Next steps for the Think Women Community

In early March, over 70 members of the Relocate Global Think Women community met to mark International Women’s Day 2020. A catch up webinar highlights the way forward for international women coping with the impact of coronavirus.

Monday’s follow-up webinar on 6 April, hosted by Fiona Murchie, managing editor of Relocate Global and Relocate Magazine with Peter Moolan-Feroze, artist and creative consultant, Marianne Curphey, journalist, and Alexandra Holden Terhalle, executive coach, looked at how we can all keep on track in the midst of the coronavirus crisis with our commitments to this year’s International Women’s Day theme of Each for Equal.The webinar explores how we can stay strong and resilient, and continue to develop ourselves and others in the current global lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can we work together in difficult times?

Introducing the webinar, Fiona Murchie explained why it is important to reconnect as a network at this time. “Relocate Global is a community. Scarcely a month ago today we held our very successful and lively workshop and lunch exploring what women need today and in future as we redefine workplace.“This now seems particularly important because of the effect the pandemic is having on people and businesses around the world,” she continued, referring to the guiding theme of Relocate Global’s Think Women community. “Let’s try and capture how we can work together in these difficult times to make a difference.”

Sharing knowledge

She highlighted the huge amount of knowledge and expertise across the international management sector and global mobility that can be harnessed to support individuals and organisations in these difficult times to flourish again."We connect global and in-country experts, employers, HR, global mobility professionals, expatriates, business travellers, assignees and their families, so let's collaborate, share knowledge and expertise to help people now," she invited.

Supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis

"One of the objectives behind this interactive webinar was to find out how we as a community can support each other and make a difference," Fiona continued. "We know there are many people with concerns around immigrations and visas, temporary accommodation and housing, with uncertainty around removals and their household goods perhaps stuck in a distant port."Global mobility professionals are working tirelessly to repatriate employees and reunite families, but it is a complex operation. International employees may also be anxious about their employment status and finances as well as keeping in touch with elderly relatives, family and friends in their home country."

Staying positive amid the challenges

"For those forced to stay at home in lockdown, juggling conference calls and work in cramped conditions, often supervising children's school work and the demands of family and friends, it is all too easy to be weighed down by negative thoughts and guilt and forget about your own needs and wellbeing to keep you mentally strong for others," Fiona continued."I wanted to capture the magic that happens when women get together and share ideas and stories, as they have for the last three years in celebration of International Women's Day. The art exercises we recreated with Peter Moolan Feroze in the webinar were designed to unlock creativity and capture emotions on paper."Also, the conversations around resilience and the practical things you can do to stay on track with financial journalist, Marianne Curphey and coach, Alexandra Terhalle, will - I hope - reignite a powerful sense of purpose and what is possible even in the most difficult circumstances."So, let's share our resources and help individuals and organisations to flourish again."
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Exploring resilience

The webinar introduced approaches to dealing with the uncertainty, including creating a vision for working together through Coronovirus and beyond.It offered practical approaches to harnessing personal growth, nurturing our resilience – as individuals and as networks – and considering how we can reach out and make a difference to others.“What’s happened in this new environment is that we have to accept that things are less than perfect,” said Marianne Curphey.“Part of the feeling around resilience is we understand work has changed: abnormality is the new normal. This is something to build into our own mindsets when it comes to resilience.”

Creative responses to crises

To make sense of “business as unusual”, artist Peter Moolan-Feroze guided participants through a series of drawing exercises. Inviting everyone to access their sub-conscious and express their thoughts using colour and movement, he explained how drawing can be a joyful and accessible way of making sense of what is difficult to comprehend.“You don’t need to be an artist to explore colour, shape and get underneath words and tap into energy of words like ‘resilience’,” he explained.By asking participants to explore the word “resilience” and what their personal hopes and visions are via pastels and paper, Peter successfully framed the conversations between journalist Marianne Curphey and executive coach, Alexandra Holden Terhalle.Building on the inspirational speakers at the Think Women IWD event – including Ann Ellis of Mauve, who built an international business, and Theresa Boughey, who is working with organisations to close their inclusion gap – this conversation discussed the practical steps we can take to build our resilience to ultimately achieve our personal vision and support others to achieve theirs.

Taking the next steps – the Relocate Global Think Women community

“We can all be role models for each other, whether in Think Women community or more widely,” says Alexandra Holden Terhalle. “Our stories inspire each other and are valuable. Rather than isolate ourselves, we should show our vulnerable side, ask for advice and share our experiences.”The importance of sharing stories as a catalyst for real change is something that comes out strongly in both Relocate Global’s networks and more widely, through gender pay gap reporting for example. “We all contribute and learn from each other,” adds Marianne Curphey.Drawing together the Think Women webinar’s messages, Fiona Murchie ended with an invitation for everyone to stay connected – and a call to look beyond our immediate challenges.“If you have time on your hands, I urge you to think about our recovering economies; what is there that you might be able to contribute to rebuild and grow and make organisational changes? It’s time to make a difference and get involved.”Membership Associations like these can help: EuRA, ARP, Worldwide ERC®, CERC, FIDI, FOCUS, ASAP, CIPD, AoEC.

Join the Think Women community at www.thinkglobalpeople.com

with online forum and discussion groups, access to coaching and workshops as well as virtual community events.

Read inspiring stories about women in international roles

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