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Dr. Harbeen Arora

Dr. Harbeen Arora on Sisterhood, Spirituality, and Success

Thought Leader, Global Icon & Visionary for Women, Businesswoman, Philanthropist, Humanitarian, Author, Spiritual Seeker and Compelling Speaker, Dr. Harbeen Arora manifests multifaceted leadership with strength & simplicity.

Dr. Harbeen Arora

At Annual Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2018, India (Photo courtesy Dr. Harbeen Arora)

Dr. Harbeen Arora is the Founder and Global Chairperson of the ALL Ladies League (ALL) and Women Economic Forum (WEF). With a powerful global network of 200,000 women worldwide and growing toward ‘Mission Million’, ALL and WEF are among the largest communities of women entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide offering platforms and ecosystems for personal and professional growth. 

Born in New Delhi, Arora grew up with a great focus on education, values, and the spirit of service. Both her parents worked so growing up she always knew a woman to be independent.

“At home, I saw them both share the household chores. So we saw that balance in action, and we too, my brother and I, learned about responsibility, independence and teamwork from an early age. We were both treated equally without any one of us feeling any gender bias. We had the same rules to follow at home and same opportunities for education and growth,” says Arora. 

It was due to this great foundation of equality in her household that it took her a while to understand the depths of discriminatory biases that held women back in the economy and society. However, once she saw them she could not stop seeing them everywhere. Realizing that her upbringing was unfortunately not the norm for most women drove Arora to pursue various avenues to help better the lives of women and push toward gender equality.

Self-fulfillment and following seeking your life’s path

Additionally, the values learned in childhood – hard work, team spirit, responsibility, service; have served her immensely in her career and in life. 

“I also learned en route about the importance of having endless reserves of positive energy and resilience,” she says. “My spiritual path greatly opened up that possibility for me.”  

Always a seeker, the core of Dr. Harbeen Arora’s pursuits, both personal and professional, is self-fulfillment.   Learning, evolution, expansion and self-transformation are important life goals for her, and these goals guide and drive most of her pursuits. 

Dr. Harbeen Arora

At Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 Los Angeles (Photo courtesy Dr. Harbeen Arora)

“The path reveals itself to the seeker. No matter where you are in your journey, if you have an open mind and pure heart, life will place you on the track you are supposed to be on for your own growth and awakening. When we listen to our inner voice, follow our intuitive guidance, take actions and steps forward on our path, we also meet our destiny en route,” says Arora. 

“I have always been most passionate about working and learning. Goals and dreams may change, but what I enjoy most is the learning part of it. Learning, working and walking in purpose greatly uplifts you as a human being. That constant opening up of the mind, broadening of horizons, change of perspective, spiritual expansion and blossoming of the energy – all these are very important to me and drive me as a person,” she adds. 

Empowering a worldwide network of women 

Dr. Harbeen Arora’s passion for learning drove her to pursue degrees in multiple fields. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi University, a Masters from King’s College, London University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), and PhD from Sorbonne Nouvelle, University of Paris III. 

Throughout her years pursuing her education and later in her career, Arora again and again experienced great revelations about the strengths we each hold. 

“In 2000, going to Paris for my M.Phil and PhD, without knowing a word of French, and then writing my doctoral theses in French, was a revelation to me of the immense inner strength we hold to accomplish whatever we set our heart and mind on. It greatly built my self-belief, spirit of risk-taking, and self-reliance,” she shares. 

Receiving Award for Women Empowerment from the H.E President of Egypt. (Photo courtesy Dr. Harbeen Arora)

“Then again, in 2011, we sowed the seeds of a dream to unite ALL the women of the world as a worldwide web of women. We started the ALL Ladies League (ALL), that forms the backbone of our now famous conference platform, the Women Economic Forum (WEF), and then instituted business and industry chamber Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI) that gives policy recommendations to the government from time to time, and now our global e-commerce marketplace for our global community, SHEconomy.” 

As of 2020, the Women Economic Forum (WEF) completed 41 global editions across 25 countries. Their last annual event was in March 2020 in Egypt. Since the lockdown the WEF has held their events virtually, which has given them the opportunity to expand their digital reach. 

“We have a Mission Million for 2022 and the digital outreach is, now more than ever, integral to the realisation of that vision. Our completely free e-commerce platform for women entrepreneurs worldwide, SHEconomy, is a game changer in this direction,” says Arora. 

