‘Superwoman’: Women’s Main Superpowers
The Global Women Media news agency continues its series of articles dedicated to the open meeting of the Women Influence Community (WIC). This time, the major annual event was devoted to the topic of the inner strength of ‘superwomen’, the leaders who change the world for the better through their projects. One of the discussion platforms at the meeting brought together leading experts from different fields willing to share their success stories and tips on overcoming challenges.
Strong, wise, and successful individuals who fulfil themselves as the best professionals in their fields presented their reports at the ‘Superwoman’ session. They shared their views of women’s main superpowers and reflected on how they use them in their work.
Anna Palagina, Head of the International Institute of Management for Business Associations (IIMBA) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, moderated the session. The expert asked the women leaders the origin of their resources for self-realisation and asked them to share their tips and success stories.
Elena Ulyanova, Head of the #delaykakEZ project
Elena Ulyanova fulfils herself in many different fields successfully. As a woman, she sees her main strength in her family and ancestral roots. That is what gives her a stable foundation that can support her in a rapidly changing world.
Today, Elena Ulyanova has 2 children, 7 grandchildren, and a great-grandson. She considers them to be her main life resource. They make it possible for her to keep moving forward and not be afraid to change the focus of her activities and overcome challenges.
The expert has undergone a long and winding professional path. Elena Ulyanova started her career as a teacher of the Russian language and literature. Then she set up her own television company, developed various projects, headed a charitable foundation, and tried her hand at politics. Today, Elena Ulyanova is the Head of the #delaykakEZ project. That charitable initiative reflects her life position in the most accurate way.
More than 20 years ago, Elena Ulyanova made a film about a girl who was imprisoned for a serious crime. It seemed that the prisoner’s whole life was already predetermined. At the time of filming, the girl had served half of her 12-year sentence. Elena Ulyanova was in close communication with that girl for six months. She read the prisoner’s diaries and delved into her complicated story. Soon, the expert managed to secure an early release for that girl. Moreover, the girl was welcomed into Elena Ulyanova’s family and brought up as her own child. She entered a university and graduated from it successfully. Today, she lives in Australia and has two wonderful children.
That accidental encounter changed two lives at once. The girl managed to step onto a new path and Elena Ulyanova found new meanings. Subsequently, she had more and more good stories in her life.
A few years ago, Elena Ulyanova’s adopted daughter launched the #delaykakEZ hashtag on social media. It gave birth to a major charitable project. Its main message is the key thing in life: to follow your heart and to strive to bring as much good as you can. A day is not wasted if you managed to bring a genuine smile to somebody’s face.
Inna Stepashkina, notary, lawyer
Inna Stepashkina’s field of activity presupposes a high level of bureaucracy. However, as a woman, she always strives to bring as much humanity as possible to her work. The expert perceives any document not just as a formal letter but as a valuable piece of paper that can make people’s lives easier, give them certain opportunities, or protect their specific rights.
A woman’s approach to any task is special. It lies not only in the formal fulfilment of obligations but also in the desire to bring concrete use, in a woman’s caring and sincere attitude to the matter in general.
Inna Stepashkina sees her task in responding to people’s emotions and helping them in not only legal but also psychological terms. Clients often come to a notary or a lawyer in difficult life situations. In this case, the expert first tries to help the person to switch off his or her negative emotions and to reason calmly so as to make constructive decisions. It is important to make sure that people sign any documents consciously and understand their meaning fully.
Women are naturally endowed with a highly-developed emotional intelligence and empathy. That enables them to make their work in almost any field of activity even more efficient.
Kira Koruma, lawyer
Kira Koruma works a lot with cases related to family disputes. As noted by the expert, conflicts always result from mistakes in communication and people’s inability to come to a constructive dialogue and understand each other.
As speaker knows from her own experience, women’s approach in advocacy often differs from men’s one. For example, in divorce disputes between married couples, male lawyers often promise their clients a ‘total victory’. Female lawyers tend to adhere to a win-win strategy. They strive to help the two parties establish a dialogue and reach a decision that satisfies both of them.
Kira Koruma sees a woman’s main superpower in being able to engage people in dialogue and building bridges rather than walls.
The expert finds her profession very rewarding. The lawyer treats her clients with great affection and always receives warm feedback from them. She believes that this exchange of positive energies is one of the most valuable resources that keep her going and inspires her to continue working in her field.
Viktoria Shubina, Vice-President of the Russian Triathlon Federation, Ambassador of IRONMAN in Russia, coach, business coach
Viktoria Shubina believes that physical strength is not always the opposite of femininity. It can also be a powerful internal resource for creativity and self-improvement.
The expert fulfils herself through cognizing her body: she knows every cell of it and how to use its power. The expert teaches other people how to do that and prepares aspiring athletes for competitions.
The body is a gift given to a person at birth. If one knows how to use such a living super-biological ‘gadget’ properly, one can discover many opportunities.
