Sunday, September 30, 2007

WIN Conference - The Highlights

It's true that time flies. It's already Sunday and the WIN Conference for 2007 is nearly all wrapped-up. There are some optional workshops running this morning, but the bulk of the 700 women here for the core 2.5-day program have either left or are now in their rooms packing their bags for room check-out.

It was a weird site just now at breakfast... a hotel completely overrun by women over the last 3-4 days, now had lots of men in the breakfast buffet room. It's funny how the eye became so familiar looking around and only seeing women, that the men at breakfast became "an unusual sight"!

Even though I wasn't able to blog about the conference on a daily basis, I still have lots to fill you in on, so probably the best way to do that is via our normal website. I'll write up a two-part report - posting part one October 1 (US time) and part two when we update our home page again on November 1 (that will give me time to write a part two!). It will be easy to find the reports, as we'll put a photo and prominent link on our home page, for both October and November.

Amongst all of the speakers who really inspired me, I'd have to say that my favourite was definitely Norwegian Explorer, Lecturer and Educator - Liv Arnesen.

This lady was amazing, yet so incredibly humble. Since the age of 8, Liv had dreamed of skiing to the South Pole. At 41, she realised her dream and became the 1st woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole.

But as if that was not enough, she later went on to ski on a trip with Ann Bancroft (American) - the 1st woman in the world to ski to the North Pole. Together, they skiied across the Antarctic continent (in reaction to her critics who said that skiing to the South Pole, a 1200km trek that reached 3000 meter elevation, was "too short" a journey!).

Equally impressive, was that Liv and Ann, who had designed their Antarctic trip as an educational trip for children - both to empower them and to encourage them to dream - reported on their website each day what they were up to. By the end of their trip, with the help of a lot of US media, they had 10 million children registered on their site to track their journey online. That's just phenomenal. What an empowering experience for all who were involved.

You can check our their website here. Their stated shared mission is "to inspire people, particularly women and girls, to follow their dreams".

Here's cheers to Liv (& Ann). I take my hat off to you and wish you all the best for every adventure you embark on in the future.


Friday, September 28, 2007

WIN - Network President's Workshop

Hi Everyone,

A little late, but I want to fill you in on the Network President's Workshop (explained in the previous mail) that I attended on the first night here, Wed 26 Sept.

Some of the issues/themes discussed were:

  • The challenges of operating women's professional or social organisations on a volunteer basis (eg. women regularly moving in and out of town, women dealing with other life issues [such as pregnancy, children, relationships, work issues, work/life balance issues etc.], and some women not carrying the responsibility through its full term, perhaps due a "too-casual" sense of responsiblity towards the organisation (eg. once the honeymoon phase of being on the board of the organistion wears off). One group talked about how they transformed their group into a legal entity, to try to increase the sense of legal responsiblity for at least a few of the board members, and how this approach had seemed to work to date.
  • Ideas about how different women's organisations can better collaborate (to share ideas, resources, networks etc.) The group were talking about not just organisations in your area, but organisations across borders.
  • What processes in the organisation can be automated, so that board members' time can be focussed more on valuable strategic contributions, rather than spending lots of time on admin and the taking of membership monies etc. Ideas included using a website (to disseminate information and to link members) and using PayPal (and/or similar applications) on websites, to accept member money.
  • Thinking seriously about employing an administrative assistant (full-time or part-time), to again alleviate some of the burden of the mundane admin tasks, so that the board members' volunteer time could be used in other ways.

Stephanie MacKendrick (talking about the Canadian Women in Communications organisation) stressed how funding and focus were key elements to grow an organisation. She speaks from experience - as their organisation has 1400 members, 9 chapters across Canada and very healthy corporate support/sponsorship.

Food for thought, if you are involved in a professional and/or social organisation....


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Made it to Norway!

Finally, after a 40-hour transit from Australia, a race through Heathrow, lost luggage, lost plane meal, a fall over someone's legs in the plane aisle and an agressive physical and verbal attack by a woman (to her husband!) in the row behind me on board.... I'm very happy that I made it to the WIN conference in Norway!

The official conference starts in about 30 minutes (cue that I better shower and get dressed quick smart!), but last night, I was fortunate to attend three pre-conference gatherings:

(1) Network President's Meeting.

