24 December 2007

Peace and Joy to all!

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season full of peace and joy.

I, myself, am attempting to practice what I preach over the holidays, BALANCE. I'm taking in as much family time as I possibly can, uninterrupted by PCs, Blackberries, mobile phones and the like. It is a far greater challenge than I ever could have imagined. I highly recommend it to each and every one of you. What began as a gift to my family has become a gift for me. My payment is laughter and smiles that warm my heart and recharge me for the year to come.
I wish you all much love and laughter through the holidays and into 2008!

18 December 2007

Small Pleasures and Necessities

We think of our day broken down in modules. There are some basics that both are necessity and pleasure. Clothes on our back are a necessity, but can also be a way of expressing ourselves and of communicating. Understanding how to go about the basic movements of our day with a "spring in our step" versus the dragging of feet can make the difference between making or breaking a deal, a relationship or yourself. How we dress that self and how we act within that robe is important to understand as it changes in new surroundings. The cultures of changed communities, countries, life stages and more comes into play.

What does this have to do with 2BalanceU? This all sounds rather abstract, so look at it this way. When retiring we shed our suits and prepare for a "life of leisure". What do retired women wear in Paris and where to they go? When sent on assignment to Ghana, the climate and community is not suited for the black suit of Geneva. And where do I exercise while there? I'm off to Shanghai for meetings, what should I expect from my hosts, and what should I bring? And of course, what should I wear?

What matters most? The pleasure of feeling comfortable in your situation by being dressed appropriately but with your own twist. The warmth in your body that awakens your day while maintaining your fitness regime, regardless of where in the world you are. The pleasure in receiving a compliment for your consideration in understanding the customs of your hosts. The relief at being forewarned about some surprising customs that might have been misinterpreted.

We look forward to assisting in connecting women for shared personal shopping, cultural clues and exercise hints no matter where in the world you are.

11 December 2007

Women on Boards? A way to go...

Loosely translated, with Folksam, your pension money will provide more opportunities for women in business.

10 December 2007

Giving Circles

Giving at this time of year is all part of each day. We prepare for our holiday feasts to share the bounty with our community, colleagues and friends. We prepare gifts with a special thought to each recipients particular needs and wants. Searching our recent memories for that dropped hint, from shivering hands in need of gloves to that favourite chocolate that seems to indulgent to buy for oneself (but is a pleasure to consume and perhaps share when received as a gift).

I have been hearing a lot recently about Giving Circles, a new trend in the US, that I love the sounds of. Groups of women are gathering to pool their donations for greater impact. They create formalized charters and vote on the recipients. It is really a lovely idea, and one that should be encouraged. I hope we can connect some of these giving circles to information on potential recipients and perhaps can encourage 2BalanceU members to create new ones of their own. This is a trend that I hope never goes out of style.

04 December 2007

FCEM Congress in Cairo, part two

The echoes of Cairo are still ringing in my thoughts. The optimism and realism, the vision and the determination of women from all corners of the globe. Each brought their own story to the table, but we all had much in common. Most resonant was the desire to make a difference and the need for women to participate in change. The theme clear:

* Dr. Ali Mosielly, Egypt's Ministry of Social Affairs "sustainable development needs women's participation in business."

* The Arab Council of Business Women, "issues and affairs of women are no longer a way to show off organizations. Participation of women is necessary. Entrepreneurial associations are the first step to unify efforts to empower women."

* Sabine Meitzel, International Trade Center, Geneva, "without wings/women nothing takes off"

* Leila Mokadem, Private Sector Development of Africa Development Bank, "Women entrepreneur participation is critical to development"

I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with many women who came from such diverse backgrounds from my own. I listened and was inspired by their optimism and grace whether from war torn countries like Afghanistan and Sierra Leone or from western developed countries like Iceland and Germany. The experience of being there was empowering in itself. I wish that more women could participate in gatherings such as these. For we all felt that we had more issues that were the same than different. I am that much more strengthened in my resolve to build this bridge that opens the world to women for sharing and empowering and growing leaders

29 November 2007

FCEM Congress in Cairo part One

I have just returned from Cairo at the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM) annual Congress. As I sit to begin my follow up with all the wonderful and inspiring women entrepreneurs I feel I must take brief moment to reflect (more specifics to come). There was such an air of optimism, of generosity and kindness, of curiosity and cooperation and of interest in collaboration for mutual benefit. No matter their origin or circumstance, from established multinational business owners to local craftswomen, from the developed and the developing, peaceful and war-torn. They each had a story and a passion for their business and their people that I have never before experienced. The true spirit of women's networking took place in "what can we do together" or "what can I do to help you", rather than (the all too often) "what do you want from me."

The work has only just begun. Now we have much greater penetration into new markets around the world after this conference. With advocates in Libya, Bahrain, Cameroon, South Africa, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, India, Romania, Iceland, Cyprus, Korea, Afghanistan and more. Each of them wanted to know what they could do to help. I challenged them to take action, spread the word and encourage others and other networks to participate. It has been incredibly inspiring and exhausting. I am still reeling from it all. I am thoroughly encouraged and re-energized by the validation of the need for and potential impact of 2BalanceU. Connecting supplier to distributors, consumers to products and services, connections to other women. Now we just have to keep the momentum on the build and get cranking on the fund raising for growth and support of regional networks and sponsors.

