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Valerie

Valerie

An entrepreneur, consultant and public policy advocate, Valerie's career spans industries and sectors. She has raised more than $100M USD and led start-ups from urban revitalization real estate developments to healthcare facilities and social services.

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1. What inspires you?
People who overcome crazy obstacles and who show deep compassion: Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, my grandmother. Right now I am compiling a book of personal stories from women leaders around the world. These women are beautiful blends of grace and grit that inspire me and I’m excited to help their stories inspire others.
2. Who are your business heroes?
I admire successful businesswomen who are active socially or politically and who are also approachable. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has influenced me greatly and I was delighted to find her to be warm and welcoming when I visited Davos last year. I think I almost toppled Ban Ki Moon and Bono in my haste, I was so determined to meet her!
Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Arianna Huffington are other examples – they are lionesses in business and politics and I have found them to be quite kind and generous.
3. What academic achievement are you most proud of?
Graduating with honours from Oxford. I never imagined I would even walk those hallowed halls, much less walk away with honours. I was also privileged to later be awarded an associate fellowship by the dean. It allows me to create value for the school engaging external partners and provides an academic platform for my research and writing.
4. Have you even been to any workshops/seminars that have helped you in your career?
A joint programme at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government I completed one summer was incredibly stimulating. So much knowledge was pouring out of those academic rock stars, it was like drinking from a fire hydrant with a thimble. That experience gave me the intellectual hunger for Oxford, which then shifted me into a global career.
5. What advice would you give to women in business education?
For one thing, I would advise women to GET a business education. I was stunned when I walked into my EMBA class and could count the women on one hand. I started digging and found woeful ratios are common in EMBA programmes globally.
This does not appear to be a clandestine “No Girls Allowed” conspiracy. The reality is that schools are looking for quality women candidates. And in my class, rather than failing, 50 per cent of the women graduated with honours, a higher percentage than the men.
6. How do you deal with male-dominated environment?
Personally, I think a male-dominated environment is not bad, but it is sad. Organisations or initiatives lacking diversity are handicapped; prone to groupthink disasters. Wherever I’ve been - in politics, NGOs, business or school - I just assumed equal respect and trust with my male counterparts. I believe we often get what we expect in life - and what we give.
7. What is your favourite business book?
The one my friend Caroline Webb, a McKinsey partner, is writing about how cognitive science findings can help business leaders make better decisions. It is quite clever and already my favourite. And Jacqueline Novogratz’s The Blue Sweater: Bridging the gap between the rich and the poor in an interconnected world is fantastic for practical idealists.
8. How do you deal with pressure?
Yoga. Stepping back to pause helps me remember that I can let go of fear, anger or anxiety and choose a more powerful response to whatever is stressing me. Plus, when I do yoga, watching my 6-foot self wobble on one leg while twisting into a silly pretzel makes me smile and reminds me to not take myself or situations too seriously.
9. What are your future plans?
I will serve on more boards of directors again. I stepped back while studying and starting my firm, but there are too few women on boards and I know that is another way I can contribute.
I’ve also been helping produce a film: Every Three Seconds , to inspire people to help end world hunger. That has been so fulfilling that I want to work on more impact films. Personal stories in films and books are such powerful ways to inspire people into action.
10. What is your plan B?
‘Senator Keller’ - Women hold only 16.8 per cent of the seats in the current US Congress. Since we are generally communicator-collaborators, I suspect the nation could move beyond much of the turf wars and gridlock if we had more women in office.
Excerpts from interview with the Financial Times, by Charlotte Clarke


Q. What inspires you?

A. People who overcome crazy obstacles and who show deep compassion: Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, my grandmother. Right now I am compiling a book of personal stories from women leaders around the world. These women are beautiful blends of grace and grit that inspire me and I’m excited to help their stories inspire others.


Q. What advice would you give to women in business education?

A. For one thing, I would advise women to GET a business education. I was stunned when I walked into my EMBA class and could count the women on one hand. I started digging and found woeful ratios are common in EMBA programmes globally.

This does not appear to be a clandestine “No Girls Allowed” conspiracy. The reality is that schools are looking for quality women candidates. And in my class, rather than failing, 50 per cent of the women graduated with honours, a higher percentage than the men.


Q. How do you deal with male-dominated environment?

A. Personally, I think a male-dominated environment is not bad, but it is sad. Organisations or initiatives lacking diversity are handicapped; prone to groupthink disasters. Wherever I’ve been - in politics, NGOs, business or school - I just assumed equal respect and trust with my male counterparts. I believe we often get what we expect in life - and what we give.


Q. How do you deal with pressure?

A. Yoga. Stepping back to pause helps me remember that I can let go of fear, anger or anxiety and choose a more powerful response to whatever is stressing me. Plus, when I do yoga, watching my 6-foot self wobble on one leg while twisting into a silly pretzel makes me smile and reminds me to not take myself or situations too seriously.

