Posted by: ginalazenby | November 19, 2010

reporting from Global Women’s Enterprise Day

and the women are gathering in Sydney on Global Womens Enterprise Day

A small group of us gathered in the sacred space of the meditation centre in Sydney. We arrived from 6pm with our bags of goodies and laid out a table of the most perfectly coordinated spread of vegetarian food but of course none of us had liaised in advance about what we were bringing – things just seem to work out perfectly when they are in flow.

For over an hour food was shared and the conversation ranged from natural facelifts, self tanning cremes and not having time to paint our nails to the choice of schools, use of facebook and the general trend of finding it difficult to get good numbers of people to attend live events, no matter how interesting the community or speaker. Such is the animated and varied discussion of a group of women creating community over food.

After clearing away the food and tidying the kitchen, always a bonding exercise for women, we sat down for a more formal sharing. Our two circle rounds of questions for the night were:

1 who we each were, what called us to attend this evening event and was there anything that we needed support with?

2 if we were up to us, what would we do to change the world? That took us a good two hours of conversation which could easily have gone on logger but there were homes to go to and teenagers to collect!  I thought I’d share notes from the evening so you knew who we were – maybe somewhere in the world you share the same issues – and you might have some thoughts about our 13 points we raised if women were in charge. I’d really appreciate you adding to this conversation with your comments.

Note: this meeting format is one used very successfully for the last couple of years with a women’s gathering in London which I co-host. We meet first as women and secondly as business women. We gather at 4pm in the central London home of myself or my business partner. we cook together which is a strong bonding experience for a group, then serve drinks and talk when the majority of women arrive at 6pm. Food is served at 7pm then at 8pm we sit down in a circle (anything from 12 women to 36) and share. Everyone gets to speak and in this circle of trust any request for help can be made. Whatever is affecting us emotionally or practical difficulty at home will have an impact on our business so nothing is to personal to throw into the pot. There is always a lot of healing that’s why it is important to hold this type of event in a private space and not a restaurant. Out of these conversations have grown many business partnerships and referrals and I have personally witnessed women growing into more confident leaders who truly are reaching their full potential. It is one of the most beautiful and satisfying experiences one can have and a real privilege. Gather your women folk together and try it.

12 ideas for change……….  if we women were in charge

1 everyone would use Open Space technology
this is a much under-utilised technology. it is great at facilitating and allowing ideas and solutions to emerge from a group. There are two important things to happen:
1) the group needs to sit in a circle so there’s no hierarchy.
2) the leaders of the group/organisation give up the need to have an agenda and control the outcome.  Risky for some but there are huge dividends in letting the wisdom rise out of a community of people with a vested interest in finding new and betters ways of doing things.
Many thought leaders are using open space technology. Read more:
http://www.openspaceworld.org/cgi/wiki.cgi?

2 develop village-type communities within cities
New housing developments to have courtyard, open spaces and anything that helps home dwellers build community. Focus on the people and community when building structures. We must be able to create old style European villages where everyone watches out for each other; the elders can easily interact with the children and all generations are more seemlessly living together. Richard Branson seems to have recognised the value of older generations and created a Council Of Elders. Victoria shared that for the last 20+ years she has living as part of a housing community in Bondi Beach where she has seen the children of the other families grow up and even been part of the parenting. It is a way of life that has been available to many.
Duane Elgin is a great resource for reading more about sustainable village communities: http://www.newhorizons.org/future/elgin2020f.html
3 create Stakeholder Boards to check integrity
People talk about having integrity as if it were a value but integrity is about how aligned you are with your values. Banks keep talking about acting with integrity but what are their values?? Before companies proceed with anything that will affect a community, we feel it would be right to give that community a voice and form a Board of Stakeholders to have input prior to action.
There are many organisations acting out of integrity and fooling people: eg, many companies latch on to the ‘pink bandwagon’ and use breast cancer awareness purely for image, marketing and sales without having deep commitment to helping women: companies like those that make toxic chemicals that actually have a role in causing breast cancer.

