THE FIRST DAY OF THE FORTUNE PROGRAM

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people 
will never forget how you made them feel”
Maya Angelou

The first day in Washington wend down in a pretty carefree fashion. Accompanied by a group of female participants of the Fortune / U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program, we set off on a journey to the National Museum of American History that houses an entiresection devoted to advertising and marketing traditions. Alongside many others, there were showpieces devoted to my new idol Sam Walton, as well as to my old one – Estée Lauder. Frankly speaking, Americans do have a thing for creating idols – business is no exception.image1-2-e1493185041764-750x1000

In the evening we were to attend a dinner with all of the participants: 21 girls – young entrepreneurs that came from as many as 16 countries of the world. Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Kosovo, Mongolia, Poland, India, Indonesia and others were chosen for a reason, as the focus of this program was on selecting the leaders of the so-called “new” economies that stand out from the traditional ones by directly impacting the local communities.

The curious fact is – all the female participants, regardless of the backgrounds they came from, possessed a number of common traits (I bet the analysis of the application forms for this program was conducted by professional psychologists – our similarities are hard to spot at a first glance, but in a couple of hours’ time we could easily articulate them). All of the girls stand on the verge of implementing vital changes into their companies and businesses, in other words they are currently in the middle of a transitional period. Most of the participants are 30+, me and a girl from Poland being the youngest (we both are yet to reach 30). Interestingly enough, both of us used to feature in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list (Marta is one of the co-founders of the fintech company Azimo). One way or another, all of the girls seem to be driven by the same desire – to make a global impact.3

My dinner mate that evening – was Alyse Nelson, one of the co-founders of the inviting organization Vital Voices. Throughout her career Alyse has been fighting for the rights of women and helping numerous women-leaders from a wide range of countries – sometimes with connections, sometimes with advice, sometimes with educational sessions. Eventually, she wrote a book (“Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World”) based on her experiences. Faced with my question about other personalities that shaped the face of her future organization, she briefly mentioned the contribution made by Hillary Clinton.

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During the very first evening we were given a task – to tell about ourselves and our mission in this program in a 30-second speech. I’m sure all of you are familiar with the term “elevator pitch” – around here you quickly learn to articulate your thoughts briefly and swiftly. Therefore, the first lesson I’ve learned was not about what we say, but how we do it. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – this particular “how you made them feel” is exactly the thing I’m willing to perfect.