The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global CItizens together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna hosted a Round Table: “Effective Women Leadership” for the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) Asia participants on October 2nd in Vienna, Austria. The event was moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and featured outstanding women leaders as panelists:
- Lulua Asaad, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC
- Selma Prodanovic, CEO and Founder of 1MillionStartups
- Vera Strobachova Budway, Senior Coordination Advisor, Gender Section, OSCE
- Helena Zimmerdahl, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden in Vienna
The event provided a secured space where the fellows freely shared their personal stories, discussed various challenges they are facing, and received advice from the senior women leaders. Critical questions were raised such as
“What is a good/bad leader?”
“How can we make men with closed mind listen to us?”
“How can we overcome the challenges we are facing?”
Prodanovic said that the WEP Asia fellows have already achieved so much and that it is important for them to reflect on what they have done to succeed and think about how to further amplify the efforts.
She said, “the fact that you ladies are here shows that you are among the top 1% that cares about women’s empowerment” and encouraged the group to “follow your inner voice, and do the right thing!”
Budway shared her motto and encouraged the aspiring young women leaders to be “open for new challenges.“
She said that one can become an expert in anything that she desires and is passionate about.
“Take risks; don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zone!”
Zimmerdahl also reminded the young fellows that they don’t have to be good at everything. She continued, “Go easy on yourself. You are very capable but do not have to do it all” and encouraged the individuals to create their exit strategy and work on it.
“Even if you have chosen a path, if it does not make you feel comfortable, don’t be afraid to change this path.”
Asaad said, “leadership is not only about leading but having an impact on society and on the people around us.” She also stressed that “leadership is also about being authentic and being true to oneself.”
She then added that “the network that we have as women and with women is so important as we are essential in promoting each other” but that “Gender equality is a responsibility for everyone: boys, men, girls, and women.”
In consequence of the round table, Froehler moderated a workshop during which the WEP Asia fellows came up with their own list of the most important elements for being a good woman leader.
The group created a manifesto that consists of total 16 elements with which they will further develop their leadership skills and continue to make changes:
- Let me be wrong in my way!
- Lower your expectations.
- Be vulnerable; Embrace yourself.
- Dare to delegate.
- Ask for help when needed.
- Make small steps and celebrate small successes.
- Change is not easy, but it was your choice.
- Amplify; Speak for yourself.
- Raise your voice even ignored or interrupted.
- Amplify the voice of another woman.
- Teach boys and men about gender equality.
- Share inspirational stories about other women in other communities.
- Read a book that inspires you.
- Share what you find inspiring.
- Find a mentor and a supporting system.
- Get out of your comfort zone.