4 Look at the bigger picture and link the drastic effects with the real causes one of which is poor parenting ..
Does anyone really know the colossal cost of fighting a bush fire that was started by an angry  young boy? Who measures these costs? In
Canada, they monitor the literacy rate in schools and connect it with the number of kids/men sent to prison. They understand there is a
correlation. Without proper investment in children, prisons will continue to fill up. Where is the support right at the coal-face for parents with difficult children? You need a licence to have a cat or a car but anyone  can have a child!  Even with security guards and cameras on buses in  Sydney there are still problems with violent behaviour and drunk kids. Better parenting skills and support  in the early years need to be a priority.
(Role of literacy in offending behaviour: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0000/…/
Literacy_changes_lives__prisons.pdf )

5 we need emotionally intelligent communication
Soap operas have role models with very low emotional intelligence. they are such a bad influence on society.   The language people use to communicate with each other in business can be quite bullying and reflects the Dominator culture people work in. We need to learn a softer way of expressing ourselves that supports collaboration. Men can use commanding language at work then come home and use the same language at home. When people are under stress they tend to use poor communication skills.
6 More women mentors & mutual support
The boys club in the corporate world is so strong that we need to create better support networks for women.  And these women mentors need to be women who are in touch with their feminine and not those who are playing the male dominator game.  We feel the feminine is very de-valued in Australian society (and in other countries!) so men need some mentoring by women too.  We discussed how some men think that when a woman disagrees with them they simply don’t understand … because if they did get it they would agree!
And women should not hold back in recommending each other. We need to push each other forward and reach out and help as many women as we can. Helping each other build confidence gives us more momentum.
7 flexible, family-friendly workplaces needed
women should be able to have a family AND a career.  We need more jobs where you can work from home for part of each week and not lose out on the career ladder.
8 a bit more wisdom – better questions about what we are doing
Cutbacks and paring down have made many organisations malnourished. The pressure and hectic energy in the workplace is putting many people into permanent stress modes with knee jerk reactions to situations. Nobody seems to be standing back and asking if there is a better way. What about having a Council of Elders separate to the Board of Directors?  This way there could be a values check on an organisation where decisions made are not short term quick fixes but support longer term sustainability.
9 ecology and feng shui principles of flow into all businesses
better environments to  work in will reduce stress. Create zones in offices that are silent, free from EMFs fluorescent lighting and other toxins.
10 bring back respect
Disrespect for adults and elders by young kids was not OK when we grew up but it seems to be acceptable now. We feel like grumpy old women complaining about low standards but they are low!  And we should complain more when we see things that are disrepectful. We and our children are confronted by images of scantily dressed images and models and we are not saying anything. We need to speak out.
11 Parent committees for video game guidance
few parents realise the full extent of the negative imagery and programming in their children’s video games. The gangster language is revolting and not suitable for the unconscious of young minds. There are hideous games sold that encourage boys to kill prostitutes.  A panel of parents needs to vet games, perhaps not so much from a censorship perspective but with star ratings for skill levels and positive language and messages.

12 More female professional group networking
as well as the business women’s networks, a need was expressed for more female versions of industry specific and professional groups like Accounts Association & Property Management. It was found that women in these groups tend to collaborate more strongly and share information so that women were not always re-inventing the wheel when someone had done work on a particular subject/policy they were happy to pass on.

