On my way to Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, enduring the country music of my gentle driver, I truly start to sink into the sisterhood experience. The magnitude of what I have witnessed the past week slowly starts to dawn on me.
As I take my sunshine walk towards the South African Airways plane I am greeted with a smile and a compliment: “You look so beautiful madam”. You just have to love Zambia. The kindness of its people. The beauty of its nature. The potential of its women. Their potential to change the world. The potential, and after this week, the willingness to change not only themselves, but their workplace, their business, their country and therefore the world.
What happens when you bring a group of eager, exhausted and very talented women together is phenomenal. Eager to be seen and heard, exhausted due of the insane amount of responsibility and talented by virtue of who they are and what they have achieved. Offering a safe space for reflection, a challenging space to unlearn and an exciting space to grow – we, as dialogue makers, witnessed a metamorphosis amongst our beautiful group of participants.
What has shifted for me? That is the question everyone reflected on, every evening during this week. The answers were harvested at breakfast tables by the dialogue makers. The shift invariably spoke to the realization of one’s own potential to make a positive contribution to changing others’ lives, as expressed on the promise wall during the week.
The sense of excitement, possibility and purpose has been vibrant the entire week. The feeling that we can and will make a difference for our fellow sisters and brothers was palpable.
Female bankers and female entrepreneurs coming together – understanding each other and collaborating to create access to financial knowledge and access to finance for women is commendable and necessary.
As leaders in our own right we know we are a role models. I urge you all to also see yourself -and therefore behave- as role models and encourage the participation of women wherever you go. Whether it is to employ women, promote women, finance women, mentor women or just encourage women to believe in the best version of themselves!
Remember your words matter. Remember your deeds matter. And remember your dreams matter.
Dear sisters, thank you so very much for your participation this week. Going forward, I hope and expect to see the results of your actions, so we can collectively improve the lives of women and therefore benefit our society as a whole.
To end with my notes to self:
· To myself – I will look after you.
· To my fellow dialogue makers – I love working with you.
· To my sisters – I believe in you.