Women Changemakers: Our Inner Voices

She 1 K Launches in U.S. September 7, 2019
New York City 

CHRISTINA TEO is a master builder. She builds companies, communities and networks. And lifts individuals to their higher potential. Founder of Startup Asia Women and Asia Corporate Women, Teo is a native of Singapore, educated in Asia and the United States.

Christina knows how to actualize a start up and motivate a group.  Saturday, September 7th, saw the 10th gathering of her latest achievement, she 1 K, and the first one in New York. Based in Singapore and founded only 10 months ago, she1K is the world’s first global corporate executive women’s network that empowers, funds and boards startups.

Among its glowing accomplishments, in even this short period of time, she1K launched and presented Women Changemakers. This full-day event themed, “Our Inner Voice,” is an honest accounting by senior corporate women executives “who have heeded their inner voices to become who they are today.”

When I emerged from the elevator on the top floor of SPACES at Hudson Yards into the she1K event, what first struck me was the vibrancy of the gathered group and the powerful presence of Teo herself, a petite powerhouse dressed in bright yellow pants and a high-style asymmetrical, diaphanous blouse.

Teo soon took over the room and launched a 5 minute meet-and-greet so all the attendees could feel a sense of camaraderie. “Meet everyone you can with the same first initial as yours in 5 minutes,” she instructed. To create a safe space, Teo advised to please kindly respect the privacy of the panelists presenting that day. That the stories we would hear were of the people behind the LinkedIn profiles, not just of powerful corporate executives (which they were). So no names are offered here connected with details they revealed.

One by one, these luminary leaders confided the challenges they faced and offered the lessons learned. In panels entitled “Mothers of Success” and “Balls of Fire” we heard stunningly honest raw realities that had confronted each one.  There was account after account of often- fearsome circumstances that would cower most people, not only women.  Confronting moments of truth or clarity or both, each woman unleashed her individual capacities to act independently and to make her own free choices. Included were recurring themes of “playing big”, “pulling strength from experience”, “sharing challenges with networks of support” and methods for facing self-doubt on a daily basis. For these women the key to success seemed unanimously less attachment to the “myth of balance” and more toward a “North Star”.

All in – the day’s takeaway was to ask for help of family, friends, community and colleagues.  To define for ourselves what works for us each. To listen to our inner voices and be true to ourselves.  Fact is, we are “out of balance” most of our adult lives. The antidote: claim what you do well and “make that a process”. Focus on priorities and bring creativity into your work. Above all, to conquer self-doubt on a daily basis, don’t take yourself too seriously!

While the really impressive fact about Women Changemakers is that they exist to introduce angel funding to women startups, the influence of this network stems from the universality of how women succeed in life not only careers.