We did it! Last Friday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, Greater IBM women came together from around the world for our first Women’s Leadership Gathering. It was an online dialogue event hosted by my company’s Global Dialogue Center CONFERENCE CENTER. The theme for our first conversation was Leadership Lessons: Missteps, Miracles, and Milestones. Shara Sokol, Greater IBMer (1999-2004) from New York and president of s2 Creative Communications, joined me as co-host. We were also very blessed to have Nancy Margulies, who worked with us in the initial pilot (see "related article" below) and is well-know as "the godmother of graphic recording". She did live illustration to bring our dialogue to life. It wasn’t just the two-hour conversation experience we shared together, there was a magic in the preparation in the days leading up to the event that counted too.
As women from around the world, including Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, and from every region of the United States, made their way to the gathering, some were stepping up to put their fingerprints on our dialogue in meaningful ways long before the actual day. It started with three Greater IBM trailblazing women, who volunteered to serve as "conversation starters." Each of them found a unique way to share their thought-provoking messages.
Linda Griffin from Virginia started the dialogue by telling us, "I spent 30 wonderful years in my career with IBM. I loved my job!" She followed with her story of how she turned her experience into a leadership coaching career in 2006, as founder of ClearWind LLC. Her warm and generous sharing provided "pearls of wisdom" for all of us to take home.
Orsoyla Selley, Greater IBMer from Hungary, wasn’t able to be with us for the event. However, she gave me the honor of carrying a message from her to the meeting. This demonstrated how even when we can come to an event, we can still make a contribution by sharing ourselves.
Jane Scandurra, Greater IBMer from New York, and contributing author to the Greater IBM BLOG, wrote to say she wouldn’t be able to attend as she was heading out on vacation — but this didn’t stop her from "being there" with us. You see, Jane Scandurra is owner of Go Pictures and Films, LLC with a new documentary film just launched, called "SINGLE". A few days before our Women’s Leadership Gathering, a video arrived in my email from Jane. As I watched her clever message — I was so touched at her efforts to support our first gathering. In the great tradition of IBMers, she "leaped over a few buildings" to deliver her brand of excellence as she talked with us via video at the event.
WHAT DID OTHER WOMEN HAVE TO SAY ?
Here is a small sampling of the words Greater IBM women chose to share about the experience before leaving the event…
– "So refreshing to meet in a place where everyone had your best interest in mind."
– "Gave me lots of food for thought when I really needed it!"
– "Appreciate the experience so much. It was wonderful!"
– "Invaluable. Please continue. Taking home some great pieces of wisdom."
– "A suprise due to the original and fun format!!
I will promote this forum!!!
– "Appreciate IBM offering us an opportunity to network with
IBM and IBM alumni women; we share a common link."
In one of my cherished books, I re-read this passage the week before our first Greater IBM Women’s Leadership Gathering: "…miracles always will happen if you believe them to be possible." This was truly a small miracle for which I am so grateful to have been apart.
We recorded the event to share with other Greater IBM women. It will be available shortly for replay with visuals, video and audio too! Watch for an announcement on Greater IBM on Xing; I will post on our forum. Most of all, there will be more! This was just a first in a series. Our next event Greater IBM Women’s Leadership Gathering will be announced shortly. It will have wonderful theme that emerged from ideas during our dialogue at the first event. You won’t want to miss it!
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