Ten Years of DWEN

This week I joined another 110 female entrepreneurs from 20 countries at Dell’s 10th DWEN (Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network) Summit in Singapore.

I haven’t been to all ten summits, but I have only missed one since my first in 2012 – which unexpectedly saw me, along with 2 fellow Aussies, up on the screen as one of the DWEN Rockstars who have attended 5 summits or more.

I had numerous conversations across the 3 days about why I had been prepared to take time out of my schedule and travel to locations from Turkey to Austin Texas to Toronto to attend DWEN Summits, and this is why. Of all the business women’s communities I’m involved in, DWEN is the only one that is global. Regional networks are great, and have the benefit of providing much more regular interaction opportunities, but I’ve found that the value of interacting with like-minded women from a diverse variety of markets across the globe justifies the cost and time of attending each year.

DWEN friends from around the globe

It’s fascinating to hear the regional challenges first hand, particularly if it’s a region you are interested in doing business in, but it’s also refreshing and reinforcing to hear that many of the challenges are the same globally, and that the solution developed in one region may be equally as applicable in yours, even if it is on the other side of the globe.

This year some of my highlights from the on-stage conversations were:

  • the importance of prioritizing adaptability and resilience, not just subject matter expertise, when hiring for fast growth businesses – Rosaline Koo, CXA Group
  • the customisation trend not only engages your customer via product personalisation, the data collected can inform the generation of your next product – Sabrina Tan, Skin Inc
  • cultural differences can see one person’s courtesy perceived as another person’s insult or lack of care, take the time to learn what your team needs and expects from you as a leader when you enter a new region – Sherry Boger, Intel
  • the limitless nature of the industry re-defining transactional opportunities that blockchain ledgers can create – Dr Jemma Green, PowerLedger
  • what you and your company can do doesn’t define the boundaries of your sustainability actions, think about the wider impact you can create via what you ask of your suppliers and customers – Angela Fox, Dell
  • you’re only where you are today because not everything went to plan, it’s the failures that make the successes so much more meaningful – Margie Warrell

Over the years I’ve found so much value in the friendships and connections I’ve made, and hopefully have also been able to provide the same back in return – these aren’t events that are about how much you can suck out of them, it’s so important to go with a mindset of what value you can contribute to others experience.

Sascha has also had the chance to experience DWEN herself on a couple of occasions via the Girls Track event held in conjunction with the Summit, and I loved the chance to speak to this year’s attendees on what it takes to build a business.

Skin Inc Founder Sabrina Tan

One of my favorite presentations at this year’s DWEN was from Sabrina Tan, founder of Skin Inc who told us to be purposeful in where we devote our energy, as it’s not an infinite resource.

It’s been a pleasure to chose to devote my energy to attending DWEN Summits over the past 10 years, and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from here as Dell re-shapes DWEN to ensure it continues to grow and fit the needs of its community for the next 10 and beyond.

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1 comment on “Ten Years of DWEN

  1. Fantastic insights Cathie. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have met you & so many like-minded women through DWEN over the years. The engagement & honesty between the alumni has personally allowed me to take inspiration through hearing the experiences & journey each of you has taken. It truly is uplifting & like you I look forward to where the next 10 years will take us on this journey together. Thank you for being so generous in giving of both your time & insights. Kind regards….Angela

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