On March 28 women representing every area of the world met in Paris, the City of Light, to illuminate the six modes of female influence; creator, professional, mother, entrepreneur, citizen, and muse. Day one of the two day forum began at the Place de Fontenoy, in the iconic UNESCO Headquarters inaugurated on 3 November 1958. The Y-shaped ‘three-pointed star’ was invented by three architects of different nationalities under the direction of an international committee. This was the ideal venue to bring together leading women of different nationalities to discuss the position and influence of women across the globe.
Founder and General Director of the Women Influence Community and Forum, Yanina Dubeykovskaya, welcomed the guests and offered an insightful overview of WIC’s goals and the vision for the future. There was a palpable excitement in the air as Dubeykovskaya celebrated the many roles women play in their environments. She explained the spheres of influence, and the need for women to achieve equity in acknowledgement, support, and renumeration as they lend their experience and expertise to the roles.
The opening panel, “Soft Power: Culture, Tourism, and Science was moderated by public relations expert, journalist, and entrepreneur Adriana Viera (Brazil). Invited panel participants included Natalia Evnevich (CEO, Concord), Simone Harari Baulieu (Entrepreneur, France), Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand (Cultural expert on Central Asia, artist & photographer), and the Head of Tourism of Ulyanovsk region, Julia Skoromolova (Russia). The women shared their experiences and discussed the ways culture and science can open dialog across national boundaries and enhance diplomatic relations.
The theme of using science and STEM to bridge geographical and ethnic barriers continued as Dr. Patrizia Paterlini-Brechot (Onconlogist, Hematologist & Molecular Biologist at Faculty of Medicine, Paris Descartes, France) shared her innovative and groundbreaking discovery of the ISET test permitting the isolation and characterization of both circulating tumor and fetal cells. The quick, non-invasive method that can find a single circulating tumor cell in a 10-millilitre blood sample – the equivalent of roughly one in 50 billion blood cells. In one clinical trial, ISET was able to detect cancerous tumor cells in blood up to four years before cancerous lung nodules would have become visible on conventional CT scans. Alena Kuzmenko (Co-founder of “UNITY” Russia) introduced the Space for Art Foundation, whose mission is to unite heroic children around the world to help them overcome the medical and physical challenges they're facing through the wonder and awe of space exploration, an appreciation of their role as crewmembers on Spaceship Earth, and the healing power of art. The foundation’s Spacesuit Art Project brings together artists, astronauts and cosmonauts, space professionals, and most importantly children in hospitals and schools from around the world, and four art spacesuits (3 that have traveled to and from the International Space Station (ISS)) later. Supporting this incredible project is French composer and musician Didier Marouani, who attended the Forum and contributed his insight into the power of art and science in building connections.
After lunch, we heard from CEO of Diplomatic World, Barbara Dietrich (Belgium), the founder of the first feminist ad agency (Mad & Woman - France), Christelle Delarue, and Adriana Viera as they spoke about the media and the need to responsibly represent women across media. The conversation regarding the need to identify female role models that accurately and adequately represent the female multicultural diaspora continued with a panel moderated by Dubeykovskaya and with the author (Joynicole Martinez, USA) and Founder and CEO of Uma (UK, USA) Rita Kakati Shah. Dietrich and Kuzmenko were also part of the Citizen discussion panel on Day 2 of the Forum.
The second day of the forum convened at the iconic Ritz Paris, the storied hotel in the Place Vendôme in the city’s First Arrondissement. The format for Day 2 brought women together in panel format to discuss the six defining ways women influence the world. Each panel was followed by time for open discussion in a question and answer format. The sphere of influence “Creator,” characterized by Frida Kahlo opened the discussions with Arina Pouzoullic, Founder and Managing Director of Second Petale, Vintage Jewelry Gallery with Sabina Yagizarova (CA Manager “Salym Petroleum Development” and an Art and Culture Specialist, Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand, who is also a photographer. Forum participants were also treated to a showing of the unique and beautiful collection of jewelry from Pouzoullic and hand woven fabric and Central Asian artwork from Beaupertuis-Bressand. Keynote presenters on Day 2 included Kakati Shah and Yagizarova – who both integrated technology with their unique approaches to engaging women and leaders. Unique approaches to communicating in person through body language and over social media and blogging were a part of the Muse characterization presented by communication expert Carol Kinsey Gorman (US) and Social Media Influencer and Blogger Olga Malakhova (Russia). Rita Kakati Shah, whose company focuses on transitioning mothers back into the professional work force, also joined the Mother panel alongside perinatal trainer and midwife Elena O’Keeffe, Olga Dronova, Joynicole Martinez, and moderator Marina Malakhova-Palmisano. Entrepreneurs Chantal Zimmer (Executive Director of the French franchise federation), Paterlini-Brechot, Olga Sorokina (Managing partner of O2 Consulting), Simone Harari Baulieu and the first woman mayor of the Voge Region in France and Professor Krista Finstad-Milion presented their projects and experience with building companies while shattering the glass ceiling.
In the luxe and beautiful Ritz Paris, surrounded by history and limitless possibility, women from around the world shared their expertise and their journeys. Over meals delicately and exquisitely designed and prepared they became friends and sisters. This is the community, this is the purpose of the forum – to share and in so doing, to celebrate and expand our spheres of influence as women and changemakers.