Monday, May 9, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Those attending the Women’s Empowerment Summit 2011 held in Nassau at the end of last month were given a crash course on how to prepare for leadership by the recipient of the summit’s RBC Regional Female Leadership Award–Bermuda’s Premier and Minister of Finance, Paula Cox.
The Premier, who spoke on “Preparing to Lead,” said that smart women know that it is persistence and not perfection that is the hallmark of a great leader and that women must be determined to make progressive change occur in the coming years.
The “female factor,” she said, is critical in helping to build and strengthen nations.
Admitting that there remained “a long way to go,” Cox queried, “where are we on the continuum of progress? Is the glass half empty or is it half full?”
“Leadership is not easily taught. Learning to lead is a process of learning by doing and we all take a different journey. There are many potential minefields. The biggest challenge is not the naysayers, the doubters, or the non supporters … the real challenge is personal,” she said.
Cox first served the people of Bermuda as an opposition member of parliament and became one of the youngest female members of the House of Assembly when elected in 1996. She became premier in October 2010.
“Leadership for me is about doing the job and not worrying about keeping the job.”
She also advised against letting others set the agenda. “Everyone and his brother might wish to advise and counsel you. However, you have to be clear in your own mind as to what you need to accomplish and you will, on occasion, have to be the cat who walks by themselves. You have to have the inner strength and confidence.”
However, Cox told summit goers that it is still important to listen and ask for help when necessary. “You cannot live in an ivory tower. That is a sure recipe for disaster. You will have to filter out the agendas at work from the advice and sift the good from the bad.”
“Some believe that a woman does not have what it takes to lead. You, as leaders and potential leaders, have to recognize the leader within you,” she said.
The Women’s Empowerment Summit was created in 2007 with the aim of bringing women of the Caribbean region together to find solutions to the many challenges that plague them: crime, poverty, injustice, educational inequality, abuse and economic recession.
Additionally, it celebrates the accomplishments made by women and provides a venue for them to inspire and motivate each other.
The founder and director of environmental awareness group Young Bahamian Marine Scientist, Nikita Shiel-Rolle, received the RBC Female Youth Leadership Award, and the first female president of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Nicole Martin, received the Female Leadership Award.
The one-day summit was held at Atlantis on Paradise Island.