Lessons from Cairo. It is a city that you must visit. Belly dancing is truly a sport and an art form. Egyptians like to stay up all night and party (starting dinner around 10pm). The pyramids are incredible, despite the hawkers and the camel pushers. You just need to learn to say "No" and mean it. "Around 7" is more like "some time after 8." "Right away" means, "sometime in the next bit of time, not sure how long, as I might get distracted on the way." "No" means "maybe if you give me a better price", which means that if you say no, they think you want to bargain with them. It is cold in November, which is nice, if you plan for the weather, instead of reading about it in the guidebook on the plane coming there. The people are wonderful and friendly and full of smiles. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute and cannot wait to return to bring my family to explore more.

22 November 2007

Giving Thanks

Today is a day of thanks. Of all the American traditions, this is the one that I feel I need to celebrate regardless of where in the world I am. As I hunt down (not literally) a turkey for 5 and the fixins to go with it, I contemplate the meaning of this day.

It is usually spent with the extended family and friends. We welcome a few misplaced friends with no local family to join, or visitors that have never experienced Thanksgiving before. We each bring our specialty dish, assigned by the host (or in some cases the bossiest in the family) from the traditional favourites. Don't forget the turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, creamed onions, and of course the pies. Far too much food every year. Although the intention is to have leftover for everyone to take home.

There is much catching up on the year's adventures both in business and pleasure. The kids run around in their holiday finest building up a hunger. (Which look fine when they arrive anyway). When we finally sit to enjoy our meal, there is a moment of silence while we pass a squeeze from hand to hand around the table. Someone usually says a few words in thanks for the food, the presence of those who are there and the thoughts for those who cannot be there and are missed. We always have a moment to send warm thoughts to our angels both little and big. And then we feast.

At some point during the meal we go around the table to share what we are thankful for. It is a tradition in my family that I carry on in dinners with friends. It gives each person a chance to share, to be heard and to hear about what matters most. I do believe that it is traditions like these that have driven my passion for sharing wisdom. For it is at these family dinners that I have experienced many a pearl of wisdom "dropped into my lap".

I will miss being there this year, as I head off to another conference and Sweden is just too far for a hop over between events dragging the family along. Instead, I will settle for turkey and the fixins in Sweden before I pack my bags. The tradition of sharing wisdom at the table will still be continued. With only one guest and the kids, we will more learn about Pokemon, passing exams, Big hugs, and not liking pie and whatnot. But at least we are together. And that I will be thankful for.

So my blessing and thanks this year goes to all the wonderful and inspiring people that I have met and worked with this year. I am extremely thankful for my husband, Björn and his support and patience as my life is consumed with building and growing 2BalanceU. I am also thankful for my children and their laughter and unconditional love. Of course, I am thankful for the rest of my extended family and friends. And a special thought to Charlotte, our little angel who reminds us that life is precious and never to take it for granted, and Grancy, who inspired me from a very early age to be a global citizen and to love the adventure and challenge of the unknown.

Happy Thanksgiving!

20 November 2007

Gertrude Bell, Leader Before Her Time

I have just completed reading the biography of Gertrude Bell, Queen of the Desert, and was so inspired that I felt I must write about her in my blog. This Englishwoman lived in the turn of the 20th century through her intellect, tenacity, compassion and vision, she was instrumental in the architecture of countries and treaties in the Arabian desert. I am humbled by reading such a recounting of history. I can honestly say it was one of the best reads I have had in quite a long time.

I can only hope that given the opportunities we have today to participate actively in politics, in business in our communities that women can continue what she began by leading with compassion, humility and strength to that which we believe in. It is not about the recognition or being a "Person" of significance. It is about leaving a legacy of a world that is more peaceful and respectful of differences while recognizing how much we have in common to bind us together.

19 November 2007

Presentation to OECD and FCEM in Cairo

Who am I? Like you, I am a dreamer
Believing the world is my oyster
In that oyster is a pearl
A pearl of wisdom
Left by someone who cherished it
Who then passed it on so that it could be cherished by another

Women Sharing Wisdom is nothing new
In fact it is as old as time
But what once was shared with few in a closed tent
During women's monthly blessing
Now can be shared across cultures, across boundaries, across cultures
The Internet has made this possible

Who are we, we are dreamers
Believing technology will make anything possible, someday
Energized by the tools that enable us
To interact with information and individuals
Excited by the possibility of the most obscure of solutions can reach
One seeking the answer from a far corner of the globe

Who are we, we are women
We are global citizens, builder of communities, mentors,
We are mothers, entrepreneurs, wives,
We are Friends, Sisters, Daughters, Lovers of life,
We are hostesses, visitors and travelers
We long to create a better place than the one that we came into
Trying to balance the ever changing needs of our multidimensional lives
and those around us

Imagine reaching an audience engaged
Imagine connecting before a transition knocks you down
Imagine not feeling alone
Imagine leading and supporting other women who lead.
Imagine balance

14 November 2007

TIAW Global Partnership Forum reflections part 2

A few days later and a little less jetlagged, I shall complete my reflections on the TIAW conference. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to share with and learn from face to face interaction with so many interesting women leaders. The energy and camaraderie was contagious. I look forward to being able to help grow the awareness of events and organisations like these through 2BalanceU. They can be powerful catalysts to change in the right direction. Working towards partnership and leadership with heart and soul.

The importance of networks both big and small and using them for support and learning is what stood out for me on day two. Have a plan, both a financial plan and a life plan but be flexible to accommodate life's surprises. Nurture ambition, if you so desire, go for it, and surround yourself with others who support your ambitions. Learn from those who have more experience, and mentor those who can learn from you. Don't be afraid to lead like a woman, with compassion and tenacity.

