their network. One of the things we know — and many businesspeople have done research about this — is that your network is one of the things that makes you most effective. If you have a net- work that supports you and have colleagues in the same profession you are in, it is much more likely to be successful. One of the things that the Egyptian women did
when they were here was go to business classes at SMU with professors who taught leadership skills. They were very fascinated with how these leader- ship skills were taught. There were really things that they hadn’t thought about. They were taught, for example, how to negotiate. It is difficult to negotiate when you are not in authority. In many countries, as we know, women are not in authority. The males in the room are in charge. These Egyp- tian women mentioned at the end of their fellow- ship that this was the most important part of the fellowship experience. They saw experiences that they have in everyday life in a different light. That is what really good education is about,
don’t you agree? That you see your everyday expe- riences in a different light and you see things that you haven’t thought about before.
I teach leadership skills in the U.S. and globally, including in developing countries. Usually these programs have only one person from each country or organization attending. I will be communicating your idea about how important it is to have a group from the same location and/or the same organization so that they can follow up together and therefore have a greater chance of success. Yes, that is terrific, and we can stay in touch with them through Skype and the Internet. The pro- gram director of the fellowship program stays in daily contact with them, and now they are also meeting with each other. It really has been so effective to them to have this network. As part of the direction of the fellowship, we
guide them to increase their network. Our thinking is, you have met these women from your own coun- try — how can all of you together increase your network and effectiveness? It is a different way to look at it, and it has proven to be very helpful.
What other opportunities are there to learn about leadership at the George W. Bush Library, in addition to the one you just talked about? That is just the museum part. We are still working on the library, which should be finished by next
fall. One of the things we are focused on is leader- ship skills. What makes a good leader? And how can leaders make good, informed decisions? That is one of the themes running through the museum. The fellowship [program] that I just mentioned is through the Institute. We are working on four policy areas that were
most important to George during the time he was president. The four policy areas are education, human freedom, global health, and the economy. The Women’s Initiative that I mentioned runs through all four policy areas. How each one of these policy areas affects women is a strong focus. In fact, George and I are going to Africa for the Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon initiative, which builds on the AIDS platform that was started when George was president and adding to it the testing, treat- ment, and vaccine for cervical cancer. That is the predominant cancer in women in Africa now. You know that it comes from a virus and women are now living who are HIV-positive, but they are dying of cervical cancer. So that is our big global health initiative. We are working with the State Depart- ment, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the drug companies that make the vaccine for the virus. The rest of the world looks at the United States
and sees the way we both volunteer and view phi- lanthropy. I see many countries that want to build volunteerism and philanthropy in their countries similarly, and I think that’s great.
Susan Sarfati, CAE, is CEO of High Performance Strategies, LLC (sarfatihighperformance.com). She served as CEO of The Greater Washington Society of Association Executives and was the founding CEO of The Center for Association Leadership and executive vice president of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). She can be reached at email@example.com.
Editors’ Note: We thank the Washington Speakers Bureau for making this interview possible.
‘One of the things we are focused on is: What makes a good leader?’