Networking, networking, networking!
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Message from the editor

If any of you were eagerly looking through your email inbox last Tuesday for the latest WISE you would have been disappointed. Due to personal circumstances it wasn't possible to get the newsletter out on the usual secondTuesday of the month. This brought home to me what running your own, one-woman business is all about - things happen in 'real life' that you have to deal with and that, for a while at least, distract you from your business. There's no colleague to take over from you, no HR department to sort out your leave, only you to reach that deadline, postpone an appointment and deal with the fall-out.

For me the clue to dealing with such things is to stay calm, deal with what I can deal with, postpone the things that can be postponed (hence WISE reaching you a week late), and make sure that whatever it is that had to take priority is dealt with without feeling guilty about all those things that weren't dealt with. Of course it helps if you have a supportive and understanding group behind you and I must say that the WBII board has, once again, been just that. So thank you Lisa, Charlene and Dymphna!

But of course, the work still has to be done and the interesting insights by our two speakers during the October WBII network event provided much food of thought about keeping focused and getting the best out of yourself. You can read the excellent review by Caroline Orthlieb below. This month's WISE also includes a round-up of several events that WBII members have been involved in and of course a listing of upcoming networking events by other organisations.

WBII festive lunch

Running a business is not only work of course - there also has to be some time to relax and simply enjoy the company of like-minded women. What better way to do this than during the WBII's annual festive lunch?

This year it will be held on 6 December at restaurant Suzie Q in Scheveningen and will include not only a delicious lunch but also a talk by Masha Cheriakova on social entrepreneurship.

Buy your ticket now!

November network event - 22 November 2018

It's all about the network!

This month, Somaye Dehban, will share her views on the importance of your network for getting things done.

More information and registration

Location: Carlton Ambassador Hotel, The Hague. Doors open at 19:00; presentation at 19:30 and plenty of time to network afterwards. 

Did you miss our last networking event on Becoming Crystal Clear on what is holding you back to thrive by Ria van Doorn? Not to worry, Caroline Orthlieb has written a great review which you can read on the WBII website.

Member highlight

Our October network event also saw the introduction of a new, regular feature - the member highlight. The member highlight gives one member the opportunity to give a 10 minute pitch about themselves and their business.

A scary prospect for some maybe, but great a great way to practice presenting yourself in front of a friendly audience.

The feature was kicked off by Darina Veen-Kassova who talked about Why Feng Shui your office desk.

Who's next?
Ready to be give a 10-minute pitch? Send an email to the WBII board at

Charlene's Bubble

Charlene Lambert Move it Forward update

There was an exciting buzz in the air last Sunday evening in the 150-year old heritage building belonging to Webster University Leiden, as Leiden Vice-Mayor Martine Leewis handed out the awards to the best teams.

Nearly one year in the planning, the WBII, in collaboration with the Digital Leadership Institute (DLI) in Brussels, Webster Leiden Campus, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (Brussels), Google, Ataro Food & Spices, and many other partners and friends, were so pleased to hold a first in the Netherlands -- a digital skills event for female starters.

Some 30 women, students and professionals, participated in the Move It Forward – Female Digital Starter Weekend workshops, learning how to launch an e-business in the cloud, build a website and app, and hone their skills in Search Engine Optimization and e-marketing. In addition, over 10 professionals, including trainers, coaches, jury members, and support staff, and a crew of 4 outstanding students, ensured that all aspects of the event were covered.  

Winning Projects
During the 2-day week-end programme, a record number of over 15 business ideas were generated by the participants. Of these, 6 were selected on which to move forward. Teams were then formed, business ideas were developed, and on the last day, pitches were presented to a jury. Three projects won Awards, namely:
Menocompass – a project to provide support for women going through menopause  -- Overall Best.
Recipes Abroad – startup to provide expats with information about spices and ingredients -- Most impact.
Here-She-Is - a project to support deeper and more meaningful connections between women -- Most innovative.

Milena Milankovics, whose project won the Overall Best award, stated:

“Thank you again for this unique opportunity of Women's Business Initiative at Webster University Leiden. 
During the Female Digital Starter Weekend, and with the help of the coaches, I was able to prepare the pitch of my startup idea. The questions and feedback allowed me to clarify what I have to focus on. All the inspirations and positive energy received during the weekend give me the determination to go forward and realize my idea.”

