Tag Archives: Having It All

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Our Gender Bender discussion panel saw a great topic being openly discussed, with a fantastic input from our audience members (thanks) and one of the most balanced population we’ve had at an even (guys, you’re always welcome). We discussed the roles of parents, men and women, who should stay at home, how the Hong Kong helps and disables us with role changes, how employers react and behave and what we can hope for in the future.

To recap some of the points made, here is our #wmniwd stream of live Tweets, from the event:

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For our International Women’s Day event, we decided to turn things around a little and discuss whether some women block other women’s careers. Learn more about the event description, here.

Folllow the Twitter conversation and event highlights, here. If you want to join, please use #WMNIWD

Our wonderful panel was made up of Christine Brendle, Founding Partner of Kids Dailies and Independent Non Executive Director at The Red Flag Group Kimberley Cole, Head of Specialist Sales, Asia at Thomson Reuters andMariko Sanchanta, Asia Pacific Regional Managing Director, Media at Burson Marsteller, with the amusing and candid MJ Jennings, Director, Training & Executive Coaching, Active Communications as Moderator

Brendle: Was the only woman on her first team/ job – and the only one who knew how to use a computer. Therefore, there were no women in senior ranks. After moving to New York, she found supported female bosses… She quotes Madeleine Allbright, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Sanchanta: Had good sponsors and mentors as well as some issues – she joined the panel because she couldn’t believe that women would block each other.

Due to a fire, our Hong Kong President, Christina Pantin had to step in for Cole at the beginning. To start us off, she shared some information: For the first time, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y millennials are working together now.

  • Lawyers under 40 prefer working for men who give better direction and constructive criticism.
  • 40% of workplace bullies are women.
  • 70% of the time a woman is bullied is by another woman.

 

 

So, why might women step on each other?
Some women who play the lone female at work might feel threatened by other women that come into the work place. When women work together and become friends, they might also share some very personal stories and secrets – perhaps becoming a root cause for future bad behaviour with one another?

Cole shares that she tries to see which women at work always have their heads down, and then tries to mention to others about their work, to help them connect with each other.

 

Should women working in Corporations play by the men’s rules?
Sanchanta: I’ve always refused to do so – and I’m a small Asian woman so I just can’t take that presence. I’m feminine and a woman and kept a mix of friends. In my experience a lot of workplaces are gender neutral, for instance after work activities like drinking in the pub are quite inclusive.

Brendle: Those rules exist but I don’t think you should play by them. Moving from France to the US, it was like the ceiling was raised by about 50 meters!

But the same company can be a totally different place depending on the corporate culture there. Encourage women leaders. Think about who is replacing you and what that brings. I’ve seen women who I’ve hired and am grooming take a hundred steps back as they become Queen Bees or try to assimilate more with the men.

Pantin: If a man is running the business, then it is under such rules because women have different career tracks and styles. But until you accept and take into account the different biology, those differences will be clear.

Why do women leave the leadership stream? Do they settle or do they just not want it? Fostering women to move up the ranks to the top is a big change that has to be approached at all levels of the company and management chain.

 

How do you juggle your life balance?
Cole: My kids were born in the UK where maternity leave is fantastic and practical. I came back to Asia to have them looked after!

Women feel guiltier going back to work and feel bad – men take it differently. I don’t think you can have it all, at the same time.

Brendle: For my second child I stopped work and enjoyed it because for my first born, I missed out. When you leave and come back to work it’s great to feel welcome – don’t bring them back and give them a second rate job.

 

Women are delaying careers for their family but might still go for new job interviews while pregnant. What are the compromises?
Sanchanta: Most of my colleagues don’t have wives who work. I have a baby and if I don’t leave by 6.30 I won’t see my daughter – I told my husband to stay home with her tonight instead of supporting me. I couldn’t miss bath time for a whole week but I think some men can.

Audience: I started my own business so that I could spend time with my children, when it became evident that between my and my husband’s career, we had no time at all.

In your early thirties in places like the US, you can’t afford a nanny or day care, so the pay gap between husband and wife determines who goes back to work.

I have three boys – once, they were all under five. I’m aware that my boys can learn why mummy shares responsibilities with daddy and why mummy needs to have a good job. We try to balance it as a team but I know my boys will be future workers. I’d prefer a good hour with them in the evening than time when I’m trying to do all of it, working from home, etc.

