Last week Institute of International Education’s San Francisco office opened its doors to our local community for an event to launch the new book Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change. Present in the room were former TechWomen mentors, friends launching a new network of women consultants, hospitality hosts for the International Visitors Leadership Program, champions for women’s rights, and IIE staff. This diverse network came together on Thursday March 21st to celebrate and honor the impact women make around the world and the importance of bringing voice to their contributions to social change.
This new book tells the story of women leaders in a variety of fields and makes the case for investing in women to change economies, societies, and the world. Trish Tierney, Executive Director of IIE’s San Francisco office and Editor of the book reflects on the power of sharing the stories of those who have dared to dream regardless of whether or not they are heard. Trish writes, “Secretary Clinton said, ‘some leaders are born women.’ Her words ring true now more than ever, around the world, and in a host of fields. Women leaders drive change through political movements, emerging market growth, or grassroots activism. Yet, too often, their stories are not told.”
One week after the book launch gathering, the WES team in San Francisco hosted our first Lunch and Learn on Leadership where we shared highlights from Barbara Fittipaldi’s Innovative Leadership curriculum. We asked staff across global offices at the Institute to design and declare their visions to a small group of peers. We challenged them to examine what they want to accomplish more than anything else. Despite the challenges of doing this virtually, we wanted to give our community the opportunity to be heard among peers, which we realize is a luxury many in this world do not have. What resonated about this exercise across all groups is the energy that comes when we allow ourselves to declare what matters to us, and the excitement we experience when it begins to sound real and when our voice is heard. A group from New York reflected, “when we take time to step outside our to-do lists we quickly remember what it is we care the most about and how so many of us have the same visions”.
When Barbara led the WES TOT in January she reminded us the point at which we transform as leaders is the moment we stop trying to change who we are, and commit to being more of who we already are.
Women are leading businesses, movements, families, and nations and they are boldly declaring who they are and where they are going. Despite the demands and restrictions many women confront, they are not changing who they are as leaders, but instead by stepping up as who they already are they are propelling us forward. Women in the Global Economy Leading Social Change captures only a few stories of these women, but they join the overwhelming number of stories that illustrate that investing in women’s visions is the smart choice for the global economy and lasting stability of societies.