At She/Ze, Vicki Saunders will take attendees on a journey of shifting our mindset with her mantra: “everything’s broken, what a great time to be alive”

When all around you it seems that the world is breaking and that there is nothing any of us can do, Vicki Saunders invites you to realize the power you hold to turn it all around. Saunders is the founder of SheEO, a movement which aims to create a billion-dollar fund that will annually back 10,000 women entrepreneurs worldwide. The latest in her long line of business ventures, SheEO is a radically redesigned ecosystem that was imagined as a solution to a system that wasn’t working–a system that was broken.

You see, Saunders approaches business in a unique way. She sees what is not working in our world as an opportunity, as a chance to innovate and disrupt and create a solution to a problem. Saunders, like many of us, sees things that “suck.” But rather than getting her down, those things energize her and spark ideas of how she can contribute to making the world a better place. For Saunders, this shift in how we approach problems and challenges we see is key.

“I tend to flip things from the negative to the positive in my mind, all day long,” Saunders said. “It’s a practice I have. I used to hear myself say, ‘that would be hard.’ And in my mind, I then flip it to, ‘what if it wasn’t? What if it’s all made up? What if we can change it?’ Try that on for a day and see where it takes you.”

Behind this change in how we see the world’s problems is a framework of mindset shifts Saunders believes we need to make to help us collectively create dramatically different outcomes for our communities and our future. Among those shifts is moving from scarcity to abundance, from control to trust, from fear to radical generosity, and–importantly–a shift from being in it alone to working together.

“How can we as women bring our desire to be a changemaker to our work, whether it’s how we run our businesses or to our career in government or another sector? I think making change is easier together,” Saunders said. “So, find the others! What are the things you want to change? Talk about them with others. Does anyone else think this is an issue? Gather together. Make a plan. Get started. Experiment. And of course, see if you can find someone to take action with, it’s always easier together.” 

If you’re feeling stuck in getting started, then starting with something small is your way forward. Saunders sees taking action as a muscle that needs to be exercised and built. Through small steps and through dreaming about and reflecting on those steps, we can build that muscle and it can help power us through bigger actions. With bigger actions comes the possibility of failure, a possibility that can stop many in their tracks. The fear of failure can be so strong and persistent that it can keep some from even taking that first step. Saunders embraces failure and has found that the many failures she has encountered in her journey are responsible for getting her to where she is today.

“My whole life has been a giant experiment with a gazillion failures on the way to SheEO,” Saunders said. 
It’s not at all easy to believe that you can create the change you want or have the impact you dream of. Many of us have mindset blocks and belief systems that make it seem impossible to get there. Saunders is no stranger to these.

“I spent 30 years in scarcity, isolated, thinking I had to do everything on my own,” Saunders said. “When I think back now I realize it was not the only option I had but I had a ton of voices inside my head saying, ‘you aren’t ready, you don’t matter, you should know this already, they are probably too busy even though they said they wanted to help.’”

Working through these voices and shifting our mindset from problem to solution and from limitation to opportunity is a journey. Saunders will be delivering the closing keynote at She/Ze Leads the World–the women’s leadership summit taking place in Whitehorse Nov. 19 to 21. The keynote will take us on the journey of Saunders’ thinking around shifting our mindset. She’ll show how using this framework of mindset shifts can get us to radically different models and solutions.

“This is a beautiful, painful, challenging, glorious moment in time we are living it,” Saunders said. “We’ve got a giant colossal mess globally that is all interconnected that requires us to work together, to collaborate, to care for one another. Most of the rules of the game and systems that have caused these problems were not designed by women. We weren’t at the table. We have a huge opportunity to bring forth another perspective; new models, new mindsets and new solutions to get us to a new world. It really is a great time to be a woman and to step into all of our power, together.”

SHE/ZE Leads the World is hosted by SMRT WOMEN and the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and will be held November 19-21. Event details and tickets are available at YukonLeadershipSummit.com