Collaboration and Inspiration for Real Results

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Cynthia Germanotta, President and Co-founder, Born This Way Foundation and Soledad O'Brien, CEO, Starfish Media Group during a keynote interview at the United Nations.


Inspiration. Collaboration. Results. Check out one participant's takeaways from IWD 2016!

[Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on The Association of Junior Leagues International's blog, The Civic Lede.]

International Women’s Day comes once each year – this year it was Tuesday, March 8. This year I had the privilege of attending part of a two-day program, the 6th annual International Women’s Day Forum, convened by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC). The theme was, “The Business of Inclusion: Global Prosperity through Women and Girls Empowerment.”

CCC's forums are always inspiring (it’s hard not to be inspired when spending the day at the United Nations, which is where the first day was held). It’s also empowering to be part of an event that is truly inclusive – the program brought together women and men from the public, private and nonprofit sectors – recognizing that the kind of change we must see will take all of us.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include Goal 5, Gender Equality, and other goals that would contribute to equality, such as Goal 4, Quality Education. And so the day presented a range of panels and interviews talking about the SDGs and their planned progress by 2030, and much more. I took lots of notes, and wanted to share just a few of the words of wisdom and thoughts I heard.

 Why collaborate?

“…To combine our strengths to overcome our weaknesses…”

 What are the results?

“…Do our partnerships identify the most vulnerable to lift them up, or go after low-hanging fruit?”

 How do they work?

“…Do partnerships spread risk fairly?”

 What’s unacceptable?

“Every six seconds a mother loses a child due to malnutrition.”

 A real highlight for me was an interview Soledad O’Brien conducted with Cynthia Germanotta. She’s the President and Co-founder (along with her daughter Lady Gaga) of the Born This Way Foundation. She talked about the importance of “social emotional learning” for children and the Foundation’s goal to empower students to create schools and communities where emotions matter. It made me imagine a world where “kindness and bravery” ruled.

International Women’s Day is only one day, but it’s one way to celebrate the progress made during the other 364 days in a year.