Some links of interest:
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
Boardroom Bound, an organization advocating better governance and diversity on boards

13 November 2007

TIAW Global Partnership Forum reflections part 1

I have just returned from the TIAW Global Partnership Forum in Indian Wells, CA. I must commence with a kudos to the organizers at the Women's Leadership Forum, particularly Dr.Rev. Cathy O'Connell, and TIAW's Maxine Westaway, Stephanie MacKendrick and Diane Morris for pulling together such an inspiring group of presenters in the most marvelous of location. Thank you ladies!

It is hard to know where to begin with so much to reflect upon, so I will just mention some of the highlights that stood out.
* Dr. Reine Eisler from the Center for Partnership Studies spoke of the partnership model and the importance of hierarchies of actualisation rather than hierarchies of domination and rising to a call for action in awareness. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
* Shalini Nataraj, Global Fund for Women, emphasized that women have to be at the table for every issue, not just women's issues.
* Stephanie MacKendrick, of TIAW and Canadian Women in Communications, presented on women on boards and the 7 steps to recovery from a power deficit. 1. Build Professional Profile 2. Involve employer, share aspirations 3. Education plan 4. Networking plan 5. Applying judiciously (focus) 6. Serving on non-profit board 7. Be realistic. She also emphasized the importance of supporting the men's liberation movement: to take their share of child and family care and free them from domination (the preconceived beliefs of).
* Libby Gill provided a wonderfully motivating presentation on establishing our brand and authenticity. 1. You are your brand 2. Stand out from the herd 3. Craft a Sticky Message 4. Predetermine press outcomes 5. Powerful plan and flawless execution.
* Hon. Patricia Russell-McCloud, A is for Attitude had us all ready to launch with her fantastic rhythmic incantations for striving for our greatest potential. A few soundbits that stand out: "Whatever you are going through is a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement." "Money will not buy happiness, but it will buy a consultant who will look for a solution." "Those things which make you exceptional may also make you lonely." And, "Attitude will get you from duh to ahh."

08 November 2007

Sharing the Enthusiasm for Shared Wisdom

Thank you ladies for your participation and attention during the presentation on 2BalanceU and women sharing wisdom. It is always a pleasure to meet women from different backgrounds and different perspectives. I appreciate your insight and thoughtful inquiries. Building a company based on wisdom sharing is an exciting venture. Actually sharing wisdom with women and making the connections is my passion.

Thank you to Denise DuBarry Hay, president of Women in Film and Television, and Cathy O'Connell, president of Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley, for your insightful questions and enthusiasm to advocate use of 2BalanceU by your extensive networks. I look forward to welcoming your networks and connecting them to the greater community of women. Good luck with your events this weekend in Palm Springs. I hope to catch some of each!

It was also a pleasure to meet Kay Pick, Katherine Okie, Sue Brodie and Joan Foster. Thank you to all of you ladies for taking time from your busy schedules to join us to hear about advocating tools for women sharing wisdom globally and locally. Special thanks to Mary Cossette, our inspiring angel, for hosting the luncheon and having the faith to support 2BalanceU from a very early stage. Thank you also to Joslin Ufland for providing such wonderful nourishment.

03 November 2007

Evolution and Revolution take patience

Breaking traditional cultural patterns is often met with resistance even when change is for the better. Introducing new solutions takes patience and persistence. I now watch my daughter and am proud to see her fight stubbornly for that which she feels is right. I believe that it is precisely that tenacity combined with compassion that create powerful leaders who can institute change.

Women sharing wisdom is nothing new, it is simply the method of sharing that has evolved. As a result, we are no longer simply sharing wisdom that enables us to support and sustain just our families and our communities. With the Internet, women sharing wisdom impacts the world as a global community. But first it must start at the core. The sustainability of self. If we neglect the sustainability of self, we cannot lead. The wisdom we gather in becoming sustainable at the core is what we share.

We no longer meet in red tents when we have our monthly visitor, we have women's networks. And yet, as women we must remember that we have more in common than difference. We are united in laughter at shared images of hot flashes, helpless frustration at recollections of being violated, camaraderie at defiance of glass ceilings, and pride in personal success. Women leaders are still women at the core. Encourage tenacity and support one another with compassion, it is critical for the success of evolution of leadership. As it is change, it may be perceived as revolution. May the gift of compassion make it a peaceful one.

31 October 2007

Invitation to Empower Women in Leadership

Empowering women in leadership is the first step to empowering the next generation. To pave the path for others we must provide good role models, respect and teach respect one another, be open to learning from and teaching others, and rising to the occasion when we are given the opportunity to lead. As multifaceted individuals, we are in a constant mode of transition from one aspect of our lives to others. Our priorities require adjusting, sometimes more drastically than others, and sometimes only momentarily.

As leaders, as women, as human beings rather than doings, empowering each other through mutual compassion and respect is critical for the long haul. Simply said, it is lonely at the top. It is important to remember that our leaders are as human and multifaceted as the rest of us. Their passions may lie in supporting their followers, but they cannot do that effectively without support maintaining the others facets of their lives.

25 October 2007

Time for Change

After much listening, asking and thought, we are making some major changes to how we grow 2BalanceU. The networks need support to grow and share their work. Many of them are doing wonderful research that should be shared and learned from. Much of it overlaps with other networks efforts and could be used in a more comprehensive work. Work on empowering young women to fuel their ambition, women on boards, supporting women entrepreneurs, mentoring, the list goes on. But each of these are clearly universal themes in women's networks around the world.

