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