Changemakers and Ashoka Visionary Program

Some time ago I met an expert of Investment and Stock Exchange that I asked where to invest my savings? His answer was as simple as mind blowing: Invest in yourself. And so I did. I invested in a sabbatical year that would give me time to shape the second half of my professional career and I invested in the participation at the Ashoka Visionary program 2017/2018 in Vienna. 

Thanks to this decision I entered into a completely different world – eine andere Welt. Here the people that are called “crazy” by others for their innovative ideas find a home, they find a family of other crazy people that believe that the can make this world a better place changing the broke system and not only healing the symptoms.

The Kick Off on Thursday started with a great and funny team building event and and an amazing evening event where we listened to the touching story of Ana Bella Estévez who shared her personal story about violence and abuse by her husband. But Ana Bella and the women of her foundation are not victims. They are change makers: they transform every women that suffered from the same violence not only into “survivors”, but even more than that, in super-women, “supervivientes” and they are really super, believe me! Ana Bella managed with her Foundation to shift the mindset of the abused women: they are no longer poor victims that nobody wants to talk to, rent a house to or give a job to, instead they are strong women that have proved that they can resist and live over a long time under extreme pressure at a very high stress level. Ana Bella founded a company that hired “supervivientes” as a sales force to global companies like Danone. This empowered the women. Although you might not understand the Spanish language, watch this video where abused women encourage those who are still in a broken relationship. I was very moved and tears came to my eyes when watching it. Not compassion, rather the feeling of my humbleness in front of these great women and their incredible positive energy!

Ana Bella founded not only a company, but also a private shelter, she founded a program to teach in school about empowerment of women and preventing abuse, she founded a program to teach the social workers engaged with women in public shelters and so on and so on. Ana Bella Estévez is one of the most amazing women I every met in my life! In German we would say: She is a “hans-dampf-in-allen-gassen”. But to become a super-women you don’t need to have super-hero-skills. You just need to start step by step to do the changes you want to see in the society.

Be the change you want to see, Ashoka says.

How you can do that successfully is something we just started to learn over the last two mind-blowing days. I will continue to discover this new Social Entrepreneur World for myself and uncover parts of it for you here in my blog “Andere Welten” and in addition tweet about it with the hashtag #AshokaVisionaries. So stay tuned!