Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

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

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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.

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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:

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“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

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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)

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

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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:

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“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”

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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.

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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?

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“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.”

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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.

Change Tomorrow Today – Maximize Human Potential Through Education

Students

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

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 http://www.hultprize.org/en/compete/online-challenge-2015/overview/

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.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Global Entrepreneurship: The Israeli Phenomenon

Imagine the possibilities when you immerse students in a global entrepreneurship graduate program that takes students outside the classroom to solve problems, work collaboratively and get closer to industry while driving new levels of innovation. “At Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, a university with a heavy bent toward engineering entrepreneurship plays a part in nearly every course that students encounter,” said Bloomberg Businessweek. Not a surprise, considering it’s the main focus of the university’s mission statement: “Developing innovative and entrepreneurial leaders for a global technological world.“ “Our goal is to introduce as many students as possible—particularly non-business students—to innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Mark Rice, dean of the business school. As a result, WPI inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs working hand in hand with industry taking leadership and innovation to the next level for generations to come.

Joel Schwartz and Students

Joel Schwartz and WPI Students at EMC Israel Center of Excellence (COE)

Understanding the impact of entrepreneurship programs, Joel Schwartz, EMC SVP and General Manager, Global New Business Development, collaborated with WPI professors, Arthur Gerstenfeld and Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld, to develop a graduate-level course in WPI’s MBA program called “Global Entrepreneurship: The Israeli Phenomenon.”   The course immersed students in the entrepreneurial Israeli-Massachusetts high-tech world through a series of lectures and on-site visits delivered by successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from Israel and the United States.  Critical to understanding their field trip experience in Israel and Israel’s  entrepreneurial success, was an in-depth study of the unique historical, social, cultural, and political factors that created the State of Israel and that allow innovation to flourish.  The academic side of the course addressed those topics through a variety of readings and papers that the students wrote, which set the context for the field trip.  These visits were quite literally on-site as Joel accompanied the WPI class on a weeklong trip to Israel for a series of face-to-face meetings with Israeli CEO’s, venture capitalists, and senior government officials of the international Israeli academic community.  During the field trip, EMC’s Israel COE hosted several panel discussions with entrepreneurs, military personnel, and venture capitalists.

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On-site in Israel

As a guest instructor I had the opportunity to kick off the program sharing key insights into “Israel The Start-up Nation” thus establishing the framework for a discussion between Joel Schwartz and the students.  Other guest lecturers included David Goodtree  (TEDxBoston) who led 2012 Massachusetts’ water mission to Israel,  Akhil Nigam (Co-developer of MassChallange) lead a class with on start-ups while Susan Hunt Stevens from Pratically Green collaborated with Kathrin Winkler EMC’s Chief Sustainability Officer to deliver another powerful lecture on sustainability.  Check out Kathrin’s blog:  Interconnected World.  When the students returned from Israel Kevin Perkins, EMC’s IP Attorney presented the value of IP for entrepreneurs along with Paolo Gaudiano, Founder and President of Infomous, President and CTO of Icosystem, a serial entrepreneur who discussed how he uses IP as a competitive advantage.   A timely discussion in this day and age considering the nature and frequency of IP law suits as detailed on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and other financial and legal publications.

Kevin Perkins and Paolo Gaudiano

Kevin Perkins and Paolo Gaudiano

The students, mostly graduate students had diverse backgrounds, with many from China, some from Latin America and about half from New England.   Here is a video that I took after they returned from Israel. From left to right the students are Jiaqi (Nick) Lu, Joaquin Serrano, Kathryn Remillard, and Weihan Gao.

