To celebrate International Women's Day Dr. Cheryl Cottle, the host of Women Business, the online aspect of her consulting company that consisted of over 10, 500+ women entrepreneurs with some members who have not yet created their own business and with others who are passionately interested in entrepreneurship, either as an academic study, research, or as a plausible option as a vocation in the future. Today, the group’s membership has grown to 15, 000 and continues to grow. The event was called "Successfully Forging a Livelihood through Entrepreneurship" to celebrate the members of Women in Business (an online group) who have been successful business women in their own right.
The group consist of women from every business sector and industry and women from across the globe. It is multicultural in its composition, transcending, race, class, culture, socio-economic background, age, religion, sexual orientation, education and crossing many geographical boundaries and borders. Women in Business, is truly a group about women entrepreneurship and women empowerment. It is a reflection of what represents and what we can be. It reflects that we can all reach the glass ceiling and be the CEO of our own enterprise. The group also has men a part of its membership. Dr. Cottle felt that the group should also include men, because they often form part of the body involved in policy making and forming legislation. They are also our family members; our husbands, sons, brothers, and friends. In addition, many men provide services or products that women use.
The celebration of International Women's Day was designed as a "marathon broadcast" to run from Monday to Friday and celebrating members of Women in Business who form part of a panel. Each panellist responded to questions that were asked by the host and their responses ideally speak to her entrepreneurial journey, experience, the vision of herself, and vision of entrepreneurship. Through this format Dr. Cottle celebrates the achievement of women in finding social and economic independence — a struggle that took several decades to achieve.
In keeping with the theme for last year's International Women's Day "Equality for women is progress for all" Dr. Cottle felt that this was a great way to honour the successes of the women who lead and achieved the equality of women, and the economic and social development of women globally. Dr. Cottle's initial International Women's Day idea for celebrating International Women's Day was that each of the members of her group should write about their role and involvement as an entrepreneur and state how they can contribute to motivating and inspiring other women who are entrepreneurs, but is having problems negotiating their way successfully to stay focused on their goals.
Below are some of the guidelines the participants were expected to follow:
- 1. Why we choose to get into business and how it has helped us to gain financial independence?
- Has it brought joy and happiness to your lives?
- What is the name of our business, how long we have been in business, and who our target audience is (just some background).
- Where you will like to see your business in the next 5 years?
- What are the challenges that you faced?
- If you had to do it all over again, would you do it again?
- How has your business empowered you?
- What are your thoughts on how women entrepreneurs can help each other at a local level and as a global level?
In spite of its effect, Dr. Cottle came up with the idea of implementing a "marathon radio broadcast", through which she formed a panel of speakers to participate in. It was hoped that the medium would be more effective than text. She felt that audio sounds, access to listening, and the whole conversational approach to sharing about how as entrepreneurs, we can contribute to the development of women all over the globe, would be more impacting. One of the deeper questions that were addressed was similar to that in the group — how as women entrepreneurs can we continue the legacy that those who have come before, achieved?
On the Saturday, one week after the first activity was implemented, with only a few days before the International Women’s Day on the 8 March, 2013, Dr. Cottle formalized the event and identified the logistics of its design. She put a call out for participants/women to join me on the panel, and had made a direct request to others whom she had worked with previously, and felt that they would like to be a part of her project. The support she received was overwhelming. She was successful in getting the support from many of the women she had already worked with in different capacity, and at the same time was able to recruit women from her group with whom she had never worked with before. International Women’s Day was going to be celebrated through a “marathon radio broadcast” entitled “Successfully Forging a Livelihood through Entrepreneurship".
The event was designed as a week's broadcast where the focus was on — how as entrepreneurs her members could contribute to the furthering of the social and economic achievement of the women who were a part of the movement of change over 10 decades ago. The event was broadcast from Monday to Friday, and on each day, a panel of women formed a part of the forum to address International Women's Day and to celebrate the members of her group through the programme "Successfully Forging a Livelihood through Entrepreneurship".
The design approach used for this event was very relaxed and conversational. Several questions were addressed as we went along each day, Dr. Cottle points out. She also points out that “the participants were not asked the same questions; but very conversationally, we moved on to the next question the panel before had stopped at.” “There were some questions that were repeated each day to situate the discussion, and to provide context for it so that a person listening in could follow quite easily. The first question asked was: What does International Women's Day means to you? How does it resonates with you? As an entrepreneur, how can we support and promote it?"
Radio Description: Join us as Dr. Cheryl Cottle celebrates International Women's Day. Dr. Cheryl Cottle is the host of Women in Business Radio and the founder and administrator of Women in Business; she is hosting an International Women's Day broadcast to celebrate the accomplishment of this auspicious occasion and to show solidarity to the women who has been in the forefront in making it possible for women today to be a part of the arts, sports, the workplace, politics, upper management and entrepreneurs.