Cole: I always intended to have it all and have a career and children. I would have gone back even if my work only covered the childcare, but I was probably lucky to have those six months paid maternity leave in the UK.

 

Who do you turn to when you’re afraid? A cultural shift in your organisation or managing your lives better? What about mentors and paid mentors?
Sanchanta: “I’ve had a range of different female mentors in my life – but only ever been sponsored by men (in hiring/decision making positions).

Brendle: I’ve had mostly male sponsors and mentors – usually the same person – but I have also mentored.

I never looked for a mentor but it happens sometimes. At one point I had two men above me in different arms of the company, but I learned a lot. If you’re hiring the staff you might have a lot of wisdom and be a great sounding board.

Cole: I’m task oriented so I needed a sponsor – if that person can be a mentor as well that’s great. I now have one woman who was my mentor but she’s been so elevated now is that she could also be a sponsor. But it’s great to have both internal and external mentors and sponsors, because if people leave, what will you do? You get the balance.

 

How do you celebrate success?
Brendle: If you only have one discussion a year about your pay rise, it’s something that most people don’t feel too comfortable about. Doing this, you have metrics that are measured, and some women feel quite trapped by having men measure this – “oh growth in Asia, well, anyone could do that” – make sure you have your facts and proof behind you. Prepare.

Sanchanta: In Japanese culture you should be humble – so it took me a long time to unlearn these things. Working for American companies, you have to learn to trumpet your achievements.

Audience: Have a yey me folder to track and recall your successes.

JJ: Share feedback about people within the organisation, about a team etc – it will impress managers too. What goes around comes around!

 

What helped you on your journey to keep growing and taking a step forward?
Brendle: I waited ‘til after I was 50 to become an entrepreneur, by enjoying the means I could from corporations. I’m still learning a lot – I’m good with the big picture but I find being detail oriented a struggle.

Sanchanta: I have had several catalysts that make me do things differently. Having a child encouraged me to leave my 15-year comfort zone of journalism. Networking is great and amenable here because of the size of the city. I just keep going and perhaps I’ll end up doing my own thing one day too.

Cole: I like a challenge but the reason I keep taking them is financial independence. I was brought up by a single mother and she always taught me to have options and being able to be in control. 



For our International Women’s Day event, we worked hard to create a relevant and interesting topic, with a great panel to discuss our topic: Do women step on each other to get to the top?

With the event description below, here’s a range of videos to get you thinking about how women are portrayed and why they might feel the way they do – stepped on, or stepping on. Have you had such experiences? How did it make you feel? Come along, with your experiences, thoughts and feelings for an interesting session on how we can change the way women are viewed, how we view ourselves and how we view each other.

The hashtag for this event is #WMNStep

Event description
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” and she found lots of agreement across men and women for this admonition.

So what is the fate of women who not only don’t help other women in their careers, but hinder, sabotage and block?

As women’s groups everywhere celebrate International Women’s Day in March, Women Media Networks is hosting a panel discussion that is a little less conventional, and likely controversial, but relevant and real.

All of us probably have stories about women bosses and managers who were helpful or hellish. Or female colleagues who were catty instead of collegial. Some of us have also endured outright warfare as we advanced in our careers from our own “sisterhood”.

Are some of these anomalies and caricatures of the dreaded “lady boss”? Have things changed as more women take the helm of companies? Are there cultural elements at play, where patriarchal and traditional countries deliberately enjoy inflating the legend of terrible career women?

Or is it a cold, hard fact that most women prefer not to discuss openly?

Learn about the panel or book a ticket, here.

Join the conversation:

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

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This blog was guest written by an adorable, energetic and sweet friend of mine. I had no idea that this woman, who works for our sponsor, Turner, was also into stage performances! So, when she told me one Sunday that she was working on a play about maids who want to kill their boss, of course I wanted to go! Then, she told me that the two lead roles of the maids were written to be performed by men, a wish that had rarely been carried out. Ok, now she really had my interested. And then the other conversation came up – how does she do that, and her full time job? Can she have it all?

– Vickie, WMN

 


 

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Having a full time job in Television, like most jobs in Hong Kong really, means long hours. And in a competitive environment like ours it also means a lot of mental energy invested towards that job.

I chase a career, which I love, spend time with my husband and go to the gym sporadically. I could consider myself underachieving, compared to women who are doing it all. Those marathon-running, brownie-baking, soccer-mum, investment bankers. And that’s usually ok.

