Ground-breaking Symposium on the Art of Doing Business Across Cultures
Rolling Meadows, IL: A diverse group of about a hundred entrepreneurs, corporate executives and professionals from multi-cultural backgrounds marked Chicagoland’s first ever Symposium, ‘The Art of Doing Business Across Cultures’. In a cultural melting pot like Chicago, doing business across cultures presents it’s own set of challenges. To address these challenges and empower Chicago’s multi-cultural communities to connect and expand their business cross-culturally, a pioneering Symposium was presented by EQuest Global Group in association with NAWBO. This ground-breaking Symposium was held on Thursday, May 17th from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm at the elegant venue of The Meadows Club. The Daily Herald Business Ledger, Crain’s Chicago, The Meadows Club and Wintrust Bank sponsored this one-of-a-kind symposium.
Kicking off the event, Shebani Kulkarni, President of EQuest Global Group and Co-founder of The Meadows Club and Dhrishti opened with an inspiring speech. She said that in Chicago’s global marketplace, it is essential to discover ways to reach out and expand your circle of business relationships. Quoting Marcel Proust, she said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes”. She introduced Gail Zelitzky, President of NAWBO Chicago, who shared a common vision of connecting communities. Catherine Lee, President of CDL Associates and Past President of NAWBO presented the nine mentors, who were all successful business women from diverse cultural backgrounds, ranging from American, Asian, Latin American, African American and Middle Eastern backgrounds. The following mentors shared their multi-cultural experiences and led the round table discussions:
Amy Lee Segami – Managing Principal, Segami Consulting
Catherine Lee – President, CDL & Associates
Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz – Make-it-happen Director, JJR Marketing
Kathleen Caldwell – President, Caldwell Consulting Group
Pek Lee Choo – Principal, Discernen
Poonam Gupta-Krishnan – President, Iyka Enterprises
Simin Rasmussen – Director, Persian Translation & Interpretation Services.
Tiffany Dotson – Author, Speaker and Consultant
Tricia Meyer – Managing Attorney, Meyer Law Ltd.
At the round table discussions, participants interacted with different groups of people to explore possibilities, identify new collaboration partners and achieve desired outcomes. Each of them offered a gift of their services, products, talent or skill to the groups. The mentors wrapped up with a question-answer session from the participants. There was a lot of interest generated from this discussion, paving the path for a series of cross-cultural events.
The round table discussions generated positive comments from the participants. Chicago based Pakistani-American businessman, Noor Tejani, was appreciative of the quality and content of this pioneer Symposium, which brought together such a blend of diverse cultures. Dr. Shailee Patel commented, “This is the best event I’ve attended. It gave me an opportunity to learn from different points of view. The round table discussions helped to break the ice and get people to talk about what truly matters to them. It was also very satisfying for me to be able to contribute to others”, she said. Poonam Krishnan-Gupta, President of Iyka and mentor commented “I’m excited to be a part of such an empowering event, which helps businesses to increase their market share by understanding diverse cultures”. Catherine Lee, who was also a mentor, commented, “I love the way this event was presented at The Meadows Club, with the openness and the strategically placed activity areas. The speeches were motivating, and the food was superior, in a conference setting that’s rare”. “I look forward to participating in future events”, she said.
Closing the symposium, Keynote Speaker, Honorable Judge Ketki Steffens, inspired the audience with her stories about cross-cultural experiences in her personal and professional life. She ended by saying that all you need is kindness and humility, when working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Her words were heart-warming, and generated a loud applause from the audience. Shebani Kulkarni and Gail Zelitzky wrapped up the evening with a vote of thanks to all the sponsors, mentors and steering committee. Shebani ended on an encouraging note, saying that this Symposium is just the beginning of many more events to come – bringing cultures together and growing business relationships. There has been a lot of buzz created from this ground-breaking event, and the communication will continue amongst the participants through the event’s landing page (www.nawbo.wintrust.com/crosscultural ). The excitement is building up for the next event which will be coming up shortly. For information, please visit www.equestglobalgroup.com.
Earlier in the evening, the participants were treated to a social hour, where they took the opportunity to network over cocktails and exotic multi-cuisine food in the elegant Meadows Club setting. Chefs prepared exotic dishes at the food stations, while guests chose the ingredients for their palate. Booths from multi-cultural businesses were set up, giving the guests more opportunities to network.
EQuest Global Group’s primary goal is to provide a global platform to showcase, reward and empower excellence, and propel leaders to achieve their full potential.
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago, is the largest of over 70 Chapters in the U.S. with a goal to propel women business owners into spheres of social, economic and political power.
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