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In ALL’s decade-long engagement, they have fostered a worldwide ecosystem of “sisterhood,” for empowering support networks and safe spaces where women can come together to help one another. Arora says, “Empowering women’s social and economic leadership is at the heart of ALL what we do. We are non political, non religious and non dogmatic.” 

Sisterhood, Spirituality, and Success 

With a massive network of 250,000 women and supporters connected worldwide including in Latin America, the WEF are surely and steadily on their way toward realizing their “Mission Million” dream. 

“It helps that we are founded and headquartered in India, the cradle of civilization that has forever welcomed and embraced ALL, with a most inclusive vision for humanity and the world as ‘One Divine Family,’ as said in the Vedic phrase ‘Vasudeva Kutumbkam’,” says Arora. “Our guiding spiritual mantra is ‘Love ALL, Serve ALL.’ I’m a devotee of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and I strongly feel a divine hand and guidance. I’m in absolute awe of what is unfolding for I know the divine feminine is manifesting through this bond of sisterhood, through each one of us who carries a piece and part of the greater feminine.” 

Fostering the spirit of sisterhood is a crucial step toward closing the gender gap, according to Dr. Arora. “We believe that in order to close the He/She gender gap (and by extension, education gap, security gap, respect gap, opportunity gap, wage gap …), we absolutely need to first close the She/She gender gap,” says Arora. “Thus ours is a She-for-She movement, with outreach toward She-for-He and She-for-All. Ours is a movement of Gender Equality without Gender Divisiveness; from a place of Positivity (of attitude/approach/conduct), Power (of self-belief) and Purpose (of the collective aspiration).” 

At Women Economic Forum (WEF) Tunisia 2019, with Nobel Peace Laureate 2015, Ouided Bouchamaoui (right), and then Minister Neziha Labidi (left). (Photo courtesy Dr. Harbeen Arora)

Through the various platforms– ALL, WEF, WICCI, and SHEconomy–Dr. Arora has helped women come together and create a solidarity of “sisters beyond borders.” In this process of pursuing Oneness as sisters Dr. Arora has been spiritually uplifted by a vision of Equality, spirit of Equanimity, and surrender to Eternity. 

“We all have our challenges, and everyone is fighting their own battles. My humble learning over the years while facing challenges big and small is this – our Self-Belief and “Atma-Vishwas,” viz. our faith in the eternity and infinity of our own Soul and Self is the source of tremendous inner strength. By tapping into this inner (divine) strength, one can face all kinds of challenges with courage and resilience. This is the education of the heart and spirit.”

Throughout life, Arora says her greatest challenge has always been understanding herself and her purpose in life and how to implement her highest vibration in her day to day work. This is especially true for many who may think that one’s highest spiritual goals are incompatible with the pursuits of business and real life challenges. However, Dr. Arora says she has learned throughout her journey that it is possible to match both and lead a happy, fulfilling, balanced and successful life. She defines success as awakening. 

“Success is about awakenings and openings, about finding doors so to say, and we indeed hold the key to that. We succeed every moment by simply holding up the attitudes of ‘never say die’, not quitting, and always doing whatever we can to the best of our abilities even in the worst of our circumstances.”

Pipeline Fellowship Natalia Oberti

Pipeline Fellowship Conference in the making of women angel investors

Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and Founder Pipeline Fellowhsip

Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and Founder Pipeline Fellowhsip

The Pipeline Fellowship conference is an all-day event on angel investing open to the public. Panels and presentations cover topics ranging from angel investing in action to due diligence, structuring the deal, valuation, and the post-investment relationship.

UPCOMING CONFERENCE

2015 Bay Area Pipeline Fellowship Conference

Friday, October 9, 2015, 8:30AM – 6:00PM (PDT)

Surprised? Curious? Each year, the Pipeline Fellowship selects five to ten women  in cities around the country to learn the skills of becoming an angel investor. The program includes attending monthly workshops and being mentored by seasoned male and female financiers.

The architect behind this initiative is Colombian-Italian Natalia Oberti Noguera, an unstoppable LGBT Latina who aims at “changing the faces of angel investors” in a White male-dominant industry.

“There are enough white guys investing in other white guys and I decided to change that,” she said at the Latinas Think Big™ Innovation Summit when prompted why she decided to start this women-led for profit social venture. That statement caught my attention for sure!

