24 December 2008

Warm Holiday Wishes

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of joy and peace. I look forward to 2009 and the experience the power in knowledge sharing. This economic "crisis" is an opportunity for us all to focus on our missions, evaluate our priorities, reconnect to our networks and find new ones only to come out stronger in the end.

I would like to thank all of you for your support during 2008. Thanks to you, your participation and feedback we are getting closer to accomplishing our vision:
To empower women through knowledge sharing to be change agents for themselves, their businesses and their communities.

I personally would like to thank you for your continued encouragement and validation for the need of pursuing our mission. We recognise that the site was not clear enough in the approach to sharing and how to fullfill the intended vision. We therefore are doing a complete redesign which will be available Spring 2009. We appreciate your patience.

note: The current site will remain active, and all data will be merged, so please do not hesitate to continue sharing on 2BalanceU.com. 2BalanceU will be relaunched as 2BU.

Your thoughts and opinions matter to us greatly. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@2balanceu.com should you have any questions or feedback.

11 December 2008

2BalanceU joined the Global Consortium of Women to End Cervical Cancer

Proud Supporter of the Global Consortium of Women to End Cervical Cancer. Sign the Petition!
Please take a moment to be part of the moment to share knowledge that can save lives of women around the globe.

10 December 2008

Social Networks on Mobile

Great to see a continuation on the dialog of the importance of mobile technology in social media. We have put a priority on mobile accessibility in our development so as to reach our complete intended audience in both developed and developing countries.

08 December 2008

Congratulations Christina Domecq!

Congratulation Christina Domecq, CEO of SpinVox for recognition of your work to make voice to text technology by the World Economic Forum, Wall Street Journal's `10 Women to Watch` in EMEA and the 'Top 35 Business Women under 35' by Management Today. Nice going. And thank you for working on yet another wonderful and much needed technology to simplify our busy lives. Thank you Christina for your integrity and passion to continue to make authentic communication a global priority. Kudos!

28 November 2008

Health and Beauty in Balance

Thank you Rùna for yet another great discussion on Connected-Women.com. I see all these things as interrelated and therefore they impact our balance, as Rùna mentioned. You each have a critical point in there about self. What we sometimes forget is that putting self (health, diet and beauty) as a priority is not "selfish." But rather it is essential for us to take a holistic approach to our lives and look inside (say aaah). If we do not have our health, we cannot achieve our goals professionally or personally (our families, our businesses and we suffer). If we do not eat right, we lose our health. If we do not pay attention to our health, we lose our beauty.

Beauty, of course, can be perceived in two ways here, so it is important to address both the internal and external. We know we feel good when we look our best. We therefore our setting ourselves up for greater success, because we reflect how we feel to others. But internally if we are conflicted and not being true to ourselves, it reflects as strongly, if not stronger. So authenticity and allowing time to feed our passions are drivers of beauty.

So as to a question, funnily enough I think it comes full circle into what some might not consider a "health, diet, beauty" topic. How to prioritise nurturing our health and beauty so that we may be more successful and fulfilled? After all, STRESS is the biggest influence on health, bad habits in diet and, yes ladies, beauty (seen any wrinkles or bad skin lately?).

It is cold and dark in Sweden now. To combat this I am doing yoga, not bringing my laptop home on weekends so I can play with my kids (increasing the laughter - great for abs and general happiness), trying to get my husband in bed before I fall asleep (does wonders for health), drinking more water, etc,... all just a start, but anything helps.

25 November 2008

Thanks to Vital Voices

Thank you for the inspiration. I couldn't have said it better myself!

11 November 2008

FAWCO Regional 2 & 5 in Lüneburg

Thanks to Frauke for organising a great regional in Lüneburg. It was enlightening and fun to catch a little FAWCO Fever (Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas). Looking forward to building projects that can support both the Millenium Goal (especially my passion, MDG3) and other projects like the Heart Pillow, Clubs in Motion and more. It was a delight to meet all you ladies. See you all for Vilnius in March.

06 November 2008

Looking at the ROI on Social Media & Networking

Economic Downturn has the world in a buzz. Where are they buzzing? The numbers are clear, to keep the economy moving and engaged, they are returning to and joining new networks. LinkedIn experienced a 25% percent membership increase since September alone. The question of whether that is simply the cast offs resulting from financial markets failure or whether they suddenly hit their tipping point remains to be seen. Given that other networks (both virtual and face to face) seem to be experiencing similar gains. Facebook is increasing by over 10 million users a month.

What is drawing people in (connecting, job hunting, entertainment, reconnecting, building businesses, knowledge sharing,...)? Whatever the cause it is encouraging. I plan to explore the impact further. We must invest further both in time and money in networks. We know they build strength in communities through knowledge sharing and simplifying connection. But it is important to recognise the implications of obtaining new clients, build professional skills and personal skills, connecting to new distributors, channels and markets, creating a sense of community that increases satisfaction, exposing us to new ideas and approaches, and more.

04 November 2008

Talent Development for Women Executives

Due to popular request from both attendees of this workshop and others who were unable to attend, I am posting the slides from the Talent Development for Women Executives Workshop held at the BPW International Congress in Mexico City last week. The video elements do not work with this slide share functionality, so I have removed some and replaced others with still images. I hope this will help make it more fluid. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions about it. Note that it is easier to read the text in full view version (click on easel next to the page numbers).

03 November 2008

BPW International Congress XXVI Inspires

Mexico City was alive and buzzing as the delegates of the XXVI Congress for Business and Professional Women International arrived. There was a great deal of business to be discussed in updating the constitution, reporting on taskforces and building new alliances. Attendance was strong from all corners of the globe.

I arrived with the Swedish delegation, for a new twist on things. It was nice to be part of a delegation for once. And yet, I was a bit torn by wearing both my 2BalanceU hat and my BPW Sweden delegate hat. Just a reminder of how important it is to reach outside of the natural group or comfort zone. Given that it was the first time I had met the Swedish delegates, I looked at it as an opportunity to understand both the local and global opportunities BPW provides.

I come home inspired and full of ideas for the future in launching the BPW Öresund group. The bridge is built, now we must cross it. Thank you ladies for your enthusiasm and energy for empowering professional women around the world.

20 October 2008

FCEM Congress in Brussels

Meeting women entrepreneurs from around the world is always inspiring for me. This time around the feeling was a renewed sense of energy and positive outlook. The global financial crisis was unable to cast a shadow on the passion of these women. The opportunities that arise from change are embraced, rather than shied away from. I was honored speak with the founding president of honor, Madame Armand Dutry. Her presence and warmth was felt by all that she interacted with. She should be proud of the women from all corners of the globe that assembled to support each other and FCEM.

15 October 2008


We continue to receive great feedback on the content of the site. Returning to the base principle, "keep it simple, stupid." BUT, what to do, why and how to start are not as apparent. So, thanks to the feedback (keep it coming ladies) we are redesigning the user interface of 2BalanceU. It will take us a few months. Please let us know what does and doesn't work for you. Your thoughts and opinions matter. We are looking forward to relaunching with a fabulous new simple and user friendly design.