 

See full story published by Financial Times



Interview with Valerie Keller originally published in Rewiring Business and the Global Leadership Post, by Anne Ravanona:

"This concept of ‘how do we create a bigger ‘We’?’ is the concept I live in as a leader. My passion is helping people live lives of dignity and fulfillment. That has been my driving force through whatever businesses or career objectives I have had. Leadership for me is a ‘how’ to that end. So for me there are two key points in my leadership style to create a better ‘We’: 1) help people think less about our differences and celebrate our diversity. Understanding that We as a world – across corporations, government, cultures, societies – are much more similar than we are dissimilar, creates a common framework towards creating a shared win. That also applies to leading teams. 2) How do we create effective and powerful teams? I am very collaborative and continually look to instill a Yin/Yang balance. even as we’re decisive and outcomes-focused. We becomes how we interact, talk to each other, respect each other, have a common framework, goals and vision. So to summarize, my leadership style is about convening and catalyzing action, so We can meet objectives, improve peoples’ lives and communities."

Read the full article here

 

 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Every Three Seconds

Veritas Partnership has taken Every Three Seconds, a documentary film as a pro-bono client because we feel compelled to contribute to its goal.

 

Every Three Seconds is a film that reminds us that every one of us has the potential to make a change. Award-winning director Daniel Karslake tells the inspiring stories of amazing individuals that have taken action to end the number one risk to health worldwide, hunger.

 

The film also analyzes the issue by bringing the insight of experts such as Muhammed Yunus, Nobel Peace price and founder of the  Grameen Bank, and Josette Sheeran,  the eleventh Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) amongst others. Through these testimonials, Every Three Seconds informs the viewers about this pressing issue and pushes us to start action.

 

 

How is hunger affecting the world?

 

 

According to the World Food Program,

 

  • · there are 925 million people in the world who do not get enough food to lead a normal life.  98% of these people live in developing countries.

  • · Since 2001, the number of malnourished people has grown steadily.

  • · One in four children from developing countries are underweight.

This map from the World Food Programme visualizes the levels of hunger in the world as of 2011.

 

For more information visit the World Food Program’s site


Potential Solutions

Ending poverty and ending hunger go hand in hand. In 2000, the United Nations Member States adopted the Millennium Declaration. This document sets a series of clear goals in order to fight poverty and its consequential problems.

 

GOAL 1 | Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

GOAL 2 | Achieve universal primary education

GOAL 3 | Promote gender equality and empower women

GOAL 4 | Reduce child mortality

GOAL 5 | Improve maternal health

GOAL 6 | Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

GOAL 7 | Ensure environmental sustainability

GOAL 8 | Develop a global partnership for development

Earlier this year the UN released a document revealing the progress on reaching this goals. The goal is to reach them by 2015.

 

It is important to bear in mind that each one of us has the potential to contribute to these goals. Every Three Seconds reveals five life changing stories that show us that we too can start to make a change in our communities or in communities we care for. Where ever you live there is a way to provide tools to empower communities that are fighting hunger and poverty. Every Three Seconds portraits every day people who have taken initiative . These are the stories:

 

The stories

 

Josh Nesbit

The summer after being an intern in a small clinic in Malawi Josh returned with 100 recycled cell phones and taught an army of health volunteers how to use texting technology to communicate in a land without phones and roads, saving hours of travel time and thousands of lives.

 

Charlie Simpson

Charlie Simpson, a seven-year-old boy from London, was deeply moved and insisted to his parents that he must do something to help after witnessing the earthquake in Haiti on Television.

 

Lisa Shannon

Lisa Shannon was the first national grassroots activist in the US working to raise awareness of the forgotten humanitarian crisis in DR Congo.

 

 

Ingrid Munro

Ingrid Munro shares with us “one cannot lift a person out of poverty. What we offer…is access to a ladder that they can climb up to take themselves out of poverty. But the climbing they must do themselves.” — Ingrid Munro

 

Gloria Henderson

In an interview with director Dan Karslake Gloria says, “I hope it help(s) make other people aware of the hunger that’s in America, and maybe it will inspire someone who’s not involved to get involved.”

 

 

You can contribute too!

 

 

the film on facebook in order to stay tuned with the film’s progress:

 

 

Help the film in its path to raise awareness about the issue

 

Learn more about the individuals featured in the film

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Good Pitch


Goodpitch

Celebrating platforms that bring stakeholders together for mutual benefit

 

Highlighting GoodPitch: bringing together filmmakers with NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, brands and media around leading social issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.

 

Pictured: Veritas CEO Valerie Keller and Patricia Finneran at GoodPitch NYC with film-maker Joanna Lipper and her subject for THE SUPREME PRICE, humanitarian and activist Hfsat Abiola.