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Apply here for the 2023 program!

When women advance, the world succeeds. Whether you are an entrepreneur, activist, non-profit leader or someone who has a bold vision for change, you can have profound impact.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM 

The VV Visionaries program in partnership with the Estée Lauder Emerging Leaders Fund (ELELF), the charitable fund of Estée Lauder, was created to support the next generation of emerging leaders who are redefining leadership in their everyday lives.   

The VV Visionaries program invests in trailblazing women by increasing their access to leadership training and the networks that sustain them. Together with the Estée Lauder Emerging Leaders Fund, this signature program will champion women leaders across diverse sectors, industries, and experiences who want to create positive social impact in their communities and beyond. 

Three cohorts of 50 women visionaries over the age of 18 will participate in a 7-week immersive virtual experience built on the proven leadership model of Vital Voices, incorporating lessons in leadership from Estée Lauder executives and Vital Voices Global Network leaders.  

Participants from all three cohorts will have the chance to be selected for one annual in-person experience that provides deeper training and investment in their personal leadership journeys. 

Following completion of the cohort, participants will join the Vital Voices community of over 20,000 changemakers across 185 countries, each of whom are daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.

Interested in applying for the 2023 program? Details about eligibility and selection for our three 2023 cohorts can be found in the application here.

Application Deadline: Friday, March 10, 2023 at 10 a.m. ET

THE ESTEE LAUDER EMERGING LEADERS FUND 

The mission of the Estée Lauder Emerging Leaders Fund is to redefine leadership by supporting a new generation of emerging leaders and challenging the gender stereotypes present in current expectations of leadership.  

We need leaders across every industry and every community who are authentic to who they are and use their power, influence and passion to make positive change. We know that women’s leadership will accelerate progress in our communities, offices and boardrooms.   

María Eugenia Martinez Karam

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Maru Martínez is the Founder and CEO of Our Skin Our Story, a social media initiative and “intimate” Community. Her vision is to create and promote skin cancer awareness through her own life story sharing her knowledge about this disease and what has helped her be in a better place emotionally and physically after her 3 Basal Cell carcinoma tumors on her left cheek. Our skin our story is the first Instagram account in Mexico and Latin America committed to providing valuable and scientific information in Spanish and English about skin cancer and sun damage. Patients can listen to interviews with experts across different fields and share their own stories in order to feel supported when going through their diagnosis. 

Martínez has experience in public and business relations. She is the founder of Connecting Dots, a company with a solid network around the world helping people and companies grow their businesses within the Mexican territory. Martínez’s work and projects have been featured by well know Mexican magazines, newspapers, and on social media. 

She has a certificate from the skin cancer charity in the UK for melanoma and skin cancer early detection. Additionally, she is also the only Latin American warrior in the NOTA mole tracker program. 

“As a visionary leader, I aspire to create a universal understanding and awareness about the importance of taking care of our skin, as it is the largest organ we have.”  

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Mexico

Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović

2022 Fellow, VV Visionaries

Adrijana Hanušić Becirovic is the Senior Legal Adviser at TRIAL International, a non-governmental organization which fights impunity for international crimes and represents victims of conflict-related sexual violence in their quest for justice and reparation. From 2019to 2021, she was serving at the UN Secretary-General’s Civil Society Advisory Board on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. She is also occasionally serving as a human rights consultant to international organizations like the EU,UNDP and OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as a consultant or board member to various NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad. The focus of her work is gender equality and GBV, transitional justice, international human rights standards, and anti-discrimination law. Before joining TRIAL, she worked in a law office, and provided legal expertise to the B&H Parliamentary Assembly as well as to the National Human Rights Ombudsmen Institution. She also participated in traineeship/scholarship programs at the Council of Europe and the German Parliament. Hanušić Bećirovićholds a Law degree from the University of Sarajevo, where she was awarded for excellence, and has received, as a French Government scholarship holder, from the University of Strasbourga master’s degree in Public International Law. Adrijana was a fellow of the Vital Voices Peace Fellowship: Intergenerational Fellowship on Women, Peace and Security in South Central Europe (2021) and a fellow of the Open Society Fund BiH Policy Development Fellowship Program.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina

Kryss Shane

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

With over 25 years of experience guiding the world’s top leaders in business, education and community via individual, small group and full-staff trainings, Dr. Kryss Shane LSW, LMSW has been featured and named “America’s go-to Leading LGBT+ Expert” in The New York Times, ABC News, Yahoo!, and CNN.

Dr. Kryss is known for helping businesses address their unique Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion needs in an approachable, manageable, and actionable way. This includes alterations to physical spaces, updating hiring practices, re-drafting policies and procedures and more. In addition to her doctorate, she holds two master’s degrees, two licenses to practice mental healthcare, and she is currently serving as a Lecturer at Columbia University and an Adjunct Professor at University of Massachusetts Global, Fordham University, Northern Louis University, and Metropolitan State University Denver.

Dr. Kryss is the author of Creating an LGBT+ Inclusive University: A Practical Resource Guide for Faculty and Administrators, which provides guidance for faculty and administrators of universities and colleges to become knowledgeable, capable, and able to make their campuses more LGBT+ inclusive. She is also the author of Creating an LGBT+ Inclusive Workplace: The Practical Resource Guide for Business Leaders, which provides best practices and professional guidance for creating LGBT+ inclusive workplaces, including creating safer working environments, updating company policies, enhancing continuing education and training, and other tangible ways to support LGBT+ people in the workplace.

 

 

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United States

Anne Nduku

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Anne Nduku is a Business Development Manager and social impact lead at Ed Partners Africa–Kenya, acompany that lends to affordable private school owners. She has successfully run a social impactprogram that equips school owners withskills to run and manage their institution to a competitivestandard. The skills include, leadership, financial management, School management system amongothers. Anne holds a bachelor of degree in Arts (Economics) from Kenyatta University and is an AcumenFellow 2021.

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Kenya

Isabella Mukankusi

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Isabella Mukankusi is the co-founder of Wak Mental HealthDefenders (WMHD), a nonprofit organization that promotes and protects women and children’s rights giving them skills and an opportunity to thrive through legal empowerment, capacity building, formation of strategic partnerships, community groups, and social enterprise innovations, where no one is left behind.So far, WHMD has created one strong community outreach program for persons living with mental illness in Uganda and is committed to providing opportunities to change life paths.Prior to this, Mukankusi worked at Justice Defenders, where she taught incarcerated individuals and prison officers studying a University of London distance learning law degree to help facilitate legal processes. Mukankusi led the Legal Services team to build prison-based legal aid clinics, where trained paralegals and law students provided legal services for themselves and others and implemented gender mainstreaming policies in all the programs. Mukankusi holds a Bachelor of Laws Honors Degree from London Metropolitan University, UK. She recently completed the 2021/2022 Human Rights Advocates Program fellowship at Institute for Study ofHuman Rights, Columbia University in the City of New York. She serves as a Board Member for My StoryInitiative, a disability rights nonprofit and is involved in advocating for sexual and reproductive rights of girls with psychosocial disabilities in Uganda.

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Uganda

Claudia Thomas Riché

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Claudia Thomas Riché is the Executive Director and co-founder of NECH-CIEH, a collaborative education network for nurses. Created in 2014, the network brings together nurses from Canada, the United States and Haiti with the mission to position nurses as health change makers within and beyond the clinical context, into the community, to promote better health habits and disease prevention.Previously,Thomas Riché was the Program Director of theNECH-CIEH. She is also a nurse consultant at the GHESKIO Centers Training Unit in Port au Prince since 2004.Thomas Riché holds a master’s degree in nursing science from University of Montreal,Canada. She received a certification degree in 2013 from Institute of HealthcareImprovement (IHI) in Boston as Improvement Advisor (IA).In 2019, she was named anAshoka Fellow, a lifetime award, establishing her as part of a community of social innovators and as an actor for change and the resolution of major societal issues.

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Haiti

Faith Zumazuma

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Zumazuma is planning to launch an initiative that will focus on supporting young women to deal with various forms of gender-based violence (GBV) in their work places and support survivors to build back their self-esteem and speak out against such violence. Zumazuma envisions a GBV-free environment. Her organization will further focus on empowering women and girls to realize their socioeconomic rights and welfare through the creation of safe spaces for them to interact and share knowledge and skills. The organization will also contribute towards preventing and supporting education for the girl child through prevention and response toSexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in primary schools. Zumazuma is a passionate public health professional with 8 years of experience in human rights advocacy as well as working with survivors of GBV, marginalized women, and adolescent girls.She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Skyway University and has served as aYouth Advisory Council Member for Child Helpline International (CHI).