08 October 2008

The New Inner Circle

Encouraging to see the rise in the new woman executive. Fortune magazine recently profiled a group of women in Silicon Valley. This region has a reputation for being cut-throat, where women who must behave like men survive. It is encouraging to see women like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and her A-list women only parties that encourage women to share their bits of wisdom and provide a sounding board for each other. It shouldn't have to be lonely at the top.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy of Google stated the balance beautifully. " We are hitting our stride in our careers just when we are having children. We are not willing to give up the joys in either." As well, you shouldn't.

It is a wonderful thing to hear the success stories. In my travels to global professional women's conferences, I meet many of the women who paved the path for us but whose mates could not handle the challenge. A strong woman needs a strong man. Power couples, or whatever you wish to call them, are on the rise. Dual entrepreneur couples are no longer a rarity. Being part of one myself, I am inspired to continue building a similar support network for my peers in Sweden. There are still lessons to be learned from the Valley.

Thanks ladies for the inspiration. You look great!

03 October 2008

Economic downturns - What did we learn?

Following this great discussion on Connected-women.com is inspiring and encouraging. There is much to be gained by the current economic climate, both from the business sense and from the personal sense. How we view our futures and how we proceed to achieve that.

My point is that we need to appreciate and nurture the assets that we have both personal and physical and recognise the excess that can be helpful to others. This applies to all areas of our lives. Reconnect with your network, build bridges to help others do the same. Appreciate and learn more about that which we have instead of focusing on what will be. Live in the present for a moment and enjoy it. Built healthy habits that will continue when the lean times are over.

Simple things: don't spend what you don't have, don't buy what you don't need, give away what you don't use to someone who needs it. All of these apply in both the physical and metaphorical sense. I look at this downturn as a gift that has helped me recognise how fortunate and rich I am. I have a wealth of wonderful people in my life, a roof over my head and health. My goal now is to nurture all these things to feel success. I will continue to dream, but not live in the dreams so that I lose appreciation the process of achieving them.

29 September 2008

Neo.org: Declare Yourself

I love when I find new sites that are doing good things. I was introduced to neo.org today and feel the need to shout out. Much like a reminder to stay authentic, this site is a simple concept of declaring your intentions and passing them on to be inspire others into doing the same. The act of declaring gives cause for reflection. Beautiful. Thank you and kudos to Bill Liau for another great work.

26 September 2008

Project Honey Pot

Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot
I have just discovered this site that helps protect you from spammers stealing emails and more. The results of this Summer's joejob attack on us being that our messages often up in SPAM. I wish to save you all the same headache and encourage you to use this precautionary tool.

24 September 2008

Social Media in Plain English

A great simplified explanation of social media. I thought I would share it, as many ask me what it is all about. Thanks to CommonCraft for producing this great short clip.

23 September 2008

System down

Indeed, some days are more trying than others as a start-up Internet based site. After sending out invitations and reminders to over 1000 networks around the globe, our connection to our hosting site went down not once, but twice. The standard line, of course, always holds, "we apologise for any inconvenience this might have caused you." We pick up the pieces. The is site not damaged, but feeling a bit bruised ourselves. The invites will go out again with a new letter of apology to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to try again. Those of you who were unable to get on the site on Friday or Monday, please know that 2BalanceU is indeed live. We are doing what we can to provide a more stable environment for the future.

18 September 2008

Reflections on turning 40

Fourty is still quite young, but passing this age marker gave me pause to contemplate my life. It is not that I feel old, quite the contrary. It commenced self inquiry as to who am I, where am I going, and who do I want to be. What became quite apparent for me was that I need to work on taking care of me a bit better. You know that old, "practice what you preach bit."

I have spent the last two years building bridges for networks, organisations and other women to help them grow. Somewhere in the midst of it, I forgot to connect the bridge back to myself, as an individual. I have begun my fourtieth year with a promise to myself to feed my soul and connect locally. I will participate more in my local and region networks. I will nurture the local friendships that have sprouted since relocating to Sweden two years ago.

To ensure that I can enjoy the next fourty or so years, I will join a gym and get my body moving again. A former exercise junky, I have spent far too much time putting exercise as a low priority. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity for both my mental and physical health.

I will work on my self-awareness. This is a tough one. It is easy to say, not so easy to do. Noticing from little indicators, is key to my keeping a healthy not heavy heart. Indicators, like a cluttered desk, laundry piled high, excess sugar and caffeine intake, writers block are all things that tell me that I need to step back and evaluate. The good thing is that the first three can all be fixed, and the fourth is often fixed by working on the others.

Part and parcel with this is to reach out when I need to and talk about it instead of going it alone. So I will follow my own advice that I give my children "use your words." I often hear myself say to them that I cannot help them unless they tell me what is bothering them. Well, it is time to use my words. And so I share them with you.

16 September 2008

Shout out for Swedish women

Women and network leaders have been contacting me all year to ask me how to get Swedish women more involved in international networks. I have to admit I have been asking myself the same question. We all work, we have the classic double duty of being in charge of the home and family as well as our careers. But it is not simply a matter of time. We are not placing a high enough priority on our needs for connecting. Is it lack of ambition? I definitely do not think so. But a culture opposed to risk taking might be a better explanation. The women I meet who do "get out" are quite exceptional and not what I would call "typically Swedish" in that regard.

As my adopted home country, I feel it is my duty to try to do what I can to remedy this. I have met so many wonderful women around the world and at home. I just can't imagine them not benefiting from interacting with one another. Whether it be for social, professional or personal reasons, we all have something to gain from the interaction. Even if it is simply to get a fresh perspective. Or even better to realize that often our views are the same once the cultural blinders are removed.

So here is my shout out. Ladies, you have nothing to lose but a missed opportunity. Take a chance, reach out, try a new network, attend an event, treat yourself to a weekend away and enjoy the new connections you can make and the richness that they add to your life.

11 September 2008

You've Got Friend

With stress levels running at an all time high, I feel the need to take a moment to remind myself and others of the need and power of friendship. Here is beautiful rendition of the classic "You've Got a Friend." Thank you my friends. Hang in there girls!

10 September 2008

If We Build it They Will Come

Yes, well, the saying does say something along the lines of "if we build it they will come." Unfortunately things are never quite that easy. Fighting the urge to be a perfectionist and avoid launching to partners before every little tweak and twist is complete. There will always be more we can do and things that can be improved. Just as that first day you send our daughters off to school with their hair and clothes seemingly perfect and a large smiles on their faces. We know they will come home with skinned knees and stories of adventure, both in success and failure. So, off she goes.

Of course, it would help if the newsletter function worked. So, we fix and tweak some more while they repair that function. We just hope when our girl comes home from school, her teachers and peers can tell us what we can do to improve ours and their experience. So, please go, test, take her for a spin around the playground. We promise we will listen to suggestions if there are improvements to be made. In the interest of avoiding myopic vision, it is time to get out of the house.

