“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.”
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?”
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.”
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.
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?
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; projects-abroad-pro.org.