Ideas Remaking the World: The Rise of the Women’s Business Power Base

Photo taken by Rania on a walking tour of San Francisco during the Women's Forum 2012The rise of the women’s business power-base will be one of the primary roads out of the economic malaise of our time.

I see evidence of this every day as I talk with women entrepreneurs and business women globally and saw a microcosm of this phenomena at the recent  International Women's Forum conference held in San Francisco and attended by 750 women from 40 countries.

The conference, titled Ideas Remaking the World, covered a wide-range of topics including discussions on Radical Openness, The Abolition of Hierarchy, Cyber-Liberalization, Citizen Scientists and the Future of the World’s Cities. The implications for far-reaching global economic change seemed tangible as I listened to the panels of women entrepreneurs and talked in length with business women from all areas of the world.

Speaker Ann Miura-Ko, co-founder of FLOODGATE, named by Forbes magazine as the “Most Powerful Women in Startups” and also a mother of three young children, portends the changing landscape of business. The old paradigms that women are risk averse, not tech savvy enough or are unable to balance the demands of work and life are waning quickly. Women entrepreneurs are thinking big, taking significant calculated risks, innovating and figuring out ways to blend work and life in a way that works for them.

Women entrepreneurs are thinking big, taking significant calculated risks, innovating and figuring out ways to blend work and life in a way that works for them. 

On the corporate side, I spoke with four young, highly-successful women from Central and South America who exemplified the rising senior corporate women in emerging economies. These four women – Renata Pessoa at Accenture in Brazil, Gabriela Guiterrez at Walmart in Costa Rica, Laura Tapia Navarro at P&G in Mexico, and Valeria Strappa originally from Argentina now in Mexico with Citigroup Latin America – are participating in the highly selective International Women’s Forum’s year-long Fellows Leadership program. These four women are already in senior roles at each of their firms and are poised for future executive positions.

How do they plan to get there? Each woman is driven and highly-focused on her career while still honoring her culture and finding ways to have the life she desires as a wife and/or mother.

How do they manage to do that?

On the professional side: they have taken advantage of every professional development opportunity available to them, taken significant challenging positions, and rotated into different roles within their organizations.

On the personal side: they partner with their supportive spouses and/or rely on extended family and their community to take care of their families and homes.

Both sets of women, the women entrepreneurs and the corporate women have in common a simple philosophy: Take a small step every day toward your goals.

Ask yourself: What can I do in the next 24 hours that will further my business or objectives? What can I learn today that will help me and my business or organization tomorrow? Which relationship or network should I strengthen today? How am I pushing myself outside my comfort zone?

Ann Miura-Ko, the young, highly accomplished investor mentioned above, captured the narrative of successful business women around the world when she said,

“I have learned that not having been successful in the past does not mean I will not be successful in the future and no one knows what I am capable of better than I, myself, do.”

Future global economic advancement is coming from business women around the world – just watch what we are capable of!

Rania Habiby Anderson is the President and Founder of The Way Women Work, an entrepreneur, executive business coach and an angel investor. Throughout her professional life, Rania has been observing, researching, connecting with and guiding the way women work.  As a leading authority on business women in developing and emerging markets Rania works with business women globally and established The Way Women Work as career and business advice site for women in developing and emerging markets. Rania is also the co-founder of the Women’s Capital Connection, the 8th women's angel network in the United States and an equity investor in women-owned businesses.

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