09 September 2008

Why Women Mean Business

Thank you Avivah for reminding us of the importance of supporting women in business.

03 September 2008

2BalanceU is Live!

The user site to 2BalanceU is finally live. Of course, we will continue to build and add in more features, but the base is there to commence sharing. Over the next few weeks we will be sending out the launch packages to our partners.

Thanks to Tim Driver, CEO of RetirementJobs.com and a very wise man that I am honored to have as part of our Advisory Board, we had a major "A-Ha moment". We recognised that 2BalanceU is a "social bookmarking" site more than a social search site. All these buzz words don't amount to much other than trying to clarify what we do to those interested. The functionality remains the same. Although, realising this, we have moved up the scheduling for integrating our bookmark upload tool that should have gone out with the launch. We are still learning and I hope the learning will never end.

There is still work to be done, but it is a relief to finally have a user site to direct people to and to encourage people to share.

25 August 2008

Breath Before Launch

The pace of life, work, family, home and all the little things that correspond them quickens after Summer. Different time zones and different seasons effecting everyone when the world becomes a little smaller. We all seem to make it work somehow. But today I remind myself to breath. With the launch a week away and my assistant on personal leave there is little else to do but take it one moment at a time. I wish her the best to deal with the challenge that lies ahead. We have come so far, and yet this is only the beginning. So, breath,.....

The user site will be up and running on 2BalanceU.com next week. It has been a long time coming. We are back to basics. The groundwork is laid and we will see how "she" fares in this great big world. Introductions have been. She's been given advice on how to behave in special circumstances. She has some old friends to support her and will be introduced to many new ones. She is ready to learn and to share. The beauty of this beast is that she is a dynamic living thing that learns from her interactions and can share what she learns with those who will benefit most from it. She may feel overwhelmed at times by the attention, and we will do what we can to nurture her and help her grow. But we hope you will love her as much as we do.

It is our turn to "breath" while she shows her face to the world.

28 July 2008

Rebuilding to Launch

We are finally getting to the countdown steps of being able to launch the user site of 2BalanceU. It has been over two years since the idea of a better way for knowledge sharing struck me. The last two years have been devoted to building a global network of organisations and network leaders, designing and developing a user friendly tool, traveling far and wide speaking with and (more importantly) to listening to women. The journey has just begun in many ways, but we are getting closer to the major milestone of launching to the member level. It is time for me to sit down and write to all the wonderful people I have met in this journey to tell them the time has come to share with their communities. We shall reconnect over the conversations we held whether in living room, a conference hall or an airplane aisle.

We are sure there will be cause for celebration as well as more fires to put out. I, for one, am quite looking forward to using 2BalanceU for a way to get to the resources I sought when this all began. Of course, the resources I seek are slightly different now. I no longer am "in transition" in the sense of going from inactive in the workforce to active. I still have transitions of my own to seek guidance for. I have learned many lessons through building 2BalanceU, but finding competent people both willing and able to commit to the vision has been the greatest challenge.

Reconnecting with our advocates and building our organisation while we get through the final stages of development and launch is more than a full time endeavor. I do hope you will bear with us as we may not be as prolific on the blog. But we are far from quiet. We are just focusing our energy on developing the core one to one quality relationships that make a network work (both personally and professionally). You may hear the buzz as far apart as China or Chile. Feel free to pass it on. We are here, we look forward to launching full and strong with a site that will exceed your expectations and hopes.

18 July 2008

Finding Home

For those of us with a nomadic existence, whether global or otherwise, finding "home" can often be challenging. Whether this characteristic comes from experiences that separate us from our clan, whether our clan is itself nomadic or whether we are just free spirits, the concept of home is often quite different. Cliché expressions like "home is where the heart is" translated into many languages, not simply for use in rhyme.

Every year my extended family gather in the place of our forefathers to reconnect. All airs are set aside, we leave business cards, blackberries (in theory), elevator pitches (many entrepreneurs in the bunch), suits and often watches for the time. When surrounded by people who have known you through every milestone from walking to first blemish to first kiss to graduation and first job to marriage, parenthood and life's unfortunate dramas, there is little room for pretending. There is something freeing about just "being" and not having to be "on". I have never lived in this place for more than two months at a stretch, but it is the only place that I have consistently returned to throughout life. It is "home" to me.

The extension of this experience has been that no matter where I am in the world, I meet people that are connected to this home. It provides the base we need to feel free to live a nomadic existence. Many of my family work and live around the globe. I believe that is because of this foundation that I have understood the true meaning and value of knowledge sharing through a network. I love having the opportunity to find ways to connect people with the answers they need and the answers to the people that will find them useful. It is as if it was a seed planted in me as a child in this place. Following the tradition of my ancestors who were involved in the China Trade, American Railroads and telephones, connecting cultures and places seems second nature. It is when I am home that I feel this connection the most.

The philosophy of our family was defined by one of our ancestors, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.

10 July 2008

Combatting a Joe Job

Thanks to my great team, we seem to have the situation under control. I would like to share with you some of the articles that helped me understand the how to combat the joe job and avoid another one in the future. I recommend you take steps to avoid having the same thing hit you or your organisation.

According to:
SC Conspiracy


tech dirt

08 July 2008

2BalanceU attacked by Email "Joe Job"

Quite frankly until this morning, I did not know what to call the act of falsely using a third party's email domain for spamming (junk mail) purposes. Well apparently 2BalanceU has been victim of a joe-job and now we have to clean up the mess. This is very disconcerting because our credibility lies in the quality of our communications. I do apologise if there is anyone that we know that has received any of this spam (although it seems to have been sent out rather randomly, be obnoxious but not harmful and they do not have access to our mailing lists or data).

We are attending to it in the most expedient way possible and hope to have it fixed shortly with additional safety measures installed again further attacks.

30 June 2008

Building tools to support Diversity

Having just returned from presenting a workshop at the ORIGIN (Organisational and Institutional Gender Information Network)annual meeting in Edinburgh, I am brought back to the core of our work, knowledge sharing. I highly recommend any of our partners to take part in such valuable discussions on best practice. The focus was on emphasizing the benefits of diversity and building the business case in the private sector and the social case in the public sector. Participants are diversity and HR representatives from Asean Development Bank, Council of Europe, European Commission, European Investment Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Space Agency, Organisation for Economic Cooperations and Development, World Bank, UNICEF, United Nations, Scottish Enterprise, ICRC, Sodexho, and the list goes on. It is groups like this, whose work often goes un-noticed but has a tremendous impact on how organisations are build into sustainable institutions with a quality blend of participants.

I will do my best provide a tool that enables you to continue the knowledge sharing and expands your ability to share to a larger audience of both people in the field and those impacted by your work. I commend each of you for your passion for the issues at hand and the work that you do. Keep it up! Thank you to Scott and Brian from Scottish Enterprise for hosting such a delightful event. Thank you Maie from UNICEF for recommending me as a presenter. It was a pleasure meeting you all.

