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  • 12 May 2014 2:15 AM | Anonymous

    March brought with it International Women’s Day and, in the United States, the national celebration of Women’s History Month. I found myself reflecting on the inspired leadership of those that we have honored over the years in TIAW – those World of Difference Award-winners who have literally moved mountains in terms of women’s economic empowerment. These women are natural leaders; they know exactly who they are, what needs to be done, took action and were consistent to the core in their character.

    Leadership is grounded on character, which is developed by incorporating desirable behaviors into habits to the point where these behaviors become natural to us. What are the ‘desirable behaviors’? I think the minimum list includes patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, honesty and commitment. Character provides the substance behind the servant leader; indeed, he/she cannot have trust and authenticity without it. Take a look at this list of five characteristics of the servant leader developed by author James Autry:

    1. Be authentic by always showing your real self
    2. Be vulnerable by being honest with your feelings
    3. Be accepting, which is not necessarily agreeing or approving
    4. Be present and fully participating in every conversation and encounter
    5. Be useful, understanding this is the very foundation of service

    The connection between behavior and effective leadership is compelling. Does this mean leaders are perfect? No, I don’t believe they are, but I do believe that they are perfectly consistent in character. A favorite quotation comes from Robert K. Cooper who said so eloquently “no one expects you to be perfect – only genuine and honest. And so it is with the notable men and women who have the courage to find themselves, to tell the truth about who they are, the mistakes they have made, the dreams they hold dear and what they’re most concerned about.”

    Let your leadership rise with your character. Be honest about the character habits you know you need to cultivate and then deploy your self-discipline to create those habits. You will soon find yourself unconsciously competent with these new behaviors, and your natural leadership will emerge. The servant leadership you have cultivated can now help create meaning and purpose for others, as eloquently posited by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader”:

    “Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

    Your character is the greatest single factor shaping the culture of the company or organization you lead. It will manifest itself in the values of your employees or staff quicker than anything else you may intend or direct, or any policy manual you may write. These values become the context in which you and/or your employees work every day. They shoulder with you the responsibility to carry out the mission and achieve the vision you intend. Equip them with a sure foundation by being a leader of character and service that they are sure to model.

    Lisa Kaiser Hickey

    President, TIAW


  • 7 May 2014 2:03 AM | Anonymous

    Women are tough. They are showing outstanding resolve and strength in coping with economic crisis and, as owners of approximately a third of all businesses worldwide, play a crucial role in the global economy. Their increasing rate of entrepreneurship is a force that policy makers around the world would do well to consider. Women-owned businesses produce 30% (Latin America) to 80% (sub-Saharan Africa) of the world’s food. Their advancement in economic, social and political spheres is undeniable, but their success is constrained by in-equal access to education and training and the failure of many countries to establish equality under the law. However, women do not forget that they can have a strong hand overcoming these obstacles by training their children for a different future than they have had, teaching role equality to sons and daughter alike.

    Why are women so resilient, even in tough times? They are optimistic and are generally willing to re-invent themselves or their businesses to react to new opportunities. Jealous guardians of cash, they are savvy deal-makers, often using barter to minimize cash outlay and gain products needed for their businesses. They are relationship-builders, and so it flows that they are also frequent and effective communicators and generally deliver A+ customer service. Although they are notorious multi-taskers, they also recognize the value of winding down and allowing themselves to renew and re-balance.

    Women that still aren’t satisfied with the progress of their business are doing a number of things to enhance their success. Assuming that a growth strategy is already in place and owner-operators are measuring and managing the critical performance areas of the business, here are six things that lead to improved business performance:

