Tag Archives: technology

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.

Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

The Hult Prize competition is a challenge to business school students from around the world to develop a feasible plan to solve a global problem while creating a viable, scalable business at the same time.  Endorsed by President Clinton’s Global Initiative, the program is founded on an endowment for an annual million-dollar prize, which is used by the winning team to launch their new social enterprise.  Equally important, all of the finalists receive a full one-year membership into the Clinton Global Initiative and support from its members to continue to develop their social business ideas.

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

The Hult competition has taken on huge social issues – education, housing and the water crisis. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship, and funding, the competition seeks to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs. This year, student teams were selected from over 11,000 applicants representing 350 colleges and universities to pitch their innovative social ventures for solving the Global Food Crisis at one of five Regional Final events. Teams were then selected to participate in regional finals held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and online. Six of these teams then won the right to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator for startups and then pitch their social business ideas to President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City.

The world’s largest student competition for social good chose the global food crisis because while the world produces enough food to feed everyone, more than 1/3 is lost or wasted.  While this is not a new problem and is believed to be the world’s most solvable challenge, still today 25% of the children in the world are hungry.   

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

CEO and Founder of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar, explained why feeding the world was slected as the this year’s issue in his FOX News interview.  “Food is the easiest challenge to solve in the world. It is really a concept of distribution.” According to Ashkar, the world produces enough food to feed all of its inhabitants and the key is to figure out how to shorten supply chains, make food more efficient, bring costs down and make it accessible to those living in the urban slum.   Listen to the full interview on Fox News.

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

As a judge in the Boston Finals, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Living on Earth’s Managing Producer, Helen Palmer.  We met at the reception, where Helen said “ There were no crickets to eat – but I did find one of the judges. Sheryl Chamberlain works for the EMC Corporation, and she said it had been hard to choose a winner.”  Here is an excerpt from that interview that was played on NPR this summer.

CHAMBERLAIN: That was the hardest part. It was listening to these amazing young people that have creative ideas and new ways of solving this problem that we’re looking at, making sure we can feed the world. It’s so hard to decide who should come first and make a decision.

PALMER: In the end, Chamberlain said, all the judges agreed on the McGill team and their small cricket farms in the slums.

CHAMBERLAIN: So the idea of taking crickets and using them for a food source going forward, farming those crickets, eating them whole, looking at different ways to use them, because they give protein in a different way that we have not considered before. So it’s really innovative and watch out – there’ll be crickets flying around your town, and we’ll be grabbing them and using them for sustainable food.  Listen to Helen Palmer’s entire interview

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Impressed by my role as a judge at the Boston Regionals, Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, North America invited me to attend the Hult Prize Global Finals and Awards Dinner on September 23, 2013, where President Bill Clinton was the host at the opening event of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The six finalists teams pitched their start-ups, in front of a world-class audience of political leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and media luminaries. President Clinton and Muhammad Yunus along with Steve Andrews, CEO of Solar Aid, Erathrin Cousin, CEO of the World Food Program, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Desh Deshpande, Chairman of the Deshpande Foundation, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Premal Shah, Paypal co-founder and President and co-founder of Kiva, judged and selected the winner of the 2013 Hult Prize.  The award of 1 Million  USD to be used by the winning team as start-up funding, was donated by Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult and his family. The winning team was from Canada’s McGill  University, a Boston Regional Final, who was featured in the following day’s plenary session.

Muhammad Yunkus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Here is an overview of the winning solution in the team’s own words:

Apsire learned through research during the summer that food insecurity is not an issue of lack of food. The vast majority in urban slums do not go hungry. But they lack access to affordable nutrition. Many suffer from malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies despite being overweight or obese. Therefore, the problem of food security in urban slums is not one of food being expensive per se, but of nutritious food being unavailable or overpriced compared to cheaper, less nutritious offerings. While insects might not seem a common meal for Westerners, a new plan is being proposed by students from Montreal’s McGill University wherein edible insects can be produced at an industrial scale to provide nourishment for folks

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

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University with President Bill Clinton

Our disruptive social enterprise, Aspire, aims to improve access to edible insects worldwide. We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society.

Hélène  Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

Hélène Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

For next year’s challenge, President Bill Clinton asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address non-communicable disease in slums.  I can only hope I will once again be asked to join my fellow esteemed judges at the 2014 Boston Regionals.  I would look forward to witnessing the innovative proposals for addressing President Clinton’s challenge.

Learn more:  Bugs as an edible food source. Winner’s Blog, Clinton’s Global Initiative CGI and 2014 Hult Prize Challengeprize/2014-challenge/

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

 

Women of Influence

Women’s leadership is at an exciting turning point in history. Around the world, women are stepping into positions of growing power and influence in business, politics and society.   As they grow in stature many become women of influence committed to supporting the next wave of leaders.

One such woman is Linda Alepin, a successful corporate executive with over 30 years experience in high tech. She epitomizes a woman of influence having served in senior positions as an officer of a Fortune 200 IT company, CEO and Founder of an early Internet start-up, and now as Founding Director Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN). Linda formed the network in 2004 which has trained 160 women leaders from more than 40 countries and various sectors of society and encouraged them to transform their work into breakthrough global projects.

So what is Global Women’s Leadership Network ?  First I have to admit I am a graduate and while I was clearly going down the leadership path, this community was transformational, providing new tools allowing me to rise to new heights and levels of influence. They taught me three basics: 1) to raise my vision make it bigger; 2) imagine the journey from the top of the mountain not from the bottom, and most importantly and;  3) we are a global community and through our network collectively we have more power and influence than any of us have alone. While it sounds simple, it isn’t.   Learning new skills is like building muscles, developing them and keeping them strong through exercise and diet.

GWLN is dedicated to igniting a new future for humanity by liberating women leaders around the world. They do this through capacity building activities, such as education, and also building a network of support among leaders from many countries.  Their projects cover wide areas of involvement including, but not limited to,  environmental sustainability, health care, economic development, food security, gender equality and human rights. Simply stated, Global Women’s Leadership Network GWLN exists to help women step out of survival and dependence into their inherent power, enabling the transformation of world conditions – woman by woman. Their policy is to work for women, in partnership with individuals, NGOs and corporations, to create an environment conducive to broad participation for major social change around the world.

GWLN Graduation

GWLN Graduation

Join me as I catch up with Linda by viewing this video I recorded at EMC’s Leadership & Innovation event on Jan 24th.