We have listened and are soon launching our global community calendar to share events. We are creating a comprehensive directory of women's networks and organizations. We are turning off the questions and answers until user numbers make this effective. Our Groups are still available for more specific inquiry and response. We are returning to our focus of the resources that are available. Networks, Events and Resources are online, global, regional and local.

This change in format feels right, and effective for supporting the women that are the leaders of today and tomorrow. I hope that those who have enjoyed the questions will not be too disappointed at their temporary disappearance. But I believe they will be happy with the end result.

24 October 2007

Fuelled by Grassroots Intitiatives to Connect

Meeting with the founders of grassroots networks continues to validate the need for a tool to connect them to resources from similar networks and women involved in them for collaboration. Building and growing networks is a challenge. The value of and need for them is understood, but most take for granted that they exist and are self sustaining. It is vital to recognise the efforts of the few who are willing to, in most cases, volunteer their time to maintain and build. Much can be learned from shared research, dialog and group collaboration.

20 October 2007

Empowering women leaders

Building 2BalanceU and working with women sharing wisdom is empowering in itself. I constantly receive validation for the need for a tool that encourages women to share wisdom. As I meet with representatives from international agencies and global networks, we shared our thoughts about the similarities rather than the differences in women and what they need to succeed and be happy. They express their thanks for a tool to connect women in the field and partners of men in the field to other women in their communities. By supporting women in leadership roles we can empower them to be change agents. By removing the distractions of our differences and focusing on what we have to learn from each other we can all accomplish great things. We are both bearers of great wisdom and receivers of it. It doesn't have to be lonely at the top. We all can achieve more and rise to the occasion when we feel more balanced.

19 October 2007

Modern Women's Sacred Circles

Inspired and refreshed from my annual girl's retreat weekend, I forge forward. I have just returned to Sweden after gathering a group of close friends for a weekend of laughter, tears, sweat, and feasting. We challenged each other physically, emotionally, intellectually,and "culinarily". We shared insights, wisdom, humour, silence, many a smile and a few needed tears. Removed from our busy lives, our families, our work, our homes and all distraction. We focused on ourselves, our needs and our hearts true desires. We shared our authentic selves and it was a remarkable journey. Despite our different cultures, stages and professional goals, when the distractions were removed, we were simply women supporting one another. I am reminded of the need to take the opportunity to create and take part in modern women's sacred circles in whatever form they take.

09 October 2007

Wisdom Shared

Pride is perceived in different ways in different cultures. Self confidence could be perceived as pride, and yet, it is not the same. A very wise woman reminded me that by simply lowering one's chin, a look is changed from pride to confidence. To achieve what comes across as champion of ourselves we do not need to champion others. We can be courageous without being overpowering. Our eyes need to be lifted to prepare us for what lies ahead. When we hold our bodies aligned we find our balance. To achieve this the head need not be tilted back so as to look down upon our view. It is simple, but so important to understand that balance is the center of it all.

08 October 2007

Pass It On

It is exciting to see so much changing so rapidly in technology. I am finally getting a chance to play with new technology. It has been a part of my passion since the early days in school when we were printing out banners of repetative letters from Basic programming on Apple IIs. The disks were literally floppy. But it was exciting, as it is now. Now we have reach and a reason. So, my theme for this posting is pass on the passion for the little bit of nerd in you. We may not all have an apptitude, in fact seom simply have fear. So, I will try to simplify.

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05 October 2007

A Whisper to a Roar

The sound of a whisper can scarcely be heard. The whisper of many can be a thundering roar. I don't expect women to roar alone. But I do hope that women will rise to the occassion and part with a whisper. It might be in the form of sharing a burning question. It might be simply by sharing a favorite book, story, event, website or words of wisdom and inspiration passed to them. It might even be all of the above.

The feeling of giving is equal when one is sharing their thoughts. Each question inspires a thought, and in that a connection is made. We are not alone in our needs. We are more alike than we are different. I look forward to the roar created by parting with whispers in unison with women around the world. It has only just begun.

03 October 2007

Authenticity and Passion

What a relief it is to be authentic. Simply watching those who try to be something they are not is tiring. I am me, with all my faults, my quirks. Being real, having faults, is an asset, quite frankly. For if I have faults, I have room to grow, more to learn, it keeps me open and alive. Understanding my own imperfection enables me to be more accepting of others. If a first impression was poor, it makes me curious, rather than turns me away. Did I judge too soon, or was I misunderstood? Regardless of the conclusion, I find it a learning experience.

In building partnerships, I have discovered a new strength driven by my passion for building bridges. Truly believing that what we are building is a tool that is beneficial for all networks as a way to grow, build their community and their audience, raise their voice, and find alliances. I am driven. I can stumble because I am real. I stand to take the next step with caution at first to avoid the same fall. But my passion allows me the strength to stand tall even when rising. Not with pride of self, but confidence in doing the right thing.

That is not to say that it is easy, but it sure is gratifying.

30 September 2007

Reflections from WIN

Taking a moment to reflect while in transit from the Women’s International Networking (WIN) Conference 10th anniversary in Oslo back home where my family and office await. It is a powerful experience to be with 700 professional women from around the world networking, learning, sharing for 5 days. Each one had different goals in mind for why they were there and what they will achieve during the conference. All expressed a desire for change, with an interest in being part of that change. Most presented a positive hope for the future. Those who brought in unconstructive negative energy became a dance of sorts for the rest of us to turn redirect to the positive (or at least seeking solutions instead of complaining).

