Businesswomen and The City: Shanghai

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Note: Below is a guest post by Cindy Gallop Founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, a
radically simple web platform designed to help change the world one microaction
at a time, which launched in beta with a demo at TED 2010. Cindy is speaking at the
Dell-Intel Women's Entrepreneur Network in Shanghai on June 20th.

I am extremely excited about the upcoming Dell
Intel Women's Entrepreneur Network 'Find Your Own Path' Summit
in Shanghai,
for five reasons: storytelling, trading, money, martinis, and the chance to
change the default setting.

Storytelling: I am fascinated by the diverse group of female entrepreneurs
that Dell has brought together, and the range of businesses and sectors that
they represent. When I look at the agenda and the group on LinkedIn, I want to know everybody's story:
where each woman came from, her background, what shaped her, what set her on the
path to where she is today. Some of us have begun sharing our stories on
LinkedIn; all of us will have the chance to in Shanghai, and to be inspired by
what we hear.

Trading: with such a brilliant group of women coming together, we would all
be absolute idiots if we didn't take full advantage of what that means. Every
one of us has something, if not many things, to offer, in terms of skill sets
and resources; every one of us has something, if not many things, she needs.
Let's trade! We have the opportunity in Shanghai to match individual needs with
individual resources. Let's be completely open and straightforward about both,
and make sure we all go on to achieve more through having both offered and
received help.

Which brings me to money: we're all hard-headed pragmatic businesswomen
slogging our guts out to grow our businesses and make them profitable. I can't
wait to learn from everyone else how they make their businesses make money.
Particularly because, as I commented in this
interview in The Faster Times
, I've observed that women tend to have a
particularly innovative approach to business models. And boy oh boy, are we ever
going to get the chance to learn in Shanghai from some of the best!

Martinis: the Glamour Bar at M on the Bund makes some of the best in the
world (ahem – I should know), which in turn led to the Glamour Bar inspiring the
décor of my own apartment in Manhattan.
I'll tell you the story when we gather there on the evening of Sunday June 20.

The chance to change the default setting: men, no matter how well-meaning,
have no idea what it's like to live as a woman in a world where the default
setting is always male. Particularly the business world. Men, imagine attending
conferences year after year where all the speakers were women; where you never
heard from a speaker of your own gender; where you were never presented with
role models of your own gender to inspire and motivate you to want to be like
them. Well, that's what women live with, year after year, because that's the
default setting – the way it is.

I was asked to speak at the Clios Awards
conference in NYC last week
on what I think is cool, that inspires me. I
cited a print ad for Comcast I happened to notice in Fortune magazine. It wasn't
a particularly interesting ad, for their business products, but what caught my
eye was the photograph it featured of a business team, composed of five women
and three men. No song and dance about it, it wasn't targeting women
specifically, the default setting was just female. I thought it was particularly
cool that it wasn't a great ad – because it's when the ordinary, the everyday,
the mundane and the mediocre defaults to female that we know we're really
getting somewhere.

I love the fact that in Shanghai, the default setting will be female, and
we'll have the chance to come together, network together, and actively work
together to make that happen more often in the rest of the world.

I can't wait!

Cindy Gallop

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