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Saturday, July 25, 2009

ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN: The Woman of One Thousand Women

Especially for Women with Ann Barczay Sloan

The Woman of One Thousand Women

Introducing Paula Constantino

Chief Visionary Officer of 1000 Women Can Change The World

”1000 Women CAN Change the World

by Empowering Women Globally”

How did I manage to connect with Paula?

I was immediately impressed by Paula Constantino’s executive powers when first introduced to her in early 2008 by two women high on my admiration list: Marcia Brixey and Suzanne Kincaid. (Read my interviews with these stellar ladies in our TNNW archives see links at end of this article.)

Paula and I met by phone, of course: she lives in Maryland, I’m in Washington State. Even long distance I could observe her crisp and direct communication style, and I continued in awe of this powerful spirit who had envisioned and created the huge resource network: , with the purpose of supporting and mentoring women in a broad spectrum of ways.

Our interchanges were summarized in my article, “The Power of Women Mentoring Women”, published in The National Networker (TNNW)

A continuum of connection

Since this event, Paula and I have stayed on each other’s e-mail lists. We are also connected on LinkedIn: a prime business network into which she has poured herself with great gusto.

And now, once again, here I am talking with Paula! She recently sent an e-mail inviting women to participate in creation of her Audio Information Modules (AIM), i.e., to generously share our individual expertise in order to assist at-risk women via a digital format easily accessible around the world. (More on AIM later.)

I eagerly responded to this opportunity, given I’ve loved my past experiences as an educator. Then in a flash I got: here was a bonus for me! I realized it would be interesting to re-interview Paula for TNNW, given how much wider her outreach must surely be at this time. I mean: now she’s “only” aiming to gather 1000 dedicated women who aim to change the world! See all this explained at .

So, here we have Paula Constantino revisited! What is this lady dynamo up to now?

We can set the stage with Paula’s bio on the “1000 Women” site:

President / CEO Paula Constantino ~ Attorney by profession, but visionary by choice, Paula is currently following her passion, focusing on creating ways for women to help other women achieve more success with less stress globally - including supplemental training tool. First, she founded and built and now she is applying those resources to help inspire, enlighten and empower women worldwide with 1000 Women Can Change the World.

The “1000 Women” site: Details

The site is the portal for great new inspiration. On the opening page we see a photo of three smiling women, accompanied by the message below (condensed):

WE = Women who are Empowered!

Together, WE can inspire, enlighten and empower women worldwide with useful, lifetime skills
by building an information highway using 21st century technology.

WE harness technology to…

Inspire women and motivate women to tap into to their own inner strength
women to learn how technology can enhance their lives
Empower women to reach their full potential both inside & out with practical skills

Empowering women benefits them AND their families
AND their communities AND ultimately the world!

WE Our TEAM of Mentors – record 30-45 minute audio presentations sharing our expertise with at-risk women
via the Internet and... where there is limited or no Internet via preloaded,

handheld, battery-operated audio players.

At-risk women can access these Audio Information Modules (AIM) anytime anywhere in the world
over and over again & easily share them with others.

Moving on through the site, under the About tab we can find key topics such as Mission, Vision, information on the Board and Founder/Executive Director and Financial Status.

Two tabs of special interest are: Visionaries and Invest.

The Visionaries page defines the word: “A visionary is a prophet, creative thinker, seer and/or futurist.” It then specifies what it takes to be a Visionary in the context of “100 Women”:

As an investor/supporter of 1000 Women Can Change the World, you in deed are a visionary – one who sees how Women Empowered with practical, useful life and business skills can truly change the world.

Since our initial goal of 1000 Women Can Change the World is for 1,000 women each to invest at least $1,000 to raise one million dollars… the Visionary status starts when you invest at least $1,000.

By increasing one’s investment level, one can rise to higher visionary rank, escalating from Silver to Gold to Platinum.

The Invest page reiterates the immediate goal, i.e., booking for

1,000 women to each invest $1,000 to reach $1,000,000

to fund our providing practical, useful skills and information

to women globally

A “Donate Now” button is also provided.

Again, the “What we do” is listed:

What we do...

Build a 21st Century Highway -
Using technology to provide
women with useful,

practical information - easy

to access, understand &

pass onto others

The ways one might be of help are also specified:

We need your help...

Expertise in women's issues

Linguistics & language




But enough of web site visitation! It’s time to get into the interview with Paula: the live source and living heart of this information.

Might as well start with your so-called elevator speech: How would you briefly describe what you do?

“As Chief Visionary Officer of 1000 Women Can Change the World (‘1000 “Women’), I work with organizations to deploy digital technology to inspire, enlighten and empower at-risk women with practical, ‘how to’ information to enhance their lives so that they become the best that they can be – reaching them in the most remote areas of the world – even where there is no internet or even electricity.”

That is a hugely important point – this “no electricity” aspect. Brilliant!

Now -- What makes your organization unique? In other words, what is the so-called Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your product or service?

