In the wake of this year’s International Women’s Day, and in recognition of former United States First Lady Michelle Obama, the Women’s Offshore Network (WON) hosted a panel discussion about “becoming YOU” featuring professional women in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) speaking on their journeys to leadership and success on Wednesday 27th March in the BVI Finance Conference Room.
Panellists included CEO of BVI Finance Elise Donovan; Managing Director of AMS Financial Group Claire Abrehart; Managing Partner of O’Neal Webster Vanessa King, and Partner of Rawlinson & Hunter, Annie Peliwan. The event was chaired by Senior Counsel of Walkers, Omonike Robinson-Pickering.
The discussion focused on the key quotes from the #1 New York Times best-selling memoir by Michelle Obama, “Becoming”, with the panelists answering questions posed by chairperson Robinson-Pickering. They spoke about the importance of being open and exposing yourself to persons who can shape your life as a mentor; the importance of creating your own narrative as a woman; strong support networks and much more. The quotes highlighted from the book include:
- “I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child - What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
- “Walk away from 'friendships' that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you.”
- “For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others.”
- “If you don't get out there and define yourself, you'll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
The Chair and panellists offered their views and comments on the outcome of the WON event:
Omonike Robinson-Pickering: “"Women's Offshore Network hosted the panel discussion to empower and inspire women and our panelists did not disappoint. I left our event committed to ensuring that our mentorship program becomes a reality and look forward to seeing more women attain the pinnacles of professional and personal success."
Elise Donovan: “My hat is off to the entire team of the Women’s Offshore Network for putting together such an event that celebrates women and what it truly means to be a successful woman in this day and age. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share my experiences. I continue to encourage all persons to keep an open mind in life and allow themselves to be exposed to different people, different cultures and different experiences because your life can be changed for the better by someone you least expect.”
Annie Peliwan: “As a board member of WON, I am very grateful to my fellow panellists for taking the time to debate these thought-provoking themes and I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion. It was enlightening to hear such different journeys, experiences and viewpoints. I was also delighted to see such excellent attendance from both members and non-members and would encourage those who are not yet members to join the network as soon as possible!”
Claire Abrehart: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with each of the ladies on the panel over the years but still learnt so much from sharing a panel with them yesterday. Although we all work in financial services, our journeys to get here are all so different and it was an honour to be able to share that with the members of the Women’s Offshore Network.”
Vanessa King: “It was great to sit, learn from and share with the other panelists whom I thought were honest and sincere in their contributions. I was particularly happy that the panel was made up of a diverse group with different perspectives and experiences which allowed for greater and more meaningful connection with the attendees. Congrats to WON for organizing such a forum!”
Women’s Offshore Network is a networking initiative launched by women in BVI offshore financial services sector as a vehicle to work together, provide mentoring & build relationships. For more information on the organisation, contact email@example.com.