Women in the Global Economy – Leading Social Change

IIESF Executive Director, Trish Tierney, social media expert, Beth Kanter, and Nuket Kardam and Fredric Kropp from the Monterey Institute of International Studies

IIESF Executive Director, Trish Tierney, social media expert, Beth Kanter, and Nuket Kardam and Fredric Kropp from the Monterey Institute of International Studies

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.

Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability partnering with women-led organizations in Tunisia to train entrepreneurs

Participants at the WES Entrepreneurship training, October 2012

Participants at the WES Entrepreneurship training, October 2012

TUNIS and SAN FRANCISCO, November 13, 2012 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives is partnering with eight women-led organizations in Tunisia to deliver leadership, social media, e-commerce and entrepreneurship training to emerging and established women entrepreneurs throughout the country. The new program, Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES), is funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the U.S. Department of State.

In partnership with MEPI, IIE will collaborate with private sector partners, LinkedIn, eBay, Microsoft and Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist.org, to provide resources, support and services to eight local Tunisian women’s organizations to train 1,000 women over an 18 month period in six cities across Tunisia, including Tunis, Sfax, Kairouan, Zarzis, Sousse and Gafsa. The WES program utilizes a dual approach by building capacity in social media, entrepreneurship and leadership of both local organizations that will operate WES Training Centers and of the individual women entrepreneurs who launch, build and grow their businesses. WES’s innovative training program was developed by a cadre of experts from the U.S. and North Africa including social media expert Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog and co-author of The Networked Nonprofit, and top management and leadership consultant and President of CEO of the Center for New Futures, Barbara Fittipaldi.

“IIE is committed to empowering women around the world through the IIE Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives and honored to launch the new Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability program with generous support from MEPI,” says IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman. “We are eager to bring the expertise and resources we have developed administering other successful programs in partnership with MEPI, including the E-Mediat and Women in Technology (WIT) programs, to a new community of women leaders.”

WES prepares organizations to provide a menu of high quality, innovative and standardized training offerings, while developing staff as skilled instructors and coaches. The new initiative will also engage individual women entrepreneurs in dynamic activities and trainings that will contribute to the development of new businesses, more sustainable organizations, workforce development and economic empowerment for women and their communities.

WES Training Centers will open their doors to emerging and established women entrepreneurs at the end of November. WES graduates will join a vibrant network of women entrepreneurs and innovative leaders working to shape the future of Tunisia.

WES Partners

Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements educational and leadership training programs in 175 countries, impacting over 25,000 people annually. IIE’s San Francisco office houses the Institute’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, which provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge professional development trainings and pursue higher education. Through the Center’s programs, women develop and join networks of peers and mentors and serve as innovative leaders in the public and private sectors around the world.

Chema Gargouri, WES Tunisia Country Director meets the Partner NGOs

Yesterday was the first day of the WES Entrepreneurship Training.
October 15th – 19th, WES partner NGOs will be participating in TOT workshops on Home Based Business, E-Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

These intensive workshops will be delivered by expert trainers Rym Baouendi and Widad Al Hanafi.

The afternoon before the training started, WES Tunisia Country Director, Chema Gargouri. led a roundtable discussion on the WES program. During this session, WES partners discussed the following points:

  • Challenges they faced in the development of their Business Plans
  • Program monitoring and evaluation
  • The WES Network and upcoming trainings

The roundtable was attended by WES Trainers and NGO Board members.  These discussions helped the participants gain a better understanding of the program and outline next steps.

TechWomen Entrepreneurship Workshop

Pascal Finette from @Mozilla talking about Entrepreneurship on the Open Web with #TechWomen

Pascal Finette from @Mozilla talking about Entrepreneurship on the Open Web with #TechWomen

Last week the WES team in San Francisco attended a workshop on Entrepreneurship with 41 TechWomen Emerging Leaders from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The WES team was excited to meet with four TechWomen Emerging Leaders from Tunisia.