Last year, I came to WIN with a curiosity and desire to learn more about what women were doing to connect and share. This year, with my ear to the ground, I wanted to learn more about what I could do to not only advocate sharing but enable it. I was encouraged to see that validity in my work. A tool is needed to bridge the gap between networks, to help them grow, to help women extend their reach for inquiry and sharing.

Like many events such as these, we return home to our lives with a renewed energy and inspiration from all the new connections we have made and things we have learned. Knowing that this energy fades, I only hope that these women will seek each other out to maintain this energy. Build momentum for change in themselves and their environments not only through their networks, but also as individuals. The laughter and smiles shared is a powerful connection. Remember that there is a human behind each card that sits in the stack. As I take each in my hand, I consider the conversations, the shared expressions, the smiles and occasional miscommunications that became opportunity for discussion.

Thank you Kristin for doing your magic and pulling of another great conference.

21 September 2007


I am dedicating this post to my sisters, who I adore. They have been a constant inspiration to me. I just learned that Suki can pull of 5" heels at an art gallery opening. I am really impressed now. Not that the heels are the inspiration, but rather the stamina to wear them. Despite her being a chiropractor by training (which I think my chiropractor recommended flats), she continues to defy gravity.

My wonderful, younger and more sassy sister, I do not see enough of to have a current photo. Laura has taught me so much about just living in the moment and remembering to smile.

No matter how high or how low I get in this life, be it my career, my relationship with my spouse or my children, they are unconditionally supportive. For one who has moved around the globe, it means so much to me to know that there is a judgment free place to return to. That is not to say they don't call me on my bad behavior. But I know that when they do, it is done with love. I feel blessed to have a sisters like them.

Thank you so much for your love, your patience, your endurance and your you.

13 September 2007

Social Enterprise

A social enterprise in the academic sense is one that has a vision that is socially motivated for improving peoples lives. This said, when presented with a social enterprise that has the potential for making a profit, it is somehow tagged as unethical or evil. I argue that we should encourage more companies to think socially and remember their vision, as often the original vision is socially motivated. Profit produces incomes and it encourages innovation of better goods and services.

Building 2BalanceU has been a passionate endeavor for me driven by the vision to make it happen. The best bits of inspiration I have been given have often been from a fleeting interaction with someone unexpected. Opening myself to new experiences and cultures has helped me to learn and become who I am. I wish to provide a tool to extend that opportunity to women around the world to share and learn from one another. It takes so little effort to share what we already know. And it can make all the world of difference to the receiver.

Remaining authentic in our actions is critical for credibility. We intend to make a profit, as it will help us grow to create a better tool to a larger more diverse audience, compensate us for our efforts, enable us support our partners in their efforts and remain viable. We believe that we can improve peoples lives, including our own, in a profitable social enterprise.

06 September 2007

Cross-Network Mentoring In Geneva

Thank you ladies who participated in the Women Sharing Wisdom; Making the Most of Cross-Network Mentoring Workshop at the International Committee for the Red Cross on the 4th of September. It was a pleasure to meet you all and to see you all interacting in a moment of wisdom sharing, laughter and inspiration.

I encourage you to continue your efforts to be open beyond your traditional networks. Remember to make the most of the mentoring and networking available to you within your organization, but remember that there is much to be learned from unexpected connections both locally and globally. As we all move through transitions in life, be them small or great, there is much to be gained from learning from those who have passed through them before, are moving with you, or are approaching. Keep in mind the curious traveler that knows more about their destination than the resident they are visiting. Wisdom can come from many places.

I look forward to hearing about your journeys and hope you will take the time to pass on the wisdom to one who needs it. In the meantime, best wishes to you and thank you again for sharing your time.

29 August 2007

Opportunity in Miscommunication

I have often found opportunity in miscommunication. Perhaps this comes from the simple fact of being in a bi-cultural bi-lingual marriage. When in a relationship, we often forget to confirm that what we interpret is what is meant. This is the ultimate practice of listening without judgment. Having the luxury to assume that all communications carry with them the possibility of misused language, I often take the time to try to understand what is really being said and why. This has been hugely helpful in both my relationship with my spouse and my interactions with professional and personal peers. It is easy to have an emotional reaction. I do believe that most people's intentions are good, even if there communications skills may need some work. Sometimes we do need to remember to simply breath.

It is not to say that I never miscommunicate. Quite the contrary. But one of the most generous gifts that one can give is the chance to undo a miscommunication to understand the true intent. So I thank you who take the time to listen and let me know when I am not communicating well.

28 August 2007

Building Bridges

Sometimes building bridges is harder than one might perceive. Despite the benefits of connecting two complementary destinations, resistance, mistrust and fear often create barriers enough to slow and even disrupt the building process. Resistance to change, mistrust of motivation and fear of loss of control can be very destructive to any relationship.

It takes time to decrease resistance, build trust and comfort fear. Time is something we all have, but often if too much time is lost, many opportunities have been missed. If we never trust or take chances, will we ever learn anything beyond what is within our narrow perception of how things are?

Accepting bridges creates change, and resistance will be strong. When offered without cost, there is mistrust of something that is for nothing. Rest assured, it is not for nothing. You must be willing to cross the bridge, to interact on the other side, and to share your experiences on your return. Fear of loss of control is natural. In all stages of growth, there are moments of unpredictability. That does not mean that we should forgo opportunities to learn and grow.

