Relive #72hoursreload New York

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What happens when you pack 27 inspiring ladies on a plane to the best city for female entrepreneurs in the world? Unique encounters, unique experiences but most of all: lots of laughter and fun! The first city edition of 72 HOURS RELOAD this October in New York, organised with Belcham, is one to remember. A very diverse group of female entrepreneurs, managers, corporate warriors, marketeers, finance experts and lawyers opened up to the city and to each other.

‘I found my lost smile in New York’ as Danielle Van Wesenbeeck, CEO MasterMail put it.

Kick Off with a Saturday night evening stroll of Gantry Park across the East river, taking in a first view by night of Manhattan. Get some energy from the full moon, to start an arty Sunday Morning with Katelijne De Backer, Director Art New York, that shared her personal American Dream story, arriving with 3 suitcases 19 years ago.

We looked a bit like a bunch of 16 year olds girls when hitting the metro to downtown, for a visit of the Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District, highlighting the abstract paintings of 101 year old Carmen Herrera, the New York afternoon light of Edward Hopper and the epic photos by Diane Airbus, while taking in more beautiful views of Lady Liberty. After a walk on the Highline Park, that was built after an idea by local inhabitants, Belcham surprised us with a delicious rooftop brunch in an exclusive private Manhattan apartment on the 40th floor followed by a selfhackaton of the brain, that organ that really guides what you become.

‘Live in awe for everything that surrounds and without shame for everything you do’ as Prof. Patrycja Slawuta phrased it.

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Time for a walk around Little Italy, SOHO and up to midtown, for a fashion & design gathering at the pop-up Ernest. Some of us hit the hidden speakeasy bars and rooftop cocktails that first night, but most of us just went to bed early for a good nights’ sleep at the wonderful Paperfactory Hotel in Queens.

After a wonderful sunset announcing another day of Indian Summer with temperatures up tot 25 degrees Celsius, Danielle Kayembe, that studies with the Dalai Lama, got us all up to speed with her powerbase meditation with one of the most memorable quotes of the trip.

“Try to be more like Beyonce and less like mother Theresa. And remember your diamant.”

The workshop ‘Storyteller for innovators’ by Susan Lindner closed our morning session. Time to get out again. Crossing the East river from Pier 11 by boat and enjoying wonderful views of midtown and downtown Manhattan to reach Wall Street for a personal talk with femtech leader Hannah Zubko and Managing Director Katrien Carbonez at the HQ of Goldman Sachs. And the best was yet to come… what a dinner location Belcham had in store for us! The soon to open rooftop restaurant Daisy’s with a view of Times Square set the scene for an evening with the Dreamers & Doers network of female entrepreneurs from New York. A night full of exchange, dreams, ideas but also failures with talks by their founder Gesche Haas and Bethany Heinrich, VP at the worldwide’s women platform Mogul.

But it did not keep us from an early start on Tuesday. First Stop: the HQ of Belcham, our wonderful partner for this trip, that supports Belgian excellence in New York and San Francisco, for a Captain Session with Marianne Ammsoms, VP at ABInbev and Francoise Chombar, CEO at Melexis and part of our crazy gang. Getting an insight view on what motivates entrepreneurs on a personal level and how we are all just humans trying to make the best of things is truly a gift.

‘It’s time to make the history of womankind’ Françoise Chombar, CEO Melexis

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Next stop: a humbling and eye-opening experience at the Sugar Hill project, an innovative community-based nonprofit model in affordable and permanent housing for the homeless. It leverages the success of an integrated model which pairs permanent housing with early education and access to the arts Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. At Sugar Hill, Ellen Baxter & her team don’t only provide a shelter, but also try to create a true sense of community, together with the residents. A very special morning with social entrepreneurs and a lovely raw food lunch made by Julie Van den Kerchove, also in New York city to launch her first English book .

We all needed some air after the wonderful piano and performance of local artist… to continue our adventure with business editor David Marcelis behind the scenes of the Wall Street Journal, the oldest paper in town, and the one with the most Pullitzer prizes. Did you know that the cover of 9/11 had no pictures at all? Quite surprising. From media in midtown to diplomacy on the riverside, were we ended our afternoon at the Headquarters of the United Nations. Most of us were quite impressed standing in the historic meeting room of the Security Council, thinking about all the war/no war decisions that have been made here. Luckily, we were invited for an interesting chat with Annelies Verstichel, our top Belgian diplomat at the UN afterwards. We learned that one third of the Belgian diplomatic corps is female, but we never had a woman as Ministee of Foreign Affairs or head of the Ministry. Maybe Ines Swaelens or Naomi N’sa, the Belgian UN youth representatives could be the first?

When asked what stuck out as the memory they will cherish the most, a lot of ladies spontaneously pointed out to ‘the way we all connected with each other, despite our different backgrounds, professional expertise or character’. You get the picture: numerous impressions in only 4 days. With special thanks to Bieke Claes, CEO at Belcham and her team for the wonderful partnership. But hey, that’s the New York state of mind. So what’s on the wanted list of the ladies in our group?

‘More of the same: wonder, great talks, sense, friendship and nice rooftops’ they shouted out loud …

Do you want to join us for the next edition in Portugal in April 2017? Check out all details on http://www.72hoursreload.com

Elke Jeurissen, Straffe Madammen & Veerle Pappaert, ThinkTalent