When I contacted Natalia for an interview, she immediately responded. “We target our potential investors through people like you who are genuinely interested in having a great conversation and sharing the message about this topic, and also through social media,” she said.

Growing up in Latin America, Natalia did not have entrepreneurial role models around her. “My father worked for the United Nations and we moved around a lot: I lived in Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Quoting Marie Wilson from The White House Project, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.”

Years later,  she finally took permanent residence in New York City. “I hold a BA in Economics and Comparative Literature from Yale University –I like to say that I majored in extra-curriculars. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was being entrepreneurial,” she said.

Pipeline Fellowship Natalia Oberti

 

The same way, when she meets her potential angels in training, she encourages them to become role models for other women.

“In 2011, at our first bootcamp in NYC, a woman of color approached me at the end of the session and said, ‘I was raised skeptical that women can be investors but you are right, I could be an angel!’ Those are the type of stories that keep me going. While women of color investors’ numbers are low –only 19 percent of investors are women and 4 percent are minorities–, they are not zero,” Natalia said.

She firmly believes that seeing other Latinas and women of color on the panels is a powerful message that motivates women to act. “I ‘hate’ non-profits,” she said boldly. “The perception this society has about the concept of money is different for men than for women. When a woman wants to help change the world, she starts a charity. When a man wants to do it, he builds a billion dollar business. Creating a self-sustaining venture that invests in women entrepreneurs’ projects and startups is the best way to advocate for doing well while doing good, and it should be the only way to make a profit,” Natalia assured.

For that purpose, the Pipeline Fellowship bootcamp includes three important aspects of becoming an angel investor: education, mentoring and practice. “Women who are interested in investing their money in exchange for equity in companies they believe in are helped to make the best decisions through our program,” Natalia explained. “We try to match local entrepreneurs with local investors but sometimes it is hard. We receive thousands of emails from women starting their own business who are looking to access capital but fewer are willing to step up and provide funding,” Natalia said. “Additionally, it is relatively accessible once the applicants meet the requirements,” she said. Each fellow pays $4,500 for tuition and commits to investing $5,000 toward a $50,000 investment in a start-up that meets the Pipeline Fellowship Pitch Summit criteria.

So what are you waiting for? Get your investors’ juices going and out in the real world to help other women fulfill their dreams. Latinas we tend to think that we need to keep our wealth to help our children; however, building someone else’s dream today might make that person pay it forward to our own children in the future.

After all, it takes a community of women investors to raise a successful woman entrepreneur.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI_RAEdKvTk

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Most Powerful Latinas

ALPFA Yvonne Garcia, the impact of Latino leadership on global markets

 

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

I first contacted Yvonne Garcia to write her profile in 2007 as the Experto de Hispanos for About.com, . She impressed me with her assertiveness and dedication to her career, which has grown and blossomed into national exposure. Yvonne is the National Chairwoman for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), a 48,000-member organization that thrives to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation in every sector of the global economy.

This year, over 3000 ALPFA members gathered in the Big Apple to advance the role of Latinos not only in the national stage but also in the world markets. “We had a record-breaking convention this year in New York,” she shared with LIBizus. “Not only has it been the largest convention ever but the one with the most memorable highlights,” she affirmed.

Among the memorable programs was the Women of ALPFA Day, which featured an invitation-only breakfast with guest speakers discussing the global gender gap; panel discussions and workshops focused on soft skill development for Latina leaders; and the Women of ALPFA Luncheon where the accomplishments of Latinas were highlighted and celebrated.

“Our honoree this year for the Latina Excellence Award was Nina Vacca, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources, and Chair Emeritus of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” Yvonne said. “She talked about her journey to over 2000 attendees during the Women of ALPFA Luncheon,” she said.

According to the ALPFA National Chairwoman, Latinas in corporate are making headways and preparing for landing leadership roles. Knowing the personal sacrifices Yvonne made to build her professional career, a topic of our first conversation back in 2007, I was curious to know if the path has become somewhat easier for the upcoming Hispanic women eager to climb the corporate ladder.

“If anything, I believe it is harder now,” she said. “Although we are more aware of the importance of supporting Latinas to ensure more diversity in the workplace, they are now demanded to make even more sacrifices, working longer hours not only in their day jobs but also contributing to professional organizations,” she said.

