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It’s London calling! Global Ambassadors and their mentees met for the first time and after a morning of orientation to the program began work with trainer Allison Shapira on public speaking, learning best practices for making inspiring presentations in front of a variety of audiences. Throughout the day, genuine connections were sparking among participants as we all settled down to a week of intense learning, sharing and networking.

Take, for instance, Ahu Serter of Turkey and Lamice Joujou, her mentee from Lebanon. When asked about their initial impressions, Ahu’s excitement was palpable. “I’m so happy to meet Lamice. We have a very good match,” she said.

Lamice founded My Doll & Me, a company that manufactures dolls themed around girls’ empowerment and cultural awareness. “I was very lucky to be selected,” said Lamice. “There are so many inspiring women here and the environment is very rich.”

Irma Daushvili, general director and founder, DIO Ltd., is looking forward to working with her mentor, Alyazia Al Kuwaiti, on mapping out a strategy for her successful windows and blinds business in Georgia. After 20 years a market leader, DIO has added to its product line, and Irma wonders if she needs to rethink the expansion plan. 

All of the women on this Global Ambassadors Program trip are shining examples of the power of women’s leadership amid the humanitarian crises, ongoing conflict and the rebuilding of economies post-conflict typical of the Middle East & North Africa and Eastern European regions. We have mentees working with socially responsible NGOs, floating power plants electrifying developing countries, durable outdoor household products, socially conscious children’s dolls, public relations, tourism and hospitality.

We’re looking forward to watching their progress as they work with their mentors to build skills in strategic planning, financial management, human resources and communications – critical for advancing their businesses and organizations, espeically in these challenging times. 

Read our first London blog and follow us this week in London. Be sure to tweet questions to @VitalVoices and @BofA_News using the hashtag #GlobalAmbassadors.

Visit the London Gallery to see images and read the blogs to see the program from the begining. 

Image: Kim Kingsley and her mentee Khadija Idrissi Janati 

Photography: David Hume Kennerly