NOVEMBER, 2018 – I spent the last week with 12 leaders who are part of our VVLead Fellowship in Mumbai, India, for a peer-to-peer learning program. These leaders are mostly working at the grass-roots level to improve their communities through empowering marginalized communities, policy reform, environmental change, education and more. While in India, they were committed to sharing best practices, openly collaborating on challenges and learning from one another. What struck me most during the five days of the Peer-to-Peer Exchange was the power of coming together – in person – to connect.
We live in a digital age of communication through social channels, e-learning and email. We feel connected to people and places far away from us, and there is no denying that technology has sparked new ideas and social change to spread at massive speed. However, this online connection does not replace meeting face-to-face to engage in conversations, ask questions, participate in trainings and workshops in person, and be your open, honest, vulnerable self. The bonds that were forged by these 12 women from 11 different countries in just one week will continue far beyond our time together in Mumbai.
I have worked with thousands of women leaders from across the globe in the 12+ years I have been with Vital Voices. The VVLead Peer-to-Peer Exchange was a great reminder of the large-scale impact that forging new networks of women who have innovative solutions to systemic challenges can have. They are eager to connect to their peers to share, learn and be part of a ripple effect of global change. Connecting local leaders from different communities, sectors and industries, all with a common goal to make positive change, is ultimately what moves societies forward.
This blog post was authored by Lauren Wollack, Vice President of Global Leadership and Activation at Vital Voices.