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I had the honor of hosting really pivotal figures of business at our Achieving Women Forum, an event staged under the Industry Intel banner of Entrepreneur Middle East.
Our Industry Intel events are structured with three primary goals in mind: knowledge-building and sharing via discourse, creating opportunities for business development, and networking and access. During my opening remarks, I stressed on the importance of the third point- I told our guests that in that space they should “feel emboldened to approach other guests and especially the event’s speakers.” I encouraged the audience to network with one another heavily, and even more importantly, to take advantage of the direct access to our panelists who have all displayed significant talent and rare business acumen. I also shared my thoughts on the fact that we were staging a women-centric event; our speakers and our attendees both are not just significant in the realm of women in business, they are significant in business as a whole. That is partly what the Achieving Women’s Forum was about: being an effective force of commerce and enterprise as a figure of business, not being regulated to being an effective female figure of business. What do I mean by this? Biology should not be part of the descriptors used in a business context.
It is often the clichéd case that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and if it weren’t for my occasional “squeaks,” I wouldn’t be where I am today. That was one of the messages that we hoped to convey, and judging by our bold and engaged audience, it resonated. We’re proud of the fact that the Forum was heavily interactive (I took my phones on stage to continue to “talk back” via Twitter throughout the course of the event, something people who don’t use social media might find unusual), but it was and always will be part of Entrepreneur’s communication strategy: real talk in real-time. Our hashtag, #EntMEWomen, trended on Twitter for two straight days indicating to me that not only was the event widely discussed, it was much needed. For those that are interested, visiting the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter can give you a pretty comprehensive run down of the day’s discourse- I hope you check it out.
Post-event, before I had a chance to sit down and write thank you notes to our speakers for giving up their time to participate, I began receiving emails from them thanking us for including them. These exceptional women were actually thanking us for inviting them to speak? It shocked me, but it says a lot about their ethics and their sheer dedication to using their respective experiences to make other women in business as successful as they are, and they do so with such pleasure and unparalleled relish! That’s one of the primary reasons our speakers from the Achieving Women’s Forum deserve to be heard far and wide: they are willingly part of the ecosystem whenever possible, and they want to participate in pushing us all forward.
To our Achieving Women’s Forum speakers, thank you for sharing your candid and frank opinions at the event. We appreciate your willingness to publically draw on your relevant personal anecdotes both positive and negative, and your valuable advice. You all brought things to the table that everyone can learn from, and put to work. I am humbled by your participation and your support of the magazine and the work that we do.