What if you had the Power to change the world? Together we do!!
The concept of 'Paying it Forward' is not new to me, having experienced it myself and spoken about it in various conferences, most recently at DWEN 2013 in Turkey where I co-presented on 'Pay it Forward: Impacting the Lives of Girls' with Elizabeth Gore (Resident Entrepreneur - United Nations) and Tina Wells.
This year, 160 women representing 13 countries namely Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States found themselves in Istanbul at a moment in history as Turks took to the streets, demanding the government protect their civil rights. It has been researched and the statistics prove that women leaders reinvest in their communities by providing leadership in significant ways. This led to the theme for this year’s event ‘Pay it Forward’ and Dell has undertaken the initiative to impact 1 million women by 2015.
Karen Quintos, Dell's chief marketing officer, emphasized that every woman in the audience could amplify her own experience and success by helping at least 10 women over the next two years. If the 10,000 members of Dell's wider women's networks were to help 10 women, who then turned around and supported 10 more women, then "we can collectively impact the future of other economies”. Elizabeth Gore said “Integrate with your business plan” a simple statement but has such impact. My good friend in India Jasmeen Dugal says “Repay society or take the learning to the next generation”.
Over the last few years I have met many women in International forums and from Fortune 500 companies like Marissa Mayers, Indra Nooyi, Karen Quintos, Molly Ashby, Sherrie Rollins Westin, Pattie Sellers, Diane Von Furstenberg and none other than Warren Buffet. They inspired and motivated me to “pay it forward” which made me start a mentoring initiative “Open forum” with my young team at Crosshairs through our offices in Mumbai and New Delhi, where we mentored a handful of young women and have been part of mentoring walks.
At Dell Women Entrepreneur Network in Turkey we discussed the impact of scaling technology, shared economies, parallel thinking, disruptive technologies and cultures of innovation. Statistics also prove that women leaders reinvest in their communities by providing leadership in significant ways. Add to that research stating that 71 per cent of Indian women entrepreneurs are running successful businesses compared to 46 per cent in US and 24 per cent in UK. And it gets you thinking 'How can we empower others like us?' The concept of Open Forum has roots in such questions.
We now want to take Open Forum to a digital platform that will enable development through networking mentors with mentees. India has one of the highest growing internet penetration rate and ranks second just after USA when it comes to LinkedIn users, majority of whom happen to be women. From here it doesn't take long for one to connect the dots and realize the potential of revolutionary change that such a virtual platform holds.
Through the help of converging technologies, Open Forum is an attempt to bring together mentors and mentees from different walks of life. It will allow mentors and mentees to share ideas, experiences, advice, guidance and knowledge. The intention is not only to bring about mentor-mentee relationships but also where mentees can in turn “Pay it Forward” by helping other new-mentees in a constantly evolving hierarchical chain of Mentor-Mentee relationships.
Ripple effect starts when 10 women help another 10 women which multiplies. I say: Seize the Moment!!