    1. Intensify the focus on customers and broaden the value delivered to them. Are the customer’s needs understood? Is their opinion asked with regard to value, satisfaction, and service? Is it easy to conduct a transaction? Is the product/service delivered on-time and exceeding customer expectation
    2. Look for existing differentiators or create new ones. Complete the phrase “my company is the only…” If your company lacks competitive advantages, figure out how to create them. Understand the strengths and differentiators of competitors, and capitalize on their weaknesses. Be aggressive in advertising and marketing. In the absence of superior internal expertise, engage a professional provider for these services.
    3. Broaden networks of support. Join organizations – like TIAW - that provide resources, information and contacts that are valuable to business growth. Qualify as a Global Board Ready Woman and become visible to corporate boards on a global scale. Join entrepreneurial organizations such as TIAW members United Success, NAWBO, WBENC, WeConnect or WPO.
    4. Embrace social responsibility as a cost of doing business. Invest in employees and your community for the common good. View the bottom line in triplicate: people, planet and profits.
    5. Actively and strategically participate in social media Develop skills of self-promotion by blogging relevant content on social and professional sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. To help build media access, try HARO. For professional international networking, join TIAW. Tools such as HootSuite will assist you with scheduling your social media posts that daily attention is not necessary.
    6. Join trade networks that are aligned with your revenue goals. Diversifying revenue streams is every bit as important as diversifying an investment portfolio. TIAW’s Entrepreneurship program is an excellent resource for the development of trade relationships, and several of TIAW’s members such as the Organization of Women in Trade (OWIT) can help you develop relationships in your own geographic area of the world.

    I hope you found this tips helpful to the development of your business. We are here for you.

    Lisa Kaiser Hickey

    President, TIAW


  • 29 Apr 2014 1:58 AM | Anonymous

    I once had the pleasure of listening to futurist and author David Houle as he described the future ahead from his new book The Shift Age, which I understood to be the shifting social, cultural, political and economic planes around which we are all globally interconnected yet remain highly individualistic. Virtual organizations like TIAW use technology to facilitate these interconnections, and aggregate knowledge for sharing. While technology will clearly continue to play a significant role in the way forward, we as leaders must also help others on a personal level to find their way in the midst of unending and escalating change.

    Companies who survive crises are those who balance financial performance with authenticity, honest communications in tough times and good, and integrating their efforts with others.

    In other words, this global social revolution is best met by many personal revolutions. Mr. Houle mentioned a few specific things that I believe impact us as leaders.

    In the workplace, we will be challenged to integrate and absorb multiple generations of workers with disparate values, life goals, and working styles. We must fully understand these generations in order to the build the collaborative workforce of the future. I believe that our understanding will come from a reshaping of our own leadership abilities and aptitudes. My favorite resources are author Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind) and Howard Gardner (Five Minds for the Future). We will have to master critical knowledge, integrate differing ideas into strategy, question effectively, appreciate differences, and be socially responsible. It’s a daunting task, but there is no alternative for success.

    In the financial markets, we know that crises are not restricted to individual exchanges but globally integrated. It is our duty as leaders to be fiscally responsible wherever we have influence, including home, work, schools, boards, or public service. We must do our best to be economically savvy and financially astute, so that when we are able to use our voice or vote, we do so with integrity. We have great tools at our disposal: education and training, obtaining and using research, engaging in sustainable practices, and concentrating on the fiscally responsible growth of our own businesses. For those that may be worrying about diminishing public philanthropy, please remember that creating jobs is the premier form of philanthropy. If you own a business, keep your business financially sound and your employees secure. If you don’t, please assist your employer in maintaining your job security. Once those priorities are met, give wherever you can to benefit your community and it will return to you many times over.

    In our world, we will be challenged to be collaborative global citizens that work together on sustainable energy policies and practices. In the sustainability realm, we can act effectively as individuals, workers, employers and advocates. We do what we can personally do to minimize our energy consumption and then we effect change wherever we have influence. My company recently became Florida’s first certified green screen/digital printing facility. Our first step towards certification was understanding how we are impacting energy consumption, commonly called a carbon footprint, and then determining how to reduce our consumption. Understanding comes from awareness followed by questioning, and then acting on the desire to be accountable for our energy use.

    It was not a surprise when Mr.Houle arrived at the end of his “Shift Age” presentation by stating that he believes that this new age will be defined by consciousness, and though this consciousness flows out in a global way, it also will reflect our keen individuality. For example, people want to buy from companies that they think are socially responsible because those behaviors resonate with their personal values. I see growing numbers of people differentiate between doing (tasks, a job) and being about something. As a final example, think of the global awareness that has built up around sustainability, yet we as individuals are also embracing personal responsibility.

