After hosting in countries like India, South Africa, and Haiti, the Global Ambassadors Program came to a new part of the world in 2014: Warsaw, Poland. Women across Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia were invited to apply, resulting in sixteen brilliant and fascinating emerging women leaders joining together from across sectors—IT, business incubation services, agriculture, NGOs, and more.
Just as the Global Ambassadors Program was moving into new geographic territory, it also broke ground this year on a subject that’s vital to every leader: social media. Guatemalan social media expert Karla Ruiz Cofino led a captivating session that focused on the power of social media to build personal and organizational brands. Although the subject was a new one for many in the audience, Cofino—a dynamic speaker—energized the group and left the audience with a strong understanding of social media’s power and importance to their work as business owners.
Participants in the conference continued to benefit from the program’s mentoring opportunities. Paired with mentors who are established leaders in their varied fields, mentees brainstormed and planned in one-on-one sessions and group workshops, gaining the knowledge they need help take their corporations, start-ups and non-profits to the next level.
For mentee Tatiana Semikop, head of the Ukrainian public movement “Faith, Hope, Love”—an HIV service organization that seeks to support the HIV positive and change the public response to the epidemic—the program was a chance to strategize with mentor Galina Malnikova about how to best reach a global audience, and raise awareness of her work to help those internally displaced in the region.
Mentees also gained other insights from the program. For Natalia Skobnikova, time spent with mentor Eileen O’Connor allowed her to see the need to step back from her successful construction logistics firm and focus on development of her personal goals and skills.
Both mentors and mentees shared that the event led them not just to the hard business knowledge that will be helpful day-to-day, but to the unexpected epiphanies that can elevate businesses—and leaders—to places they might never have imagined.
“When you bring together 16 powerful women with passion, vision and commitment,” said Zoe Dean-Smith, senior director of global programs, “you’d better brace yourself for the changes that will unfold.”