23 June 2008

Global Summit of Women 2008, Hanoi

Glad Midsommar

As usual, it rained on Midsommar in Skåne this year. And as usual, despite the rain, we danced around the maypole, celebrated with laughter and joy, the children got soaked. We mixed cultures like a giant salad of Swedish herring, American greens, Lebanese meats, Polish singing and more. We celebrated technology by sending birthday wishes sung in five languages to the missing guest in California over the mobile phone. The children translated for each other to include all in the play. The world gets a little smaller and we become more harmonious in our voices and our actions.

16 June 2008

Inspiring Women

For the past three weeks I have been traveling around the world (literally) attending and presenting at conferences, meetings and experiencing new cultures. As I now sit at my desk in Sweden trying to organise my reflections, business cards and to-do lists, I am delighted in the memories. Each card I turn brings back wonderful thoughts of the interactions. I am struck by the impressions, most often from the least expected. I feel honored to have taken part and to have the chance to work with something that I feel such a passion for. Despite the geographical distance and the disparity in opportunities, we are unified in our will to create change for the better. Each woman I met inspired in different ways. I intend to write a report with pictures. But I feel the need to just express my gratitude while I assemble my thoughts.

09 June 2008

Report from Hanoi

"It is not enough to envision change, you must be the agent for change." Our hosts from the Global Summit of Women in Hanoi have spent the last three days building the spirit and promoting global women and celebrating their advancement. It was an inspiring event through each speaker, delegate and participant. I feel honored to have been a part of it. I look forward to nurturing the new friendships and connections made in my time here. I will write more as I process all my notes, and sort through the pictures and video on my flight. As I prepare for my departure. I just felt the need to thank the wonderful women of Hanoi for being such delightful and gracious hostesses. Kudos for a successful Summit!

04 June 2008

Professional Network Used Wisely

"Thank you for the invitation, but who are you?" Unfortunately this is becoming more common. Now, the tools to help us connect with the people we do know are great. Thank goodness they are there, they help us keep up to date, as well as to learn more about potential partners and associates. A credible network based on real relationships is of far greater value than one that is purely numbers.

In the past month I have been asked to write a recommendation for someone that I am in the same network (of 6000+ members), but have not met personally. I have been asked to connect to individuals that like my profile, but have no direct relationship with. Today I got invited to attend a seminar on how to maximise presence on social networks by someone boasting 2000+ LinkedIn contacts. Now, some people are social butterflies and maybe this person has an incredible memory for the people he speaks with at conferences. But if someone was to ask him for a reference about each of those people, could he honestly provide an accurate account of what they are like as a professional peer, potential employee or partner?

Maintain a quality network. Do not degrade the value of your network simply for looking connected. Instead, Link when you meet people and feel that you have made a connection. Link while the connection is fresh. Nurture that connection by building it into a relationship beyond the link. E-mail to follow-up your conversation, and keep them in mind as you continue your paths. Something that you discussed in that first interaction might come up along the way and be worth sharing. Take the two minutes to pass it on. When someone contacts them down the line asking about you, they will certainly have a better recall than digging for your LinkedIn page to see who you are. You never know, they might even become both a friend and business partner in the process.

03 June 2008

Asean Women Unite in Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge sharing is in action throughout the Asean region. After meeting with the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations as well as speaking with other women in this region, I feel the rise of collaboration. These tiger ladies are ready to take the world by storm and they believe in doing it together. Of course they are competitive, but in a healthy way. Theý understand the need for knowledge sharing and they have experienced the wave of change. Nice going ladies and keep up the great work. I look forward to supporting your initiatives to connect with other women and organisations in Asia (through the ASEAN Confederation of Women's Organisations (ACWO) and Women's Register) and around the Globe.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, show me your facilities and tell me about your work. Your kindness, sincerity, integrity and wisdom has shown through in each of you. I wish you the very best in your work and look forward to meeting you all again. I might just have to take you up on the offer to speak next International Women's Day. March in Singapore is pretty tempting for someone coming from the dark winters of Sweden. And, yes, I finally tried the chili crab and it was worth it!

02 June 2008

Buddha's Wisdom

From striving comes wisdom;
from not, wisdom's end.
Knowing these two courses
conduct yourself
so that wisdom will grow

Balance Revisited

After a weekend in Singapore in between conferences, I feel refreshed and recovered. I am practicing my mahjong skills and delighting in all the fresh sights and sounds and tastes unfamiliar. And yet, when I pick up the paper, I see the same stories around the globe: "Help Professional Women Retrain to Rejoin the Workforce," "The Smart Way to Do it All," "Women Leaders Need Support,""More Women with Professional Degrees than Men," "Weren't We Supposed to be Beyond This By Now?"... These were headlines for articles in Singapore, Korea and Shanghai, and Europe.

Ladies, rest assured, you are not alone in your struggle and we are doing what we can to bring you together for knowledge sharing as knowledge is power. As Angela Yip, a talented artist and entrepreneur in Chinatown, helped me express my vision, I will do my best to help you express yours by creating the portal to knowledge and each other that will empower you to be the best you can be.

28 May 2008

Women's Leadership and Empowerment

Day two of the Women's Leadership and Empowerment conference in Busan, Korea. The people in this country our gracious, generous and a pleasure to work with. The women here are excited to learn more about building bridges and opening their hearts and minds to the West. I feel a bit like my children as I am just soaking in all the new tastes, sounds and experiences. We closed this evening with karaoke in a "Singing Room" which was delightful. After a day of serious talks and presentations I feel refreshed from a few good belly laughs.

The women here are serious about creating change. It is inspiring the way they are reaching out for new ideas and creating some of their own. The hosts are the founders of the Busan Women and Family Institute. It was a great honor to present the first keynote address at the opening. I was pleased to see a familiar face in the following keynote, presented by Dr. Amany Asfour of the Egyptian Business Women's Association (one of our partners). There was much talk of cooperation and collaboration and how we can help each other grow. Sharing the belief that we are not global unless we include participation from all continents we connected immediately. Economic empowerment for women, greater access to education and knowledge sharing all were common themes. It is easy to optimistic after this experience. The Millenium Goals are attainable, we just need to work together.

23 May 2008

Small World

I am always encouraged when paths recross and networks are bridged. Recently coming across a former classmate from my early early years, I was delighted to see that we have been working in similar areas. Thank you Farah for your work and kudos to you. Keep it up. I always knew you were born to be a leader.

22 May 2008

Journal Women

I was happy to hear in a press release that the Wall Street Journal has finally launched a section for professional women. “Journal Women,” as described in a Dow Jones press release is "a place where ambitious professional and executive women can come together to read and share ideas on work, family and the intersection of the two." Combining the efforts of independent journals like "Pink" and "Enterprising Women" trends seem to be going in the right direction of catering to the thinking women of action. Great job to all of you. I look forward to seeing more.