The workshop featured Silicon Valley leaders from multiple sectors including technology and venture capital who shared their advice, tips, and resources on being an entrepreneur.

We wanted to share some useful tips and resources with the WES network.

Advice on Becoming an Entrepreneur:

1. Rules for Revolutionary Entrepreneurs (Pascal Finette of Mozilla’s Open Innovation Group – discussing what led to Mozilla’s success. @pfinette)

  • Superior Products Matter – the success of your business will depend on the quality of the products/services you offer
  • Speed Matters – key to an innovative business venture is that you implement your idea before your competitors can do it
  • Destroy the Rules – entrepreneurship flourishes when you try new things and experiment beyond the rule-book
  • You Must be Known for One Thing – your product/services should be known for offering one distince advantage among other numerous benefits.
  • Relentless Focus –  you may face hurdles in your entrepreneurial venture but one-pointed focus and commitment will lead you to success.

2. Start Up Basics (Hiten Shah of KISSmetrics- @hnshah)

Always begin with a hypothesis. Entrepreneurship targets to solves the problems in the community. Thus its helpful to frame your hypothesis that identifies your specific audience and the problem that you intend to address.

Ask the right questions about the problem your audience has accomplishing their task

  • What do they do now?
  • What other tools do they have?
  • Who else does it?
  • How painful is the problem?
  • What are the customer complaints?

3. Three characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs (Ben Horowitz, Andreesen Horowitz-@bhorowitz)

  • Intelligence
  • Courage
  • Leadership

4. Making your Business Pitch

Four strengths that make your business pitch more attractive

  • Market (is the market appropriate for this idea?)
  • Product (do you have a quality product?)
  • Team (do you have a strong team?)
  • Deal (are the terms of your proposal attractive to investors?)

Helpful Resources:

  • Sample Powerpoint Decks for Making your Business Pitch: David Cowan – “How to Not Write a Business Plan”
  • Want to start networking with other entrepreneurs? Check out Women 2.0 to see how they structure Founder Fridays
  • More information on the Entrepreneurship Workshop will feature on the TechWomen blog soon!

Tunisian TechWomen Arrive in San Francisco!



On September 6, ambitious and powerful emerging leaders and mentors gathered at Oracle for the 2012 TechWomen Welcome Orientation. Many of the attendees live worlds apart, however, they encompass one vision—to share knowledge and change the way conversations are had.

Two of these TechWomen Emerging Leaders are from Tunisia and are very excited to represent a group of innovative young leaders in Tunisia during their internships with women in science and technology in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) program is looking forward to involving the Tunisian TechWomen Emerging Leaders in the WES Entrepreneurs Networks to be launched in November 2012.

Ghada Mrabet 

Ghada Mrabet is a 31 year old technology teacher at the Higher Institute of Technological Studies in Kairouan, Tunisia. She holds a Master’s Degree in computer science and is an activist among many technology associations and clubs.

Ghada is excited about the TechWomen program and the opportunity to interact and cooperate with different participants. During her time as a mentee, she hopes to gain more efficient teaching skills, a clearer vision of professional trends in the Information Technology market, and further develop her interests as a leader and entrepreneur.

Farida Joumade Mansouri:

In 2011, Farida Joumade Mansouri attended a meeting at Tunisian Women National Union in Kairouan, where she met Chema Gargouri, the current Country Director of the WES program. It was at this meeting and through these connections she learned she could become a TechWomen mentee. Farida has 17 years of experience working in technical fields and holds an engineering degree in agronomy and specializing in soil science and geometrics.

Farida is thrilled to participate in the TechWomen program because her personal motto is, “Knowledge is the only treasure that increases in value when it is shared”. She will try to learn as much as possible during her time in the United States so she can return home with plenty of new ideas to share with innovative young executives.

Stay tuned for more updates from Ghada and Farida’s stay in the Bay Area!