måndag, juni 18, 2012

Gästblogg: Anna Lithagen

Anna Lithagen. Foto: Sofia Ernerot.
Anna Lithagen är projektledare för Maud Olofssons ledarskapsgrupp inom Hillary Clintons internationella toppråd för att stärka kvinnors ekonomiska ställning i världen, ICWBL (International Council on Women’s Business Leadership). Anna medverkade på vår konferens Global Symposium on Women’s Entrepreneurship 1-2 juni. I bloggen nedan berättar hon bland annat om sitt möte med Hillary Clinton häromveckan. /Jonas

I am. Inspired. Full of energy. Prepared to connect the talents and strong voices. Follow great ideas. Listen to and be part of the change making. Ready to dream and think big. Encouraged and moving forward by the urge to see where the limits lay.

And then go beyond them.

Currently, I work as advisor and project manager with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth for the Subcommittee on Leadership, aiding Subcommittee chair Maud Olofsson, with the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership (ICWBL).

The ICWBL is an initiative taken and chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Maud Olofsson and I met at the inaugurational meeting in Washington D.C. earlier this year and, once again, when she was in Stockholm on the Sunday following the Global Symposium on Women’s Entrepreneurship.

I feel fortunate to be part of this initiative and involved in actively promoting economic sustainable growth, and to pursue and promote business leadership among talented women entrepreneurs and current and future women leaders, in Sweden as well as internationally.

At the Global Symposium on Women’s Entrepreneurship I was inspired by the dynamic speakers and participants and the unequivocal drive to create and build companies, networks and sustainable solutions, presenting their products and business ideas creatively and fast-paced, elevator-pitch-style…”doors closing”…in front of the entire audience…”and, we’ve arrived!”.

I also had the honor of being one of the speakers together with Shelly Porges at the Global Entrepreneurship Program with the U.S. Department of State and with whom I have been collaborating closely on the Subcommittee on Leadership.

Together, and with the leverage of the extraordinary members of the Council and subcommittees and their combined networks, by connecting and influencing organizations and corporations and by creating synergies between the public and the private sectors, we hope to make it clear that there will only be winners -worldwide- as a result of overcoming some of the major barriers preventing women from rising to leadership positions!

One of the most important factors that we have identified, for women to view themselves as leaders and entrepreneurs, is the importance of role models. Therefore, at the Symposium, I also brought up one of the flagship initiatives of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the Ambassadors for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

The initiative shows that there are as many different ways of doing business as there are entrepreneurs, that business is conducted in all possible sectors, and that there is not one, already-cut-out way of building a successful company or a certain management style to be taken on. As a result, the women entrepreneurs chosen to take part in the initiative might become mentors, business partners and catalysts to each other and role models -through speaking engagements at schools and universities- to future entrepreneurs and leaders.

The world, undoubtedly, needs women to be able to step forth as leaders and entrepreneurs.

Sometimes, all you really need is that extra word of encouragement from someone you look up to, to understand that he or she believes in you, in your potential, and in your ability.

For you to step forward.

To take a leap.

And soar.

Further and higher than you might have thought possible at first.

The world needs women and men alike to pay their experience and insights forward, and to –to the best of their knowledge and ability- be role models and mentors to talents and aspiring leaders.

You might already be aware of this and it is also highly possible that you have been for a while. And that now is the time.

You might not hear the ticking of the clock… (referring to the Mutewatch, being courageously pitched on stage by innovator and founder Mai-Li Hammargren)

But it IS time. To take part. To get off the sidelines and try to make a difference.

And be ready to win!

/Anna Lithagen

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