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Malawi

Carla Rios-Palma

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Rios-Palma is working on a project to promote the inclusion of women in STEM. With this initiative, she expects gender bias to reduced in the area and that more girls have role models to be motivated to study STEM careers. Rios-Palma is an industrial engineer and completed her education at the University of Chile.During her professional career she has worked in analytics, machine learning, marketing and strategy. She is motivated to improve customer experience through data-driven strategies, obtaining information from different processes through data science and machine learning tools. Her leadership is empathic, collaborative and customer-focused. She has extensive experience in Banking and Telecommunications in Chilean companies; previously she was head of an advanced analytics team.

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USA

Ariane Turner

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ariane Turner, CEO/Founder of Look Good Live Well, is a serial entrepreneur and 20 year beauty industry veteran. After spending over a decade working as a makeup artist for film and television she experienced the impacts of burnout, and committed to learning about the damaging effects of stress on the body. This journey exposed the inequitable marketing of toxic ingredients to Black and Brown communities, the toxic messaging used within the beauty industry to describe melanin rich skin, and the explicit need to amplify the voices of Black andBrown practitioners within the wellness community. Look Good Live Well provides topical skincare solutions for common concerns amongst melanin rich humans and reintroduces the community to the healing power of adaptogens-ingredients used by ancestors for centuries.Turner also prioritizes educating humans on the multiple manifestations of stress on the body and helps guide individuals towards the resources that will help them make the connection between health, wellness and beauty.Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts from Florida A&M University. Her passion for amplifying melanin rich humans in the wellness and beauty space has garnered the attention of Beyonce, EssenceMagazine, Atlanta Magazine, Upscale Magazine, and countless other media outlets. Her knack for impactful storytelling, and commitment to collaboration, have put her in position to excel in various accelerator programs, and to secure over $150k in grants and mentorship from TargetForward Founders, Credo for Change, Brown Girl Jane, SheaMoisture, Essence, Aveeno, Johnson & Johnson, Tower28, BASF and StitchCrew.

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USA

Hleziphi Siyothula-Mtshizana

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Siyothula-Mtshizana is an Energy professional with 16 years of experience delivering small to utility scale infrastructure projects with a focus on Renewable Energy. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of In Pursuit Africa Group, a pan-African Energy Services company that delivers energy efficiency and Renewables projects for public and private sectors. She is also aTechnical Advisor and director at KPCares NPC (PBO), a non-profit organization focused on delivering meaningful socio-economic development programs in energy sector for the empowerment of youth and small-micro-medium enterprises (SMMEs). Siyothula-Mtshizana is a former Senior Project Manager within Arup’s Renewables team where she oversaw a Lender’s Technical Advisory (LTA) team working on renewables projects. She has developed and delivered over 2000MW of Renewables projects (Solar, Hydro, Wind Battery EnergyStorage) in South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana and UK. Siyothula-Mtshizana has also held leadership roles such as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bonang Power & Energy, Principal forMatt&Co Advisory, Arup Education Trust Trustee, and recently the COO for the SunElex Group. She isa member of the Black Energy Professionals Association (BEPA) in South Africa and the South AfricanNational Energy Association (SANEA).

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South Africa

Autumn Smith-Amy

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Smith-Amy is an enthusiastic advocate for Indigenous Sovereignty, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA1978), holistic law, and Survivor Led Leadership. She promotes reformation to pervasive systemic issues and excels at identifying barriers affecting marginalized community members inspiring felt change that provides meaningful sustainable support to the disenfranchised. Smith-Amy leads the state-wide support group Alaska Relative and Kinship Providers and Amy Consulting, a private advocacy firm inAnchorage. She has led extensive projects in Native Law, Child Welfare, and Human Trafficking

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USA

Diane Lees-Murdock

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Diane Lees-Murdock is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Ulster University and AcademicDivision Head for Bio & Healthcare Sciences. Her science research has a focus on epigenetics. Her vision is to create a vibrant network to give women opportunities to collaborate, encourage and inspire them to succeed in science, bringing fresh perspectives and supporting social renewal and gender equality. As Ireland emerges from years of conflict, Lees-Murdock wants to help lead the way in breaking down barriers for women from all backgrounds to have a voice and platform to showcase their research.Lees-Murdock has a PhD in Molecular Toxicology, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, anda Chartered Biologist and Member of the Royal Society of Biology. She is experienced in epigenetic research, curriculum design and outreach. She has been an organizer of Soapbox Science and successfully led Athena SWANN Bronze award for her department in 2017 and was a member of the team securing the Institutional Athena SWANN Bronze Award for Ulster University recognizing efforts towards gender equality. During her tenure as Chairperson of the Royal Society of Biology, N.Ireland, she introduced the Royal Society of Biology N. Ireland Outreach Award to promote the communication of science and profile of early career researchers.

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Northern Ireland

Hellen Lunkuse Waiswa

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Hellen Lunkuse Waiswa is the founder and executive director of Rape Hurts Foundation (RHF), aUgandan NGO working extensively with women and at-risk children, child victims of sexual abuse, and survivors of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence. With their mission to empower women to take charge of their lives through human right awareness and protection, affordable health and care services, and entrepreneurship, Lunkuse Waiswa and her team connect survivors to emergency medical and psychosocial services and help relocate those in imminent danger to safety. Lunkuse Waiswa is also the founder & CEO of Hellen Lex Beauty and Cocoa Delight. She holds a masters in human rights, a masters in gender studies, a bachelor’s in environmental management, a diploma in law, and several post graduate certificates.In 2019, Lunkuse Waiswa was nominated to be part of Vital Voices VV100 program. She is a member of National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, a member of the Global ThinkersForum, the World Federation Against Drugs, and TrustLaw under the Thomson ReutersFoundation. She received the Trust law Impact Award in 2018 from the Thomson ReutersFoundation for her project Protecting Children in Uganda. The project aimed to ensure that staff and volunteers were fully protecting the rights of children within their network. Lunkuse Waiswa was also a nominee of the Global Thinkers Forum in the category of ‘African FemaleLeaders’ which recognizes the best female philanthropists in Africa.

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Uganda

Duru Rose Amaka

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Amaka is the founder of Nwanyi Imo Reliance Resources, a food processing company with a focus on milling and packaging complex African foods. She is also the convener of Umunwanyi Imo, a platform through which she celebrates women who are doing exceptional work to make the world a better place. She empowers women and celebrates their efforts to make more positive change. Amaka is an Alumni of Fate foundation and also a graduate ofUniversity of Ilorin, Ilorin Nigeria.

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Nigeria

Hailey Michelson

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Hailey Michelson is the creator of Fat Fits, a small business and community driven organization that provides access to thrifted, vintage and new one-of-a-kind plus size clothing. Fat Fits hosts pop-up shops at local community organizations and small businesses where fat folks can come together and feel supported. Fat Fits hopes to provide some respite and community while Fat folks persevere through anti-fatness and discrimination in our culture. Michelson will expand the scope of Fat Fits by creating a podcast and documentary film depicting the anti-fatness and fatphobia that permeates all aspects of American culture.  

Michelson holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies and Entertainment Management degree from the University of Montana. After graduation, Michelson served as the program manager for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) center at the University of Montana. In this role, Michelson was an ally and advocate for marginalized communities, planned campus wide events and served on an advisory board to the university president. While at the university, Michelson realized that there was an important group missing from the conversations around DEI, Fat folks.  

As a visionary leader, I aspire to expose and dismantle anti-fatness in our culture while uplifting and providing community for Fat folks.  

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United States

Gabriela Ada Ben David

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ben David is a professional security and crisis management consultant helping organizations, schools, communities, and businesses to become more resilient and ready to face any unexpected situations. With her innovative and integrative approach, she brings to her clients the necessary mindset as well as the tools to become stronger, safer, and ready to face what life brings. Training and coaching leaders is a central part of her work. 

Ben David holds a master’s degree from Reichman University, Israel. In the past years, she led various projects that assisted communities on a global scale, including communities after terror attacks in Brussels and Copenhagen. 

Ben David’s methodology for crisis management was published in 2019 by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic and serves as a golden standard for Czech organizations to prepare themselves for unexpected situations. 

 

As a visionary leader I want crisis management to become a skill of every leader. 

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Israel

Florence Sesay

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Leone is the Executive Director of Media Matters for Women (MMW), an NGO with the vision to bridge the information gap of last mile communities and provide critical information on sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) to rural women and girls. MMW work closely with community activists, leaders, and groups— especially those directly impacted by SGBV, FGM, inequality and cultural fundamentalism—with information to enable them to build communities and networks that create change.  