“It’s our use of digital technology makes the ‘1000 Women’ model unique – we create Audio Information Modules (AIM) – 30 to 45 minute audio presentations recorded by women mentors. These AIM are uploaded to a dedicated website page to be accessed by the at-risk women in the program from anywhere at anytime.”

So it’s at-risk women who are your target, your intended audience at present?


What is your mission – the primary goal of this work you’re doing?

“Having started law school at age 40, I was a trial attorney in the New York metropolitan area for a dozen years and then in-house legal counsel for a technology start-up in Maryland. My passion, however, has been finding creative means to empower women to be all that they can be.”

I suppose we could call this a humanitarian / philanthropic aim?

“Yes – I might say my humanitarian/philanthropic work focuses on bringing practical, useful information to women who need it the most through my social enterprise which I have named “1000 Women Can Change the World at

I’d like to know where this passion of yours originated! Would you describe how you got started in this direction, and how you arrived where you are now?

“As an attorney by profession, most of my time was in a male dominated environment where I observed the ‘good ole’ boys’ network at work. Believing that women would benefit from a similar support system to help them meet the challenges of balancing their work, home and family, I came up with the idea of creating an online, one-stop resource for women – resulting in Women’s Support TEAM at – where women can achieve more with less stress.

If I recall from our first article, the letters T.E.A.M. are an acronym?

“Yes!” Paula smiles. “’Together Everyone Achieves More’. And sometimes we at WS Team lengthen it as follows:

‘Together Everyone Achieves More success globally through Synergy’

So, continuing on, in the spring of 2008, after discussions with my advisory board, I formed the 1000 Women Can Change the World, a 501(c)(3) public charity. This for impact social enterprise is poised to empower not only at-risk women here in the USA, but also to achieve more economic and social equality for women in developing countries. Our digital audio program model enables us to bring AIM to women in remote regions of the world.”

That’s powerful and highly practical. Now another question: was there a time of breakthrough – a turning point when you chose to change your course? Any specific quantum leap(s)?

“Going from the practice of law to philanthropy has indeed been a quantum leap – even though it has evolved over a period of years. In actuality, I have undergone a major shift of mind and spirit – essentially evolving from life as an intellectual transaction lawyer pushing paper to an innovative social entrepreneur who seeks to change the world – eradicating poverty from the grass roots up.”

Wow I want to keep saying Wow! And my next question is: which of your projects are you currently most excited / passionate about?

“I am so excited that ‘1000 Women’ is the on the verge of launching its first dedicated website site for participants of a local abuse and domestic violence program. This website page has AIM+ – digital audio information modules plus written materials for most of the modules. Sample modules include the ABCs of Life: Attitude, Belief & Commitment; Living & Leading with Courage; How to Design Your Destiny; Dance of an Abusive Relationship; and more.”

Sounds like a phenomenal resource well be a lifesaver for some! Actually, how much of your work is focused toward women?

“At this time, 100% of my work is focused on women: both with our online resource Women’s Support TEAM and 1000 Women Can Change the World.

The underlying concept of ‘1000 Women’ is based on the well established premise that when we benefit women, we benefit their families, communities and society at large. This is the basis for most microfinance, starting with the Grameen Foundation and Mohamed Yunus who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.”

What are some of the ways / places you promote your enterprise?

“As indicated earlier, I have extensive websites for both ‘1000 Women’ and Women’s Support TEAM with ancillary websites at and . I also keep up a blog at .

Online networking has been the primary means of promoting both Women’s Support TEAM and ‘1000 Women’, but focus this past year has been primarily on ‘1000 Women.’

I have set up groups for ‘1000 Women’ on both LinkedIn and Facebook, in addition to a Women’s Support TEAM group on LinkedIn. I have also set up ‘1000 Women’ as a Cause on Facebook with a presence on Twitter @1000Women.

I have been interviewed several times on BlogTalk Radio by Dr. Sally Witt and Tonya Ramsey on her Journey to Self show, plus being interviewed live WomanTalk Live in Baltimore, MD, and by telephone on SAFM Radio in South Africa. Janet Powers interviewed me online for her Diva Toolbox, and Debba Halbert interviewed for her Girlfriendology.

I also network in person by attending meetings, conferences and social gatherings, primarily in the Washington, DC area. One of the most productive has been an informal group of women who meet monthly for breakfast at the Four Seasons in Georgetown.”

Whom / what does your network currently include? How far does your network extend?

“My email network is global with contacts in Africa, especially South Africa; Australia, Spain, India, Turkey, Canada and other countries, as well from coast to coast in the US. I network with some of the international women via Skype which is really quite cool to be speaking with these women oceans away but kindred spirits at heart.”

That really sounds great!

What has been the best about building a network: Positive experiences?
Benefits, expected and unexpected?

“One of the coolest benefits of networking globally is that I can reach out to these women on Skype, set up a time for us to speak and talk as if we were neighbors chatting over the backyard fence. One time I was on Skype with a young woman in South Africa for more than two hours just getting to know each other and how we could help each other’s causes.”

