In May, Kristina Bouweiri moderated a panel discussion in Greece for the Global Summit of Women on how to make your business greener. This non-profit links women business professionals, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders worldwide to build and strengthen relationships.
Kristinaâ€™s involvement with the Summit goes back several years, when she first met Irene Natividad, president of the Global Summit of Women. Irene has since invited Kristina to speak on social media issues at the Summitâ€™s conference in China, which was held a few years ago. The year after that, Kristina spoke to the group in Turkey for that yearâ€™s Summit. Next year, Kristina plans continued involvement with the Global Summit of Women event in Malaysia.
When Kristina returned from her trip to Greece for the Global Summit of Women, she jotted down her thoughts and shares her journal entry here:
Leaving Washington, DC at noon on Sunday May 27 enroute to the Global Summit for Womenâ€™s conference where I was to serve as a panel moderator, I arrived in Athens, Greece the next morning. Our Reston Limousine Athens affiliate picked me up at the airport in a handsome black Mercedes. That evening I enjoyed dinner at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador to Greece. His wife, Laurel Colless was in my Capital Speakers class in 2006 â€” a small world!
Greeceâ€™s most popular and most photographed island of Santorini was my next stop on May 29. Here, my five-star hotel was only $120 per night, and as it was not peak season, the hotel was quiet and a wonderful place to relax. My room had two stories, a living room and bathroom on the bottom floor, with a balcony and a bedroom upstairs.
The first night in Santorini I dined in a town called Fira at an outdoor restaurant on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I could also see other islands and a great view of the sunset. The next day I rented a car, drove all over the island, and tried to find a white sand beach. Santorini was once a volcano and most of its sand is red or black. As the water was a little rough, boats were not ferrying passengers to the white sand beach, so I settled for the red sand where I climbed a cliff and then descended to reach the water. It was nice, but it hurt your feet to enter the water, which was cold, but clean and clear.
The second night in Santorini, I had dinner in the town of Oia. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been! This city is also built on top of a cliff with homes in caves along its side. You feel as if you are walking on a rooftop city. Restaurants, shops, art galleries, small boutique hotels, and churches surround the cobblestone road. I dined at the northern tip of the island at a rooftop restaurant with an incredible view.
On Thursday I flew back to Athens for the opening ceremonies of the Summit. We were bused to a remote location for dinner that evening, entering a beautiful, ancient building with no roof. Dinner under the stars was incredible as was the company. I met two Kuwaiti sisters who have a sports marketing firm and a woman who does PR for Microsoft. After dinner the organizers recognized the women who brought their daughters to the conference, giving me an idea for next year! This fabulous evening ended with an opera singer serenading us.
The next day included more networking, seminars, and free time in the afternoon for sightseeing. I took a double-decker bus tour of the city, and that night enjoyed dinner at a restaurant at the base of the Acropolis.
The final day included more networking and seminars and ended with the panel I moderated on Greening your Business. Three of my panelists were excellent. They included a Swiss woman from the World Wildlife Fund, a Filipino woman who runs a conglomerate called Echostore, and a fabulous, young Greek woman who has a snail business. My favorite quote from the panel was that her business is supporting the slow food movement. We had a question from the audience, asking the definition of this movement and the answer was, it is the opposite of the fast food movement!
The young woman who owns the snail business was the most dynamic and interesting woman I met this year. She had the audience riveted with her story about how she started and grew her business, and explained how it was Green.
Dinner on the final evening was at a restaurant named Horizontal on the top of a mountain with a view of the entire city. It capped off an incredible few days of interacting with other women in business and learning that while we are from such diverse backgrounds and businesses, we share common thoughts, challenges, and successes in our personal and professional lives!