Athena40 Forum

The Athena40 e-Forum

“Leadership in a New World”

Leading Thinkers Discuss New Ideas, Projects and Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World

An audience of more than 600 influencers across 20 countries attended an all-day online Summit that convened 55 leading minds from all over the globe, to discuss what effective leadership will look like in a post-pandemic world.

The Summit covered themes such as Leadership, Media, Technology, Philanthropy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Impact Investment, Business, Management, Diversity, all through the lens of accountability and positive social impact. It also focused on the role that women can play towards a paradigm shift in leadership, at a time when we have leached empathy out of public discourse.

Pioneering British philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley CH delivered a powerful keynote speech, speaking of her own story and life’s mission: “I tried to lead differently, to act as an advocate and role model for women in the economy. Role models provide images of real people valued for their contribution to the real, not celebrity world. I used to show off and demonstrate my competence, then learned to show my vulnerability”.

“2020 will register in history as perhaps one of the scariest years in the story of mankind. As humans, we need to be resilient and we also need to be resourceful in order to survive. In order to thrive, we need each other. This is one of the greatest lessons that this pandemic has taught us”, said journalist and Founder of Athena40 Elizabeth Filippouli in her opening remarks.

Nina Goswami Director of the BBC 50:50 project moderated a conversation on Diversity as a Mindset, hosting Jon Cronin, Head of Broadcast Content Lansons, Laetitia Lynn of PWC and Leisha Santorelli who concluded that ‘we should not be put off by the scale of the challenge”.

A session on Trust and the Media was moderated by Evening Standard editor emeritus Doug Wills and included polling doyen Peter Kellner, campaigning journalist and lecturer Heather Brooke, former BBC journalist and now of the Commonwealth Journalists Association Rita Payne and Evening Standard Home Affairs Editor Martin Bentham. Doug Wills, who is also chair of London Press Club, said the panel highlighted the need for the public to be shown how to give social media a reality check. Traditional media was fighting hard in the toughest of economic times to maintain quality journalism and needed the support of Governments as well as the tech giants.

The Chairman of Global Entrepreneurship Network Jeff Hoffman gave an insightful keynote highlighting that: “Entrepreneurs are the ones that are most likely to solve the world's biggest problems. If you want to make the world a better place unleash armies of entrepreneurs to go out and fix things. That's how you make the world a better place.”

Global Thinkers Forum Founder and CEO, former television journalist Elizabeth Filippouli, chaired the panel on Leadership hosting Lord Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Tobias Ellwood MP, The Rev Mpho Tutu Van Furth Author and LGBTQ rights activist, Silvana Koch-Mehrin President of Women Political Networks, the first female President of Ecuador Rosalia Arteaga who contributed important insights on how leadership has to be revisited and become more compassionate, fair, inclusive and reliable.

Other speakers included policymakers and leaders from across all industries: Leading British economist Vicky Pryce, philanthropist and entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia Muna AbuSulayman, performer and activist from Panama Erika Ender, Chinese-American fashion designer Veronica Chou, Dr Marc Ventresca Strategic Management Professor Said Business School, author and entrepreneur Chris Lewis, film director and author Shamim Sarif, H.E Mr Manoah Esipisu Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK, social entrepreneur Dominic McVey.

The Summit has been praised for its vision, diversity and positive messaging as 2020 comes to an end.

In 2021, I.B Tauris, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, will publish Elizabeth Filippouli’s book From Women to the World: Letters from the Female Century (1st July 2021), a collection of essays from a global group of inspirational women. Booker-prize nominated Elif Shafak writes to Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand after the Christchurch attack, activist and TV presenter June Sarpong OBE addresses designer Diane Von Furstenberg and Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya of Jordan pens a letter to her grandmothers. The book is now available for pre-order here.

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About Global Thinkers Forum and Athena40:

Global Thinkers Forum (GTF) was launched in 2012 with the core mission to promote Accountable Leadership, Women’s Empowerment and Youth Development. Athena40 was launched in 2018 as a platform for parallel activities that promote women’s voices and participation in decision-making positions worldwide. The idea of compassionate, accountable and effective leadership is at the heart of the Athena40 conversations, which are taking place over virtual and physical meetings engaging thought leaders from around the world.

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