiveness is often perceived as aggressiveness when it comes to women. I agree with the panelist who said that it is important to be assertive and nice. I also agree that one should not be focused and so hungry for getting a pat on the back, the overall goal is what matters.

Winning at office politics

 Make people feel valued and respected.
 Make time to understand other people rather than competing to be understood.
 Be trusted (don’t gossip). Be well liked and be able to move other people.
 Be well connected to the informer and influencer
o Informer – the person who tells you what is really happening.
o Influencer – the person whose opinions are highly valued.

Build alliances

My Reflection

Office politics can be tricky. This topic really appealed to me. I recall my mentor who once visited me at work and he told me that he admired how I don’t gossip and how trustworthy I am. At the time I didn’t know that it was such a valuable characteristic to have. It is one of the core components that help in winning office politics. Although these values are driven by my faith, they bring added value in my professional life.

Prepping for a position in power

Forms of power

Charisma Information Relationships (politics)

Authority Expertise Reputation

 Add value to your corporation: Your ideas and tasks should be aligned and supportive of the corporation’s vision.
 Communicate your work: It is critical for people to know the ideas you pioneer. You could do so through a memo, presentation of the ideaDon’t let your promotion pass you by.

My Reflection

As women we do work hard but make ourselves passive in communicating our value and work. This section really helped me find my voice and be more outspoken about my efforts.
I also learned that being intentional in aligning your efforts with the vision of the organization yields both individual and organizational success. Just like it is in science, the head contains the brain that controls signals in the whole body. Information is sent to and from the brain. That is where information is processed, the brain understands the body. So when you demonstrate that you understand the vision and implement your tasks with that knowledge, it is easier for you to be seen as someone who can be the ‘brain’ of the company.

Maintaining your value during shaky economic times

 Don’t be stagnant. Update yourself.
 Seek opportunities to network and grow.
 Be excellent at what you do and maintain your competitive edge.

My Reflection

As I am seeking for a job, I ensure that I sharpen my skills. I do Java programming exercises at Codecademy to brush up my coding skills. Even in transition it is important to stay ahead and be proactive about polishing up your skills and adding value to maintain your competitive edge.