Mixing cultures, growing our communities, opening them to new ideas and even criticism can be very scary. We all benefit in the long run, sometimes we just have to build that bridge and take a walk across.

As a builder of bridges, I am often confronted with these emotions from both sides. Wisdom is powerful, and shared wisdom is far greater. My vision is to create a social enterprise that harnesses shared wisdom to empower women globally to achieve their greatest potential and satisfaction.

17 August 2007

Making a Difference

We all want to make a difference with our actions. Whether the difference goes noticed or not may be where we vary. 2BalanceU is build with the vision of empowering women through knowledge to create stronger communities, families, countries and naturally individuals. This is all about making the world a better place and allowing us to enjoy both the process and the result.

Why then should we not have the opportunity to make a difference in our own way, whether big or small? We enable women to discover the resources available to them and to rediscover themselves as a resource for others. This is critical to the way women interact. When moving through our lives, transitions often lead us to unknowns. We want to connect to other women who can relate and who we can trust in their opinions. Our time is precious, so we want good answers fast. Juggling everything from career, home, aging parents, staying fit and intellectually stimulated, relationships, travel to life’s unexpected occurrences, we can help each other be strong enough to take the dips and enjoy the rises.

As leaders in our communities, we must recognize that whether in a leading or supporting role, our balance is critical. Like an infectious smile, we can teach our communities, both professional and personal, to thrive on balance. With balance, we can achieve far more, with greater satisfaction. It is this balance that we strive for.

22 July 2007

Self Caring instead of Self Indulgence

In most modern societies we are lead to believe that taking time for ourselves is self-indulgent. Recent studies are showing the contrary. Taking time to nurture ourselves is not only necessary but rather not taking the time to do so, is counter productive. Women are often the last person to leave the office, pack their own bags, feed themselves a nutritious meal, go to the doctor, or get sleep. We are running ourselves down and diminishing our ability to be effective in all areas of our lives. Not only that, when we do take the time to do these things, we feel guilty. This is SO wrong. We need to break this cycle.

Not only studies, but also logic proves that when tired and stressed we are ineffective and often not satisfied with our accomplishments. Taking the time to recharge through a fitness routine, a nap, a moment to read for pleasure, or pamper our physical self with a massage to remove the knots of stress is essential. These are not indulgences unless we treat them that way. We feel better after we take the time to do them and are revitalized enough to be effective in the other areas of our lives. It is amazing what one can accomplish with a good night’s rest.

19 July 2007

Women Sharing Wisdom

Round the world we are the same
Inside the different shades and names
Seeking balance in transition
It's a woman's constant mission

Our ambitions are unique
In the fortunes that we seek
Often fueled by inspiration
Shared success and new creations

Often too much information
Hard to reach our destination
Connecting peers to what we know
We both seem to learn and grow

Never turn down invitations
They often exceed expectations
If they don't then nothing's lost
A moment's time is all they cost.

We were women before mothers
We were single before lovers
We're alone before we're friends
We all have wisdom to lend.

16 July 2007

Pearls of Wisdom are Plentiful

The daily discovery of pearls of wisdom that enrich each of our lives fascinate me. Sharing these often occurs over a cup of coffee, a brief interaction or sometimes in passing over a glass of wine (funny how beverages are often involved). Often all it takes is the simple initiation of a question by one party. Over the last few weeks, I have learned of new places, new tricks, new ideas, and even reminded of old ones that suite my needs and had been forgotten. New memories and faces have become part of my permanent record or wisdom and knowledge.

Each of these occurrences simply validates the need and desire for 2BalanceU and encourages me to continue our efforts in the direction that we head. Women wish to connect to share and learn from each other. They thrive on both the learning and the giving of these pearls. They are like old family jewels they are often hidden beneath the layers and appreciated so much more when discovered.

Our lives are enriched with the passing of the pearls. We admire for them for their timeless beauty and value.

13 July 2007

Establishing Boundaries

With summer upon us, we are enticed by the warm weather and temptation to drop everything and head on vacation. Despite slowing and even closing in some places, the business world continues forward. In between the collecting of things shiny and beautiful washed upon the shore, the building and flying of kites the job still needs to get done.

Without having to live Blackberry-in-hand, establishing clear boundaries is essential. Live in the moment in order to enjoy both the satisfaction of deal closings and the joy of children’s laughter. Organization is critical. Close the door to avoid distraction both during work-time and play-time. Allow yourself the time to recharge and live your authentic self.

Sitting on the porch watching the sun rise over the trees, an inner smile warms my soul. The steaming mug heats the morning mist on my palms and fingertips, as I drink in the aroma of fresh coffee. This is vacation to me. I will be back in the office later (or at least the room I have designated as one for our time away). Pushing that to the back of my mind, I let the noises of the house waking and the morning bustle begin. I’m recharged and ready to share again.

11 July 2007

Pace Adjustment

Visiting in your hometown can often lead to reaction of wonder. Going through transitions we often have to kick into full gear to get from one state to the other. Our experiences are multiplied. Others are not left behind, but rather in the same place as before. This is comforting, knowing we can return finding everything the way we left it. But it is also disturbing as it emphasizes just how different we are.

The Pace may not need adjusting, but perception often does. Seek balance in the pace of adjustment (avoid the crash and burn) and maintain connections. Identify things you miss and appreciate them with a new perspective. Seek those with similar experiences to open up to new friends from old places. Accept that not everyone will understand, or appreciate, where we are now is simply reality. Share for the sake of learning and connecting.