As Project Coordinator for the Women’s Initiative for Safer Health (WISH), Florence worked closely with UNFPA on its advocacy campaign on women and girls’ reproductive health and rights. She took the lead in two major international campaigns: Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and engaged traditional and religious leaders countrywide on maternal and child health issues, teenage pregnancy, and end child marriage campaigns. 

Leone earned a degree in mass communications. She is the proud winner of the 2020 Women Forward Mentor of Distinction Bronze Award by BPeace- the US Women’s Business Council for Peace. She is also a member of the Civil Society Regional Reference Group (CSRRG) Spotlight Initiative Program representing Sierra Leone among 15 member countries.

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Sierra Leone

Fatma Said Kauga

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Fatma Said Kauga is the Founder and the Executive Director of Doyenne Organization whose mission is to expose young girls to the possibilities, opportunities, and alternatives available to them to become leaders. The aim is to develop the next generation of female leaders through programs that coach, mentor, and inspire high school and university students in Tanzania while pursuing their academic courses.  

Kauga holds a Master’s of Science in Finance and Investment and a Bachelor’s of Science in Taxation both from the Institute of Finance Management of Tanzania. She has more than six years of working experience in developing financial models, business planning, budgeting, and managing financial and human resources. Fatma served as a board member and treasurer of the Policy Forum in Tanzania, and is an advisory board member of Asante Africa Foundation and SAWA initiative both from Tanzania.   

Kauga was awarded Honorary citizenship in Boone, North Carolina in 2021. She was also listed among the 100 Tanzanian Sheroes Award in 2020 for her work with women and youth. She is a Gratitude Network Fellow and a Perennial Leadership Fellow. 

I want to be a visionary leader that enhances youth and women’s potential to bring positive, sustainable change. 

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Tanzania

Donna Childs

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Donna Childs is the founder and chief executive officer of Prisere LLC which develops technology to help the re/insurance sector address climate risks. Prisere’s clients include the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.  

Childs was previously based in Zurich, where she was a senior executive of the Swiss Reinsurance Group, the world’s largest reinsurer of property-casualty and life-health risks. She was also a senior columnist for Dow Jones where her analysis and commentary on corporate insurance and risk management issues appeared in the Wall Street Journal. She provides technical advice on issues of climate resilience, to organizations such as NASA and the National Academy of Sciences Gulf Coast Resilience program. Childs is certified in the NIST cybersecurity framework and was a 2018 Climate Resilience practitioner-in-residence of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. 

Childs holds a bachelor’s from Yale University, a master’s in International Economics & Finance from Brandeis University, an MBA with a concentration in Information Technology from Columbia Business School and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s three-year Owner President Management Program for entrepreneurial founders leading high-growth ventures. Donna is a 2018 Vital Voices Global Ambassadors Program mentee and a graduate of the Vital Voices Grow Fellowship.  

I want to be a visionary leader who opens pathways for women entrepreneurial founders in the technology sector and in the boardrooms. 

  

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United States

Diana Vicezar

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Diana Vicezar is a Paraguayan entrepreneur, advocate, and community organizer. She is the founder of Mapis, a career platform for international undergraduate and graduate students in the United States. Currently in closed beta, Mapis helps international students from colleges and universities in 30+ states land their dream jobs and internships in the US, and has been featured by Business Insider and Forbes. 

Vicezar is an experienced technologist with a passion for building projects and products that solve some of the most pressing problems in underprivileged communities. She began her journey as a community organizer and advocate at the age of 16 after founding Mymba Rayhu, an international youth-led initiative focused on raising awareness of the plight of stray dogs and the importance of accessible environmental education. Vicensar is studying Cognitive Science and Computer Science with a minor in Data Science Pitzer College.

For her work as an entrepreneur and community organizer, she was recognized with the 2018 Asuncion Youth Excellence Award, named one of the 30 Most Influential Young Social Entrepreneurs in the world by the We Are Family Foundation in 2019 and Youth Ambassador of Paraguay by the US Department of State, and received the 2020 Diana Award in memory of Princess Diana. In 2022, Diana became the first Paraguayan to work as a Product Design Intern at Meta in Menlo Park, CA. 

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United States

Catalina Chacón

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Catalina Chacón is the co-founder of Sirenitas de Popoyo, a project developed to empower young local Nicaraguan girls through surf, education, and life planning. The program offers bi-weekly surf lessons and life planning workshops that allow girls to discover their full potential and how to harness their power. Surfing allows the girls to overcome fears and boundaries established by society and a culture that expects young women to be subservient. In the water, they become radiant, powerful and fearless. Outside of the water and in our workshops, they discover the many paths they can choose to embark on, as explorers of their own destiny.  

Chacón works for a start-up focused on helping women move into the C-Suite and into the Boardroom. She has also worked in many grassroots and non-profit organizations from the age of 15 including Boy with a Ball and Foundation for Medical Relief of Children in Nicaragua. Chacón has completed her Bachelor of Psychology from the Universidad Centro Americana de Ciencias Sociales in Costa Rica and her Masters in Gender and Peacebuilding from the UN Mandated University of Peace. She is also certified by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Art Therapy.  

”I want to be a visionary leader that can lay the seeds for future generations to reap the fruits of my efforts. As a visionary leader, I strive to uplift the light that our world needs to thrive on.”   

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Nicaragua

Carolina Soihet Cohen

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Colabore com o Futuro is the first social advocacy business in Latin America that mobilizes society to participate in health decisions with the government, creating more democratic, fair and effective public policies in a transparent and sustainable manner. Colabore is one of the 1,200 companies in Brazil that collaborate with the UN’s SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals, and since its foundation in 2017 has changed the lives of more than 12 million Brazilians, expanding access to health and quality of life for patients in the country. 

Cohen has a deep knowledge of the third sector and in creating strategies for social and political engagement of civil society in health decision-making processes in Brazil. She worked for 8 years as director of one of the most reputable cancer NGOs in Latin America, and also worked in large companies such as Ambev and Peugeot, where she acquired important knowledge in management and processes. 

Cohen was elected as one of the six most admired entrepreneurs and innovators in health through a popular vote promoted by the Health Innova Hub. She has a Social Communication degree, a graduate degree in Graphic Design, and an MBA in Marketing at FGV. 

I want to be a visionary leader that promotes positive transformations in democracy and public policies, guaranteeing wider participation of society in government decisions so that my baby girl and other children can live in a fairer, safer, and more welcoming world. 

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Brazil

Bethel Kyeza 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Cultivate Global Education is an education initiative that focuses specifically on ensuring that girls around the world have access to a safe and equitable education. Cultivate Global Education recognizes that in recent years girls and women gained access to education but do not have access to equitable resources to safely complete their degrees which is why it aims to educate, implement, assist, and fund girls and young women. Cultivate Global Education assists girls with their advocacy projects on a national and international level, and fund specific needs to eradicate educational barriers young girls around the world are facing.  

Bethel is a gender equality and human rights activist who has worked with Girl Up Campaign, a united nations foundation initiative. She is also a Youth Ambassador for ONE Campaign. Some of her passions include film-making, where she participated in Disney’s Dream Big princess video series and public speaking. A lot of her work is centered around activism, woman’s rights, voluntary work and leadership.  

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United Kingdom

Besmire Aliu

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Aliu is the executive director of In Time, an organization that provides educational activities, research and analysis to increase the socio-economic well-being of marginalized groups. The organization also provides training and education in areas where these groups can succeed, with a special emphasis in the field of ICT. 

Aliu credits her leadership skills to her work with In Time. She completed her master’s degree in economics and is certified as an Intuit QuickBooks Certified User by Intuit Inc. Aliu is also a French language graduate with the DELF A1 diploma. 

”As a visionary leader, I will provide others with good practices for becoming wonderful leaders and being strong on the road to success. ”

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Kosovo

Awah Francisca Mbul

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Awah Francisca Mbuli is the founder of Survivors’ Network (SN), CameroonIAfrica, a female-led NGO leading in the fight against all forms of human trafficking in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan African countries.

Mbul is a survivor of sex and labor trafficking and is passionate about her fight to prevent anyone from experiencing what she went through. She has helped rescue and reintegrate 65 female victims of human trafficking from the Gulf Corporation States to their respective Sub-Saharan African home countries and her work has touched over 5000 women and girls directly. 

