By Ana Cecilia Flores, Co-Founder.
June was an exciting month for me as I got the honor to join a group of 42 exceptional women entrepreneurs from all over the world for an in-person training for Vital Voices GROW (VV GROW) in Amsterdam. Outstanding leaders coming from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, South Africa, Swaziland, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
VV GROW is a yearly training that helps women leverage vital business skills and knowledge to expand their business. Through mentoring, training and one-on-one coaching from business experts, women who participate in the VV GROW Fellowship have access to personalized business assistance that helps them take the actions necessary to reach their goals.
The in-person training resulted in an experience that went beyond obtaining and sharpening business skills to solidarity and sisterhood among the fellows, and a journey of individual reflection.
Here are some of my thoughts and findings. I hope this can inspire other women entrepreneurs anywhere around the world to create spaces that encourage these types of interactions.
There is magic when women get together.
1. We are all driven by a personal cause. As we got to know each other better and share personal details of our stories and how we got started, I was very impressed to learn that we all were motivated by a very deep personal story that drives change and motivated us to pursue goals that made us stretch ourselves out of our comfort zones.
2. Even-though we all come from very different geographies, running different businesses in completely different industries, I noticed that most of us often limit ourselves by the thought that we are simply not good enough. Even when facts are showing us otherwise, we still experience this feeling of self-doubt that makes it harder for us to go after new opportunities, explore potential areas of interest, and put ourselves out there in a meaningful way.
3. The good part is that courage was overflying the room all the time! The boldness and bravery to face tough challenges. Even when some of us expressed a sense of fear in one or another way, none of the 42 women hesitated for a second that we were going to take the next step, acting without fear of failure.
4. We are all change-driven more than just looking for success. There is this deep understanding that we can become agents of change and use our businesses and leadership to make that happen.
5. Digital is a great enabler to bring the world closer but making the time for personal connections is more important than ever. I met some of the women since the beginning of the year as we shared online training, presented ourselves and exchanged thoughts and ideas. Meeting all of them in person was a game-changer. It created a strong bond and sense of belonging that I feel will last for a very long time. It got me thinking about how many relationships in our businesses and personal lives could benefit from the power of personal interactions.
So for all the women entrepreneurs in different communities, reach out! Create your own networks!
Women have the power to share with no limit and create a sense of sisterhood that helps each of us thrive!
PH: Vital Voices