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Women + Business

Progress, Change

and Embracing the Future Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO, Global Thinkers Forum, on leadership, change, and a new tomorrow. Please tell us a few words about Global Thinkers Forum and the work you do at Global Thinkers. Global Thinkers Forum is a non-profit think tank, a platform to create dialogue and bring current and future leaders together to discuss governance, society, entrepreneurship, business, progress and the future—and also to promote collaboration and business. We organize regional, themespecific events and also a big annual gathering which takes place in a different city every year and through our wide international network, we develop an ecosystem for collaboration and positive change. GTF 2012 Amman took place under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, who participated in person and the King Abdullah Fund for Development. We convene country leaders, leaders of companies, academic institutions, and leading NGOs, together with social innovators, educators, and entrepreneurs—in Amman the theme was ‘Women Leaders in MENA.’ In 2012 we


also inaugurated the GTF Awards for Excellence which have been embraced by the likes of Her Majesty Queen Rania, Arianna Huffington, Dr Hayat Sindi, HRH Princess Rym Ali, Dalia Mogahed, HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Zaha Hadid and other world acclaimed women leaders. Global Thinkers is a London-based consultancy comprising a team of world experts/ management consultants advising organizations on business development, innovation and strategic communications. One of the key issues in Greece today is that of change. In a nutshell, please discuss the challenges of change in difficult, fractured environments. Change has many forms: there is simple change and there is transformational change. There is also negative and positive change. Greece is going through a phase of fundamental shift, a wave of changes that can potentially transform a sick system—which was operating abnormally for decades—into

a healthy, productive one. However we have yet to see signs of positive change. The Greek society has suffered a shock, a sudden awakening which has been quite cruel. Unfortunately so far it has failed to show its benefits, it has disappointed in terms of its effectiveness and results. I believe that change does not happen overnight. It should not happen overnight. This is a wrong approach as the tremors that may be created can obstruct progress and development. Change needs a multilateral strategy and it needs to be gradual, targeted and focused on the public good of a society taking into account a wide variety of dynamics which range from technocratic to cultural to social to psychological. Do you believe that civil society in Greece should be playing a larger role as a change agent? Absolutely. I believe (and this is exactly what we promote through GTF) in a triangle of collaboration between the public sector (government), the private sector (companies) and

Business Partners | May-June 2013  

The magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

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