As the 2018 Equity Fellows near the end of their induction year, they gathered for the week-long Project Accelerator, held at Inle Lake, Myanmar from October 28 to November 4. Most of the first day of programming was devoted to an adaptive leadership workshop, led by Eric Martin of Adaptive Leadership Advisors to enable Fellows to identify some of the challenges they are likely to encounter and build skills and practice the constructive approaches to respond to those challenges. Later in the week, Fellows borrowed techniques from theater and drama and, under the guidance of Singapore-based role-players and facilitators, used them to practice navigating difficult conversations and situations, such as those involving workplace conflict.
Project Accelerator also included a panel on “Women in Leadership and Health.” Senior Fellow Natalie Phaholyothin moderated the discussion with Prof. Geok Lin Khor, retired dean of the School of Health Sciences, International Medical University, Malaysia; Dr. Thein Thein Htay, former Deputy Minister for Health in Myanmar; and Dr. Khuat Thu Hong, founder and director of the Institute for Social Development Studies. They highlighted some of their professional achievements, barriers encountered during their careers, and the elements they felt were critical to achieving success. In another leadership discussion, Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) President Chris Oechsli shared the story of Atlantic Philanthropies’ founder Chuck Feeney.
The primary goal of Project Accelerator is for Fellows to bring their proposals for equity projects to near-final form. Several sessions were designated for Fellows to work in their project groups on proposal drafting. They benefited from the guidance of Prof. Khor, Dr. Htay, and Dr. Hong, who generously shared their professional expertise, as well as peer support from Senior Fellows Beverly Ho, Jeremy Lim, and Natalie Phaholyothin.
Each EI program element emphasizes the importance of bonding among Fellows, and the success of those efforts were clearly displayed over the course of the Project Accelerator week.