On October 8, 2019 our WE Empower UN SDG Challenge Co-chair, Amanda Ellis, met with Maureen Metcalf and two 2018 WE Empower awardees Hadeel Anabtawi and Habiba Ali, for a powerful talk in which they told their inspiring stories that demonstrate how women leaders can make a difference in the world to promote positive change.
Metcalf is the founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute (formerly Metcalf & Associates) and a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker and coach who brings 30 years of business experience to provide high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients' leadership development and organizational transformations. In her podcast “Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future” she discusses how women leaders are making a difference by promoting positive change in their local communities — which can then have a global impact. And who better to discuss this with then the innovative changemakers that comprise the WE Empower Challenge!
Listening to this podcast, you’ll find out what challenges women leaders deal with in business; hear the personal challenges Ellis, Anabtawi and Ali have had to face on their professional journeys; and become inspired by how they overcame these challenges when the odds were (and still are) systemically stacked against them.
Early on in the talk, Ellis mentions that even in a country such as New Zealand (which was the first country in which women gained the right to vote) she experienced challenges as a woman leader, which demonstrates that even the more progressive countries still have discriminatory social behaviors when it comes to gender. These social behaviors influence our institutions and affect women in the professional world. Anabtawi and Ali also point out another institution that challenges women entrepreneurs: the financial institution. These women, and many others like them, have faced challenges when it comes to financing their businesses due to discriminatory practices and biases against women business owners.
Empowering women through mentoring was one method mentioned to overcome these challenges. Ellis, Anabtawi and Ali discuss the power of one-on-one mentoring and having a supportive peer network, while highlighting the positive experience of being connected with mentors during the 2018 UNGA week via the International Leadership Association and gaining access to a virtual peer network via WE Empower. This conversation highlights the importance of having a personal mentor alongside more technical mentors, while also describing the differences between mentors, sponsors and networks and why they are all crucial to professional development.
You can learn more about these innovators and their experiences as women leaders by listening to the Innovating Leadership podcast on VoiceAmerica’s website, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
This article was written by WE Empower Challenge intern Jordan Leiter.