Mbuli has a master’s degree in Human Rights and Multiculturalism from the Buskerud International University, Norway. She received two International Visitors Leadership Program awards by the U.S Department of State in 2018 and 2020 for combatting trafficking in persons. She is an Ashoka Fellow 2022 from Anglophone West Africa and was awarded the Elkes Impact Award by the Global Freedom Forum organized by Free the Slaves where she has served as an ambassador for two years. Mbul is also aMo Ibrahim Foundation Now Generation Fellow and Obama Africa Leader.  

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Cameroon

Alicia White

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Alicia White is a social innovator, and change maker. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Petals, a groundbreaking environmental, community development, and climate justice organization working in under-resourced and BIPOC communities. Project Petals provides the tools, resources, partnerships, and education needed to create healthier environments and shift power to communities that the climate crisis has disproportionately impacted.  

For over a decade, White has worked in the social impact sector in development creating environmental initiatives, equitable solutions, strategies, media partnerships, and programs to improve the environment in BIPOC and under-resourced communities. She has partnered with communities, local governments, and companies to improve the environment and create healthier outcomes. White is creating a company to help cities, BIPOC innovators, and businesses gain the tools and strategy needed to help improve environmental outcomes. She credits her passion for social innovation and the environment to her hometown of Queens, New York.  

People Magazine highlighted White ‘s work in their Resiliency Rising Series which focused on people making an impact throughout the pandemic and beyond. She has received awards from the Discovery Channel, NYC Mayor’s Office, and the Sweetwater Clifton award from the New York Knicks. White appeared on ABC, NBC, and was featured in Women’s Health Magazine. She has also spoken at Princeton’s Keller Center of Innovation and PRSA Government Affairs and Policy organization about making social innovation accessible and environmental justice.

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United States

Alejandra Alvarez

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Alejandra Alvarez is the founder of Marlia, an eco-friendly e-commerce in Peru that wants to demonstrate that we can all lead a more natural and eco-friendly lifestyle accompanied by products that do not harm people or the world. Marlia’s goal is to encourage harmony between self-love and love for nature and as a multi-brand ecommerce, aims to help other small businesses position themselves in the Peruvian market.  

As a marketing and advertising specialist, Alvarez has created more than 25 brands, worked with over 100 small businesses on their social media management and supervised the development and design process of 20 websites, including ecommerce, corporate and landing pages. Her interest in sustainable businesses, environmental protection and entrepreneurship, along with her experience in digital businesses, allowed her to create Marlia. She also co-created a digital community called Natureando to further promote environmental awareness. 

Alvarez has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Advertising. She is currently pursuing an MBA and a master’s degree in innovation and sustainability.   

I want to be a visionary leader that helps women entrepreneurs and promotes the growth of sustainable businesses.  

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Peru

Agata Bloswick

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Agata Bloswick founded aDaSie (“giv’Adam”) a grassroots organization that empowers the citizens of Krakow to improve public spaces in their local neighborhoods, eventually deepening the dialogue between citizens and local government and driving sustainability changes in the city. Past projects have included the creation of new parks, solar energy sources on school buildings, and urban regeneration projects like Adopt a Flowerpot, or social housing graffiti removal. 

Bloswick is the Global Head of the Site Readiness operations department in Labcorp Drug Development, and is responsible for a team of over 600 individuals in 60 countries delivering clinical trials and new therapies to patients in need. In past years, her operational leadership roles included managing a global portfolio of clinical trials. In 2020, she spearheaded the companys fast-track drug development program for COVID-19 clinical trials in the early stages of the global health crisis, for which she was awarded the Hero Award 

Bloswick holds a PhD in Pharmacology and Pharmacy from Jagiellonian University, and was a fellow at the Center for Leadership Program in partnership with the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She has contributed to the field of bioethics, speaking at the conferences of UNESCO and the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.  

”As a visionary leader, I strive to elevate diverse voices, empower local changemakers, break down barriers to communication and cooperation, and build in all organizations a commitment to achieving results while upholding good values.”

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Poland

Irene Franco Rubio

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

If You’re Feelin’ Civic (IYFC) is a resource hub for BIPOC community leaders that elevates the voices of organizers, activists, writers, and public scholars in discussions of social, racial, and environmental justice. Uplifting these voices is critical to educating people on issues that are generally missed in mainstream media and provides a how-to guide for tackling these issues head-on. IYFC speaks directly to young activists and organizers in Phoenix because these groups are the most impacted by underfunded and inequitable systems. The aim is to empower young people to take up space as advocates and to guide their efforts in making a difference for communities of color. 

Franco Rubio has multifaceted experience as a movement builder, from local grassroots multicultural organizing in her hometown of Phoenix to organizing nationally for Michelle Obama’s nonprofit and for the former office of Congresswoman Deb Haaland. She is pursuing her bachelor’s in Sociology & Race, Ethnicity and Politics at the University of Southern California (USC). Franco Rubio is a Public Voices Fellow of the Op-Ed Project at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Humanity in Action Fellow, John Robert Lewis Scholar, Othering & Belonging Institute Fellow at UC Berkeley, Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Socrates Scholar, and a Davis Putter Youth Activist Scholar. She has been recognized as a Facebook Journalism Project Scholar, Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Equal Voice News Scholar, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Scholar, ProPublica Diversity Scholar, and Pilot Media Technology & Innovation Scholar.  

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United States

Isabelle Delfosse

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Isabelle Delfosse is the co-founder, director and head surf coach of the Sirenitas de Popoyo. In a male-dominant sport and male community, the Sirenitas de Popoyo aims to empower local girls from the Tola area in Nicaragua through weekly surfing and swimming lessons, education and other group activities such as sexual education, yoga, art and leadership workshops.  

Delfosse is an enthusiastic and active entrepreneur with a passion for the ocean, surf, empowering women and hospitality. In 2016 she solely built and founded Sirena Surf house, which she runs as a beach front guest house in Popoyo, Nicaragua. In 2021 she also founded Sirena Social Club, a yoga and surf retreat business that aims to empower women through unique experiences in nature, connection with the ocean, and the power of self-love. Sirena Social Club creates a culturally inclusive community where compassionate women support each other. She holds a professional bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from the Hogeschool Sint-Lucas in Ghent and a master’s in Design, Communication Strategies & Publicity from the Elisava, Escola superior de Disseny in Barcelona. She is an International Surfing Association certified lifeguard and level 2 surf coach and a certified 200hr Yoga teacher. In 2020, Delfosse took part in Voz Vital Nicaragua’s mentoring program.  

”I want to be a visionary leader that inspires and empowers girls and women to dream big and help them make those dreams come true.”

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Nicaragua

Joanna Sozańska

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Joanna Sozańska has the mission of increasing the visibility of women in international relations and global politics. As a young professional specializing in the Arab region, relations between the European Union and WANA (West Asia and North Africa) countries, Sozańska is planning to create an initiative for a reliable analysis of the WANA region and its relations with the European Union, with the goal of including women experts in the public debate. 

Sozańska gained international experience working with the European Academy of Diplomacy. Sozańska also cooperates with the Institute for Security and International Development operating under the auspices of the DEEP NATO Programme as an Advisor and WANA Expert. She also works at European Border and Coast Guard Agency European Union agency.  

Sozańska graduated from Jagiellonian University, faculties of Middle East Studies with a degree in Arabic language and International Relations. She is pursuing a PhD at the Warsaw School of Economics where she studies news public diplomacy and migration policies in the North Africa region. Sozańska participated in the NATO2030 Global Fellowship, Young Leadership Political Academy by National Democratic Institute, and the Academy of Advocates of Changes. Sozanska also served on juries of international programs such as NATO Youth Delegate of Poland and the Innovation in Politics Awards. 

As a visionary leader I believe there is no place for discrimination and double standards in international relations. 

 

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Poland

Julie Hamaïde

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Julie Hamaïde is an entrepreneur and journalist. In 2017, she launched Koï, a new print publication that explores the complexity of Asian cultures, communities, and life in France. Koï has carved out a place in the French media landscape as the voice of a new generation. She has assembled a network of young French-Asian women from all walks of life around her, called Femmes Koï, who are able to share experiences, memories, challenges and solidarity. This group is a tight-knit community who help each other when needed and can find support and solace like nowhere else. 

In 2017, Koï won the Print Innovation Award by Presstalis and received the political and general newspress qualification by the ministry of Culture of France in 2018. The same year, Koï won the second Prize for Information Abroad by the ministry of Foreign Affair of Vietnam. Hamaïde has given keynote speeches at the international convention of journalism about media creation and talked about Asian diasporas in France on international media, including France 24, France TV, and The Initium Hong Kong. Hamaïde is also a Marshall Memorial Fellow and a Raisina Young Fellow, and is a mentee with the SISTA x Bold program.  