Speakers, Trainers, and Coaches
Keynote Speaker, WBII Member, and Webster graduate Ebere Akadiri, owner of Ataro Food & Spices, reflected on her own efforts to launch her website and connect with her audience by using social media. She eloquently encouraged the participants to first identify their passion and vision when building their business idea, and look for what makes themselves special. Akadiri also sponsored the delicious Saturday evening dinner, which featured dishes prepared from recipes in her West African cuisine cookbook. With her idea for the project Recipes Abroad, her team won the award for the Project with the Most Impact.
Google Trainer Carina van Selling took us in her workshop through the ins-and-outs of Google advertising and Search Engine Optimization. She also met with the teams and advised them on their projects, and she did all of this on a Sunday morning, starting at 8:30 a.m. She only left in the afternoon once she had met with all of the teams individually. Carina told us:
Wow, what a great event it was. I was very much moved by the warm welcome. The energy in the group was overwhelming and the women were so dedicated. Thanks for taking this initiative! My belief is that both digitalization and empowering women are keys to a better world. Needless to say that a combination of those can even be an accelerator.”
Katja Legisa, Manager of Brussels Incubator from DLI, has given these trainings in over 10 cities in Europe and beyond, and stated:
"We were pleasantly surprised by the large amount of business ideas the participants had; some ideas were already well defined and in early development stage, which is not always the case. Also, the well-chosen speakers clearly facilitated the participants to structure these ideas even more, resulting in a delivery of excellent projects and potential start-ups at the end of the event.”  
Ron Lemeij, of Eisenfelt Academy and coach at the PLNT incubator in Leiden, led a workshop for the teams on how to ‘Pitch without a Glitch’. Pim de Bokx - Chairman of the Dutch Incubator Association, and Sandrine Shuman, Adjunct Professor at Webster, also supported the teams as coaches.
Projects were juried by a group of 4 highly respected professionals, including:
Marcel de Lijster – Experienced teacher, trainer, local government official, and Rabobank professional; Tara Velis, Venture Manager at the Webster PLNT incubator; Snezana Zivcevska-Stalpers – Project Manager for IBM, and UN Woman Champion for Change; and Mary Sobiechowski, Experienced CIO and global IT transformation leader and Partner with Fortium Partners in New York.
Final thoughts
Participants told us that they were moved by the history behind the Webster Leiden campus building.  In fact, Webster’s classes are held in a building that is a designated heritage property dating from 1869, and originally built and used as a girls’ school. Team members said that they felt a special connection to the building when they were working on their projects, due to its history and relationship to girls. Milena Milankovics said that the Webster University building “…made this event even more special and gave me an extra motivation to ‘move women’s issues forward’ ”.

The girls’ spirit must have been in the air this past week-end, because the Move It Forward Female Digital Starters Week-end was a resounding success. We are already being asked ‘how we will follow up’ and ‘when the next one will be’! Jury member Mary Sobiechowski summed it all up, when she stated:
It was an honor and a wonderful experience! It was quite incredible to see what was produced in a mere 2 days.”

New Members

This month a warm welcome to two new members - Ria van Doorn of Feminine Success and Esra Colastica of Results X Factor.

Ria is a coach dedicated to helping women achieve their dream. She gave the presentation during our October network event on how to achieve clarity in what it is you want to achieve. Read the great review of her presentation by Caroline Orthlieb.

Esra is also a coach dedicated to helping female business owners get powerful results.

A warm welcome to both of you!

          WISE words 

Collaboration, Inspiration and LinkedIn!

On 7 November, WBII and Women in Innovation and Leadership (WIL) co-organised a workshop on 'Collaboration, Inspiration and LinkedIn'. The event included a presentation by Petra Fisher on LinkedIn and an opportunity to network with like-minded women. The WIL website includes a blog post about the event.

Upcoming Business & Networking Events

20 November - The Next Women several events - Amsterdam
27 November - BitterBallenBorrel - Utrecht
29 November - Workshop Visueel communiceren Haagsche Vrouwen Zaken - The Hague
30 November - Haags Ondernemers Huis Coffee Pitch - The Hague
30 November - BitterBallenBorrel - The Hague
7 December - Connecting Women Christmas Event - The Hague

With appreciation to our Sponsors:



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