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Love the little leader in you #WFGM17

04.10.2017

By Sarah Howell

Brand Advisor at EXXONMOBIL CHEMICAL CO

If you like this article - please share using the hashtag #WFGM17

This year will be the eighth year that my company and I have supported the Women’s Forum. I have been present since the start of the relationship and been a persistent lobbyist to ensure that each year we have secured budget, speakers – and crucially - hotel rooms! It hasn’t always been easy! But with a team of strong senior women leaders behind me, I have lead the way to ensure our presence has been maintained.

Over the years I have been impressed and awestruck by many of the contributors. A gathering of leaders, young and old, male and female who have done SO many things with their lives. It’s very easy to walk away from this forum thinking ‘What on earth have I been doing with my life?’ ‘Why haven’t I started up a successful tech business, why haven’t I created theater groups which are rehabilitating inmates in Columbia’s prisons?’

But I have come to rationalize this and I encourage those of you who have been in a similar position to not be disheartened – because I bet you are a leader too –– you just haven’t recognized it.

The stage at the forum is set to reveal remarkable people, great stories, high drama, mutual understanding and humour. These leaders are there to share, inspire and encourage the little leader in you – not discourage it!

If you look hard enough, I bet you can find examples in your life where you are leading. Whether it’s encouraging a friend to get fit by joining you for a yoga class or leading a volunteer group to help with a community issue. Whether it’s leading your company to consider new ways of doing things or simply leading your family on a walk. No matter how insignificant these examples sound – these are all examples of being a leader – do not dismiss them!

This year, will be the first year we have sponsored the forum at Gold level. This year will be a breakthrough year where we have more than one man in our delegation! And this year – I am proud to have lead our organization to bring a record of 25 participants to this event. This will be 25 people who will be listening to and participating in the discussions and debates. This will be 25 people who will go back to their workplace having been inspired and touched by this event in some way. And 25 people who I hope will pass some of the positivity generated by the forum on to the colleagues around them. And whilst I haven’t been the first female Astronaut to walk on the moon and I won’t be the first female President of the United States, I do feel some sense of pride for what I have done for ‘my women’ in ‘my company’ by leading the way to ensure our presence at this Forum.

This is my little leadership story. I would love you to share yours so we can all celebrate the small wins!

This article is part of our ‘Daring to lead’ series, highlighting voices from the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society Global Meeting, in Paris, on 5-6 October. You can see our full programme and current list of speakers for the event at the Women’s Forum website.