Launch Your Reinvention with Travel Abroad

Attending conferences, and networking in foreign countries can be good for your career—and it’s fun.

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Why Network Abroad?

“It’s a big world,” said Lili Hall, founder of KNOCK, a branding, advertising and design firm, and one of Ernst & Young’s 2010 Entrepreneurial Winning Women. “But sometimes women have a tendency to think smaller. When you have international exposure, your eyes open to more possibilities.”

Courtesy of KNOCK.

What Conferences Do For You

This past June, Hall, who’s half Brazilian, attended Dell’s prestigious invite-only Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “It was two full days of speakers with Moira Forbes as the emcee, interactive panel discussions, and interviews with Brazilian entrepreneurs,” she said. Hall launched her agency two months after 9/11, putting every penny she earned back into it for two years. Attending DWEN was invaluable, she says, in part because she was able to ask–and get answers to—direct questions such as, “What are the issues? What are the opportunities?”

Courtesy of Lili Hall.

How Conferences Can Change You

Attending Dell’s conference helped Hall hone her global strategy. “KNOCK created a large network in a short amount of time,” she said. “These may not be the people you end up doing business with, but they’re people you can email to ask questions.”


In the past, Hall has picked up clients in Hong Kong, Germany and Italy. “What excites me is what comes next, not living in the past and thinking about how great things were.” Lili said. “It’s about making things great in the future.”

Courtesy of Knock.

Think Globally

Stacie Berdan, author of Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Woman’s Guide to Fast-Track Career Success, says thinking and acting globally opens up many opportunities. “Women who know how to work within the global marketplace have a distinct edge over domestic-only peers,” she said. “So many women create another rich and meaningful chapter in their lives simply by letting go and taking a chance overseas.”


Here are some conferences and conventions where you can get your reinvention underway this summer.

Courtesy of Stacie Berdan.

360 Entrepreneurship

Why go? Learn what is possible and believe that it is possible at this three-day summit for female entrepreneurs.


Highlights: “Circles of wisdom,” where international experts help find solutions to your real-life business challenges. Which means you really can leave your troubles behind.


Details: September 16-18, 2011 in Malmo, Sweden;

Courtesy of 360 Entrepreneurship.

WCEI National Conference 2011

Why attend Women Chiefs of Enterprises Conference? Here’s your chance to start planning how to leave the rat-race behind and pursue your dream. Positive expectations are contagious. Plus you’ll get practical insight on how to do it.


Bonus: Lots of networking for real-life connections. Because trust is everything: Who doesn’t like to do business with people they know and like?


Details: September 7-9 2011 in Sydney, Australia

Courtesy of WCEI National Conference.

Projects Abroad Pro

Why go? Use your skills to strengthen an overseas developing community through voluntary work. Volunteering turns your focus from yourself to others—giving you perspective. Because your attitude matters; it can help or hinder you.


Highlights: Which one of us can’t work on flexibility and resilience? Come home with a new perspective on your industry, and an understanding of how to do more with less.


Details: Two weeks to nine months of voluntary work overseas in a developing country;

Courtesy of Projects Abroad Pro.

Womensphere Global Summit

Why go? This year’s theme is “Creating the Future.” So let go of the past (you can’t change it anyway) and get over your fear of tomorrow with the help of innovative women from around the globe.


Highlights: Passionate women will transform you.


Details: October 21, 2011, Oxford, United Kingdom;

Courtesy of Womensphere Global Summit.

Global Entrepreneurship Program

Why go? Be a positive role model. As a selected delegate at this conference, you’ll help spur entrepreneurship in a developing country and rub elbows with their high level officials.


Highlights: You’ll get a “better understanding of emerging markets, investment opportunities, and newfound relationships with entrepreneurs.”


Details: July 19-24, 2011, Indonesia

Courtesy of Global Entrepreneurship Program.

Social Venture Institute

Why go? Become a social entrepreneur. We all play a role in society. With a socially responsible business, you can help people—and turn a profit.


Highlights: At this conference, you’ll get high quality mentors who can help your venture grow while sticking to your social mission.


Details: September 14-18, 2011, Cortes Island, BC

Courtesy of Social Venture Institute.

Web of Change

Why go? Help make a difference in the world. Join this collaborative event to get a better understanding of how social media works—and how potentially you can do good with it.


Highlights: Open sessions that allow you to come up with a topic. And build those skills (e.g. social media) you’ve been putting off.


Details: September 21-25, 2001, Hollyhock, Cortes Island, BC

Courtesy of Web of Change.

Summer Literary Seminars

Why go? Got an unpublished novel under your bed—or in your head? Put your life in context by committing your thoughts to paper at a writer’s conference.


Highlights: Top notch authors give feedback on your work. Who knows? You may be the next Hemingway.


Details: July 31-August 13, Vilnius, Lithuania, or December 7-21, Nairobi, Kenya

Courtesy of Summer Literary Seminars.


Why go? Rediscover the joy of creating by becoming an artist. Learn how to paint or sculpt while living in the foothills of Italy’s Apuane mountains.


Highlights: One sentence: “Doves coo on the roof.” With that sort of quiet, you’ll get the chance to listen to yourself.


Details: Year round, Tuscany, Italy;

Courtesy of Dedalo.

La Villa Bonita

Why go? Let go of the habit of eating over your desk. Start your reinvention from the inside out by attending a cooking school, as food influences how you feel and sleep, as well as how you think.


Highlights: Catch up on the slow food craze while learning traditional Mexican techniques with Chef Ana Garcia.


Details: Year round, Tepoztlan, Mexico;

Courtesy of La Villa Bonita.

Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences

Why go? Tap into your senses, starting with your taste buds on a wine tasting tour. Because your reinvention can’t start until you trust your instincts over others’ credentials.


Highlights: You can’t beat the nature. Think virgin islands like Patagonia.


Details: Year round, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina;

Courtesy of Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences.

Cycling Safaris

Why go? Exercise helps not only your body but your brain. You can think more clearly, making you smarter and better at what you do, as well as lift your mood.


Highlights: You can let go of your hectic pace, and still end up at your destination. Plus you’ll get some exercise while you plan your reinvention.


Details: Dates depend on tour, Mostly Europe;

Courtesy of Cycling Safaris.


Why go? Sign up for archeological dig to take you back to the past for a better understanding of the present. It’ll help you let go of the illusion of control—freeing yourself up to take risks.


Highlights: When’s the last time you got your hands dirty?


Details: Depends on tour, Worldwide;

Nadia Warriner, Earthwatch teacher fellow

Tours Abroad

Why go? To change your perception, start looking at life through a different lens on a photography tour, led by a guest artist.


Highlights: You’ll have a new appreciation for beauty. Because it really does exist in the smallest of things.


Details: Dates depend on tour, China;


Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.


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Read how four women reinvented their careers without quitting. 

Courtesy of Tours Abroad.

First Published June 30, 2011

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