True friends will be there regardless of pace. Interactions are timeless and fresh. Honor those whose friendship does not rely on comfort in sameness but rather in quality and depth of connection. I feel blessed to have friends who challenge me to seek my potential.

26 June 2007

Vision of Empowering Women Globally

Coming closer to accomplishing our vision of empowering women globally to achieve personal balance through shared wisdom is driving me forward. Each step has reinforced my belief that not only is it necessary, but also that it will have an impact far beyond the individual. Developing partnerships further into both the developing and the developed world will create a bridge connecting women without precedence.

As we all become more global in our movements and thoughts, whether they are brief (business trips or pleasure travel) or more extended (relocation or expatriate assignments) we all benefit from connecting to the local resources both at home and away. Success or failure in these movements can often be defined by a single event or connection. We aim to empower women to find the connections they need for success as individuals, as partners, as professionals and as leaders.

Women are constantly required to reinvent themselves to support multifaceted lives; careers, relationships, family, self. As our lives evolve, we adapt to the environment around us to be the most effective. Our innate skill for multitasking serves us well during these times. We seek out like minded women who can share in the experience through networks and sacred circles. Women strive to maintain personal balance through each adaptation, transition and re-invention. There is much to be gained in the sharing of wisdom during these times.

Whether the need is for local recommendations for getting settled in unfamiliar territory, or the transition from one stage of career to another, or finding support through a challenging life experience, the connection is the same. I believe strongly in simplifying the process by opening the channels across network, organization, culture and geography for women to connect based on their ability and interest in sharing and learning from one another. Our experiences make us unique but not alone.

Working with educational technology tools in the early 1990’s, I was fascinated by the potential to connect globally. Now with mobile access, we have the opportunity to reach previously isolated groups. This is all thanks to technology. The Internet removes cultural and personal barriers that previously limited interaction from one group to another. By harnessing the power of the Internet in a tool to connect women across traditional barriers, we come closer to our vision each day.

22 June 2007


As an entrepreneur whose vision is to help women around the world achieve their personal balance, I feel obliged to admit that I need balance. I have been a passionate practitioner of ashtanga vinyasa yoga for the last five years. After an injury set me back this winter, I found my solice in filling my yoga time with more hours in the office. This, albeit great for building a business, was not very good for my soul.

It was a wonderful winter of enjoying fine food and wine and sitting far to much on my derriere (despite biking to and from work, even through snow). I find myself far too reliant on the rush from caffeine instead of the energy I gain from being fit. I no longer fit in my formerly loose fitting summer clothes. So, alas, I am finally admitting to myself “enough.”

Why do I share this with you, you might ask? We all have experienced something like this at one point or another. And I, for one, am with you sister. My vision for 2BalanceU, was somewhat selfish in it roots. I wanted something like it, and then decided to apply my experience and network to create it instead of waiting to it to happen miraculously on its own. But that does not mean that I am the vision of balance. I strive for it, and sometimes I feel close. But the best that I can do is to “walk the talk” and help others find the tools to do the same.

20 June 2007

What is Balance?

I keep hearing the question, “what is balance.” I feel obliged to respond and define this question of balance. Balance is personal state. No two people share the same balance point. Balance is about finding the point where you feel that you can achieve your potential without being torn in a multitude of directions. Balance is where you feel satisfaction. Balance is dynamic. Where your balance point was ten years ago, is probably quite different from where it is now. It is affected by changing priorities, preferences and environments. There are three attributes to balance that are absolutely critical; physical, emotional and spiritual.

We must care for our bodies, as the vessels which carry us through this life. They must be strong and we must treat them with kindness and forgiveness as well as appreciation. This means we are obliged to respecting our physical bodies, and their limitations, by occasionally pampering them and always maintaining them. We should marvel at their resilience and appreciate every mark and scar as it carries our experiences. Personally, I have found yoga to be instrumental in achieving this. I have a greater appreciation and understanding of my own physical as well as spiritual self.

Emotionally, we must find satisfaction in that which we do. We cannot base our goals and our needs on that which our environment imposes upon us. This creates diminished feelings of self and isolation. There are millions of women in this world that we can relate to. The advantage of the internet and other tools is that we can find the individuals that can support and encourage us to strive for excellence in that which feeds our emotional needs. Your ambition might be to run a multinational organization or to be a stay at home mom, or a teacher, or all of the above. Seek like minded individuals who can support you emotionally in your efforts to achieve your ambitions without judgment.

Spiritual balance does not refer to religion. It is being at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. When we are spiritually balanced we are able to give our utmost in all areas of our lives. When we care for ourselves, we are open to care for others. When we strong ourselves, we are able to carry others. When we cease to judge ourselves, we cease to judge others. We can achieve our greatest potential when we remove the barriers of judgment. Balance is reflected in our ability to accept and embrace our differences and not let them become barriers to our own success or others.

What is balance? It is a personal state in which we feel strong enough to achieve our greatest potential.

14 June 2007


We all hear and say, “things happen for a reason.” I, for one, truly believe this is so. Had I never taken the path with as many detours and risks that I chose, I would never have to come to where I am now. I would never have been as passionate about the work that I do, from all perspectives.

