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Leadership for positive impact

5th Women Empowerment Global Summit - Gala Dinner and Awards

Fri 15th September 2017 - Sun 17th September 2017

‘Attracting LIGHT in a Chaotic World’

Women Empowerment (WE) 2017 will be year 5 of empowering workshops, WE Awards, fine dining gala event, Cretan music and dancing set in the most magical and inspirational place, ESA on a mountain in Crete. People of all ages and backgrounds assemble from all around the world for this amazing and unique annual experience. This year we will build on the previous 4 years' themes of Educate, Empower and Employ by adding the 4th ‘E’ - ENLIGHTEN !


WE2017 is for: entrepreneurs, Mompreneurs, women in business, women aspiring to run their own enterprise, young aspiring entrepreneurs, creative entrepreneurs and young Greeks entering the world of work. Men are very welcome!

Key Aim of this programme

Since 2013, the annual ESA WE event has been a global collective of women entrepreneurs, Mompreneurs, women in business and women aspiring to run their own enterprise.

Exceptional speakers and teachers come to Crete from across the world. This year our pool of global excellence will travel from California, USA; Pondicherry, South India; Dubai, UAE; Abu Dhabi UAE; Geneva, Switzerland and UK.

The aim of the WE programme focusses on the personal development and leadership aspects of running a business including: personal branding and communication, sense-making and sense-giving skills and overall confidence boosting and enhanced global networking opportunities.

Each year people arrive at the magical place of ESA, not sure what to expect. They soon find themselves stimulated by the natural beauty and energised by new flows of creativity. Each year ESA WE participants share an uplifting sense of fun and the warm comfort of feeling part of something greater than our individual selves.

The inspiration for the WE2017, ‘Attracting Light in a Chaotic World’ was TEDx at the Technical University of Crete in May. TEDx TUC subject was ‘Light Leak’ and how in particular young Greek people, about to graduate and enter the world of work, can find their own ‘golden ribbon’ of light to lead them through the difficult conditions of life in Greece. Understanding how to take advantage of ‘Light Leak’ is important for people of all ages and all nationalities and this is why we have chosen ‘ENLIGHTEN’ as the key theme for this year’s WE Summit.

WE2017 will open with the first screening of ESA Founder Sharon Jackson’s TEDx Talk 'Sensing Light and Dark: A Cretan Story'.

The ESA Women Empowerment programme is designed for women to learn techniques for empowering themselves and men, and vice versa. Join us for a weekend of enlightenment and learn how to be a ‘LIGHT ATTRACTOR’ and how to ‘MANAGE YOUR GOLDEN RIBBON OF LIGHT’. Hear about techniques to capture and sustain light in your life, and to enlighten those around you for THRIVING and ADAPTING in a chaotic world!
WE is a place for entrepreneurs of all ages, women and men looking for sources of new skills for 'attracting light in a chaotic world' and help with developing their sustainable business and developing their sustainable self.

Last year’s attendee Spyros Skouris from Athens said:


“[At ESAWE16] I was brought in contact with giants from all around Europe, they helped me out in all sorts of aspects without anything in return and I am really grateful to them.”

“They gave me hope because my generation in Greece is facing lots of difficulties and even though we have many dreams and ideas, we don’t know how to do it and we need help, we need help from everyone”

Listen to all that Spyros has to say about ESA WE.

For full programme details please view the Agenda tab.


Previous Events

Women Empowerment 2016

Women Empowerment 2015

Women Empowerment 2014


Note: timings are preliminary and open to change

DAY 1. Friday 15th

People gather from around the world at the beautiful, ancient mythology drenched island of Crete.
13.00: Arrival and welcome, traditional Cretan lunch and settling in to the magnificent ESA dining room and soaking in the natural beauty of the place.

Session 1: Setting the scene

14:30 Opening workshop around the ‘famous’ circular pink carpet in ESA’s beautiful, homely earth walled lecture room. First screening of TEDx TUC – Light Leak ”Sensing Light and Dark: A Cretan Story.” Followed by discussion.

16:00 Find Clarity and Creativity in a World of Chaos: WE co-creator Samiel Carolina will show us how to make the physical and emotional space necessary for grounding our LIGHT. She will show us the essential importance of coming back to the wisdom of the body and earth for, healing emotions and clearing the mind so the LIGHT we ATTRACT can come to us and be sustained.

