Event: International Women's Day X Wedu
Venue: House of Lucie
Date: Saturday March 10, 2018
Moderator: Kaylee Knowles
Sivalee Anantachart (SoMa)
Nadia Chen, Senior & Executive Coach at Lincoln HR Group
Nicola Jones-Crossley, Director of AKIN Asia
A. Blair Cadet, Healthy Hair Asia & Yummy Blair
Who is Wedu? And why mentorship matters
Wedu is a leadership development organisation that matches young women, "Rising Stars" that demonstrate strong potential to be leaders in their communities, with mentors, who have professional experience in business and leadership. Learn more about them HERE, as they have a beautiful and informative website :)
I learned about Wedu, through a friend who recommended me to be one of the speakers for Wedu's International Women's Day event. I was flattered but hesitant as I never spoke on a panel before (did presentations, went to many panel discussion, but never sat on a panel), so I said yes, because I'm always open for new opportunities and I like to share my ideas beyond my blog.
I took this opportunity also because I believe in mentorship, I have mentors and thank them for their perspective, constructive criticism, connections, and guidance for my business. To speak on this panel as we celebrated International Women's Day it was a powerful statement that women that reach a certain point of success have a responsibility to give back and help other women succeed.
The Panel Discussion
Sitting on the panel amongst other amazing women, I was happy to share my thoughts on gender issues, how to get more women in leadership, and ideas for solutions to create a more inclusive economy for women.
Essentially my thoughts for gender issues and lack of opportunity for women comes down to economics. A society that doesn't value family and work life balance, or doesn't have social programs to invest in child care, maternity/paternity/parental leave, or invest in education and vocational skills for the population is a society that doesn't support women. I gave examples of my experience living and travelling in Israel and Finland who both have a family friendly societies and invest in their populations. It's not enough to lecture women about "being more confident" or "taking opportunities" because I grew up in the US, but to a working class family, and despite my confidence, and hard work, my family didn't have the resources or time to invest in me so I could "take advantage of opportunities." So, the root of gender inequality from what I observe in developing countries is the lack of jobs, social programs to help mother fulfil their responsibilities at home while working, and most importantly, creating opportunities for men and women.
Leading Mentorship Workshop: Finding Your Voice Through Blogging
So when I was asked to lead a workshop, I thought discussing blogging would be the best because aside from my startup, I run this blog so I can share my journey as an entrepreneur. More importantly, share how I found my voice through blogging. Something that didn't happen until 1 year into blogging, and once I found my voice, my blog became interesting to read :)
It was very fun to get back into "teacher mode" as I led about 20 people through a series of games to teach them basics of story-telling, flow, how keep readers engaged; and for those that had heavy topics such as: human trafficking, labor laws, feminism, the best way to blog is share their individual experience and story why they are writing about these topics. For example, one of my "students" wanted to write about how migrants working in the fishing industry are abused and taken advantage of, and that he interviewed fisherman and didn't know where to start. My advice, was to write their stories rather than provide an industry perspective. People like authentic and individual stories.
I would like to thank Wedu for having me as a guest speaker, it was an amazing experience that has inspired me to start mentoring women in my life.