The event was called "Successfully Forging a Livelihood through Entrepreneurship" to celebrate the members of Women in Business who have been successful business women in their own way. By using this format I hope to celebrate the achievement of women in finding social and economic independence — a struggle that took several decades to achieve. In keeping with the theme for this year's International Women's Day "Equality for women is progress for all" I feel that this is a great way in honouring their success. The group consist of over 10, 500+ women from every business sectors and industries from across the globe.
The Daily Broadcast: From Monday to Friday, our broadcast will celebrate women entrepreneurship. Each panellist will share her point-of-views to the questions that are posed to the panel.
On the first day other issues that were addressed included:
- What can women entrepreneurs do to foster greater collaboration from a local or community level and from an international perspective?
- How has entrepreneurship benefited your life?
- What is its role in alleviating the lives of women overall?
- What are some suggestions you can provide to women now thinking about getting into entrepreneurship?
On the second day of the broadcast, Dr. Cottle opened with the first question again, and addressed the issues of:
- Do you think it is a vocation that some one coming out of college or university should pursues?
- Why do you have such a passion for entrepreneurship?
- What are some challenges and pitfalls one can experience as she embarks on a journey of entrepreneurship?
- What does entrepreneurship has to do with empowerment?
The panel consisted of: V Lynn Hawkins and Yvette-Michelle Cottle Darby sat on the panel and shared their point-of-views.On the third day, Dr. Cottle continued the conversation by repeating the first question to situate the discussion. To establish it was a discussion around, International Women's Day and how women who have successfully forged a livelihood through entrepreneurship contribute in maintaining, supporting and fostering the legacy left to us by women — women who have fought throughout the decades to achieve economic and political changes — women who were responsible for seeing more women entering the field of the arts, sports, politics, holding upper management positions, science, engineering and technology, and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Cottle started off with the first question again, followed by questions that addressed:
- Who should be responsible for educating the next generation of entrepreneurs?
- Do you think that entrepreneurship has the capability to maintain the independence that women have gained through the decades?
- The potential of entrepreneurship as a possible solution to some of the problems that women currently faced globally?
The fourth day also saw the discussion opening up with the first issue, followed by who should be responsible for educating the future women entrepreneurs. After these issues were address, we progressed to:
- How has entrepreneurship changed your life?
- How do you think it can change other women's life?
- What types of initiatives will change the lives of women entrepreneurs at the local and community level and at the global level, and last but not least.
The fifth day saw six women on the call. The panel consisted of 4 women, and we were joined by two other women. “It was wonderful to have the level of participation and the quality of sharing: Dr. Cottle reflectively stated. She started again with the first issue, followed by the issue of, who should be responsible for educating the next generation of entrepreneurs? Followed by:
- What type of initiative should be implemented to help women entrepreneurs at the local and community level as well as at an international level?
- How can women entrepreneurs at a global level find ways to support each other businesses?
- How can a business network help to facilitate greater collaboration and greater profitability, through knowledge sharing and market expansion?
The panel consisted of: Judy Hoberman, Carol Koffinke, Laura Madden, Rosalie Moscoe, and Robin from Canada called in after the conversation started.Methodology: Fifteen questions were generated to situate the topic discussed and formed the schedule of questions. They were designed to “informs the way we look at the role of entrepreneurs in furthering the legacy that the women who fought for women's freedom from discrimination, inequality, the rights to vote, education, child support, health care, occupation health and safety conditions in the workplace, and other social concerns”, Dr. Cottle reminded me. This schedule of questions guided the discussion and kept it focused, she noted. These are the questions that comprised the schedule of questions:
These are some of the background questions that all of the participants were expected to respond to.
- What is the name of your business?
- How long have you been in business?
- Who are your clients?
- What are your services or product?
- Why did you choose to create a business?
- If you had to do it again, will you and why?
- What does International Women’s Day means to you? How does it resonate with you? As entrepreneurs, how can we support and promote it?
- What will you like to see happen among women entrepreneurs to facilitate greater collaboration from a community, local and international level?
- Do you think that entrepreneurship has benefited your life and how will it help women globally to be entrepreneurs — particularly women who are living in abuse, violence and poverty? What recommendations will you give to them?
- Do you have any suggestions for any woman thinking about getting into business?
- We have women who have graduated from college and universities at different levels of education and are having problems finding employment, as we know it traditionally — would you suggest entrepreneurship? What are some pitfalls they may experience and how can they circumvent them?