17:00 Developing humanity for sustainability: Anastasia Moir from Athens will explain a fascinating and illuminating model, based on Aristotelian theory, to prepare ourselves for thinking, feeling and acting in a way that makes personal sense for bringing about collective sense of sustainability and an enlightened world for everyone.
Spiros Petranakis – Manager of DEDISA Crete recycling and waste facility will tell the story of engaging hearts and minds for changing attitudes to the environment in Crete. TBC

19:00 Session 1 close: Traditional ESA Light Ceremony, for setting intentions, in the ancient ESA rocks

Evening event: 'Goddesses of Food'
with Astronomy and Mythology

NOTE: Tickets for this evening event can be booked separately, 35 euros per person

20:00 ‘The Universe in a Wine Glass’ a presentation by ESA resident Astronomer Christos Sotiropoulos. You will hear about the constellations and mythology around the ancient traditions of wine making.
This is followed by 3 activities for everyone to join in:

• Wine tasting and a short lesson in wine appreciation by Evie Dourakis from family owned winery and sustainable enterprise Dourakis Winery

• Cretan organic, stone milled cold pressed olive oil appreciation – ‘ A woman’s tale of green gold 'by Chloe Dimitriadis - CEO of Biolea

• In the ESA kitchen, Theodora Stephan, author of ‘OPA! The Healthy Greek Cookbook -Modern Mediterranean Recipes For Living The Good Life’ and founder of Global Gardens, California will give a live cooking demonstration of her fusion Caliterranean (Californian/Mediterranean) recipes and show you how to use filo pastry to make wonderful 'savoury, sushi baklava' to impress your friends.

21:30 LIVE planet and constellation viewing commences, with accompanying Cretan buffet and Cretan wine until CLOSE.

DAY 2: Saturday 16th

9:00 – 10:00 Welcome back, coffee, croissants, check-in and setting the scene for the day.

Session 2: Enlightened, Empowerment in Action

10:00 - 11:30 UN Award winning, Sustainable Building Architect Trupti Doshi from Pondicherry - Auroville, South India will show us how women have a golden role in designing the safe, homely, healthy and nurturing buildings for sustainable communities of the future. Trupti will demonstrate the impact of ‘Enlightened buildings for enlightened living’ and explain ‘architecture as frozen music’.

12:00 – 13:30 Listed as one of the “100 most impactful CSR leaders in the world”, Aruna Narayanan, Head of Environmental Solutions Strategic Initiatives at Dulsco in Dubai will share her golden tricks of how ‘How to be a shining Goddess in Waste’ and how to 'infect' positive change and influence behaviours.

13:30 We will move to the inspirational family run sustainable enterprise Gyladiko bio tavern and hand blown, recycled glass factory just 2km from ESA, for a delicious slow cooked, traditional Cretan cuisine lunch under the shade of the abundant grape vines.

Session 3: Finding your source of ‘Star Attraction’ and accessing your ‘Brilliant Shine’

14:30 Nicola Huelin, Founder of MPower business coaching and mentoring for Mums in business and author of ‘The invisible Revolution’  will take you through a wondrous ‘visibility’ map and introduce you to your own ‘golden ribbon’ path as you feel fully embraced and enriched by the Cretan light and natural beauty all around you. Nicola will show you the 'power’ and energy' that can be gained from 'mastermind' group techniques.

17:00 CLOSE – guests return to their accommodation to relax, swim, visit the sea and prepare for the evening gala event.

Evening event WE Gala dinner

Note: Tickets for this evening event can be booked separately, 45 euros per person or 200 euros per table of 6.

20:00 – 01:00 WE Gala dinner

A wonderful, glamourous evening with 4 course fine dining Cretan cuisine and Cretan wines, WE Awards ceremony with inspirational key note speakers followed by live music from Irene and Panagiotis and later dancing to Cretan band Groovetica.

Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Skevaki Sustainable Travel Entrepreneur and founder of Grecian Lux will tell us the inspiring and emotionally charged stories of the journey of Cretan women in enterprise today. How the women must ‘break the rules’ of traditions and at the same time uphold tradition.