    Do your part to navigate the coming age. Be a leader of hope, who recognizes and does the right thing by others. It matters.

    Lisa Kaiser Hickey

    President, TIAW


  • 22 Apr 2014 1:51 AM | Anonymous

    For over thirty years, the mission of TIAW is to advance economic empowerment for women. By ‘economic empowerment’, we mean that a woman is able to succeed and advance economically as well as freely make her own economic decisions. However, women don’t start out in life as women, nor are they empowered in any way in many countries whether by cultural or political constraints. It all begins with a girl.

    According to AGALI (Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative), which has

    brought together over 100 leaders and organizations working to transform the lives of adolescent girls in Africa and Latin America, there are six critical factors that contribute to adolescent girls’ economic empowerment*:

    • Financial capital (e.g., cash, savings, access to credit, and other financial assets)
    • Human capital (e.g., education, health, self-esteem, and communication skills)
    • Social capital (e.g., social networks, friends, mentors, and supportive family members)
    • Physical capital (e.g., ID card, household goods, land, housing, and transport)
    • Social norms (e.g., early marriage, childbearing, influence of age, gender, and ethnicity)
    • Institutions (e.g., political and legal rights, market structure, and the education system

    TIAW’s Daughters Program focuses on the promotion of economic empowerment for girls aged 14-24. Our initial work is around financial literacy education. We are looking for partners to add employment training and life skills training.

    While there simply is not enough work being done to maximize the effect the empowering girls can have on our world, there are many organizations lending extraordinary effort. A personal favorite of mine is the Nike Foundation, whose work I have followed for many years. I urge you to watch the video Nike has created. It will revolutionize your thinking about the power of a girl.

    Nike tells us why we cannot wait to help our girls

    1. GIRLS ARE AGENTS OF CHANGE

    They play a crucial role in solving the most persistent development problems facing the world today. By investing in their economic potential through education and by delaying child marriage and teen pregnancy, issues such as HIV and AIDS can be resolved and the cycle of poverty can be broken. To learn how a girl's success is the world's success, watch the girl effect films above.

    2. PEOPLE ASSUME GIRLS ARE BEING REACHED

    They're not. The reality is that children's programmes focus on 0-5 year-olds, youth programmes tend to focus on males and older groups, and women's programmes don't typically capture adolescent girls. Programmes that do reach girls rarely address the ones most at risk. To break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, programmes must be designed for, and measure the impact on, girls.

    3. THE COST OF EXCLUDING GIRLS IS HIGH

    In India, adolescent pregnancy results in nearly $10billion in lost potential income. In Uganda, 85 per cent of girls leave school early, resulting in $10billion in lost potential earnings. By delaying child marriage and early birth for one million girls, Bangladesh could potentially add $69billion to the national income over these girls' lifetimes.

    With the permission of the Nike Foundation, TIAW is in the process of posting several of their excellent resources on www.tiaw.org

    In the meantime, I urge you to take a look at their excellent research directly:

    The girl effect fact sheet

    7 things you need to know about girls

    Why investing in girls is important

    We must all engage to support the economic empowerment of the girl in our communities around the world. Start by joining our Daughters Committee! Just email daughters@tiaw.org and find out how join.

    It’s the kind of change that lasts forever.

    Lisa Kaiser Hickey

    President, TIAW


  • 15 Apr 2014 1:50 AM | Anonymous

    What is a good leader? Perhaps it is best thought of as having the ability to inspire followers. You may initially obtain followers due to recognition or persuasion, and you may then exert a little influence to retain them, but ultimately they will have to trust you to stay with you. Can you learn how to be a good leader? Yes!

    First, be authentic. Communicate clearly and often. People will respect you for this, and they will reply in kind. When you give your word, keep it and begin building a foundation of trust. Make meaningful relationships --- some day, they may be all you have!