As a visionary leader I aspire to gather the French-Asian communities and give a definition to their identity.  

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France

Kaneeka Kapur

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Kapur is the founder of Pardesi, a digital platform and community which celebrates, empowers and amplifies the voices of South Asian women around the world. Over the last two years, the Pardesi Team has built a collaborative multimedia space rooted in powerful storytelling and community building. Through their content, events and development programmes, Pardesi hopes to present a new kind of digital community for South Asian women – a supportive, positive sisterhood where collaboration is valued over competition.

Kapur holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Warwick and is currently reading for her Master of Laws at Cornell Law School. In 2021, Kapur presented at TEDxWarwickSalon and was named a GROW and Travers Smith Changemaker of the Year. She is also the recipient of the leading international award for young social activists, The Diana Award.

 

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United Kingdom

Alliyah Logan

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Alliyah Logan is a youth advocate whose advocacy focuses on education equity, and international gender equality, the foundation of her work is centered on advocating for young girls globally. Logan is the Founder of Cultivate Global Education, an initiative dedicated to removing international educational barriers through an equitable framework. She recently spoke at The United Nations Foundation Transforming Education Summit on the importance of establishing gender transformative policies. Logan served as the 2019-2020 Teen Advisor for Girl Up, an initiative through the United Nations Foundation where she advocates for human rights for girls.

 

She received the Girl Hero award alongside Tarana Burke, Shonda Rhimes, and Dolores Huerta. Logan served as a UNICEF Youth Advocate, where she has been able to expand her work internationally and spoke on behalf of UNICEF at the Sustainable Development Goals Action Zone in 2020. She also served as Herlead Fellow through Vital Voices in 2019. Logan is a contributor to Parade Magazine – and writes on racial justice, gender justice, and pop culture. Alliyah has been featured in The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Nickelodeon, Essence, NPR, PBS, The Her Campus, The Sustainable Development Action Zone, and other esteemed international platforms.

”As a visionary leader, I aspire to reduce the barriers that girls face in their academic careers, through transnational communities.” 

 

 

Unlock the Future of Learning event at the Ford Foundation in New York, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. (Photo/Stuart Ramson/United Nations Foundation)
United States

Kayla Hicks

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Kayla Hicks is the founder and CEO of Sustain Equity Group (SEG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering professional equity for black women in community-based violence intervention and prevention initiatives and other fields. SEG’s flagship program, The Urban Training Research Advocacy Institute and Network (U-TRAIN), provides trauma-informed leadership development cohorts, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

Hicks, as a former leader in the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, was an innovative change-maker within the movement. In 2013 Hicks was the first person in the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) movement to put a lens on the daily gun violence experienced by black and brown communities. A sustained commitment to these communities led to a profound change in policy and programs in Virginia and across the country in neighborhoods impacted by daily gun violence and within organizations serving marginalized communities that are now saving lives.

Hicks is recognized nationally for having worked as African American and Faith Outreach state director for the 2008 Obama campaign, strategic planning coordinator for labor giant SEIU, political consultant, leadership transformation mentor, bail enforcement agent, a private detective, and outreach director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. She earned her AA and BS in interdisciplinary studies and studied for her MA in human services counseling, crisis response, and trauma care from Liberty University. She is a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) member of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, an American Express Social Justice Leadership Academy Alumni and member of the Association of Christian Counselors.

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United States

Laura Robert-Rivera

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Laura Robert-Rivera is utilizing tools in the kitchen to flip tough conversations and whip up better self-care habits by working on creating a baking experience focused on addressing mental health.

Robert-Rivera is the youngest Director on the Board of the World Foundation for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She has over half a decade of experience working with non-profits, foundations, and philanthropic initiatives. The Governor, State Legislature, the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, and several news outlets have recognized Robert-Rivera for her national child abuse awareness campaign, Stand Up Say No to Child Abuse. She is a Vital Voices Initiative HERlead Fellow, Ambassador, and Grantee, and a 2014 Girl Scouts National Women of Distinction. Robert-Rivera continues to be an active member of Girl Scouts and represented the organization internationally in Curacao and at the United Nations. In 2021, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and human rights from Barnard College, Columbia University.

”As a visionary leader, I hope to leave this world a little sweeter than I found it. ”

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United States

Leebashni Reddy

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Reddy is a proud single mother, daughter and a successful career woman. Reddy worked her way up from working at Estée Lauder beauty counters to traveling Africa and the world with Estee Lauder Companies. She has a strong foundation in the prestige beauty industry and a career spanning 22 years at the Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). She shares ELC’s beautiful brands with the sales force around South Africa through high-touch education programs and helps empower employees around the country to achieve their personal and professional goals.  

Reddy also leads Corporate Social Responsibility for ELC South Africa, which includes the Breast Cancer Campaign and has initiated many community impact projects which have not only touched thousands of lives in South Africa but have also been shared as global best practices. Reddy has been instrumental in leading Inclusion and Diversity programs for ELC and has led the development and launch of the ELC Good Works employee volunteerism and giving platform in South Africa.  Reddy is well known as a great motivator, a powerful storyteller, and an influencer of people and she has through hard work and determination, earned incredible accolades and achievements during her career including Winner of the Global Leonard A Lauder Volunteer Award in 2013. 

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South Africa

Linda García Arenas

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Linda García Arenas is the Chief of Party of the Come Play with Me project in ChildFund Guatemala, an innovative project designed to strengthen playful parenting practices and promote growth and learning through play in children from 0 to 4 years old in predominantly indigenous communities across Guatemala. Come Play with Me is implemented remotely through radio, text messages and calls, reaching more than 15,000 primary caregivers who are mostly women.

García Arenas is co-founder of the Paco Piñas Library, which facilitates access to knowledge in a community in western Guatemala. She is also co-founder of CiberfemLab, a space to create, discover, appropriate, reappropriate and share the knowledge of women for autonomy and technological sovereignty. She is also part of the radio program “Voces de Mujeres”. From 2018 to 2022 she was president of the board of directors of ATD Fourth World in Guatemala.

García Arenas has a degree in communication sciences and research from San Carlos University. She has published academic articles on communication, technology, gender, and early childhood. In 2018 she was a fellow at the YouthLACIGF.

”As a visionary leader, I aspire to bring women closer to technology so that they can have a positive impact in their community, including the development of children.”

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Guatemala

María Sofía Muratore

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Muratore investigates the lack of financial education and knowledge of entrepreneurship, and STEM development in women. Her objective is to establish concrete actions to end economic gaps and promote a more inclusive and resilient economic system. Muratore has established a business model of a decentralized incubator with which she seeks to promote the development of MiddleMist women’s enterprises through education, and the use of Blockchain technology. She has established that same idea for the Sahel and was a finalist in a Spanish cooperation contest that sought to facilitate social innovation solutions in Africa.

Muratore has been participating in social impact projects for the private, public and third sectors for more than 5 years. In addition, she works as a University Professor and freelance writer. She has a master’s degree in International Cooperation and Development, where she specialized in social economies from the University of Comillas, Spain. She also has a degree in Social Communication from the Universidad Austral and completed an Executive Program in impact investing at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina. Her commitment to gender inequality allowed her to be selected as a Youth Ambassador – G7 for the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.

 

 

 

 

 

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Argentina

Meera Dasgupta

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Dasgupta is working on catalyzing an initiative at the intersection of the arts and environmentalism to uplift the narratives of women of color on the frontlines of climate catastrophe and solidify their words into tangible, policy-driven action.

In 2020, Dasgupta was named the youngest and first Asian American U.S. Youth Poet Laureate. Through this, she has been able to provide poetry workshops to youth, globally, and was featured by Vogue India, the United Nations, The Library of Congress, Vox, Now This, among others. Simultaneously, as a fierce advocate for climate justice, Meera managed an installation at the Glasgow Center for Contemporary Arts with the Human Impacts Institute during COP26; the installation showcased calls to action by global south indigenous leaders and a video of their lived experiences. Her other work includes being a Climate Clock Global Spokesperson, Arctic Angel, Google GenZ Youth Council member, World Food Forum Champion, Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force Member, and UNA-USA Life on Land Ambassador.

Most recently, Dasgupta was named an Inaugural RISE scholarship winner with the Rhodes Trust and Schmidt Futures for a social justice-centered anthology that she had been curating. Through this, she was able to travel to South Africa with other young people internationally, to incorporate systems thinking into her current projects. Dasgupta is studying at the University of Chicago and is interested in studying Law, Letters, and Society and being more involved in citywide, grassroots actions.