Circle conversation

Jezuina: at a crossroads, has a background in childcare, now interested possibly in working with women. Felt drawn to be in an atmosphere of sharing.
Jenny Cartwright: 18 years teaching the use of the telephone, has skills in reorganising whole sales process for a company, wrote a book called “Don’t get hung up”. Dealmaker Profile so her forte is doing rather than vision.  Interested in how the XL network works in London as wants to improve the XL community she hosts in Sydney. What’s next in the vision for XL Sydney …. in fact do they even want grow?
Brigitte Watkins: Never been in a women’s group before! With 3 sons she lived in a very male household for years with no significant female connections.  Now, life has changed and with her sons grown up she is finding women more interesting now. It seems to be important to her now to find out what women are doing and why.  She’s beginning to see the role of women differently …. particularly now she is not a full-time mother.  There are so many demands on Mums with young kids, it’s hard to get good childcare to et away and do things outside the family. She is a specialist care worker now for other people’s kids.
Victoria: she’s at a crossroads. Her father passed away less than 3 weeks ago so she feels heavy and admits to having a broken heart. she feels everything else is collapsing in to that space as well.   As she looks out into the world with her global perspective,  she feels exhausted when she sees patterns being repeated – the world never seems to change.  And yet, suddenly today, after seemingly working away at trying to change the world for years …. she heard politician Bob Brown talking on TV making an announcement about getting the banks to hold down interest rates and making the bank CEOs drop their wages.  For her this news felt like the Berlin Wall coming down  – one seemingly impossible act happening out of nowhere and setting off a chain reaction of other world-shattering events. She got her hope back today. And she also noticed a TV news programme discussing how food additives were poisoning our food, something she has know for 30 years. So there IS a shift happening.
Yvonne Collier: originally from Newcastle in the UK. She also reflected on the passing of her father earlier this year after 8 years of suffering from Alzheimers. Her purpose in life is to bring love, light and laughter to everyone she connects with.  She has had her own training company for 18 years and helps people get along with each other.  Now sharing her business with her second husband (a clairvoyant and numerologist) she is passionate about teaching assertiveness skills. Can we help her with a course next week that she is doing on handling/eliminating bullying behaviour & sexual harassment?   It does seem to be a hot topic in the press right now.
Virginia Austin: She used to work at a very large company but has been on sick
leave for a year recovering from depression caused by the stresses of her job.
Now she sees how different things could have been.
So she is at a crossroads too… after she recovers what is the next step?   She used to have a corporate career but what now?  She notices that having been in control of everything she is now comfortable sitting in the void of not knowing …. an interesting place to be. She can see how she took on many male characteristics in her business life (she also notes how her father was a strong male authoritarian presence for her) and now she is looking for appropriate female role models who are successful but not through their masculine drive.
Jenny Bassett: She is now setting up Women for Women International in Australia and very excited about it. previously she has worked in inbound tourism in the yachting market. She has noticed a shift in community events: only this last weekend there was Big Ideas in Small Spaces where the community came together in Woollara. She shared how her life has been focussed on being a single mum and how very isolating that has been. There is just no support network for women who bring up children alone – maybe there is an assumption that women can manage and that only single dads need support. She feels this is the first time in history that so many children are being brought up in relative isolation. She likes the idea of circles and sees them as important for women, particularly the circles of support that are created for women in war-torn countries through microcredit programmes like WfWi’s.
Jennifer Moalem: been self employed for the last 12 years running a private practice with clients all over the globe doing transformational change through many different modalities. She is a connector and wants to work collaboratively with others in business. If there is one problem then maybe it is that she does not have a niche.  She does not know what is next for her.  She is good at seeing patterns in lives, relationships and organisations looking at vibrational frequencies using quantum physics and resonance repatterning.  She helps people to tune into the right TV channel and get rid of the static. She translates ‘the field’ for people helping them to laser in and create what they really want.
For her, a big theme is the Feminine and to take Feminine energy back into the world of business. This does not exclude men as she feels it is for all of us to get in touch with the feminine. We (both men and women) also need to heal the wounded Masculine within in order to be able to project that Feminine energy into the world.
WHOLENESS is her message. She struggles with the masculineness of goal-setting and feels more comfortable with living her life in flow, letting it unfold. She is also passionate about nature complementary health, and having natural, healthy options available. She feels sad that we are surrounded by so much toxicity that we can’t escape, not only in our environment, but even in people’s homes where we could actually make a difference by choosing to avoid chemicals and toxins in things like our cleaning and beauty/personal care products.

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Responses

  1. Very interesting..looking forward to Thurs 25th Nov Women’s Gathering Event at Mynoo’s 🙂

  2. […] Enterprise (GWE) Day in November 2009 and then another circle in Sydney on GWE day this year (read the report). Since April 2008 my business partner, Mynoo Blackbyrn, and I have been co-hosting a London circle […]

  3. […] group too. I have hosted conversations on events like Global Women’s Enterprise Day (read about it) and we have had wonderful conversations and […]


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