What challenges (if any) have you found in your networking experiences? Any unexpected events? Any benefits that emerged from challenges in the long run?

“At times, the difference in time zones is challenging. For example, the live telephone interview from South Africa was set for 5 AM my time. I have found such challenges, however, to be quite worthwhile and rewarding.

As I work to expand my network in South Africa, it’s often challenging to follow up as effectively as I might if the woman were here in the US where I could just pick up the phone and call. I need to develop a more effective system for following up with my network contacts.

The goal is to become more proactive and not be so reactive. This is an exercise that I am working on improving.”

Bottom line – What do you feel is really working well for you?

“My expectations for ‘1000 Women’ and where I thought we would be after its first year were amazingly high… and I have come to realize not overly realistic, especially with the downturn in the economy that is impacting even well-established charities.

Overall, we have made significant progress in increasing awareness of our mission and vision to make a difference in the world by empowering women with knowledge and information to empower them to be all that they can be.”

Besides networking, how else are you promoting your company? Which do you view as the primary vehicle and what makes it more important than the other(s)?

“In addition to networking both online and in person, I believe that we need more PR to get the word about our unique value proposition.

What ‘1000 Women’ needs most at this moment is for a contact with a major organization to step forward so that we can launch a full-scale pilot project to demonstrate that by using digital AIM to reach women – especially in emerging economies – the success of their programs would increase exponentially.”

What’s the achievement, the accomplishment you’re most proud of at this time?

“I am most proud of having come up with concept of using AIM to empower at risk women with practical, ‘how to’ information… being able to use digital audio to target the content being produced to fit the specific needs of the women receiving it. For example, for women in villages in Africa, we have the women mentors record information on health (HIV/AIDS, malaria) hygiene (water, sanitation), financial literacy (banking basics, benefits of saving) and so on. We can indeed begin to impact lives for the better.

Once we have our proof of concept so that we can get funding, the potential is unlimited!”

What are your plans and goals for the future organizational / personal especially regarding networking activities?

“My goal is to network more with organizations in the DC area to meet contacts who can open doors to funding for this social enterprise. Funding is key to the implementation of our mission and vision. Networking with individuals with microfinance and microenterprise institutions fits into our global vision.

In addition, I’m looking for contacts in any women’s organization – domestic or international – that offers us the opportunity to implement our proof of concept. In the USA, I’m looking to work with women’s organizations that assist at-risk women – victims/survivors of rape, domestic violence or any other abuse. We can set them up with a dedicated website page with invaluable information for their women – modules on how to build self esteem, confidence and motivation; enhance communication skills; foster entrepreneurship; and so much more.”

Sounds great! Again, I must repeat myself: Wow!

“We offer women’s international organizations an effective and efficient supplemental tool that greatly increases their likelihood of success. Deploying handheld battery operated audio players with pre-recorded training materials is much less costly than providing live training – especially in remote regions where travel is challenging. Groups of women can listen to the ‘how to’ information together – stop the player – discuss the ideas – restart the player and repeat the process.

This is process that I sincerely believe can change the world from the grassroots up – because when we benefit women, we benefit their families, their communities, their society and beyond!”

Amen to that! Any other point you’d like to emphasize at this time?

“Think about the concept of Getting More by Giving Back; think about what you know – that you may have learned the hard way – that you can share with other women to enhance their lives. It only takes about an hour or so for someone to create an AIM”.

Sign me on, Paula… You’ve got me inspired!

Paula smiles. “Yes! Think of how much good an hour or so of time can do for so many others. You can make a difference in the lives of these women who need your know-how and guidance.”

In conclusion, anything you’d like to add for our readers? Some words of encouragement, inspiration?

“We are all works in progress – so when we share our tips, pointers, ‘how to-s’ with others, it can make us feel so good about ourselves. As the head of a nonprofit – actually I prefer to think of it as a ’for impact’ social enterprise – I am always looking for donations and funding. But knowing the times are unsettled at the moment – maybe a gift of time and expertise would fill the bill – leaving you feeling good about yourself as you enhance the lives of others.”

By way of goodbye here, Paula, I’m moved to say “1000 Thanks” for your rich inspiration and for modeling such extraordinary executive as well as visionary power.

“You’re very welcome, Ann! Also, I invite you to set an appointment to create your first Audio Information Module for ‘1000 Women’!”

Contact information: Where can people reach you?

“Let me hear from you – your thoughts, ideas and any input are all much appreciated – email me at or check out website at

and our blog at .

- - - - -

P.S. to Readers: In early August, I’m scheduled to create an AIM with Paula over the phone using Audio Acrobat. I’m excited! I wonder who might end up hearing what I have to share – and where???

Earlier TNNW Women’s Networking articles referenced:

Suzanne Kincaid:

Marcia Brixey:


Ann Barczay Sloan, M.A.

Author & Editor / Creative Writing Coach

Featured Columnist,


Author of the forthcoming book:

How to Use the Pieces of a Broken Heart:

Recipes for Rebirth

For more information, please visit Ann's TNNW Bio.


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