ALPFA is committed to lead the support for Latinas through a more concerted effort in finding the right mentors to help those in the pipelines. “This is the commitment we ask from top corporate management; there must be a mandate from CEOs to mentor and train our women in order to build not only technical skills but also to develop leadership strength and charisma,” she added.

At her day job, Garcia, presently the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO of the Investment Manager Services group for State Street Corporation, has global responsibility for developing new client relationships, deploying cutting-edge technology and operational processes, and delivering complex consulting engagements for existing and potential State Street clients.

Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia, Josefina Bonilla at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

Josefina Bonilla, Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

She was born in Queens, New York, from the marriage of a Lebanese mother and a Dominican father, who came from the Dominican Republic in 1961. Yvonne had diverse experiences growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood but spending the summer months at her father’s country of origin. She learned Spanish as her first language.

Since she was a child, she was interested in the concept of money. At age six she organized a book sale in front of her house. She played with stamps making believe the papers she stamped were bank transactions. Always a saver, even when her brothers asked her to borrow money she would charge them interest.

Yvonne graduated with an MBA from Boston University in finance and marketing and a BA from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, where she lived while studying its economy and culture.

Beginning at the very bottom in sales in 1995, answering calls from customers in Spanish for a small community bank, she was promoted to the department of international staff given her fluency in English and French.

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

She then moved on to Merrill Lynch as a Financial Adviser and decided to continue her studies obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University, focusing her career in Finance and Marketing. By that time, she had also started a family and had a small baby. Yvonne found a new passion in marketing that, despite being also demanding, allowed her to manage her time in a more flexible manner.

Yvonne was appointed as Vice President of strategic assistance of the Construction Bank of China in America. In this role, Yvonne and her team were responsible for the creation and implementation of sales processes and service within the bank’s capitalization centers, which included implementation of roles, responsibilities, and tools for the sales force and the management team.

In the midst of her travels to China, Yvonne also spent more than seven weeks in North Carolina, where she acquired her certifications as Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

She recalls China as the largest professional sacrifice because she had to leave her son to travel to China for three weeks in a row, but was also her greatest professional achievement.

She was then offered a position at Liberty Mutual as the VP and Director of Marketing to consumer market segments. In this role, Yvonne was responsible for the creation and implementation of integrated marketing strategies that resulted in the penetration of selected consumption targets throughout the country.

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

“I found this role through my network of ALPFA, which opened the doors for this opportunity,” she recalls. ALPFA’s is committed to grow aggressively to 100,000 members within the next two years. Anybody who is seriously devoted to their professional career must consider joining this national organization,” she added.

And she concluded, “Moreover, as the ALPFA Chairwoman in this year’s convention, all the sacrifices I made were well-rewarded when I saw the happy faces of over 40 students who received scholarships in recognition and celebration of their academic achievement and demonstrated leadership skills. We witnessed the talent of Latino students from across the country; they work hard through the year to deserve such important recognition.”

Embrace life even when it sucks

How to embrace life even when it sucks

Embrace life even when it sucks

 

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it,” wrote M. Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Traveled. “Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it then life is no longer difficult.”

I recently ran across an old professional acquaintance. I originally met this person around 15 years ago. At the time he was on a professional trajectory that I figured would get him to retirement by 40. To be completely honest, I was a little jealous of him at the time and I recall frequently comparing myself to him to find out what made him so much more successful.

I lost touch with him for many years as he moved onward and upward. Several years ago we reconnected on Facebook. Unlike me, he is not a social media freak. As such, I didn’t learn too much about his personal life other than information gleaned from the occasional post – usually made by someone else.

Read:    10 Inspirational tips from successful people

After a networking event not too long ago I bumped into him and we decided to grab a drink. I wasn’t planning on sticking around after the event but I figured I would wait out Los Angeles rush hour traffic with a glass of cabernet.

In speaking with Joseph (not his real name) I learned that he had in fact done very well in the 10 years or so after I lost touch. He became a “player” in his area of expertise. He made a lot of money and was a known entity.

Unfortunately, like so many, he became a victim of the Great Recession. His business was flattened and after so many years he found himself standing on the ground with the rest of us.