All of the wonderful women who have crossed my path helped define who I was along the way and influenced my life and work. It is somewhat selfish to want to connect them all to share a little bit of the wisdom. Some crossed my path only briefly but left a profound mark. Others have been there consistently along the way. Regardless of duration, there mark was made, and I believe our paths crossed for a reason. They helped me gain perspective in an ever increasingly complex world.

I am encouraged to see an increasing amount of activity around the globe that validates our work. There is growing support for women entrepreneurs from both a political and business standpoint. Their success is vital to stability and vitality. The recognition of the value of mentoring has jump-started programs in organizations and communities. Women are learning how to differentiate self-caring from selfishness. Once they are strong, they achieve balance and are more productive and satisfied. Corporations are recognizing the value of women in management and the board room. There is still a ways to go here, but at least they are talking about it.

All this to say things happen for a reason. We all want to feel we have a purpose. Mine is to connect women to share wisdom that helps them achieve their potential and find satisfaction. I believe the reason is that women will pass it on to all the people that their lives impact; families, communities and nations will benefit. We all are here for a purpose, whether to pass on a piece of sage advice or to help a future president with kindness in their moment of weakness.

Some things to take note of:

FCEM World Association of Women Entrepreneurs

The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch), Friedman & Yorio

The Hidden Brain Drain Taskforce, Center for Work-Life Policy

Oprah’s Women’s Empowerment Retreat

TIAW (The International Alliance for Women) Women on Boards Program

Namaste (in honour of the light in me that recognizes the light in you),


12 June 2007

Sharing of Self

I am reminded today of the challenge of balance between those whom we love and that which we love to do. I am truly passionate about my work and that makes it a pleasure. So much so, that I often get deeply immersed and lose track of time. It is a luxury to be able to do so. I often get so absorbed that I miss the little moments that pass by me, both good and bad.

I find great satisfaction in the genuine smiles and laughter of my children, and myself. It is far too rare that we catch ourselves in that intense, unavoidable belly laugh that comes from the soul. It warms the heart and brings new life to everything around it. I was blessed with a moment such as this as a started my day bathing in the Öresund Straights with my six year old son. As I arose from the water with seaweed on my head, he reminded me to laugh at myself and enjoy the silliness of the moment. Continuing my day with a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart, I am refreshed. I can laugh at my silliness and enjoy my seriousness. I am inspired by the women I interact with, the winks, the struggles. Thank you all for being an inspiration.

07 June 2007

Tradition of Women Sharing Wisdom

Women Sharing Wisdom is the oldest form of education and communication. Sharing wisdom ensures the survival of the next generation and the community as a whole. In the information age, we are provided tools to simplify this process. We are now are able to seek answers from individuals in far reaching corners of the globe, as well as those next door. As our lives become more complex, we are in need of better tools to navigate the transitions we go through.As modern women, we our required to reinvent ourselves on a regular basis. Traditions come and go, and the rules are always changing. In order to best prepare ourselves, we need to expand our community of sharing to include others outside our traditional, geographical and organizational boundaries. We choose our own paths, whether it be career, motherhood, entrepreneur, adventurer or all of the above. There is no need to forge it alone. We can find support in the decisions we make, in the transitions we go through and the unexpected bumps along the way.

As a passionate expat career woman who also happens to be happily married and mother of two adventurous souls, I have found the greatest sources of wisdom have the been the women that have crossed my path unexpectedly. My inspiration for the work that I do is the relationships that I have been blessed with along this journey. I have always been one who learns from experience living by the words of, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

06 June 2007

Sharing Wisdom in a Vacuum

As an entrepreneur, living in a foreign land, working online with virtual teams in other time zones, I have to admit, I have been caught in a vacuum once or twice. I am writing about this, because as I share this with other entrepreneurs, I find that I am not at all alone. We all have moments where that despite our passion for our work, we crave human interaction and immediate feedback.

I must say that Skype has been heaven during development. Just keeping the video call going after the conference call ends, keeps that camaraderie that is missing. After all there is nothing like someone catching you laughing at yourself for your writing something silly. In fact it makes you feel completely human.

We now are embarking on the testing of the prototype. It is great to get direct feedback and begin to contribute and experience what you all will eventually get to enjoy. Meeting with people, I am reminded to practice what I preach and follow my instincts. If I need feedback, so do those around me. Thank you ladies. After all, we are in the information age not the 50s, we should never need to be stuck in vacuum again, unless we choose to be.

05 June 2007

Greetings Wise Women

There is much to say on the topic of “women sharing wisdom.” and the motivation behind creating a venue for women to do so in a constructive and beneficial format. The purpose behind this blog is to communicate my incentive and passion for embarking on such a journey. I wish to share some of the interesting and inspiring events and people that have made an impact along the way. I hope you will find this an opportunity for giving me feedback and expressing your desires in terms of how we best can enhance our work, both in our site and our workshops. Let us know where we are needed and what we can do better. I look forward to sharing with you and hearing what you have to say.

First Annual Girls Retreat 2005

The original group of friends that inspired my work on 2BalanceU was the result of a girls’ retreat weekend that became the spark. All educated, intelligent, adventurous women, we shared our stories, our time, some tears and lots of laughter. Some knew each other well, others not at all. We learned about ourselves, and each other through simple sharing. We realized what we were capable of and how easy it was to find the tools to make that happen. My dream is to create this on a global scale to connect women locally and globally for sharing with their unlikely and more obvious friends. We all have experience to lend both personal and professional. And we all need it once in a while. As we continue to reinvent ourselves through each transition in life, it is always comforting to know there is a supporting woman who has been there and can lead the way.