This year here we are’s Country Manager in Kenya, Hanne Fink Ferdinand was invited to participate and speak at Women Economic Forum (WEF).
The forum took place in New Delhi, India, May 8th-13th 2017. During that week 1600 women (and a few men) meet to engaged in conversations, discussions and debates. They shared insights, experiences and tools as well as aspirations, dreams, hopes and ideas.
After the forum we asked Hanne a few questions about her experience. Please read her insightful answers below:
How did you get the opportunity to participate i WEF – and to become a speaker?
Sometimes opportunities just arrive in your inbox – that’s the power of strong connections to a diverse group of people. Invitations to join the Womens Economic Forum (WEF) are only done by recommendation and invitation. A great friend here in Nairobi was a member and granted me the invitation. She had heard about and experienced my engagement in here we are and thought it would be a great forum for me and here we are to get new inspirations, form partnerships and learn from other engaged entrepreneurial women.
How did you prepare for the speech?
Attending the WEF implies giving a couple of speeches – preferably sharing a bit of your heart and soul in relation to your organisation, business or idea.
In preparation for the speech I reached out to the global here we are team asking for their stories and their why? Why is it that here we are is important, why do we invest time and resources in it and what change is it believed to lead to.
The speech was inspired by the answers I got from the network, but mostly it was based on my personal story of moving abroad, the realisation that we are bound to feel unsettled for some time, and how the focus on growth – professional and personal – can assist you in making the most of your stay abroad. Not only for yourself but also for your family, your partners employer and the surrounding community. Words like dual career, change the narrative and global connections were at the core.
What type of reactions did you get after you speech/ round table sessions?
Several people came to me after the speeches because the words had resonated with their story. “I have also been living abroad and wished to have a supporting network” was a sentence I heard in many variations. People resonated with the feeling of professional and personal identity loss as well as with the adventure and possibilities for threading new paths, that moving abroad creates. They loved the idea of global connections and the focus on creation of global opportunities. Once again I was surprised to realise how many people have experiences from international moves.
Did you make new connections on behalf of here we are?
It was an honor to represent here we are – linking our global outlook and ideas to like-minded and like-hearted people. Being at WEF was a week long 24/7 version of being at a 2 hour here we are meeting in Nairobi – the inspiration flowing in all conversations, the connections to people you had never met or heard of before and the immense openness to share without hesitation.
So much inspiration was gathered and shared, business cards of inspiring people and organisations gathered and ideas developing all along. Inspiration that will keep on flowing into here we are around digital solutions, entrepreneurial ways, Key Resource people or people willing and able to share the here we are vision in new areas of the world.
The overall theme of WEF17 was “Creating, Innovating, Understanding and Driving the Future” – committed to bringing global peace, harmony, friendship and bonding – across the globe. Here we are was presented under the sub-theme “Innovating for Education, Skills & Human Empowerment” – you can find teasers from all the presenters under the theme on Youtube – and enjoy the rather improvised speech on here we are too.
Today, reflecting on your experience, any advise for other here we are members?
Seize the opportunity when it comes – share, create, listen – and keep connecting!