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forbes power women's summit budapest

This was the 2023 Forbes Power Women’s Summit or Women by Women for Women

A bit much women in the subtitle, isn’t it? Yet that’s what the 2023 Forbes Power Women’s Summit in Budapest at the end of March was all about. True, there were men both on stage and in the audience, but in very small numbers. We were there. Well, not on stage, but in the audience. This was the Forbes Power Women’s Summit through the eyes of AM Business.

When Forbes hosts an event, it’s almost always a guarantee that the visitor will not be disappointed. After all, you can assume that anyone who would attend the event knows what they are going to be up against, what the key aspects, the style, the attitude might be. I also knew that I would not be learning a new recipe at the Forbes Power Women’s Summit in Budapest, nor would it be about what the leading trend in fashion would be in the year ahead. Here, a slightly different female perspective is at the centre.

Two different moods, a thousand impulses

Because women are no longer one kind. Some choose family, some choose career, and some manage to find and maintain a balance between the two. Neither is better or worse than the other. So say the experts, and so do I. I guess if I had to give a professional opinion on the staging as an outsider, I would say that the organizers of the Forbes Power Women’s Summit put together the two main stages with something like this in mind. In fact, the POWER OF NOW main stage was dedicated to women of character, success and strength in their careers, while the BE MORE SENSITIVE main stage was more about hard-hitting, soul-searching stories. As in life, it was impossible to say which was better and which was worse. The two main stages had such big names that I had to apply some serious logistical consistency if I didn’t want to miss the ones that interested me most.

Drag names and the Forbes Power Women's Summit

Speaking of the Forbes Power Women’s Summit’s pull names, it is my duty to mention a few. It’s no big secret that the two most anticipated speakers here were Nobel Prize-nominated research biologist Katalin Karikó and Holocaust survivor and clinical psychologist Edith Eva Eger, who was born in Kassa/Košice. As both ladies have found new homes in the United States (there was no space for them in their homelands), they were unfortunately unable to attend the Forbes Power Women’s Summit live. However, the live online interview was just as much of an experience for me. Because I would never have thought that Katalin Kariko would be such a funny, attention-grabbing and honest speaker. Maybe, I thought her presentation would be boring because on the one hand she is a researcher, so she is very good at something that the average person is not, and on the other hand I am not very strong in biology. Incidentally, one of my favourite ideas that I brought with me was related to her.

forbes power women's summit budapest

Most powerful thoughts of Forbes Power Women's Summit Budapest (for me) from the POWER OF NOW stage:

Katalin Karikó, research biologist: she doesn’t really like talking to non-researchers at the
scientific discoveries, because it’s very tedious to translate into simple language the professional. (Makes sense, doesn’t it? Only most of us probably don’t admit it so honestly.)

World kick-boxing bronze medallist Melinda Zsiga: don’t love her because she’s handicapped or disadvantaged, because she had a childhood that breaks most people, but because of who she is as person. Same here: don’t hate her for who she was born. It’s not her fault. She should be measured according to her achievements (How clear and eternal a truth this is, yet, at the same time, it is we must remind ourselves of it.)

Barbara Hámori showrunner: if you know that your parents are such high excellence in a field, and you’ll never be able to catch up with them, you’d be better off pursuing a different career.
You should look for another career. Otherwise you will always be the child of this or that within the profession.

Nóra Winkler, art professional: in the old days, you could tell how does a millionaire look like. Todaya simple skater can be a billionaire.

forbes power women's summit budapest karikó katalin

Most powerful thoughts of Forbes Power Women's Summit Budapest (for me) from the BE MORE SENSITIVE stage:

Edith Eva Eger, clinical psychologist: to be fit and youthful mentally and physically at ninety-five, you have to live not in the past but in the present and the future.

Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter, restaurant owner: if you feel that your or your family’s future is stuck, or if you know that you could have a more relaxed and happy life elsewhere, you need to move on. Even if it’s hard, even if you might have to give up something important.

Éva Péterfy-Novák, writer: it’s good to write down important events in your calendar and check it when you get there. Otherwise, you might miss out on great conferences like the Forbes Power Women’s Summit. (Éva Péterfy-Novák Péterfy didn’t put the right date on the calendar, so she didn’t present at the event. I was very sorry about that.)

Marci Pál, family rights activist, and Orsi Tapasztó, mental health professional: even though parents and schools are open, the adoption is far from being family-friendly in Hungary nowadays.

forbes power women's summit budapest

My summary

You are neither better nor less than others. Behind every person is a story that makes them unique. Some are made stronger by it, others are broken and sinking. It’s up to each person to decide how they use, put away what life throws at them. That’s what the Forbes Power Women’s Summit gave me. More powerful stories of powerful women (plus a few men, about 20% of the speakers), of women who have become more powerful and put themselves on the map. On the map of those we can be proud of. Of course, there were some presentations that were not for me. But then there were hundreds of people there – it was a full house, by the way, about 900 people, which is pretty rough – so there was a target audience. Because, as I said, we are different, we are interested in other things. And that’s fine, that’s what makes us different.

Personal outro of the Forbes Power Women's Summit

I found my photo in the April edition of Forbes Hungary, as I participate in the Forbes Power Women’s Summit together with Katalin Karikó. This is how I describe it in marketing way. They actually shot a photo of Katalin Karikó’s online speech and I’m in the audience, from the back. If you don’t know me, you’ll never find out. But, even those who know me, are not sure. If someone does find me, he’s my guest for coffee. Even that maybe one of those Johnnie Walker Scotch coffees you could buy during the event. Spoiler: you could barely smell alcohol in it. 

And I’ve already told you about all the presents I got, who I met, what little little mistakes I noticed? I won’t tell you, because you can’t tell everything. Well, what’s left for the next Forbes Power Women’s Summit report, which is next year? Because I’ll definitely be back for the next one. As a spectator for sure.

All images used in this article are the property of Forbes and are available in their original form on the event’s official website and on Facebook.