”As a visionary leader, I will strive to pull chairs to a reconstructed table, one of which is inclusive of all voices and dreams of a better world.”

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United States

Natália Chaves

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Natália Chaves is the energy and sustainability coordinator for the Brazil-Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK-RIO) and a co-founder of the Brazilian Women in Solar Energy Network (MESol). The AHK RIO is a non-profit association that promotes partnerships and business opportunities between Brazilian and German companies by structuring leveraging projects and proposing recommendations for localized energy transition. The Brazilian Network of Women in Solar Energy (MESol) is a socio-political, non-partisan movement that aims to create visibility, and promote, inspire, and connect women who work in the solar energy sector.

Chaves has collaborated with the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change (PBMC) as a junior researcher compiling and reviewing scientific reports to support the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Brazil. During the period of 2012 – 2017, she volunteered for Greenpeace’s National Climate and Energy Campaign and had the opportunity to home her leadership skills on several projects. Since 2019, Chaves has taken part in the Global Women Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET).

As an environmental scientist, Chaves has spoken in the TEDxMorroDaUrca (2022) on renewable energy management. She is passionate about learning, and has publications, articles, and lectures on several topics for platforms such as the Friedrich Ebert-Brazil Foundation and UN Women.

”As a visionary leader I want to make business more sustainable from the diversity of realities and within network experiences. ” 

 

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Brazil

Sarah Koski

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sarah Koski is an advocate for the equitable treatment of homeless individuals seeking rehabilitation, housing, employment, and care. She works as an active case manager for unhoused communities in the state of Oregon, specializing in de-escalation and a trauma-informed response. Koski is integral in developing case plans, training content, and job coaching for one of the lowest barrier shelters in the state, while also working with teams and organizations coordinating outreach and support of street-based communities.

Koski received her bachelors in political science from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and found her passion for humanitarian activism through her work with the American Red Cross. She displayed true leadership as chair of the Lane County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) during one of Oregon’s most devastating wildfires that dislocated thousands. Her experience as a disaster relief strategist paved the way for her to be appointed to two separate gubernatorial task forces on economic reform, reigniting her interest in legislative action.

Her notable work on non-profit philanthropy was highlighted by the UN University of Peace. She is a member of her local Human Rights Commission Poverty and Homeless Task Force, as well as the National Coalition for the Homeless’ Congressional & Legislative Action team.

”I want to be a visionary leader who shifts the perspectives of homelessness and the unhoused for good. I aim to develop new means of storytelling and to redirect narrative structures to advocate for vulnerable populations at home and abroad.”

 

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United States

Nekpen Osuan Wilson

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Nekpen Osuan Wilson is the Head of Customer Experience Strategy at Gusto and a certified executive coach with a decade of experience in business development strategy, mentorship, and non-profit board service. As a UN Global Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goal 5 and CEO of the NYC-based nonprofit @WomenWerk, Wilson leverages her passion for women’s empowerment to advise leaders on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Wilson serves as a talent and career strategy coach for The Muse, WIN Summit and an Advisor with 81Cents, leveraging her expertise in professional development training, career placement and workplace culture. Her work with WomenWerk has led to brand ambassador roles with The Council of Urban Professionals, Walkers Legacy Foundation and Forbes Women’s Council.

Wilson is a 2021 Vital Voices Fellow, a 2019 NYC Five Borough Future Fellow by The Arena, a BlogHer 2018 Voice of the Year, the 2017 Baylor University Young Alumna of the Year, a 2018 92Y Woman in Power Fellow, a 2018 Walkers Legacy Women in Leadership Honoree, and a 2017 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow. She also serves on the DNC’s Young Professionals Committee and Women’s Leadership Forum, and is a volunteer on professional non-profits.

Wilson enjoys public speaking and her most notable speaking engagements have been at The White House, Harvard University, SXSW, The Wharton Business School, Columbia University, The United States Military Academy at West Point, The Female Quotient and UNA Women. Wilson earned her Bachelors from Baylor University and her Masters from Columbia University.

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United States

Rudayna Abdo

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Rudayna Abdo is the Founder and CEO of Thaki, a nonprofit organization that advances digital inclusion by providing gently used laptops with preloaded educational content for underserved communities in the Middle East. Thaki’s educational features include a bilingual, content-rich app that enables offline learning, and a Digital Toolkit for teachers, acting as an educational bridge between ed-tech solutions and vulnerable communities, enabling children and teachers to interact with the digital world that would otherwise not be available to them. Its circular economy model is based on collaboration and low-effort contributions from the private sector, leading to huge social impact.

Abdo has a bachelor’s of science degree in Architectural Studies from MIT, a master’s degree in Urban Planning from McGill University, and is a graduate of Amsterdam’s THNK School of Creative Leadership executive program. Her original career in urban planning involved envisioning, managing, and tailoring solutions to challenging housing, land use, and urban transportation issues across diverse urban geographies including the Arabian Gulf region where she held leadership positions in the private and non-profit sectors.

Abdo received the 2017 TEDxAmsterdamED Award and has been featured in several publications and podcasts. Under her leadership Thaki won numerous recognitions and awards including MIT Solve and selected among HundrED’s Global Collection of 100 of the brightest innovations in K12 education from around the world.

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Canada

Sherry Soon

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sherry Soon is the founder and director of Be Kind SG Limited, a non-profit organization that aims to create and inspire a kind and inclusive society for persons with invisible disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities and autism. Some of the programs run by Be Kind SG Limited include a befriending program for people living in adult disability and destitute homes, a play and toy library for children with special needs and their caregivers, and a pilot training program for youths with special needs to explore and nurture their interests.

Soon has extensive teaching experience in literacy and oral skills for children with dyslexia and speech and language difficulties. She was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease, at 19 years old and currently runs an informal support group in Singapore for persons diagnosed with such conditions.

Soon was selected for the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific Program in 2019. She was awarded ‘Leader of Good’ at the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards – the pinnacle award and platform to recognize individuals and groups that have achieved excellence in giving, in 2020, and was a finalist at the American Express Leadership Academy Alumni Award in 2021. Soon is also a Starling Collective Fellow with GivingTuesday.
 

”I want to be a visionary leader that creates opportunities for individuals to participate fully in society.” 

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Singapore

Sawsan Shaikh Saleh

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sawsan Shaikh Saleh is the Education Manager at the Jordan Olympic Committee and leads the project of establishing a National Olympic Academy. As the Education Manager, she heads multiple functions within the JOC, like Olympic Education, Gender Equality, Prevention of Competition Manipulation, and Sport for All. She has also organized and facilitated several training workshops and projects related to Olympic Values Education, and Safeguarding in sport across different community groups including coaches, Physical Education teachers as well as school and university students and national team athletes.

Shaikh Saleh has initiated the establishment of multiple partnerships with international sport professional institutions such as the Coaching Association of Canada, and the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) in the United States, and has launched the first ever “Sporting School” project for public school students in partnership with GIZ in Amman, Jordan. Shaikh Saleh also handles the file of Sport for Social Development funded by the IOC, such as the Olympic Day and the Asian Games fun run events for multiple years and has engaged various youth initiatives and civil society organizations across Jordan making those nationally recognized events.

Shaikh Saleh comes from an athletic background as she is a former National Boxing Team athlete and Board Member of the Jordan Kickboxing Federation. She is an active board member in the Jordan School Sport Federation. She has a bachelor’s in Pharmacy, a master’s in Business Administration and an executive master’s in Sport Organization Management.

 

 

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Jordan

Sheila Michaels 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sheila Michaels is planning to create a program to address period poverty in her region.  Because period products can be cost prohibitive for many families, girls sometimes miss school and other important events during their cycle. Michaels would like to bring awareness to the issue by connecting with community organizations and sharing information through a social media campaign. Grant writing and fundraising will be an integral part of the program, allowing free period product vending machines to be installed in community schools.

Michaels has a background in education, including 15 years in the classroom and five years as a librarian. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in Education, and a Master of Library and Information Science. Along with serving as the English department chair and leadership team member in her school, Michaels also served on state committees for the Missouri Association of School Librarians. She had the honor of being named an American Library Association Emerging Leader for 2022.

”I want to be a visionary leader that destigmatizes periods by removing obstacles like period poverty and empowering girls to make the most of their education.”