19 May 2008

Women in Rwanda rise and inspire

Once again I am inspired and awestruck by the power of women rising together in the spirit of sharing and survival. This video on the entrepreneurial spirit of women thriving despite their conditions fuels my passion for growing 2Balanceu and ensuring it is available for all women around the world. By supporting women as family, community and business builders, change can happen. By connecting these women to distributors in need of their goods, we can all be part of change. Thank you ladies for providing such a positive example.

16 May 2008

Thank you Madeleine

I love this intro by Madeleine Albright as I feel that she is a beautiful representation of what we all should and could aspire to be. Thank you Madeleine for your dedication and passion. It is empowering for all of us to see your authenticity shine through in your work and you.

14 May 2008

Stop and Smell the Lilacs

It is crunch time as we prepare for the launch of the new 2BalanceU. There are never enough hours in the day. We are excited, exhausted, exhilarated and extremely happy that the time is finally coming near when we can share it with the world. The process has, like most typical entrepreneurial endeavors, been one of many learning experiences, some pleasant and some painful. But we have come through with what we believe to be an expression of our passion and vision.
All this is wonderful, despite the extra hours and hard labour. But today, I am making a point of reminding myself to stop and smell the lilacs (for that is what is in full bloom here). I received an email this morning from a dear friend that is battling cancer. I feel blessed that she was willing to share her experience with us in reaching out. Today is dedicated to Alejandra. I am wishing her the greatest in strength, health and courage as she continues her battle. I will stop and smell the lilacs, hold my children a little closer, let out a big belly laugh when they misbehave and thank each and everyone of the people in my life that make it so rich. Despite all this craziness and my passion for my work, it would not be worth much if I did not have you in it.

06 May 2008

Alpha Feedback

Thank you to all the wonderful women who took time from their busy schedules to provide us with such great feedback on our new alpha. Your opinions and reactions are so important to us, as the site is for and about all of you. We are looking forward to fixing the bugs, ironing out the kinks and incorporating your suggestions and wow-ing you with the public user-based beta release in June. The redevelopment has been exciting and challenging. It is a pleasure to see that the work is paying off.

Thank you team for getting us so far in such a short time, Cassandra (the best assistant in the world, otherwise known as my "back-up brain"), Alex and the Solution Grove team. Keep up the great work team!

29 April 2008

Movement Initiatives

Ok, everybody get out and move. Yes, I mean it. The sun is out, or it may not be, but there is always somewhere to move your body. I am inspired by the initiatives by organisations, networks, couples and friends to challenge each other to move. Yes, as simple as that, move. Get a pedometer to measure your steps and get moving. We all could use more fresh air and movement. That doesn't mean that this is license do the type-A's to tap their feet under the conference room table racking up extra mileage. This is true movement. It feels good, it is good for you and you will be more effective in your work and your life. At least 20 minutes a day, walk the stairs, run the errand on foot, go for a walk to think a decision through with a clear head. Whatever it takes, just move.

24 April 2008

Girlfriends, Forwarded

This great message about girlfriends was sent to me as an email to forward. Not a believer in chain-mail, I will share it here instead. Enjoy!...

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.
Sisters are there,
No matter how much time and how
Many miles are between you.
A girl friend is never farther away
Than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and
you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your
life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,
Praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on
Your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the Valley's' end.
Sometimes, they will even break the rules and
walk beside you...Or come in and carry you out.
Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,
Daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law,
Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and
extended Family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and
Neither would I. When we began this adventure
called Womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible
joys or Sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how
much we Would need each other.
Every day, we need each other still.
Pass this on To all the women who help make your
life meaningful. I just did.
Short and very sweet:
There are more than twenty angels in this world.
Ten are peacefully sleeping on clouds.
Nine are playing.
And one is reading this blog at this moment.

23 April 2008

Why Women Mean Business

Thank you Avivah for another insightful contribution to research and knowledge on the importance of taking on gender initiatives for growth and sustainability of organisations as a business issue not a women's issue. Nice work.

18 April 2008

Patronising Women in Advertising

Is it that much of a mystery that smart women wish to be treated as is they have they have more to offer than their charm and looks? I certainly hope not. Recently I have been disappointed by mainstream sites that dumb-down their advertising that is positioned towards women. Have they not read the latest research or listened to the their audience? So why is that when I do a Google search on "smart women" I get pictures of scantily clad teenage girls. Is this smart? BlogHer has a great post on antiquated Paper Towel adverts. I guess it is simply a reaction, and we all need a break from intense thought now and again, purely for entertainment's sake. But communicate and entertain us with humour that gives cause for thought and action, not disgust or pity.

17 April 2008

Women's Health Focus

What a pleasure to see women out and about talking about health, laughing about age, and celebrating their femininity. Last night I attended my first 1,6 Miljonerklubben event in Malmö. (1,6 Million refers to the number of women 45+ in Sweden.) I figured it was time for me to get connected locally after having focused so heavily on the global aspect of my work. "Walk the talk," as they say.

The event followed my meeting with the founder, Alexandra Charles, a delightful woman with an interesting history in Sweden as a woman of cultural influence, particularly on the balance side of things. It is always a pleasure to connect with women who share my passion for connecting women to knowledge and balance.

I was encouraged by the events focus on issues often not discussed, rise in lung cancer in women, holistic health beginning with the mouth, and defining for ourselves who we wish to be. To top it all off, there was a fabulous performance by Mikael Wiehe. Being a naturalised Swede, I was not familiar with him. But I was delighted with his music, his natural story telling and his general presence. Thank you Alexandra and congratulations to 1,6 Miljonerklubben on celebrating your first 10 years!

15 April 2008

Women Getting Tee'd Off

The sun is now coming out again in Sweden with a vengeance. The days are longer and we are all finding ways to maximise the exposure to the sun to replenish that missing Vitamin D from the long Swedish Winter. What better way to do this than golf. As I dig through my storage space, past the piles of ski gear, sleds and roller blades, I see my golf bag waiting for me. No tee time booked yet, but my mind is set on improving my golf game now that I am in the land of golf. As an entrepreneur, I find I often have to justify my efforts that lean toward the decadent (not in the office or with my family). But wait, I can still work while I do this wonderful sport.

Something is driving me to think about golf at work, after all this is about "Balance". And then, lo and behold, I receive not one, but three links from friends about women professionals golfing and networking. So, something is indeed driving me to the range (pardon the pun). I will share them with you and encourage you to do the same. Get out on the range, enjoy the walk, the company and the opportunity to expand your horizons (and even your business).

In India, in USA, in the UK

28 March 2008

Saudi Women Making Great Strides

The Condé Nast, Portfolio.com article about scrap-metal C.E.O. Nadia Al-Dossary reminded me today of the all the wonderful entrepreneurial women that I met in Cairo in November at FCEM. It is encouraging to see such strength in women in business in unexpected (from a Western perspective) places. I raise my hat to you Nadia, and your peers. You have come a long way and we look forward to supporting your continued rise. With the rate of 55% of the kingdom's graduates being women, I believe we can look forward to hearing a lot more great success stories about women from the region.