    Second, be the example you want to see in others. I often think about the words penned by my eldest son many years ago as punishment for throwing a temper tantrum on the ball field one evening (I asked him to write down what he thought it took to have a successful game):

    “It takes having fun. It takes skill to do what your coach says. Don’t make unnecessary throws. If there’s a play you can’t make leave it to the other guy. If you can’t use the bat you’re given, get another bat. Try and do your best. Don’t get mad. Don’t hold the ball. Don’t throw your glove. When you steal home feel good about it. When you hit the ball feel good about it. When you screw up a play don’t be mad at the team or yourself. Feel good about yourself when you make an out. Don’t spoil the game for everybody. Never quit just because you get mad. When you make a home run feel good about it. If you have missed a play and the coach comes out, don’t [make excuses and] say you don’t want to play where you’re playing.”

    Sometimes people follow you because of what you do, or what they think you will do. They want to be part of success, and may sense that you have attained it.

    Third, embrace risk, because with it often comes great reward. Shortly after he turned twenty, my eldest son determined that it was both honorable and an exercise of peer leadership to enter the Marine Corps. After two promotions and several commendations during his first year, he volunteered to go to Iraq. Observing his journey, I have some new beliefs. Leadership is risk, and it is reward. Leadership can put you in seemingly untenable situations, but it can leave you the better for it. Leadership can cause you to question the very heart of your resolve, but in the end your convictions and perseverance about doing the right things for the right reasons will always prove the best course.

    Fourth, help and respect others. Why is this important? I think helping others makes loyalty possible. Respecting others lies at the very heart of diversity. Discover the whole person and you will find common ground, mutual respect, and engender more trust. Discover the whole person and you will find other leaders, too, and you can then cultivate their success along with your own. As John Maxwell said, “The more people you develop, the greater the extent of your dreams.”

    Fifth, exercise self-discipline. Take the time to download a free copy of the John Maxwell book Developing the Leader Within You. Maxwell counsels that the singular price tag of leadership is self-discipline. He says “discipline …is the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you don’t really want to do. After successfully doing this for some time, discipline becomes the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you now want to do!” I can attest that this is true. Once you commit to a life of leadership, it will define you and your results so quickly that you will never want to be anything less.

    Sometimes we fear leadership. We don’t want to play. In fact, some of you have heard me say “if I can’t win, I don’t want to play”. I’d like to explain this philosophy. The difference between playing to win and playing for any other purpose (like not losing!) is the difference between success and mediocrity. Leading is playing to win. Always.

    Within your leadership arena, set your standards high and exercise the discipline necessary to achieve your goals with authenticity, unflagging effort, and the resolve to collaborate with and respect others. This kind of discipline always results in good will, better decisions, and great leadership, the marks of a 21st century organization and the kind of leadership I intentionally strive to deliver. And, for those of you who are already established leaders, take your development one step further and qualify as a Global Board Ready Woman through TIAW. The world is starved for the balancing leadership skills of women. Won’t you step in?

    Lisa Kaiser Hickey

    President, TIAW


  • 26 Mar 2014 1:45 AM | Anonymous

    To celebrate International Women's Day, the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW) has awarded organisations and women nationally who empower other women through sustainable initiatives.

    MP Gareth Ward; Minister for Women Pru Goward; Speaker of the House and MP Shelley Hancock; and Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello, were involved in ACLW’s Sustaining Women’s Empowerment in Communities and Organisaitons (SWECO) Award Ceremony at Parliament House, Sydney on March 5.

    In the Organisations category of SWECO, the Winners are:

    • Gold Winner: Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) Victoria
    • Silver Winner: Raise Foundation in Sydney
    • Bronze Winner: Women’s Legal Service (Tasmania) Inc

    In the Community category of SWECO the Winners are:

    • Gold Winner: The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence (JTAFV) in Victoria
    • Silver Winner: Nasiba Akram

    More information and photos about the winners and the ceremony is at:

    http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/recognition/awards/sustaining-women-s-empowerment-in-communities-and-organsiations/2014-sweco-award-winners

    Considerations for Australia's next woman Prime Minister was also launched at this event with special guest speaker, Eva Cox. More info is at:

    http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/transform/activism/book-launch-of-considerations-for-australia-s-next-woman-prime-minister

    ACLW is very pleased to have been recognised in the State Parliament of NSW:

    http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/home/about/recognition-for-aclw-in-nsw-state-parliament


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