XIV Women, Leadership and Technology Conference
Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes
Thursday, July 12, 2018, 9:30 A.M., Crowne Plaza
Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes on the XIV Women, Leadership and Technology Conference
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.
July 12, 2018
It is an immense honor to be able to address such a distinguished group of only women and it fills me with great happiness to see that you are taking the time to invest in yourself. We live in an era of constant change and to stay updated we need to be in constant learning. As women we sometimes have a tendency to prioritize the needs of others over ours. It happens in our homes with our families, but it also happens in our workplaces. But it is our responsibility to put ourselves first, train ourselves and meet our needs in order to continue giving the best in each area we are involved in. And many times these moments are presented to us as a crossroads, where we have to choose between moving forward or learning. However, these moments often bring with them a lot of growth.
A few years ago I was offered the opportunity to work with the person who had created the fundraising strategy for the Obama campaign. Traditionally, political campaigns were financed by large donations from a few people. He is a young person, with a very different vision of technology and the use of social networks and therefore, the strategy he used for Obama was different. He focused on crowdfunding, which is based on the collection of small amounts by many people, using open and transparent platforms. His strategy completely revolutionized the way of raising funds for political campaigns in the United States.
When asked if I wanted to work with him, I said yes, although the opportunity did not in itself represent a promotion in my career. But I had 20 years of professional development at the time and had realized that I was falling behind on the subject of technology. That position, although it was a horizontal movement, allowed me to upgrade, learn to use these tools that I didn’t know existed, and it is one of the best investments I could make.
As career women, we sometimes feel that we are always against time, that we always have to go forward, move up. And it is not that this is not true, we are in a sometimes unfair competition, in which more is demanded of us, and more is expected of us. But precisely for this reason we have to be strategic with the use of our resources.
If I can give you advice, don’t be afraid of risk. Don’t limit yourself by thinking that there is something you cannot do, that there are goals you cannot achieve. That is something that others will tell you. And I will tell you right now: that is not true. There is nothing that can stop a determined woman from succeeding.
Historically, we have had to fight very hard to achieve all the rights we have. We fought for our right to vote. We fought for our right to study. And to this date we continue to fight for equality at work. We are here now as professional women because there were others before us who fought for our rights. The fact that I can be here as the Ambassador of the United States, is because there were other women who opened the path that I followed. We stand on the shoulders of thousands of women, and just as they support us now, we have an obligation to support all those who will follow us. Our strength lies in our ability to negotiate, to work as a team and to enter into agreements that are beneficial. This long-term vision is what has brought us our great achievements, and it is what motivates us to keep going, day by day.
When I was invited to speak here this morning, I was asked to give inspiring words. But the truth is that it is you who inspire me. Because you do not allow yourselves to break in the face of adversity. Because you are not intimidated by obstacles. Because you see opportunities in the challenges you face every day.
You are part of a generation of immense potential, of incredible talent. The world needs you, is waiting for you, and it is time for women to stop being spectators and become the leaders of their companies, their communities and their countries.