27 March 2008

Giving because it feels good, Receiving because it helps.

Replicating the sensation I feel when I am able to help, as well as the comfort I feel when someone has helped me, is something I strive for in building 2BalanceU. Recently someone asked me why people would bother. This struck me as both an interesting and puzzling question. First of all, I know I'm not the only one who finds gratification in the simple act of giving (especially when it comes from so little effort and no cost). Is this a Western versus Eastern approach? Is it a gender based motivation? Am I being naive? If so, I prefer to assume the best of people unless they prove me otherwise (which unfortunately some do, but that is another topic).

So, fine, I built in an incentive system to the new version to help those who need a little push to participate. I must say, I am very curious as to see the results as to whether the incentives will be used, passed on to others, recognised as status, or ignored. If points are provided for all of activity beyond lurking or surfing (for example; inviting new members, posting an inquiry, recommending resources or events, sharing a resource externally, giving feedback, searching,...) do we derive satisfaction simply by participating? Of course, this is assuming that the activity provides us with useful information as well.

Given my natural curiousity, I felt the need to be sure that those who wish to can use their incentive points as gifts to others. After all, some of us feel there is far more to gain by giving than receiving when we already are blessed with too much. Perhaps is comes back to "karma" or just guilt or because we can. Whatever the motivation, it sure feels good to help and to know others care enough to reciprocate.

21 March 2008

Stay positive

Thank you Julie Meyer, CEO and Founder of Ariadne Capital, for your article "Facebook means there is now no excuse for working with jerks" with the reminder not only to stay positive but to stay away from the negative. I often meet with people at networking events that are full of complaints as to why the system is against them. There are times, especially as an entrepreneur, when it is tempting to blame the system for our lack of momentous and rapid success. We must look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate what we are doing, why it is not moving as fast as we expected and if it is the right thing in the first place. Having a sense of humility and reality can be one of the most useful tools. Of course, we must have the strength and tenacity to believe in our ideas despite the negatives. Are we communicating our message clearly? Are we on the right track? Are we listening to the feedback? It is a constant challenge, but one worth working on. Remember that working with those with a negative attitude and not willing to listen can turn even a good thing sour. So, be wary, yet open minded. And don't be afraid to remind those complainers that it will not take them very far. You will be doing them a favour.

20 March 2008


As an entrepreneur my greatest passion is my work and building 2BalanceU: Women Sharing Wisdom, Resources & Inspiration. Even so, I often struggle with achieving my own balance. In order to feel truly balanced, we must remind ourselves about all the things we are passionate about. Yesterday I smiled the widest grin of pure indulgence as we entered the Vallée Blanche below Mont Blanc from the Italian side in knee deep powder. It was an experience I will never forget. Today, I resume my work set aside while I shamelessly delighted in the beauty of the day and the good fortune to have the chance to be there. My cheeks still tingle from the sun and wind of yesterday and my heart is light. I am reminded that spiritual enlightenment and therapy can often be experienced in the most unlikely places. Now back to work.

16 March 2008

Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurs, as defined by Ashoka, are "individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change." Let us encourage this behavior, as it is the individuals with the vision and willingness to take the risk that have the ability to create change. Kudos to those who are innovative enough to have discovered ways to create sustainable and profitable enterprises. They deserve our encouragement for providing a positive example for us.

14 March 2008

Simple knowledge sharing

We often take for granted the things that are most simple and common parts of our days. Providing the quick directions to the lost traveler, recommending a favourite article or book that provided a moment of inspirational thought, Finding a quick conversation table for the recipe passed on by a friend, discovering a new culinary delight from a passing dish and an appreciative "mmmm", can all provide a moment of quality that enriches our lives and others. Understanding that it is nearly universal that adjusting spectacles is a complementary service, has never ceased to amaze me. In this day of commercialism and rushed lives, I am thankful for these little moments that make me appreciate both my own and others knowledge and specialisations.

11 March 2008

Tribute to Robert Saltonstall

Robert Saltonstall has left an indelible mark on the lives of many around the world. I was blessed to have called him my grandfather, my mentor and my friend. It was through his encouragement and support that I find myself where I am today. His early work in the field of human relations both at Harvard and IMD fascinated me, and influenced many. We passed delightful hours discussing cross cultural relations from the business and personal perspective. He was a passionate humanitarian with an eye for the good and beauty in everything. His constant encouragement to seek new perspectives and strive for my utmost potential never faltered. His love of new experiences and the twinkle in his eye as he recalled each new land he explored was infectious. I am comforted that he can now join Grancy in rest. After 98 years, it is time for them to embark on a new journey. I will always feel that they are my guardian angels who lead me to great things.

10 March 2008

Thank you ladies at ICRC International Women's Day workshop

Thank you, ladies, for joining us for a wonderful workshop at the International Committee for the Red Cross on International Women's Day. I appreciate your patience for the computer glitches and getting things rolling. Sometimes it is good to be reminded how to avoid reliance on technology to allow us to share and learn. It was a pleasure meeting you all. I look forward to hearing from you as we near the launch of 2BalanceU throughout this year.

08 March 2008

Celebrate International Women's Day!

What lies behind us
and what lies before us
Are tiny matters compared to
What lies within us.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Celebrate the women in your life and the woman in you this International Women's Day.

06 March 2008

International Women's Day in Geneva

Join me for International Women's Day at the International Red Cross in Geneva. I will be showing a demo and sneak peek of 2BalanceU and be giving you, the users, the opportunity to tell us what you would like to see more or less of. The links on this picture do not work, but you can click on it to see larger for more details. If you are interested, please send an email to Cass at info@2balanceu.com before Friday, 7 March.

29 February 2008

GWIT BRIC Roundtable

Thank you to GWIT and IUG for hosting the fabulous panelists at last night's BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) panel on the World's Future Building Blocks. Jo Butler of UNCTAD provided insight and proficiency as the panels moderator. She reminded us of the challenges and opportunities transitions can bring as we strive to achieve the millennium goals. Mr. Li Enheng of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO, painted a positive picture of China, balanced more in figures than social impact and consequences. Ms. Nivedita Krishnamurthy AVP-Enterprise Solutions at Infosys spoke of rise of the Indian dream, the importance of social consciousness in FDI and global companies, the problem of literacy rates (especially among women) and depletion of natural resources. Dr. Tania Ramalho, Professor of Education and Women Studies at SUNY-Oswego, presented on Brazil and the importance of improving education to increase access to non-service sector careers for women, and sustainable development. Ms. Nadia Sikorsky, editor in chief of NashaGazeta.ch, a Swiss publication in Russian language, presented a enlightened picture of the importance of journalism not simply for propaganda and PR but for community building and better understanding of home and expat cultures. Thank you for your insight and the opportunity to learn.