Day 3. Sunday 17th

9:30 Welcome back, coffee, croissants, check-in and capture learning so far.

Session 4: Intentions into Action – Wrapping it up and Taking it home

10:30 Mindset Trainer Caroline Ferguson will take you through a gentle but powerful journey for recognising your own ‘Light Leak’ challenges. Caroline will teach you ground-breaking mindset techniques to help you regain access to your sources of light when inner and outer noise threatens your bright energy. You’ll come away with much greater awareness of how you might be blocking your own potential to truly shine.

11:30 Transforming your personal learning into your own reality. Taking back ‘how to’ raise your visibility and how to enact your aspirations that have been enlightened over the past few days.
Facilitated by; Anastasia Moir and Sharon Jackson

13:30 Special ESA Closing Ceremony – Sustaining the Light

14:00 WE2017 CLOSE with optional lunch at Drapanos taverna

EXTRA EVENT : 'Empowering Women In Tourism'

14:30 - 18:00 EXTRA EVENT: 'Empowering Women In Tourism' Making us Visible

A half day training event for women in tourism and hospitality.
* Launching ‘Goddess on Stage’ workshop for public speaking confidence building.
* Exploring the issues of underrepresentation of women in the tourism sector
* Recognising female role models
* Showing ‘STRAWS’ film about plastic pollution in the oceans and how the role of women in sustainable tourism actions can help address the problem
* Call to action

See separate event details

Samiel Carolina
Argentina & Switzerland

Samiel’s mission is to transform the world into a safe space to express ourselves and love each other, one woman at a time. She travels the world offering women access to the wisdom of their body and soul so they can fulfil their most important task of this lifetime: creating themselves by contributing their magnificent light to the world. Her work is based on a lifetime of studying the feminine and her personal journey of exploring diverse body work techniques to fashion and modelling, to quantum psychology, alternative therapy, energy healing and spiritual South American traditions.

Since 2010 she has walked the sacred Mayan Traditional Path with the Grandmothers of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and in 2013 she was honoured as a “New Pan African Woman of Vision and Change” by the Princess Moradeun Adedoyin-Solarin at ESA- Crete. Her inspiring personal journey has been featured in several books, magazines and online journals such as Huffington Post.

Aruna Narayanan
Dubai, UAE

Head – Environmental Solutions Strategic Initiatives at Dulsco and listed as one of 'The 100 most impactful CSR leaders in the world'.

She is actively involved in sustainability focused associations and enthusiastically volunteers for causes which improve sustainability education and raise environmental awareness. She is a regular speaker and panellist at various industry forums on diversity and climate change.

Aruna’s efforts have earned her recognition as one of the most influential CMOs of GCC (2015) and GCC’s Top 50 Marketers (2016). Aruna is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School (Executive Education).

Theodora Stephan
California, USA

Author and Founder of ‘Global Gardens’.

Her work has been featured on CNBC, Home & Family, Korean Broadcasting System and a myriad of media. Her books include: 'Olive Oil & Vinegar for Life: Delicious Recipes for Caliterranean Living'.

Theo is a first generation Greek American with a background in graphic design and advertising. She became the first olive oil producer in Santa Barbara, CA, and in 1996, the first in the USA to plant a commercial grove of Koroneiki varietal olive trees, imported from Crete, Greece. She will celebrate her 17th Certified Organic olive harvest this year.

Theo received her International Permaculture Certification in 2017 and is currently building a permaculture centre at Global Gardens for opening in 2018.

Ramona da Gama
London, UK

Ramona is a high performance, business and strategy growth coach who helps SMEs to accelerate their growth and entrepreneurs move from employment to starting their own businesses. She coaches leaders in large corporations to increase their value through sustainability, employee engagement initiatives and change management programmes. Ramona works in diverse sectors including  travel, luxury goods and media.

Ramona provides her expertise to ESA as a regular guest speaker and business development advisor. She is also a mentor in the Women (and Men) Innovators for Sustainable Enterprise programme (WISE) Greece and India and a core member of the ESA India project team.

