Imagine being transported from your beautiful mountainous homeland where the temperature is below freezing to Miami with swaying palms, gentle breezes and colors so vibrant everywhere you turned. That is experience of six accomplished women from Kyrgyzstan, a small country in Central Asia that borders China.
What followed was a whirlwind week of meetings to connect them with local individuals and institutions supporting entrepreneurs and business leaders while exposing them to American culture “from the inside out” through stays with local host families.
The Open World Leadership Center in Washington, DC, sponsored the five delegates and their facilitator and arranged through FHI 360 that the Miami Council for International Visitors (MCIV) would design and implement their itinerary. With more than 55 years of experience building bridges across cultures, MCIV’s expertise is introducing rising leaders across the globe to their professional counterparts in South Florida.
With entrepreneurial careers ranging from baker, newspaper editor and correspondent, chair of a women’s cooperative of artisans, microcredit company operations director, and lawyer in professional football (soccer), the challenge was in addressing individual interests as well as common interests in support of entrepreneurship for the financial well being of women and their families.
This was accomplished through meetings with Nancy Allen of the Women’s Business Development Network, Marjorie Weber and Aleksander Keylikhes of the U.S. Small Business Administration SCORE chapter and Kefren Arjona of Commercial Kitchen 305 and others.
The week concluded with a “Lunch & Learn” at the Women’s Fund of Miami- Dade where the delegates shared their efforts with an enthralled audience on how they’re working to better the lives and stature of women in Kyrgyzstan.