I write usually, because there is a part of me that lies untapped that I wish I had time to expand on. A part that is too exhausted to get up and do it. And that’s my love of theater and more importantly my love of directing for stage. Owning the stage is a part of me, an integral core of ‘me’.

The stage is my medium of expression and art. I see the space and shape of a stage and think of a script. ‘Could I perform

here?’ I see actors and think ‘how can I mold them?’ I see spot lights and imagine them cast as shadows. I see the empty seats and think ‘how can I engage the audience?’

But my full time job means I can never do justice to a script. To perform a script is to live, breathe and feel the script . And as a director it becomes all-consuming.

I had nearly given up on my dream to direct, when a month back, the phone rang and out of the blue I got an offer to co-direct a script. Sometimes when the opportunity to live your dream appears in front of you, don’t rationalise or evaluate, just jump right in. I jumped in and said YES. And then rather belatedly remembered I hadn’t asked what the piece was which is not the deep thinking director I thought myself to be. Content is King and Script is Prime.

And then a panic stricken realisation that I had said YES to an insanely short timeline to put together a performance for the public!

Don’t think, just make a commitment and move ahead to make it happen.

Lucky for me the script turned out to Jean Genet’s classic The Maids. And the most intriguing thing about this play is the fact that Genet wanted the two female leads to be played by men.

As the protagonists perform their roles, they also role-play. They act out their anger, their frustration and play-act their murderous plot. Through this maze of truth and lies, the audience is forever reminded that something is being performed for them. The illusion of reality is broken.

 

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I spent very real days at my desk at work and then surreal evenings directing female roles forgetting our actors were men. Weekends spent discussing hair and make-up, costumes and props.

I am sleep deprived but feel like I have run a marathon too. I did it all in my universe.

As the play opens in November, I will feel like a proud mother. Whatever the outcome, its my baby and she is amazing!

 

The Maids runs from November 6th-9th at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. To book tickets to see The Maids, contact Urbtix

 

Tina is Associate Director Sponsorship and Promotions – Creative Brand Solutions at Turner International Asia Pacific Limited. Follow Tina’s blog.


 

 

If you have thoughts, questions or readings to share, please talk to us via our social media accounts.

@wmnasiapacific

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The #wmngoals session on Wednesday June 19th, 2013 was centred around aligning personal and work goals – understanding and creating your personal brand so that your life flows cohesively and brings you satisfaction.

 

The commercial introduction to our speakers from Linkage Asia seemed to take a while, but more fool us – Vivian Lo and Yulee Teng were actually trying to demonstrate the use of personal brands. What does Teng mean to Lo?

A CV might not tell you so much about a person after all – did you mention that you’re a qualified yoga teacher, which shows another area of commitment and perseverance to achieve?

To start the session, we look at Want, Should and Can.

Want refers to your energy – that’s a bit more like who you are, what motivates you, what you care about.

Should relates to your role – what’s expected of you by others, be it family or work.

Can is about your abilities and productivity – what you’re able to do, what your skills are.

Believe it or not, these elements do need to be in some balance. The joke is that doing what you shouldn’t want is called sin. But really, how do you feel when you don’t do what you want to do? Feel tired, despondent, frustrated and so on.

Aligning Want, Should and Can creates a more effective person, utilising not just what they are good at but what they enjoy. So it’s always good to clarify ‘is this really what I want?’

When it comes to women, things are slightly different. The Should factor might be more family focused and of course, society comes into play. What does society expect? What is your culture?

Their view on female leadership is the choice – and commitment – to be a leader. Perhaps it’s more conscious than it is for men, due to other expected roles that women play. As you add more roles, you become busier trying to do it all – the mother, the host, the daughter, the wife, the business women, the social entertainer. So then, think about what you want and what you can do differently to equally juggle you Want, Should, Can. As you go along, you have to keep thinking about it.

 

How do you figure out what you want?

What are your motives? What deep-seated characteristics do you have that indicate who you are and what you find satisfying and enjoyable? Another thought is ‘if I won the lottery, would I still want to do what I do?’.

Everyone is driven by different things – some people love achievement but don’t care for the recognition. Others thrive on harmonious and supportive relationships. Some need to be able to influence others while some prefer to be powerful. Which are you? And then how do those translate to the work place?