According to Viktoria Shubina, for her, exhausting workouts are not a painful process but a natural need. Sports bring no benefit when one forces oneself to exercise against one’s will. However, physical activity is good for the body and the spirit when one genuinely enjoys it.
Sport has taught Viktoria Shubina to accept hardship as the price for achieving results. If one has a goal in mind and pursues it, one understands the purpose even in the most challenging moments. Then overcoming difficulties becomes not that bitter and even brings pleasure.
Viktoria Shubina has completed IRONMAN, a challenging sporting event, several times. It requires participants to swim 4 kilometres, cycle 180 kilometres, and run 42 kilometres. One needs to not only complete the three distances but also do that as fast as possible. Taking part in such a competition even once is a big challenge. Viktoria has found something new for her during each such competition. That’s how she discovered a new source of resources. Participation in those competitions has taught her to better feel her body and the life around her and to experience moments in all their brightness and intensity. According to her, that’s a difficult but effective path towards ‘awakening’ yourself.
Eva Nikonova, Board Member of the Union of Arts and Crafts, Head of the Contemporary Art Department, adviser to the International Academy of Helicopter Sports, artist, author of a cultural and environmental project
Eva Nikonova’s superpower lies in her ability to work in multitasking mode. She fulfils herself in very different fields of activity, achieves great results, and immerses herself deeply in each of them.
In her childhood, Eva Nikonova was already concerned about global problems: deforestation, famine in Africa, and anomalous warming. She was most worried about the fact that she had no influence on what was happening. However, over time, the expert formulated a set of rules for herself: to help those whom she can help, to be useful where possible, and to live her life with maximum pleasure and impact.
Eva Nikonova has undergone many different paths. Each time she strives to be as useful as possible in her field of activity. The expert believes that one should never be afraid of starting from scratch if a new path seems interesting.
Eva Nikonova headed one of the branches of a major company already at the age of 25. However, she soon understood that corporate business was not close to her. That is how her search for herself began. Eva Nikonova tried her hand at areas related to yachts, vintage cars, and antiques. She also founded a flying school for amateur pilots.
At some point, her desire for self-improvement in various fields was replaced by a desire for self-knowledge. Eva Nikonova had always impressed everyone around her with her energy and love of dynamic activities. However, at that moment, she was drawn towards a more relaxed way of unleashing her potential. That led her to creativity and reconnection with the natural world. Today, Eva Nikonova creates precious wearable sculptures and art objects made of metals and living minerals.
The artist sees the main strength giving a woman the resource to realise herself in any field in self-knowledge and in the ability to hear and understand herself. There are a number of external sources of energy and inspiration. However, most of them are useless if one has no inner pillar of support. Of course, one can always go to the countryside, do sports, or enjoy doing art. However, one can only get the most out of those activities or any other things if one reaches awareness in the process.
When Eva Nikonova shifted from self-improvement to self-knowledge, she formulated a rule for herself. The expert understood that very different things happen in life. They can be pleasant or rewarding but some situations serve as a test. In Eva’s opinion, even in crisis situations, it is important not to give up but to find points for growth. According to her rule, everything in life can be divided into three groups: pleasant things, useful things, and journeys to complete. One should accept each with gratitude.
Maria Suvorova, Director General of the B2B Perevod translation agency, Oriental scholar, Chinese interpreter
As emphasized by Maria Suvorova, one of the main values of the WIC community lies in bringing together strong and wise individuals who are very different. Each of them shares not only useful experience but also their worldview, life principles, and thoughts with other community members. That often contributes to that very ‘butterfly effect’, which is often described by writers: when listening to the WIC members, other people can always find something that will change their lives and teach them to perceive it in a new way.
Maria Suvorova also contributed to that cradle of wisdom by sharing her experience of interacting with Oriental culture. Based on her professional field of interest, the expert talked about what qualities in people she considers to be the ‘superpowers’.
In the East, especially in China, Korea, and Japan, people value leadership without the desire to be in the spotlight. A strong leader can manage processes intelligently and subtly while still being in the shadows. In other words, the essence, efficiency, and elegance of leadership prevail over the bright and pretty picture.
In her professional activities, Maria Suvorova interacts a lot with entrepreneurs collaborating with Asian colleagues or just willing to start doing so. The expert always tells them that the most important thing in such cross-cultural cooperation lies in establishing effective communication.
One can hand out one’s business cards endlessly with two hands at once. However, that won’t result in establishing a dialogue if parties do not understand each other.
Maria Suvorova believes that people’s ability to reflect is the key element in effective communication. To build a dialogue with another culture, one must have an internal pillar of support based on understanding one’s own culture. In other words, construction always starts with the ground floor. The top of the building won’t stand if there is no strong foundation.
As emphasized by Maria Suvorova, it is often women who form that ‘ground floor’ at the level of their families, their closest environment, and society in general. That is where the expert sees their main superpower, the ability to be agents for reaching the deeper layers of culture.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Photos by Danila Sedov, student of the Faculty of Photography of the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO)
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov
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Global Women Media news agency