During the last seven weeks of the program the students were assigned a group project to develop an innovative startup idea including market research, technical feasibility study, financial analysis, and, most importantly, a brief investors’ pitch.  The students presented their startup ideas at the end of the course to “compete” for the investment to a panel of judges including me, Mark Rice (Dean of WPI Business School), and Steve Rubin (then Chairman and now Emeritus of the WPI Board of Trustees).  Four ideas were presented to us but only one could win and that was CrowdSpot. Their idea was based on an existing offering in Amsterdam, where a mobile application helps you find crowds.  Their version of CrowdSpot offered new capabilities which included where the crowd was and wasn’t helping you to find parking, tickets to concerts, sports games etc.  But the other ideas were equaling inspiring and included:  Azimo social entrepreneurship (People2People (P2P) mobile microloans), Precision Threads (custom suits using Israeli 3D camera technology) and True Candidate (enhancing the admissions process using web based social media tools).

With WPI’s business school offering a minor in entrepreneurship, as well as activities like the Entrepreneurship Club on campus, and a business course catalog that includes classes like “Engineering Entrepreneurship,” “Entrepreneurial Selling,” and “Growing and Managing New Ventures” it is no wonder Business Week rated WPI School No. 1 in the Nation for Entrepreneurship.  I look forward to working with WPI and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Sheryl Chamberlain

Sheryl Chamberlain

The Light of Innovation

Keep the door open to new possibilities, and let the light of innovation shine through. That’s what I did last week, the first full week of 2013.  Recharged after time off, I was joined by friends and colleagues as we started the New Year ready for action.  Arriving in Boston on Sunday evening, I interspersed corporate meetings with connections to innovators.  Some of the most interesting interactions I enjoyed are illustrated by the following three examples.

First, in November I partnered with MassChallange to showcase Boston startups at EMC’s first corporate Innovation Market. Johnny Monsarrat, Founder and CEO Hard Data Factory, was representing his startup.  Johnny, a serial innovator turned entrepreneur caught up with me at the Prudential Center in Boston on 1/8/2013 to demo the world’s largest business high tech calendar while selling me on his branding ideas.  You never know where the next big idea will come from. Check out Johnny’s vision at EMC’s Innovation Market.

Second, Tom Ward and Jay Mixter, co-founders Twyxter.  They met me for breakfast in Framingham to demo their new social media platform. Their passion for innovation is equal to their vision to foster collaboration, productivity and loyalty among employees. The Twyxter community enables corporate employees to make new connections, lead more sustainable lives, and encourages charitable donations. Essentially employees sell, rent, or share “stuff” like books, bikes, couches and music instruments on their platform.  Through this community they create social interactions among people who work together which fosters new and stronger personal and working relationships across the corporation.  One of the things I liked most was the ability to donate the proceeds from these trades to charity.  What a great way to clean out your closet while giving back.

Founder and CEO Twyxter

Tom Ward, Twyxter CEO

Twyxter Founder and COO
Jay Mixter, Twyxter COO

My last stop before my 7:00 AM flight home was the MassChallange New Year’s party.  Yes, you can celebrate the New Year on Jan 10th, and Chinese New Year in Feb (if you plan ahead).  A little about Masschallange whose mission is to catalyze a startup renaissance. They do this by connecting entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and succeed immediately. Their primary activities include running an annual global accelerator program and startup competition, documenting and organizing key resources, and organizing training and networking events.

Attendees at the New Year’s celebration included Martin Sklar, President & CEO AblaCor MedicalAmir Eldad, Chairman New England-Israel Business Council, Ben Littauer, Boston Harbor Angels, Tito Jackson, Boston City Councillor, District 7 and EMC MassChallange Executive Sponsor, Joel Schwartz.  But is was my chance meeting with Nate Tepper, that was truly inspiring.  Nate the Founder at TEDxUMassAmherst, also is the Business Development at MassChallenge, and a Student Board Member at Entrepreneurship Center and shares my passion for communities of innovation.  Committed to our new found partnership, Nate invited me to be a “Friend” of TEDx, an offer I accepted with honor.

Nate Tepper

Nate Tepper

WIth the week ending on a high note I am looking forward to next week when I head back to Boston where I will meet with Robert Buderi, Founder and Editor in Chief of Xconomy, and also lecture at WPI’s School of Business class titled Global Entrepreneurship: The Israeli Phenomenon.