Teng notes that women often dislike the word ‘power’ and see things differently, like influence as a positive, being used to create change. Whereas for a man, power seems like a positive  or accepted trait. In fact, there’s a difference between personalised and social power. Do you want to make yourself look strong, or make others feel strong? Again, you have to think about what drives you.

Think clearly about what you want and how that fits with your responsibilities. Sometimes you have to manage the want.

 

Your stakeholders include your clients, husband, peers, community and so on. Considering that, you can also define goals and objectives that you can achieve. Consider your parameters and then acquire the skills you need to achieve. But there’s more – how you communicate matters too. Do you fill the room or take a seat? Do you do both? Do you know where to sit in a room? Think about your personal presence.

So, chart your personal action plan – and perhaps, pick one thing you’ll do differently.

 

 

 

If you have thoughts, questions or readings to share in advance of the event, please talk to us via our social media accounts!

@wmnasiapacific (the hashtag for this event is #wmngoals).

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

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I came across Women Media Networks when doing research for my own site, The Modern Bitch, in August 2012. At that point I thought it would be a dream to be part of WMN and eight months later I was given the opportunity to attend an event in celebration of International Women’s Day.
One thing that inspired me to create a site for young women in Hong Kong was a TED Talk by Tavi Gevinson, a teen blogger who discussed feminism and how she was still figuring things out. Feminism has always been something close to my heart and since I was a child, I’ve always looked up to women and had female role models whether it be lead singers in bands or successful women in the corporate world.
In the UK, where I grew up, teen pregnancy is high and many of my friends weren’t aiming high or thinking about their future. When I entered my early teens I started to become very ambitious and knew that a career was something I wanted and family would come later. By the time I graduated and an opportunity came along in the form of Hong Kong, I knew it was a calling and I had to push past my worries and fears. Two years on I have a stable job that I enjoy and continue to think about my future in terms of career first and family later.
The discussion started straight at the root, as the panel asked each other if women could really have it all? I personally believe that women can, but not everything will be in balance all the time. It also depends on the definition of  ’having it all’ as this differs for everyone. Most of the room agreed.
My version of having it all from a basic definition would be having a successful career while having a family at the same time. One thing I took away is that the definition is difficult to simplify because all kinds of complexities come into family and career such as, whether you have your own business – and how big it is – how big your family is, whether you’re a single parent… the list goes on.
Bobbi Campbell touched on the point that you have to be really good at what you do in order to have the right to tell people you’re leaving at 5.30pm and will be unavailable for certain hours. I completely agree. It involves years of hard work and staying late to work your way up to the top, which in turn makes you really good at what you do. This isn’t always easy for women who aren’t necessarily at the top and after doing a little research on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!, it’s clear that having understandable employers who support your choice of working and raising a family is something that is vital in having balance.
Doubt is one of the biggest problems that I face while trying to succeed in work and managing my side projects. It was a relief when Mia Saini mentioned this and an even bigger relief when other women agreed. Confidence is something that I have struggled with from time to time and I had a lot of doubts when creating my website, especially over the name. I overcame this by using my instincts and asking myself, what’s the worst that can happen?
It was great to hear advice from Bobbi regarding checking a company’s culture before working there and she stressed the importance of being comfortable asking co-workers for help. It was reassuring to learn that some women have key influencers to aspire to, which helps them overcome the fear of asking.
Letting go of some control over your work and allowing others to step in was also a big talking point and Chris Bowers mentioned having to allow her staff to handle things for her after having twins. I thought about this and considered it a challenge in the future for me personally as I like to be in control of every little detail and think that other ambitious women might feel the same way. Bowers also mentioned that she met with personal development coaches to better herself in order to better her business. That is definitely something to take on board. Other people help you grow.
Towards the end of the discussion, Shea Stanley and others panel members talked about the future and what can be done now, to help change the stereotypical view of mothers. It’s important to educate children on equality and leading by example by sharing chores between the parents, so the mother isn’t doing it all and they don’t see just mum doing it all. There is also some advice for younger women in that they shouldn’t worry about the future or planning family. Just focus on pursuing something you love and figure out how family will fit in later on. Not only that, but do not doubt yourself. Just own it!
One of the main things that I can relate to and take away from the discussion is that women are still trying to figure it out. None of the women in the room that day had all the answers or a 101 on how to have a career and family at the same time. What I felt inspired by is that strong and successful women have come together to discuss this. I may have a long way to go in building a career for myself, but I learnt a lot during that discussion and I think it’s very important to expose younger women to these discussions to ensure the lives and roles of women continue to progress healthily.

