Salla Kelorita


Diploma in Strategy and Innovation




Public safety



By Salla Kelorita


Recently I had the opportunity to attend an event called ‘Speaking with Courage’, organised by Saïd Business School’s Inspiring Women in Leadership and Learning, ‘iwill’. iwill’s aim is to help women achieve their full potential: to promote women’s development both professionally and academically.

I first learned about the iwill event on Oxford Saïd’s event listing website and thought the opportunity is too good to let it pass by. It gave me a chance to connect with the university before I start my studies in February, learn more about how I can affect my own path to grow and develop, and of course how can I support others along the way as well. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect as it was my first Saïd Business School and iwill event but the evening turned out to be great. The topic was about inspiring women to speak with courage and aiming high to make their dreams, whatever those may be, come true. Majority of the participants naturally were women but it was great to see some men in the audience as well.

The keynote speech was given by Dr. Pamela Hartigan and the inspiring conversation leads were John Denton, Alison Small and Darine Obeid. Pamela Hartigan was a very engaging and captivating speaker and shared a personal story about her childhood and career history; how serendipity, life events and the choices she has made brought her where she is today: Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The centre focuses on driving development and improvement on key social issues in the world. Personally I was very affected by Pamela Hartigan’s drive, positivity and passion. We all have the choice of how we react to our own personal experiences: turning negatives into positives is not easy but vital to keep moving forward. She also recommended a book for us: ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ by Daniel Gilbert. As I haven’t read the book yet I can’t give share my thoughts about it yet myself. However, it has now been added to my reading list for the holidays.

After the keynote speech each conversation lead gave us their pitch about the discussion they were about to lead. We in the audience could then choose which conversation we wanted to join to begin with. The idea was to participate in conversations freely, come and go freely, and we were encouraged to join all three. The evening just flew by and I only made it to two conversations as they were both very engaging and captivating.

John Denton started his group conversation with an inspirational story about a young Arab lady who wanted to be a politician in her native country. The story originates from few years back but is also very current as Saudi women have just voted in local election for the first time in history and many were also elected. Fantastic! We discussed the obstacles she must have faced and how she planned to overcome those and then continued with our own experiences and questions.

However, nothing is provided on a silver platter. I joined the discussion lead by Alison Small somewhat late but we continued the conversation about how we women can affect and smoothen our own paths more and how we can even with small, simple things change how our message comes across and is perceived.

This year has been somewhat a turning point for me in terms of my own career aspirations and it was very interesting to hear stories and experiences both from the speakers and others in the audience too about their professional and personal development. This was only my first Saïd Business School and ‘iwill’ event but I can highly recommend these for everyone who has the opportunity to join. You can find more about the Inspiring Women in Leadership and Learning online. Many thanks to the whole iwill team and speakers for an evening that indeed was very inspiring.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas time and success for the New Year 2016!

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