 

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United States

Stuti Jalan

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Stuti Jalan is an award-winning entrepreneur, internationally recognized as an emerging woman leader. She is the founder of the Women Inspiring Network (WIN), a storytelling platform that connects aspiring women leaders across countries and backgrounds. It is a first-of-its-kind digital network, democratizing knowledge and highlighting women’s stories of struggle, perseverance, and success. Through webinars, Instagram live sessions, and online panel series, WIN has built a community of over 7,000 remarkable women changemakers from different sectors. As a women-founded and women-led organization, WIN is driven by a comprehensive vision to pay it forward and uplift women along the way.

Jalan also founded Crosshairs Communication, a public relations, strategic communications, and social media company in India. As a first-generation woman entrepreneur who holds experience working with more than 500 brands, she hopes to be a transformational force in the PR and Communications industry by breaking barriers of traditional leadership. Jalan has spoken for a wide range of forums including The Global Indian Business Meet in New York, Pecha Kucha on Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development, TEDx Tokyo, and at the United Nations.

In 2020, she was awarded the 100 Most Influential Changemakers award as well as an award for the Best Young Women Entrepreneur. She also holds a Woman of Excellence award, and a 2021 Gold award for the most innovative storytelling in PR in the digital age. She serves as an advisor on the board for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network.

 

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India

Florence Guzha

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

N Florence Guzha is the founder and director of the Ebenezer Women Social Entrepreneurship Trust(EWSET), a grassroots women and girls’ social movement that aims at strengthening socio-economic opportunities. EWSET aims to enhance the quality of life of the marginalized through capacity development projects, including shoe making and pad making. At EWSET, we believe that inside every woman lies a unique being, which is concealed by bad cultural practices and beliefs in our society but with the correct empowerment and exposure, regardless of where life places a woman, a confident, self-assertive, hardworking woman will emerge. Guzha is a strong woman’s rights activist. She completed the Insider Mediation training with the Begorf Foundation where she learned mediation, negotiation, and facilitation skills which have been of great help to the women and the community she serves. She also completed a training on GenderSupport Programming, Capacity Development Tools and Technics in Gender Mainstreaming. She sits on various boards representing gender, like the National Association of Non-GovernmentalOrganization in Zimbabwe. Guzha was a 2014 VV Lead fellow with Vital Voices.

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Zimbabwe

Claudia Rosales

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Rosales founded Women E Work, a regional company based in Perú focused on helping women to return to the labor market and grow their careers.Women E Work is a gender equality company that provides HR Services, gender equality headhunting, leadership training, career coaching and outplacement across Latin America and is currently operating in 8 countries.Rosales has an extensive career as a corporate HR Executive for more than 22 years where she has worked for multinational and global companies such as tech industries, airlines, retail, and global consultancy firms. She has lived in 6 different countries holding regional responsibilities in North, Central, and South America.Rosales has a master’s degree in HRAdministration and is doing a PhD in Psychology where she is conducting research on leadership with a gender equality focus. Rosales is a certified international trainer and a certified coach with extensive HR experience, including leadership development, talent advisory, mentoring, and coaching. She has also served as a speaker at a variety of companies, universities, international associations, NGOs, and humanitarian organizations.

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El Salvador

Caroline Beidler

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

The Women’s Global Recovery Network is an initiative focused on bringing together women leaders and organizations across the globe who serve women in co-occurring mental health, trauma and/or addiction recovery. The goals of the network are to bring awareness to issues specific to women’s addiction and mental health recovery, highlight organizations supporting women’s recovery, provide opportunity for networking and leadership development for women in or seeking recovery, and identify action steps for increasing women’s recovery support globally.  

Caroline Beidler, MSW has a masters in social work from the University of Wisconsin Madison with an emphasis on social policy and administration. She is the founder of the annual Women’s Global Recovery Roundtable held on International Women’s Day in partnership with the She Recovers Foundation. She is a 2015 fellow of the Women’s Addiction Services Leadership Institute sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and a consultant for state and federal recovery initiatives in the U.S. Caroline has held leadership positions within academic settings, overseeing large-scale grant funded programs and works to build capacity of Recovery Community Organizations.  

Caroline was awarded the Texas Research Society on Alcoholism, John T. and Patricia A. O’Neill Addiction Science Education Award, numerous scholarships and was appointed to state councils addressing the addiction crisis. She is also an author, a team writer for This Grit and Grace Life, and is published on numerous online magazines like Recovery Today 

”I want to be a visionary leader that empowers women in or seeking recovery to connect in community and connect with their purpose.”

 

 

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United States

Adriana Senior Mojica

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

As CEO of Corporación Colombia Internacional, Senior Mojica has generated impact indicators in comprehensive rural development and export enterprises. Currently, her goal is to transform 500,000 rural women into agribusiness entrepreneurs, changing their situation of living in extreme poverty and informal work in the countryside.  

Senior Mojica is a woman leader of the agroindustry and solidarity sector of Colombia. She is an expert in agribusiness, foreign trade and entrepreneurship, with 30 years of experience in the agro sector. She is an international economist, specializing in Marketing, MBA and Global MBA. Prior to CCI she was vice president and union president of the Association of Aquaculturists of Colombia. 

Senior Mojica was named one of the 30 best civil servants in the country by the Congress of the Republic and one of the best 30 leaders in the country by Revista Semana and Telefónica.  She received the medal for Agricultural Merit from the Ministry of Agriculture, a Guinness World Record, recognition for her innovative community model by IDB, and an award as one of the 25 companies that contributed most to the country by Semana Magazine. She is a member of the Women on Boards leadership community, a member of Women in Connection, and a captain of the WIC Rural Women’s Committee.

  “I want to be a visionary leader who changes the huge inequality gaps for the Colombian rural women, empowering them with profitable and sustainable productive projects, changing their lives.”

 

 

 

Agriculture, Food & Hunger
Adriana Senior Mojica_Headshot
Colombia

Liz Kaplan

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Liz Kaplan, CFRE, is the Senior Director of Development for the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, which is a 15-year-old medical school located in downtown Phoenix.  She is the lead fundraiser for the College, focusing on raising money for scholarships, research, faculty, and academic programs. She was instrumental in securing the first endowed Chair of Surgery for the College with a gift of $2 million.  

Kaplan grew up in Phoenix, has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona, and has worked in the Valley for over 25 years in non-profit development, professional sports, advertising, and sales and marketing. She has held fundraising leadership positions with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, and was the Executive Director of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation. 

She has been very involved in the Phoenix community and is a proud graduate (Class 27) and former board member of Scottsdale Leadership. She served three years on the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission. She has held many community board positions, including ones on the Junior League of Phoenix and Keep Scottsdale Beautiful, and is a past President of the Greater Arizona Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). 

 

 

 

kaplan
United States

Angelina Spicer

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Angelina Spicer is a stand-up comedian, actress, and accidental activist. Spicer became an outspoken advocate for maternal mental health after her diagnosis and hospitalization of postpartum depression (PPD). The Postpartum Revolution’s mission is to educate women about the emotional and physical changes that motherhood brings. It’s an advocacy mission that utilizes comedy to reduce stigma and shame.  

Not only is Spicer using her voice in comedy clubs across the country, she is also working with lawmakers in California and on Capitol Hill to implement laws to support early motherhood. In 2019 Angelina was honored by then Senator Kamala Harris for her work in CA with Black Maternal Health week. Spicer has worked with some of the world’s most trusted healthcare institutions like Cedars Sinai Hospital, Mental Health America, the World Health Organization and has been featured in USA Today, NPR, and was part of Essence magazine’s Woke 100. 

A cum-laude graduate of Howard University, Spicer has smartly delved deep for comedy that’s authentic. With more than 650,000 followers on social media, Spicer’s original content has garnered a staggering 100 million views in more than 45 countries, and been tweeted by Taraji P. Henson, Shonda Rhimes, and Taylor Swift. Her viral success catapulted her career from phone screens to the silver screen when she became a regular performer on both Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Conan O’brien show.  

Angelina is a health equity fellow of the USA Families, The Schusterman Family Foundation, and serves on the board of directors for March for Moms.  

 

 

 

 

 

Children's Rights, Motherhood & Families
Angelina Spicer_ Headshot Joseph Trigilio
United States

Ally Zlatar

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ally Zlatar is the founder of The Starving Artist, an artist initiative that helps broaden perspectives on Eating Disorders and Mental Illness through the artistic voice. She also founded The Starving Artist Scholarship Fund which helps people access inpatient treatment for eating disorders. Her “This Body of Mine” campaign explores the migrant experiences through creative voices and has helped support individuals and artists from refugee-seeking backgrounds globally. Zlatar has received high accolades for her humanitarian work, including The Princess Diana Legacy Award 2021, Y20 Award Finalist for Diversity and Inclusion (Youth 20 by G20 Summit), and special recognition from The British Citizen Award 2022.  