Read more from Beth’s blog, The Modern Bitch.
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All too often we hear the words “you can have it all”, particularly when we see high-powered women, such as Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) claiming success in juggling both work and family (while building her own nursery at the office). Can we really have it all, or are we really kidding ourselves?
Before the event, WMN Founder and panelist Bobbi Campbell said, “I think we’ve come a long way towards equal rights, but there’s a very long way to go with regards to providing the infrastructure to support women who want successful careers and quality time with family.”
Our panelists included:
  • Bobbi Campbell, Founder of WMN, COO of The Red Flag Group and mother of two
  • Chris Bowers, event organizer, Founder of The Underground, rock goddess and mother of twins
  • Shea Stanley, co-founder & Chief Executive Insider of LittleStepsAsia.com and mother of two.
Moderating them was Bloomberg News Presenter Mia Saini, currently pregnant with her first child.
The event hastag was #wmndecon
“What does having it all mean?” asks Siani at the beginning of the event.
“What are your priorities?” questions Shea. If you have your priorities perhaps you can have it all – just not at the same time, she says. But yes, family, children etc do make it harder to take care of all the things that matter to you. Campbell admits that after getting married, her Blackberry become an annoying distraction. And now, she has two kids. When she founded WMN, she didn’t have such responsibilities.
When entrepreneur Bowers had children, she learned that she had to let people help her and let go of some of the control.
Campbell hated relenting control. Being 34 weeks pregnant and told she couldn’t fly was something that annoyed her. At the airport, fighting for her right to fly, she was shown a piece of paper showing that the airport authorities considered her to be ‘disabled’.
Stanley started her own business before she had children, because she thought it would be a better way for her to manage ‘having it all’. But as she points out, there are times, running your business, that you need to work til 4am and suddenly it seems better to pay someone else to outsource for you.
It’s true that you work harder and longer hours when you run your own business – I do, and I’m happier. But I don’t have children (or a dog, yet). On top, you do things that you wouldn’t have to do if you worked for the man. And when you take time off, you do end up having to make up for it later or lose jobs, clients and income.
But most people do work for the man, as Siani points out. So what can corporations do to help women with children? Or what do they do that doesn’t help?
The women all throw out experiences here. They always give you a look if you walk in late because the kids are sick. Recruiters don’t think you are presentable when you walk into an interview pregnant. So there are clear challenges here, despite supposed ‘understanding’ from the man.
Sometimes people think that going part time or working from home will be a good compromise and be better, but is it? Campbell admits to questioning whether she could do it all. And as Stanley points out, some jobs don’t allow for work-life balance. Bowers says that she had to question the same thing of herself. With her own business she recently discovered that she had to find her own advice about how to manage her course at work. Loving what she does, she is happy to be daring.
What is the culture you have as a corporate company? Campbell is responsible for building that culture at her own company. She believes that Google got it right for a long time. “Breed a culture of connections, and people will voice their thoughts. Managers should help staff; individuals succeed and you get productivity,” she advises.
Do you have to take on male roles in order to get things done? One audience member says that it’s important to think about these things when you pick a partner. Her husband is the one who takes their kids to the doctor. There’s a lot of letting go too, let dad do it his way and don’t nag.
If you work in a highly male-dominated industry, it is really difficult to slip back into work after having children. Siani admits that she left the banking industry because there were no women higher up the chain whose lives and work she wanted to replicate. Ex CFO of Lehman Bothers, Erin Callan, admitted in her book that she probably couldn’t have done that job, if she’d had kids.
Siani reminds us not to compare ourselves to others, because having it all has no set parameters. Apply your own meaning to it. Think ahead and consider where you’re heading because most corporations don’t care about your family. And if it’s a start-up, then you might also find that you can’t put family first.
Having it all is something you have to own. What does that mean to you? If you require a strong personal network of support, create it. If you need a great husband who can help with kids, look for that in a partner.
Campbell’s husband travels a lot. Her company understand that from 5.30-7.30 she is unavailable because she has to spend time with the kids. After that, she’s back online doing work. Her boss seems to be ok with that, but being good at what you do makes it easier for the boss to allow you to be human.
Of course, there are lots of single mothers out there too. So how can they be helped? Things like having a friend offer a play date or coming over to visit and talk with you can help.
With so many discussion points, ideas and thoughts, there just isn’t enough time at breakfast to cover this fascinating topic. But what was great, was that there were  a handful of men in the room. And that the conversation did turn to discuss partners and sharing responsibilities. After all, Having it All shouldn’t mean Having it All, All by Yourself, All on Your Own – should it?
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Among the WMN camp, we’ve been reading up in advance of our next event on Tuesday March  26th, Deconstructing the “Having It All” Myth.