This was a meeting of about 12 women from around the world, who led local and/or international women's organisations. The women in attendance included:

Stephanie MacKendrick (Canadian, based in Canada)
President of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW)
President of the Canadian Women in Communication (CWC) network

Diane Morris (British, based in Britain)
First VP and President Elect, The International Alliance for Women (TIAW)

Ania Jakubowski (Polish/Canadian, based in Switzerland)
President of the Geneva Women in International Trade (GWIT)

Patience Allen (American, based in Norway)
President of the Association of International Professional & Business Women (AIPBW)

Kristin Engvig (Norwegian, based in Switzerland)
Founder and CEO of Women's International Networking (WIN)

(2) VIP Cocktail Session

Not sure how I made the VIP list, but I must have smiled at the right person online at some point. ;-)

(3) Pre-Conference Networking Dinner
(open to all conference attendees)

For now, I better down tools and get ready to start the conference. So I'll jump online again later and fill you in more.

Warm wishes,


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Country Links and Settling In Information


Did you know that we list links relating to expat websites and expat clubs for over 194 countries? Find the country you are interested in by using this webpage...

We are constantly searching for new links, so if you have an expat club or website that is not listed, send us the link!

We also work with local expat website to create a page we call, Settling In Tips. This is a page of summary information supplied by our local country expat web partner explaining issues such as what visas you need, how to get a drivers license, where to buy food, how to pay your bills, etc. Look for the Settling In Tips banner on the top of our Country pages.

If you a local expat web site and would like to partipate, please send us a link!

We just recently launched our City Experiences section. This is where women like you tell other women how it is living in your city, giving them tips or how to settle in faster. No matter where you are living, there are sure to be other expats who have just arrived or who are about to move and would love to hear what you have to say! Send your experiences via our online form. We will start to posts these experiences in October.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stories of Your Expat Experiences Overseas

We love to read about what is happening in the lifes of expat women worldwide. Sharing your experiences is one way of helping women about to debark overseas understand what life is really like. These stories also help women already abroad know that feeling they way they do (good or bad) is completely normal!

Submitting your story is very easy. But you maybe hesitating because you think, who is interested in my life!? Thousands of people are! This is evidenced by the 300 expat women blogs listed in our directory - and the fact that these womens' blogs are viewed by many people around the world (not just from our site) daily. These women are chronicling their lives everyday on their own blogs about their lives overseas.

If you'd like a chance at winning US$100 US dollars, submit your story on our ExpatWomen website Here.

So, what are we looking for in a story? An Expat Women Story is about a real-life experience that you have had as an expatriate woman. We are looking for people-oriented stories that make the reader say things like:
“I’m so glad that terrible experience did not happen to me”; “I cannot believe they do that in that country”;
“They were so lucky to survive that”;
“I wish I could do that”; and
“She has inspired me!”

Some topic ideas to get you started: Culture shock; Funny incidents; Scary situations; Scandals; Communication issues; Relationship struggles; Adjustment issues; Children and family; Misunderstandings; Hospital and Health incidents; Food; Work; Travel; and Any other topic!

We welcome stories of both positive and negative experiences, because we believe that this is a more accurate reflection of life’s ups and downs. Try not to leave out any of the details – our readers want to re-live the experience exactly how you felt it. Remember to give your story a beginning, a middle and a great ending.

Thanks and good luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What type of Expat Woman are you?

Women move overseas for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you are heading off to study abroad, or taking a year long trip around the world. Perhaps you have decided to volunteer overseas, or you are moving to a new country because of your partner and/or family. You might be planning to work overseas or have decided to retire in another country.

Whatever the reason, we want to help you adjust quickly, make friends and live the best possible life abroad - be that for only one year or for the rest of your life!

We are constantly looking for interesting links and articles to add to these sections of our website. If you know of an interesting link, please send it along. If you wish to contribute an article, please send this along also, with your bio (and website details, if applicable).


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WIN Conference in Norway, September 27 - 29

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that I feel very privileged to be getting ready to fly to Norway later this month, for the 10th anniversary WIN (Women's International Networking) conference in Oslo. The theme this year is "Taking The Next Step: Fearless, Graceful and Together."

It will be my first-time both at the conference and in Oslo. Anyone wanting to meet up at the conference, please do not hesitate to email me.

If you're thinking of attending, but have not yet registered, please remember that you'll receive a 100 Euro discount just by mentioning By all reports, the conference is reportedly a wonderful experience, so do consider coming along!

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome to our new Expat Women Blog

Hi Everyone and Welcome!

If you haven't heard already, we've set up this new blog to share a little more about what's happenning behind-the-scenes at, our main site.

We'd love your participation, so if there is something you would like to see here, that you cannot find on, please just leave us a comment or drop us a line.

Thanks in advance for your support and here's wishing you success overseas!

Andrea & Jill

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