from sarah: sharing my experience with entrepreneurs from afar

IEEW_SarahSpeaking

Six years ago Terry Neese with the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) asked me if I would be interested in mentoring a female business owner from Rwanda. I said yes and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I became fast friends with Juliette, who owns a business similar to mine on the other side of the world. She lived and worked with me for one week — we were inseparable. As much as I was her mentor, she was mine and we stayed up late most nights talking about our families, our roles as mothers and business owners, as well as the environment for our businesses, processes and standards for work, and on and on. We found that we had much in common despite the continents that normally separated us. Our friendship is enduring and we still check in with each other fairly often, many thanks to Facebook.

Each year a new group of women joins this life changing program to learn about business and to build relationships with women entrepreneurs here in Oklahoma and around the US. I’ve been lucky to participate each year through presenting brand workshops, participating in events or mentoring. Last year I was paired with Salma from Afghanistan. You can’t imagine how complex it is to navigate the business world as a female consultant in Afghanistan!

This week I enjoyed the fundraiser and fashion show to support the program and also spent some quality time with this amazing group of women that have all been through the program before. It was fun to see them all again, share process and case studies with them, as well as look at the design and marketing of their businesses. This group are all leaders in their communities and they will take this knowledge home and share it with other female entrepreneurs. This wonderful program, “Peace Through Business,” is becoming a cherished tradition of mine.

Cheers!
s

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