I just spent two days at a powerful conference for entrepreneurs here in Johannesburg, South Africa meeting some of the most incredible women I have ever met. In speaking with many of them, I learned so much and I am still processing the information they shared.

Here in South Africa there is an undertone of mistrust, what I would say is part of the ‘hangover’ from apartheid. In addition, the women and the men, both told me that this is still a patriarchal culture where the men are in charge.

As a result, the women are hesitant to let their voices be heard. And after meeting them, their voices should be heard! Those who attended this conference will be the ones to break free and change the culture – one woman at a time. They are bright, educated and so full of spirit, life and warmth. They blew me away.

As one of three Canadian speakers at this conference, we shared our North American approaches in the areas of making money, building teams and my presentation was on building connected business relationships. The participants were very open to what we had to say and the main theme from their responses is that we inspired them to continue on their personal quest to grow their businesses, that they were on the right path and they need to let their voices be heard.

They appreciated that we shared our ‘stories’ of personal vulnerability and transformation and that as women, we are the same regardless of ethnicity or where we live. We witnessed collaboration in it’s finest form. Bringing women together, in my experience, has ALWAYS been a rewarding experience. Now, bringing women together to share their perspectives from opposite ends of the globe was completely fascinating for me.

I strongly believe that we ALL have a gift inside of us that we can share with others. We all have the ability to influence others for the better. It’s difficult when we don’t know how to identify that gift and it’s even more difficult when others deny us the opportunity to use it.  Whatever you are naturally good at, whatever you are passionate about – you’ve got to explore it. No one can take your spirit away from you. You are uniquely you. You do not have to conform to someone else’s definition of who you should be.  The only person who can define who you are is you.

There is power in surrounding yourself with like-minded people who share in and value your perspective. Not everyone will and that’s ok.  Go find the people who do and watch what happens. In doing so, I promise you will feel validated, build confidence and build strength in your perspective, in your story and in your life’s purpose. You will then be in a position to let your voice be heard – just like these incredible women did at the Revolution Evolution Conference.

They certainly inspired me – thank you to my new friends here in South Africa. I know our new relationships will last a lifetime!