There is Nothing Permanent Except Change. - Heraclitus
With the PWN Munich Annual General Meeting (AGM) coming in November, change is on my mind.
Today, I walked against a hard steady wind. It was rough going, even sometimes causing me to break a sweat to forge ahead. I’ve faced forceful winds before, I know there are ripping blasts and patches of quiet before another gust. I know that at the end of this walk in the wind I will feel triumphant to reach my destination.
The walk today reminds me how I’ve pushed adversity away to reach my goal of helping women grow, lead the way and develop into the leaders we really truly are.
Wind represents the pushback and resistance to change which most leaders and managers feel when driving new behavior. Leaders are people, we feel our own internal battle to resist change but like any strong-willed person knows – once you revoke the power of resistance, the real transformation can kick-in.
It’s feeling that has been with me since becoming PWN President over a year ago. From the beginning I felt it: PWN Munich need to change. From the very first time I said those words aloud, there have been those who embraced it, but far more who rejected it.
It’s Time to Do or Die
This year we’ve re-shaped the network, our Board, the way we operate. It was something we had to do and at each step we’ve met opposition and doubts: “We’ve always done it this way. Let’s accept the way we do things otherwise we risk setting ourselves apart.”
I’ll admit that I pushed against the storm and it exhausted me. At the moment when I was most tired and ready to give in, inspiration hit—I learned something crucial: the key to overcoming wind isn’t to push harder against it, but find a way to make it work for you.
In this moment of struggle, one of our Volunteer Members, Julia Alsua asked, “How can we make friction work for us?” For me, the answer to using resistance in your favor is to determine why people are adverse to it in the first place and then understand how to overcome adversity, start moving and realizing, “Hey it is challenging but I CAN handle it!”.
Resistance is “muscle memory”, we instinctually know the pain associated with shaking things up, the backlash and resulting consequences of doing so. The simple process of thinking about achieving something new, creates a mental construct. We need proactivity—to recall the feeling of achievement and success to spur us on.
I wake up every day believing I CAN do it, that failure is not an option. If I’m feeling weak, I leverage a strong network structure like PWN to provide an environment for me to practice, train and test my ability to catch the wind and use it for our benefit at work, home, anywhere.
Force Multipliers and a Different Approach
I’m using wind to work for us, changing the approach to challenges, listening to PWN Member voices and sharing the future vision of this network. A future which considers Member needs, aspirations and challenges; personal and professional. The results are resounding, we have gathered a growing cast of supportive Members, Volunteers and PWN Board.
Our supporters are growing, becoming multiplied by their network, who share our vision and push for change positively affecting their work and life. Our interactions and engagements, are enabling us to pick up steam, add members and make positive, sustainable changes.
Annual General Meeting
On 4 Nov, we will host the AGM. This is our moment of truth + transparency where we architect the new reality of our network. Members are invited to have their voices heard.
We will review initiatives, direction and financials status giving our Members a view into the inner-workings and preview into upcoming milestones.
WE NEED YOU THERE. It’s imperative that we have at least 75% of our member base in attendance in person or via proxy. Be sure to register with us for the AGM and stay for networking afterwards.
Using the Wind to Drive Us
On 11th November 2017, we adopted a “less is more” strategy: becoming an interlocked team focused on delivering objectives to Members and transforming to one of most influential international, professional networks in Munich.
- Grew 56 members to 120 Premium Members and 15 Corporate Members
- Hosted sold out networking (5), inspirational speakers (5) and development workshops
- Developed cross functional relationships with WiBD and supported the FiDAR petition for equal pay in Germany
- Started a Mentorship Program pilot with 8 Mentor / Mentee pairs in 2017 and grew to 80+ participants in 2018 editions, representing all industries and levels up to C-Suite to support our expanding successful Program
- Established Leadership Program pilot for our volunteers who take responsibilities in running, growing and structuring our network
- Continue to deploy a digital roadmap and facilitate Membership Services with a new website
- Signed Corporate Partnerships with European Business School, TE and Gemalto.
I’m proud of our successes and our learnings. I feel stronger everyday as we continue on our path, aware that the wind is always there and that together we will strive for change, progress and diversity. Each of you are empowered and encouraged to keep moving forward and stay focused—be leaders who know how to use wind to speed ahead!
Looking forward to seeing you at the AGM in November!
All the best,