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Melinda Gates' New Move: Empowering Women Together

I'm sure you have heard that Melinda Gates has left the foundation she founded with her ex-husband, Bill, and started her own foundation around women's empowerment. One billion dollars toward women's empowerment and health over the next two years. We are all breathing a sigh of relief and excited expectation. We have always known that change comes with money - that to follow the money is to have the opportunity to be heard. Melinda, who as an equal partner, built the Gates Foundation into one of the foremost game-changing foundations in the world, is now focused on women and our future. I will take a minute watching a rising sun to thank her for what will surely come from her focus.

I am working on a new book, Circles of Collaboration: Rethinking Your Network. In addition to providing a history of women and circles, a history that circles back to cave-person times, my co-author, Leslie Grossman, and I present the template for setting up your own thoughtful circles, each one filled with individuals around a particular focus, that you can draw on to assist in heading wherever you want to go. With the new infinite options for building a posse created by social media and the global reach we now all have, it's a game changer for setting your goal strategy.

In her announcement about the new foundation, one of Melinda's commitments is to provide $240 million to partnerships with a diverse group of 12 global leaders. Each leader will be provided with a $20 million fund to distribute to charitable organizations they consider to be doing urgent, impactful, and innovative work to improve women's health and well-being in the U.S. and around the world.

Women are collaborators. It's our own gender form of leadership. Surround yourself with women who are the best in their field, get in a circle, and on an equal basis, figure out how to address the problem or task. They will work alone, together, and draw their own circles around them to support both the overall goal and the separate goals for each area represented by the twelve women. By passing the baton to these twelve women, she is setting up a perfect circle of collaboration, and because she won't have to be in charge of all the actions affecting those who will receive the money, it will move forward quickly, and I am certain, more successfully than a follow-the-leader approach.

When someone like Melinda Gates sets out to accomplish something, she puts power in the hands of others. The circle of collaboration she announced today will surely fly to greater heights because they are sitting around a round table, with input from all, not a rectangular table with Melinda heading the decision-making process.

Me? I wish my book was already on the shelves. And, I can't wait to learn about her chosen collaborators and have the opportunity to think through her choices about putting them together.

-- Christine Merser, Founder, Blue 2 Publishing & Blue 2 Media


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