So we thought we’d share this interesting story from a Hong Kong blogger, about the women who tried to make a change and disrupt the way things worked on the Newsroom Team, back in the 1970s.

This is a story that could almost have been buried, since the first settlement was out of court. Now, there’s even a book available, telling the story.

We’re feeling optimistic here, while we think things can still improve, let’s look at how far we’ve come!

Before Women Could “Lean In” The “Good Girls” Had to Revolt: Newsweek Researchers Rebelled 43 Years Ago This Week

 

 

On March 16, 1970 Newsweek ran a cover story “Women in Revolt” about the nascent women’s movement. That same day 46  female Newsweek researchers  and their lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton held a press conference announcing that they were filing an EEOC lawsuit against Newsweek.  This was the first female class action lawsuit. It charged Newsweek with discrimination in hiring and promotions. Newsweek had effectively constructed a female ghetto: the Research Department, full of female graduates of prestigious schools who could clip, fact check and research, but never analyse and report, and never ever rise to editor. Newsweek had developed a segregated system of journalism that divided research, reporting, writing, and editing roles solely on the basis of gender.

 

Read the rest here.

Original blog Copyright Jean P. O’Grady, J.D., M.L.S

 

#wmndecon

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We don’t usually promote other people’s events on WMN, because we take care and precision over how we curate our calendar for the year. But there’s one debate which is really worth the attention and AmCham HK are running a breakfast event before our next, which should nicely inform and ripen our ideas before the day.

In our Careers Blog (members only access) I recently posted some background and interview with Anne Marie Slaughter, who says that we can’t have it all and that women are not supported to have a career and children, while continuing to support and raise their children throughout their childhoods.

The AmCham event is titled Male Female Differences at Work:

 

The ‘fit’ between gender and the different stages in an organisation’s ‘lifecycle’ will be used to illustrate that it’s very unlikely that the same individual will be successful leading an organisation throughout its entire ‘life’.

 

 

The implications of this research for corporate careers and corporate success will be presented, as well as some development implications.

 

 

 

 

 

On March 26th, we will host our next eventDeconstructing the myth – having it all.

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, WMN HK are having a very special event. To those of you who went to last year’s exciting CASBAA event it will be a similar format and in the same fabulous Bloomberg auditorium.The panel discussion will feature WMN’s founder (and mother of two and the COO of The Red Flag Group) Bobbi Campbell, as well as guest speakers. It will be moderated by Mia Saini, a reporter for Bloomberg.

 

All too often we hear the words  ”you can have it all”, particularly when we see high-powered women, such as Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) claiming success in juggling both work and family. Is it true – can we really have it all, or are we really kidding ourselves? This controversial issue will be the focus of the panel’s discussions.

 

Please join us for our debate and share your ideas and thoughts with us before hand, on our social media platforms (#wmndecon)

 

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

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This re-post from LinkedIn approaches the topic of stress and what it does to our bodies. Links at the bottom will take you to related posts on the subject.

 

I don’t want to open the vast discussion of stress that now exists, except to make two limited points. 1. Stress isn’t good for you. 2. The vast majority of people do not deal with their stress effectively. Coming to grips with these two things is important for anyone who wants to create a conscious lifestyle. To be aware is to be open, alert, ready to meet unknown challenges, and capable of fresh responses. When you are under stress, these qualities are compromised. Raise the stress high enough and they are reversed. The mind closes down as an act of self-defense. In that state it is very difficult to be alert and open.

But stress is bad for you in far more basic ways. The hormones that are released in the body’s stress response, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are meant to be temporary. Their effect is to galvanize the fight-or-flight response, which is triggered in a primitive area of the brain, because fight-or-flight is an inheritance from our pre-human past. In the stress response, a privileged pathway is opened for dealing with emergencies, while at the same time the brain’s higher responses are temporarily suppressed.

Read the rest here.