26 February 2008

Reality Check

Thank you all for your support and kind notes. My daughter, HannaMaria, is doing fine after getting hit by a car last week. It was a quick reminder of priorities, value of life and love, the resilience of children and the value of friendship and family. She is off to ski school today with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. I appreciate your patience and your understanding as I disappeared in crisis mode for a moment there.

18 February 2008

Madelyn said it best

"I think there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women".
Madelyn Albright

Women Speaking their Peace

Coming across an Iraqi Women oral history project by Laura Hamblin today got me thinking of all the wonderful tales that never get told, or only in limited circulation. Thank you for your efforts Laura. If you know of any other such oral history projects, please let us know about them. I found her interviews interesting and inspiring and gives a human perspective.

14 February 2008

Women Sharing Wisdom: Supporting Women in Leadership

Thank you Maie Ayoub von Kohl, Acting Special Adviser on Gender and Diversity, UNICEF, for hosting the Women Sharing Wisdom: Supporting Women in Leadership Roles workshop in New York. It was a pleasure working with all of you. I hope that you enjoyed the workshop and were inspired to go out and use your newly acquired knowledge. Thank you also to participants from other UN agencies that took the time to join us. I appreciate your feedback and topic suggestions as it helps us adapt the tool to your needs. I look forward to sharing and learning with you all.
Happy Valentine's Day!

13 February 2008

Empowering Women

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Women in Business

Once again I must thank Avivah Wittenburg-Cox for her eloquent way of expressing the communication gap and the impact on women in business. We repeatedly see the signs of ambition and strength in women as leaders. But still there is a great disparity between those who attain the titled leadership role. I would go so far as to make bold conjecture the perhaps many women who lead are not title bearers.

In recent months, I have seen an increasing number of examples of what I would refer to as a shadow leader. The most traditional of these models might be the trailing spouse. She has an immense amount of wisdom, support, talent and ability that she does not outwardly display but us expressed through her partner. I have heard repeatedly that it is not worth giving up their authentic self for the simple action of holding a title. That is not to say that some of us don't enjoy the challenge. I say, whatever finds you the greatest satisfaction you should strive for. I am simply saying that lead in a way that allows you to be your personal best. Whether a shadow leader or a leader on the stage, we should support and appreciate the act of authentic leadership.

05 February 2008

Congratulations WITI

WITI (Women in Technology International), the nation's leading professional organization for tech-savvy women, has been selected to receive the prestigious "Raw Spirit Award" by Women in Broadcast Media. I want to personally congratulate you Carolyn Leighton and your team. WITI was one of the first professional women's organisations that I participated in in the early 90s. Thank you for your efforts and keep up the great work! www.witi.com

04 February 2008

Positive Action Speaks Louder

Indeed we see a disparity in wages, and even simple human rights for women. But please ladies, let us not get negative. By simply expressing anger do we change anything (besides confirming that we to have testosterone running through our bodies). Yes, change needs to happen, but we need to look to the solutions and the positive. Just like raising a child, we accomplish nothing by negative reinforcement but rebellion. We must remember to rise above, do our best and work TOGETHER with men and women alike to create change. We must work with out strengths to lead as stubborn and yet compassionate individuals.

01 February 2008

Arab Women's Day

Today is Arab Women's Day. I want to simply send out my heartfelt support for the wonderful Arab women that I have met over the last few years both professionally and personally. You are an inspiration to us all. I look forward to helping create the bridges between all of us that enforce the bonds in our similarities, not our differences. Together we can make the world a better place for future generations.

30 January 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

We must understand the importance of sharing. Often it is as simple as passing on the words of wisdom that we ourselves know. This clip is a beautiful expression of some of the women that have shared wisdom with me in the last few months. Thank you for sharing and keep it up.

29 January 2008

Where are the Women at Davos?!

I am disappointed to see such a poor showing of women at Davos, yet again. Yes, all good things come in time. I do know that because of my work, I am aware of far more women doing amazing things in their communities, companies and countries than the average person. But, my goodness, can't they be a little more creative. I am not saying they should invite women that are not of interest or qualified. What I am saying is that they should look around. If the old boy's network at the World Economic Forum wants to stay ahead, they need to let women have a greater voice and participation. They would have benefited by participation of Riane Einsler, Amany Asfour, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Hon. Sarmite D. Bulte, to name a few who work with passion to advocate the economic empowerment of women and reverse the human brain drain. Let us be sure that in the future, the voices are heard, not only at women's conferences, but at all. As we are in this together.

28 January 2008

Gone mobile

Finally online with the mobile application for my blog. I look forward to keeping up to date, on the go.

24 January 2008

Women are the Ultimate Entrepreneurs

All this talk of women being nurturing has been getting to me lately. Not in an annoying way, but rather in a contemplative way. I spend a lot of energy on women in professional transition understand the importance and relevance of their skills outside the workforce from a business perspective. It is actually quite interesting to see that some of the most desirable skills (or shall I say talents) in entrepreneurship. Managing a family, renovating a home, relocating, raising children, supporting a partner, volunteering, the list goes on,...

Take the analogy of building a business from scratch and motherhood. Begin with conception, the idea, or even more cliché, shall we say, "the twinkle in your eye." Now to have a successful gestation period, you must suffer a little, be denied restful nights of sleep thinking about what the future holds and all the things you need to do to make this little twinkle a successful being. You might even have a few torturous setbacks that require you to start again with the same passion for the outcome, but a little more caution and and realism as you proceed. (This of course, will only make you appreciate the end result for more).

The first trimester can be rather stressful as this is creating the foundation and laying the groundwork, setting up the team that will help you in our journey. If you are lucky you have a good partner to help you through this journey, if not, you find other support to fill in the gaps. The second trimester, feeling great, on a bit of roll, feeling the excitement, eye on the goal. Third trimester, getting ready to launch this being into the world. You have to suffer a little, or a lot, more here. Sleep seems to be interrupted again with thoughts of the future, what needs to be done, what have you missed. You are pulling together all the bits and pieces so that this being will have a grand welcoming on its arrival.

I will skip the gorey details of the actual arrival, as this is where my analogy falls apart momentarily. With the exception of the fact that the seratonin in our amazing bodies has a way of tricking us into rememerbing this as a joyous experience, let us leave it at that.

Now it is here, it has a name. You introduce it to people with pride in our hearts at a job well done. And yet, you have this helpless infant that is not fully formed, and certainly not self sufficient. You not only are still tired from the last months building up to its arrival, but now you are denied even more sleep for taking care of its needs at all hours of the night. This is where post-partum depression kicks in.

You have this beautiful thing that is just the beginning and will need so much more loving and caring and stimulation and ....and you are the mother of it. It is yours and your identity is now tied to it. You are now the creator of it in other's eyes, not whoever you were before. You are proud (and tired). You must learn to delegate those things that will enable you to do what you do best. You must take the time to take care of your health, for what good are you to it, if your health fails.