It had been a few years and Joseph had not recovered his mojo. After hearing his story and the manner in which he conveyed it I could tell that the recession affected not only his business portfolio, but also how he viewed himself. His entire self-worth was tied into his business success. This was probably because all he had experienced was one success after another.

At this point I would be lying if I didn’t say that the conversation was making me completely uncomfortable. Sitting in rush hour traffic was sounding better and better. I was not Joseph’s close friend. I don’t consider myself the “touchy feely” type that likes this kind of stuff. All I could think about was my wife’s words of wisdom to me when she has a similar moment – “I don’t want you to solve my problem. I just want you to listen and acknowledge me.” So I did.

After Joseph was done sharing some fairly heavy stuff he asked for my advice. I really wasn’t prepared – nor trained to give advice. I was actually a bit shell shocked. But I managed to offer the two bits of advice:

  1. Life Is Difficult. One of the few memories I have of my high school theology class was a book by M. Scott Peck.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it,” wrote Peck in this book The Road Less Traveled. “Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it then life is no longer difficult.”Something Wonderful Is About To Happen

I’ve had some pretty high highs and some pretty low lows. At times I have equated my life to a roller coaster. The one thing that has kept me from going insane, and what I thought Joseph needed to recognize is that Life IS difficult.

Life is not supposed to be a linear upward ride of success and good times. It just doesn’t work that way. Some people, like Joseph, have great extended periods of success. Others have more typical ebbs and flows. Regardless, if we are to remain sane in business, and in life, we must acknowledge that system is made to challenge us.

Once you understand how the game of life works then setbacks are not viewed so much as failures but instead they are just a part of the game. And while setbacks may not be fun, they are normal – even with the most successful business person. So long as you are upright and in the game you have another shot at success and scoring another point.

  1. It’s Another Day in Paradise. If you have ever worked with me or met me somewhere and asked me, “how are you?” chances are 99.9% that you have heard the following response from me: “Another day in paradise!”

I’m not sure at what point I picked up this habit. But I have become known as the Paradise Guy. Every day that we wake up we have a choice. We can make it a good day or we can make it a crappy day. Which would you prefer?

Back in May 2014 I wrote about the importance of smiling when making sales calls, whether in person or on the phone. The concept of emotional contagion generally states that good vibes create more sales. As such, the key to a day of productive sales calls begins with the right attitude. On top of having more sales or a more productive day, who doesn’t prefer good vibes over bad vibes?

Today, regardless of how tired I am, how much stress I am under, how well or how horrible the day’s events have gone, it’s just Another Day in Paradise. And that seems to help.

 

New America Alliance showcases the economic power of Latinas

Economic power of Latinas was the main topic discussed at the “American Latinas: Leadership and Economic Force.” For the first time, the New America Alliance (NAA) brought to the forefront an exclusive panel of powerful Latinas in recognition of the advances of Hispanic women in business.

economic power of Latinas

The American Latinas’ panel with Pilar Avila, NAA CEO

Opening remarks were addressed by Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar, NAA Institute Chair of the Board and Managing Partner at Victoriana LLC, who made a compelling overview of the milestones Latinas have conquered since NAA’s foundation. “Especially for U.S. Latinas, the future looks promising. Many of our NAA female founding members broke glass ceilings on their own,” she said.

Additional remarks were conducted by Lorraine Cortez-Vazquez, Executive Vice President, Multicultural Markets & Engagement at AARP and Jorge Ferraez, NAA Board Member and Founder and Publisher of Latino Leaders’ Magazine.

The panel showcased Latinas in key positions of the public and private sectors including The Hon. Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency at the US Department of Commerce; Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar; Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, Senior VP and Resident Sales Director, Aon Risk Solutions, Capital Region; and Alice Rodriguez, Executive VP, Regional Sales and Executive –Business Banking at Chase.

Moderator of the panel was Jackeline Cacho, NAA member and Founder, Finding Productions, who made a great introduction telling her personal story and recognizing the formidable headway Latino women are making in every industry.

The morning panel was followed by the traditional U.S. Mayors Forum and Luncheon with the presence of The Hon. Pedro Segarra, City of Hartford, CT , The Hon. Angel Taveras, Mayor of Providence, RI and Mayor Elect of Providence, RI Jorge Elorza.

Please click on any picture of our photo gallery to see some of the event highlights and share your thoughts on how NAA can increase the economic power of Latinas around the country to boost their economic and political potential. Enjoy!