AmCham Women in Leadership Theme 2024: Game-changers!

As I write this letter, I feel – like many of us – a sometimes overwhelming sense of uncertainty. Economic uncertainty in the form of inflation and widespread layoffs over several sectors. Political uncertainty to be sure, and a sense of divisiveness creeping in. Us. Them. 

And yet, where there is uncertainty, there is also opportunity. Opportunity to shift our perspectives and open new narratives for ourselves. Where there is divisiveness, we can opt for connection. Where there is uncertainty, we can look for commonality. 

There is opportunity to change the way the game has been played, to carve a new path for our futures. 

And so, these are the words on my mind at the moment, as we move further into 2024: Community. Connection. Game-Changers. 

Last year was a big year for AmCham. We adopted a set of core values, the first of which is diversity and inclusion. At Women in Leadership, we opted for another big pivot, and I’m so proud that we were the first to bring the concept and term “allyship” to the region. Our decision to bring men into the picture explicitly, as partners in solving the roadblocks that impact women’s careers, was groundbreaking. I’m thrilled that on the back of that event, several more trainings and talks are now taking place all over Estonia. 

It’s never been as important as it is today to keep this momentum going. Hidden in the news about sweeping layoffs across several sectors is the fact that many US companies are also scaling back their investments in DEI. Meanwhile in Estonia, it feels like these topics are just beginning to have their moment. And it’s needed. In November, a new report that – once again – Estonia has gone backwards in pay equity is more fuel to the fire of change. This is the moment to change the way the game is played. The time is now.

Why does this emphasis on allyship matter? At its core, allyship is about lifting each other up. In this time of divided narratives, in an increasingly polarized world, acknowledging that we all need to pull together to ensure equal opportunities for those who traditionally have not had them feels revolutionary. Game-changing. And more deeply than that, we need this connection, this shared goal of increasing opportunity for all.

The old paradigm of Us vs Them is played out. This no longer serves us – has never served us. It serves only to keep old structures in place. To change the game, it’s imperative to think past that, to We. 

So as we look forward to 2024, we will focus on the Game-changers, the women who have rejected the status quo and forged their own path: Female founders. Women who opted out of the relative security of a traditional role, who felt compelled to do something different. What that decision has meant to them, how they think about career, tradeoffs, work, balance, the future. This we will explore. 

In times of uncertainty, stories are what bring us together. And so, we will continue our more intimate Fireside Chat series, launched last year. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend one, I encourage you to consider it this year. Finding commonalities and inspiration in our individual life stories continues to be a source of energy and hope. These discussions have taught me that we all have a story to tell, a story to be shared. We are all Game-changers. 

At AmCham, we are also announcing a new award this year: the Pamela Luise Dream Lifter Award, in honor of another Game-changer. An inspiring woman who worked to support the underserved and underprivileged. With this award we will recognize a woman in Estonia who goes above and beyond to support the dreams of others. More information will be published on this award soon, so please look around you, at your community, and get your nominations ready.

What an incredible year we had in 2023, thanks in large part to all of you. As I look forward to what I believe will be an equally inspiring 2024, I am optimistic about the future. Whether innate, or socialized, or built in through evolution, women historically have found strength in community, in connection. Community is what’s needed now. This ability to draw people together and into the We. We are the solution. 

Because we are, all of us, the Game-changers.