My Rise & Lead Summit Experience


Dear Reader,

If you haven’t secured your place yet at the Rise & Lead event Connect2Grow on the 31st of January then perhaps reading what I experienced when attending the first ever Rise and Lead Summit that was held in September 2018 might encourage you to do so.

The first annual Rise and Lead Summit was held at the WTC in The Hague. I went with no expectations and only armed with an insatiable curiosity to connect with people and to learn something new. To my delight, I was not disappointed. My interesting interactions started the minute I was parking my bike outside as I came across a lovely French lady, who was a regular attendee at meetings at the WTC and who kindly escorted me right to the heart of the summit. The area was buzzing with excitement and energy. I came across some old contacts and made some new ones. The attendees were of mixed backgrounds both culturally and business-wise. This made for very interesting conversations. Finally, we were ushered to the main room to get started.


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My first inspiration came from listening to Ebere Akadiri (Ataro Global Food Services), the summit organiser, who talked briefly about her journey since she arrived in The Netherlands five years ago. She shared with us how she was told in the beginning that by making her achievements visible she might alienate people and so she hid them, only to discover later that those that might feel alienated were probably not like-minded people. She had this advice for her audience,

“Don’t hide your achievements. They are part of who you are and you worked very hard for them.”

The second person to make a great impression on me was Poonam Barua (WILL Forum India), who delivered the keynote speech on The Power of Presence. Poonam’s talk was full of inspirational words. She really had quiet a presence. She told us that when we are speaking to an audience it is important to first ask ourselves this question,

“Who am I speaking to and who am I speaking on behalf?”

She also stressed the fact that,

“Everyday is a gift. What are you going to do with it? If you do nothing then the gift is lost.”

She defined mentors as “those who can re-shape your thinking, take your mind to a higher level: put some nurturing into your soil, into which you will plant the tree of life.”

Poonam continued by saying that when there is a job to be done, one simply should get up and just do it. She ended her speech with the following powerful words,

“The question is not who is going to let me, but who is going to stop me?”


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Poonam’s inspiring speech was followed by a panel discussion on “How can more women rise up to become effective leaders in the workplace and marketplace.”

The panelists were Poonam, Julia Jelinska (from Ahold Delhaize), and Hannah Huber (Founder Spark Women) with Ebere as the moderator.

The discussion delivered a lot of useful points and inspiring statements. I will include some of the ones that left an impression below:

  • Women should back each other up
  • Women should know their talents and pitch them.
  • You have to know yourself and more importantly, be yourself.
  • Women should have the courage and bravery to show up and stand up.
  • Making connections is important
  • Have a deep understanding of the ground on which we are standing, as it is an unequal environment.
  • The ecosystem must change because it is the other half of the story.
  • “Not to be afraid to be embarrassed or fall down on your face”, as Hannah said.
  • “Men are so low on the gender maturity that I can’t be bothered to wait,” said Poonam. “We can bring them into the dialogue and it’s okay whether they come or not.”
  • For women to grow it is important that they join forces.
  • Drop the word entrepreneur and adopt the word CEO. Entrepreneur is a short-term title that relates to the first 2 years of starting a business.
  • Important to know when to say yes and when to say no. Not every form of collaboration makes sense.
  • Remember that mentors don’t always have to be people. Anything that inspires you is a mentor. It can be nature for example. (Poonam).
  • You can get confidence by understanding what gives it to you. What is below the tip of my iceberg is my confidence. (Poonam)
  • How do you exert power? Through connections, through turning into skills the things that are not seen as traditional skills, through doing. Power needs to be demonstrated and manifested. Power comes from your gift and what you naturally do well. By overcoming setbacks and asking yourself:” how do I get my mojo back?
  • Without memories, there is no past. The power is now. (Poonam).
  • Vulnerability is powerful. You are brave enough to show up and talk about your struggles. However don’t dwell on your vulnerability too long but use it as a launch pad.
  • Your purpose is a journey. We have a limited time on earth, which is our life. Ask yourself, what is the legacy I will leave behind? What do I want to be remembered by? Does it give you joy? Then it is your purpose.

Lunch break, apart from providing attendees with a wide choice of delicious nourishing food and drink, it also gave everyone further opportunities to connect and share experiences.

After the break, we had more panel discussions and an opportunity to join various sessions in smaller groups. I decided to attend Stephanie Ward’s (of Firefly coaching) session on How to build strategic alliance partnerships. Stephanie explained first what she means by the term Strategic alliance partnerships. She followed this by giving examples of such partnerships and how and where to find them and develop them. This was extremely useful information for small business owners.

All in all, The Rise and Lead Summit was an inspiring event that gave me an opportunity to mingle with like-minded people, to re-connect with old acquaintances, to listen to some interesting insights and to be inspired. In brief, it got my Mojo working again! I hope I will be seeing you at the Connect2Grow.

Rawia Liverpool
Master Practitioner of NLP
+31 (6) 13543977


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