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Vital Voices, in partnership with Bank of America, is proud to announce that its newly opened Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership will be the host venue for its 21st Global Ambassadors Program (GAP) October 17-20. The GAP program is celebrating a milestone 10th anniversary since it first launched. During this year’s weeklong initiative, the program will match women social entrepreneurs, business and nonprofit leaders —who are at a tipping point in their professional, business and leadership paths—with established women executives (also known as our Global Ambassadors) for mentorship.

Through in-depth strategic planning workshops and high-level networking opportunities taking place all week at Vital Voices’ Headquarters, also known as the world’s first Global Embassy for Women, the program aims to well-position the mentees as leading drivers of economic growth in their communities and home countries.  The program will also provide a safe space for the participants to discuss the ongoing needs and challenges that many women leaders face and how to blaze a trail forward in spite of them.

“If we have learned anything since the onset of the global pandemic, it’s that women leaders face unique challenges, hence The Great Resignation. Women leaders also offer unique solutions to solving the world’s greatest challenges and research has shown us that when a woman succeeds, entire communities succeed,” said Zoë Dean-Smith, Senior Vice President of Leadership & Social Impact at Vital Voices. “We are very proud to offer a solid foundation of support through the Global Ambassadors Program in partnership with Bank of America over the past 10 years towards the mentoring, training and success of these women leaders.”

Since the program’s launch in 2012, there have been 20 successful Global Ambassadors Programs held in France, Puerto Rico, Haiti, South Africa, India, Singapore, Brazil, Qatar, Mexico, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. The program has impacted more than 350 women from 85 countries – helping mentees grow their businesses and organizations through more than 7,000 hours of training and mentorship.

The 2022 Global Ambassadors Program has several special distinctions, including a past mentee who is coming back as a mentor. Mairead Mackle, MBE is our first ever Global Ambassador who was originally a program participant receiving mentorship. She participated in the 2019 Paris program and attributes the 400 percent growth in her businesses since then to her participation in the program. Mackle recently received the distinguished MBE honor from Queen Elizabeth II prior to her passing.

The keynote speaker for the program kickoff is another successful mentee from a prior year: South African Business Consultant and Philanthropist Sbusisiwe “Sbu” Myeni, who was mentored by former Marriott International executive and Kathleen Matthews.

The Global Ambassadors Program in DC includes the following 10 women leaders from 10 countries:

  • Mexico: Daniela Ancira ‒ Co-Founder & CEO at La Cana
    (Handmade dolls, toys & clothing made by incarcerated women)
    Mentor: Yanire Braña, Founder & President at MET Community
  • Bangladesh: Nasrin Siddiqa ‒ Executive Director, Education & Cultural Society
    (STEM education NGO with focus on girls and underrepresented communities)
    Mentor: Laura Cox Kaplan, Creator at She Said / She Said
  • USA & Argentina: Cecilia Flores ‒ COO & Founder at Webee
    (Enterprise software company focused on AI and IoT)
    Mentor: Rasha Qamheyeh, Co-Founder& COO at AgribotAI and Founder & CEO Event Horizon
  • Ukraine: Zoya Lytvyn ‒ Founder at Osvitoria
    (Education nonprofit focused on educating children affected by the ongoing war)
    Mentor: Mairead Mackle, Founder & CEO at Tarasis Enterprises
  • Brazil: Lia Jamra Tsukumo ‒ Executive Director at Associação Vaga Lume
    (Literacy nonprofit focused on empowering children in the Amazon)
    Mentor: Lindsay Hans, Managing Director, Division Executive, Northeast Division at Bank of America
  • South Africa: Lusanda Magwape ‒ Founder and CEO at Dream Factory Foundation
    (Healthcare charity foundation focused on empowering young people)
    Mentor: Chi Kim, CEO at Pure Edge
  • Ukraine: Olga Kudinenko ‒ Founder and Chair of the Board at Tabletochki/Kids of Ukraine
    (Ukraine’s largest charity helping children with cancer)
    Mentor: Mentor: Elise Labott at CEO & Founder at Zivvy Media
  • India: Anuranjita Kumar ‒ Co-Founder & CEO at We Ace
    (Social enterprise focused on training women for workplace readiness)
    Mentor: Rachelle M. Franklin, CEO at Frontline Marketing & Promotions
  • Bhutan: Thinley Choden ‒ CEO at Center for Sustainability Studies
    (Consulting and training group specializing in food, energy, water and biodiversity)
    Mentor: Nicole Antoinette Smith, Assistant Professor of Instruction at Ohio University College of Business
  • Nigeria: Olufunto Boroffice ‒ CEO at Chanja Datti
    (Waste management and recycling enterprise focused on sustainability)
    Mentor: Taryn S. Thompson, Chief Procurement Officer at Bank of America

The Global Ambassadors Program is part of Bank of America and Vital Voices’ commitment to investing in women’s leadership development, a goal guided by the belief that strong leaders are important for developing healthy, vibrant communities and advancing economic growth. Bank of America invests in helping women make meaningful contributions within the company, and supports the economic empowerment of women in communities around the world.

For more information on the Global Ambassadors Program, click here. Follow us on all social media platforms @VitalVoices and use the hashtags #GlobalAmbassadors and #GAP22 for updates about the program all week!