Every year on March 8th, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day. This is a day to recognize the plight of many women around the world, still struggling for some basic rights, but also to celebrate how far many women and countries have come.
As soon as you start living your dream, your dreams evolve.
I get my inspiration from many different sources. Whether it’s talking to people in my department, suppliers or even people on planes. Only this week I received an email, which I subscribe to from www.tut.com, which inspired me.
The time will come, Helen, and it will be sooner rather than later, when your greatest admirers and protégés will look at your life – your achievements, possessions (especially your fantastic charitable foundation), and passions – frown a little and sullenly say, “Yeah, but for you… it was easy.” At which point you should conceal any yearning you may possess to either object or laugh hysterically. Instead, lovingly look them square in the eye and say, “Yes, and it can be easy for you, too.”
It’s always been my belief that the stars were shining very brightly and very favourably upon me when I was born, since, I’ve managed to achieve just about everything that I’ve wanted in my life. In South Africa they’d say that I’d ’landed with my bum in the butter’ . How this could be positive, is still quite strange to me. Well imagine this; me skidding along on a patch of slippery butter and oops……….. ; you get the picture and quite hilarious really. What I believe the idiom is really about, is that some people have the knack of speeding along and getting things done. These people are also willing to take all the risks necessary in order to succeed but are also willing to fail and when they do, they sometimes have a soft landing (in nice soft butter…at room temperature).
‘No’ doesn’t feature in my vocabulary and I don’t let anything get in the way of what I want to achieve. I am prepared to work hard for what I want though. In the words of Michael Jordan, ”I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
A few years ago I became involved with Hope Village in Namibia by coaching and mentoring the founder. Marietjie told me that she pays school fees for every child because if she doesn’t, these children are treated differently at school; as second-rate citizens. It’s her belief that by giving every child the same fighting chance in life that they can break the vicious circle that they are in, and eventually change their life and succeed. I’m a great believer in education. Not necessarily the classical educational system that we use today but, I believe in educating the next generation. I became inspired. I became a woman on a mission. I talked to a few people, convinced a few others, presented a plan and I was given the opportunity to set up a charitable foundation for Deloitte in the Netherlands.
In September 2010 we launched the Fair Chance Foundation which focuses on improving education for underprivileged children, aged 6 to 18. The Foundation is independent but is financed by Deloitte with money, people and knowledge. I’m very proud of where we are today, of the fantastic partners that we support (JINC, IMC Weekendschool, Jong Ondernemen, Nibud Geldexamen) and my Foundation Manager, because without her very little would actually get done. Thanks Anne-Marie.
But, I’m still dreaming of even greater things, still inspired and still careering down my buttery slip n’ slide. So, “Yes, it can be easy for you too.” As long as you’re inspired, have a dream and are prepared for the slippery path ahead.