Caroline Ferguson
London, UK

Caroline is a Mindset Trainer to high-potential women who know they were born for something bigger. She shows aspiring high performers how to overcome the limiting beliefs, procrastination, low self worth and stuck emotions that are keeping them small, so that they can fully explore their limitless potential.

Caroline guides people through what keeps us ‘stuck’ and robs us of our power. She shows us how to recognise and deal with the limiting beliefs, emotions and habits that are hold us back, so that we can truly empower ourselves.

Nicola Huelin
Chester, UK

Nicola is founder of MPower, a multi-award winning mentor to Mumpreneurs, inspirational speaker and author of The Invisible Revolution.

Nicola is on a personal mission to empower one million Mums in business! She has become a highly sought after women’s business coach and mentor to other mums who want to make a difference doing something they love, while making a difference at home for the ones they love most. With over 20 years’ experience in business, Nicola holds an Honours degree in business with a specialism in Marketing from Southampton University and postgraduate qualifications in business, change and project management and was an approved Marketing Advisor on the government’s Business Growth Voucher programme.

A registered AMAC coach (Associate member) with the Association for Coaching, Nicola is a fully qualified Small Business Coach and Personal Transformation Life Coach. Nicola’s work has been featured on international TV and radio, and her awards, include Mentor of the year 2016.

Trupti Doshi
Pondicherry, India

Trupti is a Architect & Integrated Sustainability Engineer. She is co-founder of The Auroma Group.

She studied architecture in Mumbai and champions Integrated Sustainability Engineering. Her focus area has been Ecological Design, Earth technology and Optimized structures. She has lectured widely in India and across several cities in Europe and presented to audiences ranging from architects, civil engineers, environmentalists, planners and students.
Her rural development institute Sharanam, co-created with Mr. Jateen Lad, has been chosen by the United Nations Environmental Programme as a model for sustainable development in India. She is currently heading her architectural practice in Pondicherry working on several institutional projects including schools, youth campuses, health resorts and bespoke residences in different parts of India.

Anastasia Moira
Athens, Greece

Anastasia, founder of ‘CAVE’ is a practitioner of ‘Performance Improvement’ with studies in Psychology and 20 years’ experience in productivity and performance management projects in organisations. She specialises in designing innovative models, training programs and tools of combined theory and practice for Performance Improvement. She is dedicated to the promotion of Human Development (HD) through the creation of a universal virtues-based culture.

Her work establishes human virtues as a vital component of ‘Performance’. Her CAVE Approach©, is a systematic process for assessing and developing the ‘human element’ of performance and has been evolved as a model to serve preparations for enacting sustainability. Anastasia helps people to become efficient agents of HD to enable the ability to consistently promote their individual wellbeing and broader Sustainable Development of humanity.

She recently introduced the notion of ‘Human Development Tourism’ as a powerful instrument for the endocentric cultivation of this a ‘HD culture’.

Rebecca Skevaki
Greece & Australia

Owner of Grecian Lux, Chapter leader for Travel Massive Crete and Operator of Urban Adventures in Greece (part of the Intrepid Group) and Golocal Tours in Australia.

Cretan born and grew up between Crete and Australia, Rebecca is a global tourism treasure. She has a passion for promoting the natural treasure Crete and developing Crete as a sustainable destination of choice for discerning travellers.

Host your event at ESA     

Powered only by Cretan sunshine, ESA is a beautiful building rooted in the earth amongst ancient rocks and olive trees, surrounded by nature. Its construction is a leading example of sustainability in practice. ESA is an experiential and creative place where people feel enlivened, uplifted and creative. Great living and great learning happen at ESA. A perfect setting for:

Leading sustainable enterprise

Our passion is contributing towards co-created sustainable enterprise for positive impact on communities and the natural environment on a global scale. Leadership and entrepreneur issues of adaptation, resilience, authenticity, sustainable-self, values connected sense-making and the continued emancipation of women (WISE) to take up more leadership roles in the world are at the core of the ESA sustainability experience.

Make sense of sustainability

Crete is the sustainable destination of the past and of the future.

Home of the Minoans, one of the earliest civilisations on earth, nestled between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Crete is rich with mythology, gastronomy, music, art and agriculture. You can have your own authentic experience of a sustainable lifestyle and feel first-hand the strong connection between nature and community.