Leading Through the Face of Adversity

Leading Through the Face of Adversity

Transforming Adversity into Opportunity

There is one of two things that people do when faced with adversity.

First – throw in the towel and look for an easier way out, that does not require risk or facing challenging situations ahead.

Second – lean in and lead the way through the adversity knowing that there is always a positive in every situation. Having and maintaining a positive mindset through difficult times is not easy and often requires self-leadership to walk through the mud. But on the other side of facing difficult situations, there is always a reward. 

Of course, I did not know that, when I was faced with the extremely difficult reality of cancelling our live, in-person event plans due to the pandemic in 2020. After months of planning, late nights, endless communications, and building relations with local organizations, speakers, attendees, and event partners, just 3 weeks before our first international event in Atlanta GA – I had to pull the plug. After heavy investments in event production and already-booked venues, flights, photographers, speakers, and vendors, we had to forfeit the investment and refund all of our ticket attendees with no refund from the investments made.

Leading Through the Face of AdversityThe evening before the official announcement, I sat at my kitchen table in tears, wondering what to do next. I couldn’t help but wonder what my community was also going through at this very moment. The women who have physical businesses, women who rely heavily on in-person operations, and those who have had to cancel much bigger commitments than my event. Those who perhaps were truly suffering or having to close down their businesses. Those wondering what to do and how to make ends meet as their source of income or business revenue was suddenly wiped out in the face of the pandemic, with no certainty of return to normality. 

Those thoughts and reflections humbled me and made me realise I was not alone and that I was in a unique position to lead and guide women through times of uncertainty. Although I had the physical element of my business, the in-person events, most of my other operations were fully set up online. My business could still function and serve clients globally. 

So instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to pivot and turn our live in-person event of 250 people into a virtual online summit and open the opportunity for more speakers and attendees to join us. This decision brought so many new people and a wave of excitement and support. Suddenly my inboxes were flooded with messages from women wanting to speak on our stage and serve others with their knowledge. It was a rush of a community coming together in the face of adversity to do something positive, life-changing and transformational. 

Building a Global Community of Empowered Women

In 3 weeks, we held several speaker interviews, devised a new plan, and created the very first Women Thrive Summit – with the mission to help women rise and thrive in the face of adversity, focusing on how uncertain times can be turned into new possibilities. We had gone from a potential 250-person event to an online event involving 2000 attendees, and from giving the stage to 8 women in Atlanta to giving the stage to 34 women from all around the world. We hosted the event entirely online and live, which encouraged participation, networking, conversations and relationship-building. 

We had so much success making an impact on the lives of women who joined us that we pledged to continue our Women Thrive Summit annually, until we could go back to live in-person events. 

The Impact of Women Thrive Summit: Stories of Transformation

Today, 4 years on, the Women Thrive Summit has become one of the largest global virtual women’s empowerment events; attracting thousands of virtual participants, speakers, collaboration partners, sponsors and women like me and you who want to make new meaningful connections, learn new things, work on their businesses and personal goals. I could not have imagined that the one decision I made in the face of adversity, not to throw in the towel and give up but to lead the way through these difficult times would lead us to the most beautiful destination – a global movement for women.Leading Through the Face of Adversity

Over the years, I have had women say to me, “I joined your platform because of the mission and impact we can collectively have in the world. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself or just my business.” I have also had women reach out to me personally after attending our events to say how much this one event has transformed their lives and given them hope and inspiration. Every year, I am in tears of joy and gratitude after seeing yet another event of ours take place because this is the culmination of 12 months of hard work and behind-the-scenes team production. 

I also recognize that without the power of community, none of this would have been possible, so every person who participates in our global event is helping us continue our work. As live in-person events are coming back to normality, I know that many virtual events are phasing out. However, I truly hope that people are not yet tired of Zoom calls and will continue to participate in our virtual events as this creates the power of women coming together from all around the world to have important conversations, share knowledge, create impact and spread it far and wide – one impactful ripple at the time. 

As we continue our journey at Women Thrive, I am excited to be getting back to our roots of live in-person events and finally be putting new international dates in the calendar to host events internationally where our community can meet in person and connect, hug, be inspired and share the joys of personal connections. 

Women Thrive Summit 2024

Join us for the entire week of March 18-22 for the upcoming Women Thrive Summit 2024 and look out for our in-person events coming to the city near you. 

In 2023, we pledged to build the biggest, global women’s stage globally and our vision has expanded to host Thrive Talks, which is the future of TEDx-like events where we can spotlight inspiring women’s stories and continue our women’s empowerment work, together with our event partners, speakers, and attendees.


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