Making the impossible possible at MAD Global Leadership conference

  • Posted on February 5, 2016

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Sarah Howe.

I just returned from two days at The Aspire Foundation’s MAD (Making a Difference) Global Leadership conference in London. I left the conference with no doubt that The Aspire Foundation’s goal, albeit huge, of making a difference to 1 billion women by 2020 - can be achieved. The intellect, passion, energy and sense of purpose in the room was immense and electric; 500 women and about 20 men who share a common aspiration to make a difference in the world through a willingness to lead others and create a multiplier effect.

Not only did Avanade give 75 mentees and 25 Avanade mentors scholarships to attend the conference, but during his speech, our CEO, Adam Warby, announced that Avanade is investing $100,000 in The Aspire Foundation to help build its infrastructure for global reach. Dr. Sam Collins and her Aspire Foundation will now be able to scale-up globally to have an increasingly broader and deeper positive impact on, and for, women.

The speakers were diverse, truly inspirational and beautifully MAD: from the ultimate humanitarian aid worker Linda Cruse who owns just one thing in life, her suitcase; to Lucy Reed, an incredible human rights lawyer who has built her career largely in a man’s world, on what she calls, “alert patience”; to Sarah Kitakule, a Ugandan woman now able to help empower others through education because her enlightened and loving father walked 12 miles each way to school every day and prioritized education for all of his children.

What did I learn from the two days? An awful lot is the short answer! In an attempt to be a little more specific, I learned that:

  1. If we can all find our real purpose, we can achieve the impossible. Think back to when you were a kid, and what you loved doing – chances are that those are still your most deep-rooted passions and give you the biggest clue about your central purpose.
  2. Typically, some kind of fear holds the majority of people back – but seriously, ask yourself, what’s the very worst thing that could happen if I do this? Your biggest fear often points to your potential biggest success.
  3. Surround yourself with energy angels and repel, politely, those energy vampires that drain you. You need a plan for dealing with the naysayers but also need to recognize when some things should go into the “ignore” pile.

Over 530 of our Avanade employees have signed-up to be a mentor with more joining daily. Avanade is already making a difference but we can still do more with your support.

Did you know that you can help make a difference too? Take the first step right now and sign-up as an Aspire Foundation mentor – after the application the commitment is minimal, an hour a month via phone or Skype for the next 6 months.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a thought from the Dalai Lama XIV “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” -- Dalai Lama XIV

Posted by Avanade on Thursday, February 4, 2016

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