stephenie foster » Archive

Secretary Kerry: Advancing Afghan Women

It isn’t the first time I have heard Secretary Kerry talk about the importance of women to Afghanistan’s future – but it might have been in the most beautiful venue, Gaston Hall at Georgetown University.  Secretary Kerry joined former Secretary Clinton, former First Lady Laura Bush, and many others in a bi-partisan show of support for Afghan women. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry made a compelling case for the progress Afghanistan has made since the fall of the Taliban.  As he said:  “in 2001 …there were only 900,000 Afghan children in school, and all of them were boys. Today, nearly 8 million students are in school, and more than a third of them are girls. …In 2001, maternal mortality was 1,600 per 100,000 births; today, it’s down by 80 percent. In 2001, life expectancy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Latest, Women & Leadership, Women & Politics

HuffPost: Review of Martha Johnson’s “On My Watch”

Here is my Huffington Post review of Martha Johnson’s new book, On My Watch:  Leadership, Innovation & Personal Resilience.  A great read for anyone who is interested in how leaders at every level of an organization can think about innovation, transparency, and organizational design. It comes from someone who has literally been there, in the most exhilarating and most difficult of organizational and personal times, and is willing to share her story. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

HuffPo: Lean In and Reach Out!

Here’s the latest, with some things I took away from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.  I found it to be a conversation starter. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Cross-Listed/Archives, Current/New, Latest, Topics, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

HuffPo Review: A Fort of Nine Towers

Here’s my latest Huffington Post piece, my first in eight months! It’s a review of Qais Akbar Omar’s new book, A Fort of Nine Towers: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Readings

Change is Constant

As much things change, they stay the same. And, we change but stay the same. It’s been about six weeks since I’ve returned from Kabul.  As I’ve walked and driven around Washington, DC, San Francisco and New York City these last six weeks, I have a heightened awareness of just those two points. What’s different since my return?  Little things like a bookstore is now an H&M; a post office now a restaurant; there is building where a parking lot once was; another is gone. Bigger things like I see the world a little differently because like everyone, I am changed by my experiences, the highs and lows, the people we meet and places we inhabit.  I have a great group of new friends from Kabul, and they have made my life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New

Living Two Lives

After 13 months in Kabul, I am home in Washington, DC.  I love every minute of being at home, but find myself living in two parallel universes.  I am back in my pre-Kabul life, but find myself drawn to seeing what my Kabul friends are up to at any given time.  Facebook is great for that.   The best analogy is to a political campaign, and I have done many of those, but this is different because you literally live and work with the same people on the same small piece of land for weeks and months at a time. Like a small town, you develop close relationships and know way too much about a lot of your colleagues.  You bond by going through good and bad times, and through personal and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Latest, Regions

Leaving Kabul – But Not Its Spirit

As my time in Kabul comes to a close, I have such mixed feelings and it’s hard for me to capture my feelings precisely.  I am excited to go home, of course, but also sad to leave friends and colleagues, both Afghan and ex-pat, who have meant so much to me here.  Afghanistan is a country with both real possibilities and real challenges.  Like almost everyone here, I lost a good friend to senseless violence, and I will remember Anne and her work for the rest of my life.  And, I also know I am not alone.  I honor the many others, Afghan and ex-pat, who have lost their lives to violence, while doing their jobs and living their lives. For me, honoring that sacrifice means that I admire and support the painstaking work done daily, by Afghans and ex-pats, to tear down … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Regions, Women & Leadership

Women & Business Advocacy: My First iBook!

My first iBook is out! This iBook – focusing on women’s business advocacy – is another in my series of manuals designed to help women succeed in business, public life and advocacy, and my co-author is my great friend Lauren Supina. I hope you will take a look and think about using it yourself, or sharing with others. It’s critically important that women business owners and leaders not only build their businesses but also be part of the public dialogue about how to create a better business climate. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Book Reviews, Cross-Listed/Archives, Current/New, Latest, Women & Business, Women & Leadership

Remembering My Dad (and the hot peppers he loved!)

It’s Father’s Day.  I’m in Dubai, having just returned from Sri Lanka and am on my way back to Kabul.  I thinking about my dad and the influence he had on my life.  Dan Foster was an amazing man, in a quiet and humble way.  He was an intellectual who grew up on a farm in Northern California, a man who was always striving to understand the world a little bit better.  He was intellectually curious, and as I grew up was always talking about other places around the world, and the importance of being engaged in your community, country and world.  He encouraged me to do what I wanted (often to his chagrin I am very sure).  He loved my mom, a strong willed woman who was way ahead … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross-Listed/Archives, Current/New, Latest

Part of the Story of Afghanistan

Sometimes I think that all of the stories about Afghanistan have already been told.  I’ve read so many books about life here – stories about life under the Taliban, traveling with the mujahadin, and interactions with Afghans in the near and far reaches of the country.  These stories are about war, loss, resilience, survival, family, sacrifice, love of country.  There are so many of them.  But there is always one more, your story or a story about someone you know.   I think the narratives complete and clash with each other because seemingly everyone here has something compelling to say. It’s a complicated, place. I’ve just returned after a break, and to say that I was gone in a time of great tumult is an understatement. The death of a dear colleague … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current/New, Latest, Regions, Women & Leadership