America has always been the land of frontiers, the forefront of innovation, and pivoting however many times it takes it until it is ‘right’ and works.
To get to that place of being bold, you might indeed occur bruises along the way – and as so eloquently put by Amanda Gorman during President Biden’s Inauguration which we have just witnessed. As he came into power last week, he spoke about the American values of being ‘restless, bold and optimistic’ and Gorman built on it further with
‘A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.’
It is this value of entrepreneurship and pivot that has us all look to the United States of America for inspiration, and hence this was the third most watched item in TV History. This is what was celebrated within our team too at The FQ Global Pack.
A portrait of Shelley Zalis
On meeting Shelley Zalis exactly a year ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos – where she had given me the stage to launch my book, The Values Compass – it was (intellectual) love and connection at first sight. Shelley had the vision to connect as many women around the world as possible, I had the deep dive on values to frame those conversations, and Ronda Carnegie executes as the Chief Innovation Officer.
Hence the vision to unite the world through the power of women was born, to create the largest community of women supporting other women via collaboration and solutions.
So building on Gorman’s words –
‘The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it’
I interviewed both Zalis and Carnegie after reflecting in awe of the entrepreneurial journey we have taken in the last year.
Portrait of Ronda Carnegie
The mission leaving Davos in 2020 was clear; to create the largest global dinner series in history, weaving in the framework of values to create a values vault. I clearly remember Shelley’s call to me just a few weeks after Davos, and even recall where I was standing because her vision was so powerful. The world stood still for a moment so that it could really land. And land it did.
The world dramatically changed in February and a physical dinner series around the world was absolutely not possible by March, but Zalis did not miss a beat and it became virtual – holding dinners right across Africa in 2020, always at 6.30pm local time, with 25 of the most influential women in the country at the virtual ‘table’.
Zalis explains: ‘Pivoting is the opposite of failure. It is seeing the opportunity even when one is not there. It is looking at the situation differently from others. A proactive pivot is evolution.’
The conversations that then ensued were values based – powerful, open, and honest, such that women could renew, reignite and reach greater heights because we have one another’s back. One of Zalis’ favourite tag lines: ‘Wherever in the world you land after this, you can call anyone of the pack, and the question will be, what time will you land? I will see you at the airport, sister!’
Carnegie takes this one step further and is thinking about the social entrepreneurs who are at the table. ‘What are their local and universal problems and what could the solutions be? For the role and narrative of women is ever evolving, and we want to capture their stories and their legacy. And then this concept of values is a powerful way to build an important narrative, both locally and globally.’
An invitation for the dinners, and here is an example of a dinner in Switzerland.
FQ Global Pack
The mission of the FQ Global Pack Dinners are for every woman to have a seat at the table and not leave anyone behind, bringing visibility to voices everywhere. This is inline with the concept explored in the book ‘The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership’ covering values from around the world.
There are a few top tips the team would like to share –
~ Be you, don’t try to fit the mould, and slowly but surely, you’ll create your own (entrepreneurship).
~ Experience as many other cultures as you can to see the beauty near and far.
~ Zig when others Zag – don’t be afraid to fail to succeed.
~ The power of collective action creates a movement and is an unstoppable energy force.
~ Do not ask for permission, and do not apologise too much either!
One of the virtual dinners – exploring Switzerland and the value of precision.
In the past women may have been written out of history but we will ensure that is not the case going forward. Our key values are that we are #strongertogether, we #unitenotdivide and we go forth with #positivityandproductivity.
Indeed – we are brave enough to see the light, and now we have no choice but to be the light for ourselves and one another, each and every day.