Acknowledging Men while Women Expand Their Influence in Global Business

by Korina Smith

women-global-businessI’m not surprised that our Global Chamber® Dallas event entitled “Women in Global Business” earlier this year has been our most popular event to date. I have the impression that many men are just as supportive and enthusiastic to see women thriving as global business leaders as their female counterparts.

So it was interesting to see the recent “Women in Global Leadership” event by Global Chamber® Phoenix with eight dynamic women speakers, including moderator Jaime Daddona of Squire Patton Boggs, draw almost a hundred women attendees. The five men who attended this event were highly appreciated and were rewarded with great information valuable to them as well as to the women in the room.

At the Denver event, I remember the energy and laughter that filled the room as our powerhouse female panelists (including Suzy Batiz of PooPourri, Sarah Wilshaw of the Country of Canada, Gemma Descoteaux of Polsinelli and Diane Divin previously of Mary Kay) told extraordinary stories about their global business experiences. They included some tough examples, like when some men refused to address them, or preferred to speak to their husbands in business transactions. And some of these examples are current.

As a woman, I naturally support the success of other women. What really touches me, however, is seeing men who are just as strong of an advocate for the equality of women as any woman would be. In my experience, it takes a certain dose of humility to acknowledge the strengths of others, especially if the other person could be perceived as a competitor or a threat. I’ve met many men who aren’t being influenced by emotion, but know through their own experience and through studies that women often thrive in leadership. I’m continuously inspired by the “Good Returns Model” here in Dallas, a social impact investment firm founded and led by men, which uses capital from business profits and donations to invest in micro loans for impoverished women who want to start businesses. This isn’t because impoverished men don’t have great business ideas, but statistics show that women invest back into their families and communities more frequently per capita than men do.

The culture of Global Chamber sets a great example for other businesses. The team at our headquarters in Phoenix consists of a staff that is more than half female. Our founder and CEO, Doug Bruhnke, is an advocate for women, and he has brought on many women to the key executive director roles around the world, including me! We’re each leading our respective metro areas to prosperity around the world — from Dallas to New York City and London, to Nairobi and Islamabad, and back again to the U.S. That model is working for us.

Many men are just fine with seeing women thrive as the natural leaders they are and can be. As women make progress in leadership roles in international business, I acknowledge the men who support us, recognize our strengths and want to see us thrive. Together we are stronger and more successful globally!

Korina Smith is the Executive Director at Global Chamber® Dallas

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