- What do you love about entrepreneurship, that if you had to do it over again, you will?
- How has entrepreneurship brought you empowerment? Can you speak to that a little?
- Do you believe that as entrepreneurs we are carrying the mantel of change of those who has been our forerunners in the advocacy for social justice and equality; and as a result we are ensuring that our human rights are respected and valued?
- Do you think that entrepreneurship should be taught to the next generation of women and young girls? Do you think it should be a government initiative or should women entrepreneurs take the lead to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs?
- Do you think that entrepreneurship will help women to maintain the independence that they (women) have gained thus far; as reflected in the achievement of women towards equality and social justice? Do you think that entrepreneurship helps to alleviate or can be a possible solution to some of the problems that women currently face globally?
- In what ways has entrepreneurship changed your life? In what ways do you think it can change other women’s life?
- What types of initiatives do you think that as an entrepreneur will help women-owned businesses at the community, local and international level?
- How can women on a global level find ways to support each other businesses?
- Do you think that a Business Network will help in assisting each other to grow our businesses and each other?
- What do you think of a business cooperative or engaging in collaborative activities that will help us?
The objective of the event: .
- To provide an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to think at a deeper level, how they see themselves as carrying the mantel of change from those who has been our forerunners in the advocacy for social justice and equality; ensuring that our human rights are respected and valued.
- To develop in others a sense of ownership for women's liberalizing achievement.
- To spread a sense of awareness of what International Women's Day is, and what it means?
- It was also intended for women to think deeper as to how they can maintain and further the achievement of women's struggle for independence, and that it is a battle that still has to be fought and be mindful that it will not repeat itself.
- To bring about an awareness that International Women's Day is an achievement of all women, although when it first began it was led by women in the United States and Europe, but by the year 2000 other women from other parts of the world were included, including women from China, India, Mongolia, Uganda, Laos, Vietnam, Zambia, Cuba, to list some of the other parts of the world were included, in the achievement.
- For women entrepreneurs to see themselves in a valuable and important role in maintaining the social and economic development and that we are a part of that struggle to eradicate; inequalities, injustices, gender inequalities, better health conditions, education, employment, pay equity, to list some of the social conditions we would love to maintain.
- To provide a forum for women entrepreneurs to think deep and brain storm, how we can make a difference in the lives of women locally and at the community level and at the international level.
- To identify that any change we would like to see enacted at an international level is possible with the advent of technology; the internet and social media.
There were many lessons that were learned: Namely that the women who participated realized that as women entrepreneurs:
- It was important that women took the message from International Women's Day as a "formal reminder to women that we have a lot to offer to the world, and therefore it is our responsibility to deliver what we can offer. It is understood that we can make this world a better place by offering wonderful things that we can do. . . . and that we should be mindful that in our stance for advocating change, we "must step out of the path and present ourselves from an "empowered standpoint" and not as "victims".
- Identify that we are "trial-blazers and is therefore responsible for helping the women entrepreneurs coming up, to be role models.
- They are "unstoppable" and that they had the power to facilitate change.
- They also saw that the role and responsibility of educating the next generation of women entrepreneurs were theirs to do, although they realized that they would need the funding support of the government to do so.
- They also realized that both the government and they can work collaboratively to ensure that the next generation of women entrepreneurs are trained and developed.
- They also believe that girls should be exposed early to entrepreneurship in schools, suggesting that it should be taught from kindergarten through grade 12 into college and university.
- They believe that girls can be taught that there is an option in the choices that they have to choose a vocation.
- They also believe that the responsibilities lies with them to carry on the mantel of change to ensure what the women before has achieved through their advocacy, struggles and campaign.
- They also believe that if certain initiatives are implemented at both the local and international level, change can take place at community level, international level or intercontinental level. It was suggested that local chapters be made of organizations to encourage networking not from a business-oriented perspective in terms of how to get more business but in terms of business leadership and self-development.
- It has been accepted that the women entrepreneurs from the more developed countries or national of the world can work with women entrepreneurs from the less developing and developing countries of the world; and that technology has made it very possible and in real-time.
- It was suggested that a group coaching networking forum that involves master-minding, brain-storming, and networking and consisting of like-minded women will serve to encourage and support entrepreneurship at an international level; and that technology has made it possible to reach out across borders.
I believe that women can be more independent and that education plays a pivotal role in women’s independence. She believes that this education needs to be grounded in the basics and should include applied skills training, in order to facilitate positive changes in attitudes. An educational structure that helps build self-confidence, self-esteem and positive self-concept will serve as catalysts to transform women and help them to reach their full potential. She believes that global educational approaches that include these tenets can have a positive impact on social, economic and political change. ~ Dr. Cheryl Cottle