You surround yourself with women who understand what you are going through right in that moment. You seek out others who have been there who can provide wisdom and guidance. You bring it to experts to check when things go wrong and to ensure that it is healthy and shall remain that way. You study about what you can do to enhance its special talents that make it stand out as an individual. You teach it how to relate to others and yet, be its own entity. You feed it to let it grow and provide it direction and stimulation to help guide its path.

I could go on, but you get the point. Rise with the passion and conviction to turn a twinkle into a success. Don't be afraid of setbacks and failures, as life is a continuum from which we learn and become wiser with each experience and opportunty. Remember to seek guidance from peers and from experts, but remember that what worked for them may not work for you or your entity. You have what it takes in you.

23 January 2008

Altruistic giving

It is a truly beautiful thing when one takes the time and energy to give out of the pure goodness of their heart. A gift, whether it kind words in a moment of need, a helping hand when one's lost their way, or something more physical is hardly of relevance. The treasure is in the act and the thought, even unconscious thought, that is behind that gift. I have been blessed in my work to have been bestowed with many gifts. Each I wish to celebrate in turn and thank for their intent.

I write of this as I recently had lost my way, and was given the gift of direction and a helping hand. It was given in the form of a reminder in why I do the work I do and who I do it for. I do it, because I believe it will make the world a better place. I do it for my children and their children. I am passionate about supporting women who have the desire to be change agents, because they have shown me such altruistic hope. We have the gift to give in sharing what we already have, with so little effort and so much satisfaction.

This is simply a thank you to those who remind me everyday, who I am and who I aspire to be. I do not claim to be entirely altruistic. I bask in the warmth of the smiles and appreciation of those that my work will help. That is my reward. So, I wish to remind each of you what my grandmother always taught me, the importance of the words "thank you." A little goes a long way.

22 January 2008

Technical failure

So much for being tech savvy. I had my assistant put all my stacks of accumulated business cards from conferences, workshops, presentations and general networking from the last two years into my new computer loaded into my Business Contacts Manager. I felt such a relief to finally have them all in one place and organised with notes as to their affiliation and conversations, etc. That same program has decided that I need permission from my system administrator (that would also be me, as I am the only one using it) to get access. I have been wrestling with this for over a month with no results from Microsoft or Dell (who Microsoft says I should deal with).

Needless to say, this has been a very frustrating experience. After my LinkedIn disaster, I might think that technology was just not on my side these days. All this to say, backup and communication is key. I am still going through the stacks to continue the follow up. If anyone knows of the secrets to unlock this, please feel free to pass them on.

I am reminded that this year begins with the image of a phoenix rising from the ashes. With re-organisation, developments migration to Sweden and carpal tunnel to boot, I turn inward to focus on the reason I started this whole thing in the first place, balance. Finding the connection between self and surroundings where we are at peace with our ourselves and our environment. So, breath deep, exhale. As my dear friend Peggy would say "Poof" it away. Start 2008 fresh with what we have and continue stronger and wiser. Nothing is lost, wisdom is gained.

18 January 2008

LinkedIn disaster apology

I would like to publicly apologize to all those who have received an invitation from me on LinkedIn recently that I was not directly connected with. I made the mistake of uploading my contacts to extend invitations to my network. What I did not expect was that the system trawled through all the cc:s and Bcc:s on all the emails that I have sent and received and invited them as well. It was not until I started receiving acceptances on LinkedIn from people that I did not know (but that had attended the same business school, or shared contacts with mostly) that I realised this had occurred.

I did not catch this when it went out. I am sincerely sorry. I am quite annoyed when I receive invitations to link with people that I do not know and have no reason to connect with. I value my network greatly and I work hard to maintain the quality of the relationships in it. I, therefore, apologise to those of you who are in my network as well. I appreciate you and respect you professionally and personally. I assure you, I will be far more careful in the future.

I wish you all the best. Please let this be a warning to all of you who use simple tools (or build them) for uploading contacts and inviting to networks. It has certainly been an eye opener for me. Now I know what to avoid when building this feature into 2BalanceU.

17 January 2008

Ariadne Capital's Investors Forum

It is an exciting time to be involved in the development of social media. I have just returned from Ariadne Capital's Investor Forum in London. The presentations were very thought provoking and well presented. It was encouraging to see an organization like Ariadne and Julie Meyer pulling together the strengths of such an interesting mix of entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers. After working in the solitary isolation of start up phase living in a culture that loves the idea of entrepreneurial success and ingenuity but frowns deeply on failure (even if it is learned from). I found the forum refreshing in content and atmosphere. So, thank you Julie for pulling that together and inviting me to take part.

As social entrepreneur in "isolation" I found it refreshing to get feedback on the financial side and monitising of the business from straight talk. I realised from the feedback that I had steered away from our original model for 2BalanceU in order to appease our network members. But in the process we had given away some of our most critical features that support the members, who essentially the site is for and remove our critical revenue streams. Frustrated at first, I am delighted to see that the insight has brought us back to the core of what we started out to do and believe in. So thank you, Dr.-Ing. Jörg Sievert (SAP Ventures), Thomas Schulz (Ariadne Capital), and Candace Johnson (Johnson Paradigm Ventures) for your straight talk and insight. Thank you also to Arjo Ghosh (SpannerWorks) and Carl Uminski (trutap) for your inspiring entrepreneurial spirit and great ideas.

The past month has been a true test of my own entrepreneurial spirit and willpower (yes, stubbornness, diplomatically put). We closed down our US operations and moved everything to Sweden. We are reviewing the next steps to get us back on track. Thanks to the forum, I am renewed with new ideas to get back to the old. Always good to go back to the original model for vision and what it will take to get there. There has been a lot of learning along the way, and I am sure there will be more. But each in turn makes us stronger. Out of the ashes rises a phoenix. So that is how we shall commence 2008, rising to flight when we can expand our full wing span and follow where the wind currents take us.

09 January 2008

Happy New Year

Now back to work. Yes, it has been a wonderful time to be offline, reconnecting with my family and friends. I must admit, once I was weaned of the pinging and vibrating of phones and Blackberries (this took a few days), I thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of us whose lives rely so heavily on the use of technology and the connections they provide, this is far more difficult than we expect. I was amused to hear that even my non-techy family members were trying to reach me on Skype and shocked to not find me there. I thank all of you who send me encouraging messages about health and being offline being good for the soul.

My vacation report: I relaxed. I made fresh tracks in the powder off Grands Montets, laughed wholeheartedly at my children's (and my own) silliness, made snow angels, ate delicious food (enjoying every bite), drank delicious wine, enjoyed intense fireside conversation solving the world's problems (and a few of my own) with friends, slept, learned a few new tricks, read books ("Eat, Pray, Love" - highly recommend it), freshened up my French, and just breathed in the mountain air and sunshine.

Lastly I must report that I have made a New Year's resolution that I hope you all will share with me. "Listen to my body." For someone who has studied the art of understanding my body's communication both inside and out, I have been a very bad listener. Without my health, I cannot achieve my greatest potential in any shape or form. So, I promise, I will make the effort to take better notice of, and to act on, those messages going forward. I hope that you all will too.