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The 1998 Global Summit of Women

by Donna Messer
ConnectUs Communications Canada

More than 400 women from around the world met in London, England in July for an economic conference at the 1998 Global Summit of Women.

Donna Messer, of ConnectUs Communications Canada, attended the 5th Global Summit of Women, and has provided her own perspective on the conference, as part of the Canadian delegation.

Her views are all about opportunities — women promoting women, and women promoting business in Canada. For any Women in Food Industry Management member who wants to grow her business internationally, the network that is now available would be invaluable.

As Donna writes, "the chance to get feedback on a potential product launch could save tons of money if contact was made with some of the people I met."

Imagine a world or rather a village that you could "connect" with by just sitting down and talking. That village would consist of 8 Africans, 14 North and South Americans, 21 Europeans and, with a clear majority, 57 Asians. Seventy inhabitants of this village would be non white. Half the entire wealth of this village would be in the hands of just six inhabitants, and all six would be North American citizens. Seventy percent of the inhabitants would be unable to read. Only one out of 100 inhabitants would have a college education.

This village, or rather our world, looks nothing like most people imagine, and yet these statistics do reflect where we are and where we are going. In the years ahead, by imagining the village, we may be able to forecast the future.

The Global Summit of Women was not in our imagination. We were there, surrounded by citizens from all of those countries and we did connect. We learned that the world is changing, but that isn't news. What is news is the pace at which the change is occurring. Information technology is accelerating the process dramatically. The shift from agriculture to industry and now to information processing has been rapid. Now, in the developed world we have taken information technology to innovation, a shift that is most significant.

By using technology, the participants in the 1998 Global Summit of Women were able to communicate with other women around the world — not only directly in our "village" setting, but also through the Internet, as web sites were hyperlinked, forming a chain of information technology that will benefit all the citizens in the village. Innovative technology is providing contacts, information, trends, training and methods to enable the citizens of our Global Community to communicate and compete in the world economy.

This conference was about economy, it was about women and their economic clout around the world. The speakers provided insight on trends, innovative access to capital, strategic alliances, and potential joint ventures. In a sentence, this was a glimpse of the future — paving the way for globalization of the world economy, fostering social integration without sacrificing cultural diversity.

Women can lead the way; recognizing that creativity and innovation are building blocks for the next economic era.

At the 1998 Global Summit of Women held in London, England in July, four hundred women from every continent shared their history, their needs and their expertise. Twenty-two were Canadian. There was no diversity, we were a village — with good leadership, valuable information and the ability to make sound economic decisions. It may sound like a perfect world, but in fact everyone in the village came prepared to be part of the community.

The Canadian delegation provided a directory with information on each of its inhabitants, their needs and their expertise. They came offering opportunities for strategic alliances and joint ventures, and they increased their economic profitability by listening carefully, thinking laterally and learning how to come to an agreement where both sides would benefit. In a perfect world that is exactly what should be done.

The web sites hyperlinked include the following: www.infoexport.gc.ca/businesswomen/menu-e.asp and www.globalwomen.org.

A year ago Newsweek magazine coined a phrase — Womenomics — to describe the phenomenon women have been aware of for quite some time, but which the press has just begun to recognize. Women's increased participation in the world's marketplace as wage earners, entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers and consumers has broadened their economic clout.

The success stories of the Canadian delegation will be reported and documented. The Summit is a biennial event. The Canadian delegation have invited the village to Canada for the 2000 Global Summit of Women.

Directory of Canadian Women a Success
As Donna mentions, the Canadian Delegation came to the Global Summit with a directory; profiling each member from Canada. There was a tremendous response from other women attendees. So, the Canadian group were asked to include all the women at the Summit.

A directory (really, a book) is now being compiled, complete with picture, profile and success stories, covering all the women who gathered in London at the Summit. This book "Women of the World — 1st Stop Canada" will be distributed to women's associations and, hopefully, to embassies and consulates around the world. An important resource, participating women will be seen as a speakers, coaches, trainers and conference leaders.


Donna Messer is the Chair of Women in Food Industry Management in Canada and also operates ConnectUs Communications Canada, a networking program based out of London, Ontario, that's involved in training programs for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is an international trade specialist who works with countries around the world, helping them find strategic alliances and joint ventures.

Donna is also a relationship builder; teaching the art of effective networking to banks, trust companies, credit unions and corporations, who all need to build a stronger, more positive relationship with their clients. She helps to make that happen.

Donna is developing a directory as a result of the Summit and Canada's participation. It is called Women of The World, 1st Stop Canada and she invites Canadian women in our network to contact her to be listed if they have the experience with international trade.

Donna Messer can be reached at:

ConnectUs Communications Canada
114 Elmwood Avenue,
Oakville, Ontario L6K 2A7

Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.connectuscanada.com
Phone: (905) 337-9578
Fax: (905) 337-9320



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