Charity and off-the-record conversation

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“I have a dream”

The third day – the halfway point of the program – was fully and entirely devoted to the topic of charity. Our first meeting took place in Save The Children Fund, one of the biggest NGOs in the world that protects the rights of the children. Founded in 1919 in Great Britain, throughout the decades this organization has been fighting for the rights of the children for better education, healthcare and economic equality. In Ukraine in particular, Save The Children was actively involved in helping children during the military conflict that took place in Eastern Ukraine.

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I must admit I’ve got less experience in charity than my friends who are professionally involved in this domain. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to implement a number of successful projects in this field. Many of you must’ve witnessed my support of the “Tabletochki” charity fund when I ran 5 km during the marathon in Kyiv and managed to raise 100,000 UAH for the medications for the children suffering from oncological diseases. In December 2016 I also organized the first national Charity Fashion Pop-Up Store that saw me and my stylish friends donate some clothes from our own wardrobes in order to raise funds for the GoGlobal (organization devoted to popularization of English language in Ukraine). Within one weekend we managed to raise 280,000 UAH.

It was quite difficult for me to figure out my role in these initiatives – joining the already existing funds, I never intended to become their poster girl or official ambassador – I simply wanted to help them with my connections, ideas and certain influence that I possessed in my community. Having spent an entire morning with the leadership of the Save The Children, I was finally able to articulate my role in these projects – a Change Agent. That’s exactly what we were called upon to become – the “Change Agents” in every way possible. No one ever encouraged us to create separate funds (it requires lots of time and effort combined with a professional approach), but only to do all the possible and impossible in the field of philanthropy – that is the obligation of every active woman leader. And I
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The second half of the day was spent in the company of an incredibly charismatic Susan Ann Davis. The day before miss Davis kindly invited all the participants of the program Fortune / U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership to a dinner in her house in Washington, and on the next one – came to share with us her secrets of success and leadership. Susan Ann Davis is a Board Chair Emeritus of the Vital Voices Global Partnership organization devoted to support of women leaders all over the globe (this very organization was the one who invited us to USA). In Washington, Susan is considered to be a marketing and reputation management legend – during her
prominent career she managed to work with the governments of as many as 12 different countries. Davis, an activist for the rights of businesswomen and a strong supporter of women leaders, has served as the Chair of the Board of Vital Voices for 7 years.

Our straight talk with Susan was asked to remain off the record – the only thing I can tell you is that this person once again reaffirmed my strong belief that one should always trust his or her own intuition, both in business and in private matters. And know how to listen.

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Among other things, we are taught mutual help, building strong communities, supporting other women-entrepreneurs. In addition to the immense experience that we’ll have to gain from our mentors, we have already received something even more valuable – each other, 21 active, young, 9 ambitious girls from developing countries that share a common dream: to build projects with a global impact.

Later on, we finally had the chance to go sightseeing in Washington. Among other things, we visited the Lincoln Memorial – one of the most monumental landmarks of the city, the site where Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech (there’s even a special memorial tablet near the entrance). As always, we were incredibly lucky – to have out guide Hopey Auerbach by our side that day. Her own parents were among activists who helped to organize this fateful event that took place on August 28, 1963. That year she turned 8. Intriguing coincidences and encounters have become so commonplace during this trip for me – that I’m not even surprised anymore how things work out. The reason for that – is that I have a dream! And I’ll share it with you – but next time
around.

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