Sharing COVID-19 successes and challenges in CEO Summit

On December 18, 2020, Women on Wings welcomed 57 participants in an online CEO Summit. It became an inspiring discussion on how social businesses are innovating and adapting to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. In a panel session, three Women on Wings’ partners shared their experiences with peers.

Sharing experiences
In a panel session Siva Devireddy, founder and CEO at GoCoop, Shailini Sheth Amin, founder and CEO at MORALFIBRE and Shubhra Devi, founder and CEO at Meira Foods shared their learnings during COVID-19 with other Women on Wings partners. All said that the pandemic had forced them to realign online strategies and review their product and/or service portfolio. By tweaking or pivoting those and by keeping the communication open with artisans, employees and customers in the past few months, the social entrepreneurs today see a positive future for their companies.

Using lockdown for training
Digital transformation, story-telling, being agile, innovative and unique, and taking risks are words that most of the participating social enterprises used to describe what they believed has been important in the past months. Also, some of the partners used the lockdown to work with artisans on skill development or train them how to be online, and some developed their team. Panelist Siva Devireddy shared: “Women on Wings has been extremely supportive. It is an objective partner that keeps standing next to us.”

Collaboration is key
Women on Wings shared global trends for businesses in a post COVID-19 world. All participants could raise questions during the online Summit. Said Ronald van het Hof, jt MD at Women on Wings: “Doing our bit in online workshops and webinars is great, but doing it together is better. Particularly now. There was so much knowledge and experience on the screen. And willingness to share. We need to keep that spirit alive. Since the start of COVID-19 we have continued to support our partners and we are fortunate to have our online community platform. This enables us to be available 24/7 and partners can post queries and successes, and reach out to peers and our experts.”

Visualizing company goals 2021
Shilpa Mittal Singh, jt MD at Women on Wings concluded: “Prior to this Summit, we had sent all CEOs a kit to create a 2021 vision board for their companies. From foam board, glue, scissors, to memo’s and magazines. All that is required to create a vision board which was to be presented during the Summit. Many CEO’s said that it was a useful and fun exercise. There was a lot of interaction and many of the CEO’s shared suggestions and offers to support others. Even online, we felt the strong commitment from the participants towards the communities we all work for; families in rural India. Who thinks that online summits can’t be interactive has obviously never attended one of ours…”

Image: a collage of participants at the CEO Summit session and some of the 2021 vision boards