Zlatar examines, instigates and provokes notions of the individual experience by focusing on the themes of illness, vulnerability, and authenticity of one’s lived-in experience. Zlatar explores her personal narratives and life experiences to guide her exploration of self-identity and self-perception in our modern discourse. She utilizes auto-ethnographic experiences and art as a catalyst for change-making.  

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art & Art History from Queen’s University and an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her doctorate in Creative Arts is with the University of Southern Queensland focusing on embodied experiences of eating disorders in contemporary art. Zlatar is also a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, KICL London, and the University of Essex. 

Ally Zlatar_Headshot
United Kingdom

Anisha Kapri

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Anisha Kapri hopes to inspire and equip young girls and women to become entrepreneurs through her online platform What Makes me a Boss. The platform provides online content as well as curated events to help young women take actions towards becoming financially independent. She also organizes leadership workshops in rural schools in Nepal. Kapris previous work focused on girl education, providing sanitary pads and promoting social awareness to help end menstrual stigma in Nepal. 

Children's Rights, Motherhood & Families
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Anishakapri_Headshot ANISHA KAPRI
United States

Ash Ahmad

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ash Ahmad is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant and creator of Changing Mindsets. Ahmad works with organisations across all contexts to build a workplace that is not only diverse but fosters a culture of inclusion allowing all employees and particularly those from underrepresented groups to thrive. Through her professional experience, lived experiences and ability to inspire others, Ahmad organically stepped into the role of a coach for several women of color and particularly Muslim women to thrive in their careers. 

Ahmad is a versatile and accomplished professional with nearly 12 years of experience in a breadth of functions including Diversity & Inclusion, Training & Development and HR. She has featured in “The Metro” and “The Telegraph” as an expert within her field and has was invited to speak on “The Islam Channel” about how employers can better support Muslim employees in the workplace. 

Ahmad has a BA Honours in Marketing and has completed Level 5 CIPD in Learning and Development. She is a trained mental health first aider and is often someone individuals feel comfortable reaching out to, particularly those from a diverse background similar to her.  

”I want to be a visionary leader thatcontinues to challenge and change the narrative around inclusionfor all within the workplaces and I aspire to help ensurethere isbetter representation of women ofcolour, particularly Muslim womeninsenior leadership roles.”

 

Ash Ahmad_Headshot Arshia Ahmad
United Kingdom

Aqilla Izzi

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Izzi wants to start an initiative focused on the triple nexus of peace, humanitarianism, and development, focusing on gender inequality in the context of the climate crisis, which necessitates diversity and inclusion mechanisms.  

Izzi works on engaging youth on topics of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) among rural-based youth, which fall under the global youth-led organization of Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR). Previously she worked as a Community Organizer at a local NGO focusing on Gender-based Violence (GBV) prevention, specifically men’s involvement in violence elimination where she facilitated community activism to improve knowledge and behaviour in gender justice for both men and women.

Aqilla was appointed as a Country Facilitator for the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD) Youth Forum and the Asia and Pacific regional ECOSOC Youth Forum 2022. She was in charge of putting together and presenting the Youth Call to Action for higher-level representatives in the context of gender mainstreaming and youth meaningful participation in climate action and policy processes.  

“I want to be a visionary leader that commits to accomplishing the meaningful participation and leadership of women and youth in inclusive and sustainable initiatives.”

Aqilla Izzi_Headshot
Indonesia

Candace D. Queen

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Candace D. Queen is the Founder and Creator-In-Chief of Tabernacle, a creative studio that guides brands and individuals in discovering how they can tackle inequities through the lens of branding, design, art, and strategy. Under the Tabernacle mantle, she’s developing a platform that will support women candidates through the process of defining their brands and communicating their platforms to constituents, with the goal of getting more women elected in office and in turn leading to better representation of women in government decisions, from workplace policies to quality of life. 

With over 15 years of experience, Queen has held the title of culturalist, interdisciplinary designer, creative director, and educator, remaining consistent in each role with a commitment to advancing racial equity through design and revitalizing forgotten spaces and communities. She brings a sharp eye for new trends and an affinity for creating data-driven work that pushes our society forward by addressing cross-cultural disparities head-on. 

Queen has served on the Snapchat U.S. Creative Council and is a 2020 fellow of the NAACP’s NEXTGEN program. She’s been recognized as one of the Association of American Advertising Agencies (4A’s) “100 People Who Make Advertising Great,” a 4A’s MAIPer to Watch, a Bill Sharp Award Honoree, an ADCOLOR FUTURE, and recipient of ADCOLOR’s Unsung Hero Award. Queen is a part of the 3% Movement’s Accelerator’s inaugural class and a 2020 winner of Create & Cultivate’s Small Business Pitch Competition.  

“As a visionary leader, I want to lead with empathy and elevate those around me to their next level.” 

Candace Queen_Headshot
United States

​​​Arifah Suparni

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Arifah Suparni is the Founder and Chairperson of ZAKKI, a socio-civic tech non-profit dedicated to developing inclusive, integrated communities with a focus on empowering and improving the lives of the elderly and people with disabilities. ZAKKI aspires to foster a culture of retirement readiness and healthy aging.

ZAKKI’s milestone projects aim to improve mental, social, educational, and financial well-being. ZAKKI operates in Indonesia under the auspices of the Integrity Syariah Foundation. ZAKKI’s field programs include elderly care and disaster relief for survivors of disasters such as the Nganjuk landslide and the Malang earthquake. In a further development, ZAKKI aims to spread its impact to other countries, particularly underdeveloped and developing countries like Indonesia. 

Suparni holds a Bachelor of Food and Agricultural Product Technology from the University of Semarang. She has over eight years of profit business experience, including procurement, inventory control, logistics, and shipment management. Her previous involvement in the student science club, student executive body, student cooperation, and the Indonesian Red Cross volunteers’ corps inspired her to become a serial entrepreneur who has dedicated her life to science, technology, social equity, social justice, and ethical business. 

 

”I aspire to be a visionary leader who contributes to the creation of a more equitable society in which everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, has access to knowledge and opportunities that can improve their lives.”

Arifah Suparni_Headshot arifah su
Indonesia

Denia B. Smith 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Denia B. Smith is the CEO of She Shall Speak, a podcast and empowerment community dedicated to empowering Black girls to pursue civic service, entrepreneurship, and social justice. Since its creation in February 2022, She Shall Speak has garnered a global audience spanning 22 US States and 15 countries. Denia aspires to turn She Shall Speak into a nonprofit organization providing leadership development workshops, networking opportunities, and scholarships to further cultivate Black girls’ leadership skills.  

Smith is a freshman at American University double majoring in Political Science and Justice & Law with a certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies. She is also a nationally recognized activist passionate about racial and gender equity. Her leadership roles include serving as a Teen Advisor to the United Nation Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, a Youth Advisor on the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common Youth Advisory Board, co-founder of the POC Advocacy, and researcher at the African American Policy Forum.  

Smith is a three-year alumna of Black Girls Lead! hosted by BLACK GIRLS ROCK!®, Conversationalist Disruptor, Disney Dreamer, New Jersey Rising Scholar, recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relation’s Certificate of Accomplishment, member of the Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Global Cohort and a GLOW Global Fellow with Women Empowering Nations and Cantu Beauty. In 2022, Smith was named a Write Her Future Scholar and presented a $10,000 scholarship from the NAACP and Lancôme. 

”As a visionary leader, I seek to empower generations of girls to build a better world. ” 

Deniab.smith_Headshot Denia Smith
United States

Domenica Escatel

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Chicana Inc is a social enterprise focused on elevating, educating, and equipping women in underserved communities. The organization is rooted in building community and helping women overcome the gender pay gap. Through entrepreneurship initiatives, women gain the opportunity to learn, grow, and be inspired by women community leaders and to access workshops, and signature events, including the “Boss Brunches and Leadership” speaker series.  During the pandemic, Chicana Inc launched La Tiendita, which gives local entrepreneurs virtual opportunities to build their social media presence by showcasing their business and telling their stories.  

Escatel holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and a bachelor’s in Studio Art from San Jose State University.  She is an alumna of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality’s Hope Leadership Institute and Leadership Modesto. Escatel has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, UC Merced, and UC Davis Entrepreneur Academy, and The Positive People Speaker Series hosted by Modesto Junior College. 

Escatel is a past nominee for USA Today’s 2021 Humankind Award. Escatel was recognized by Brainz Magazine as the 2020 global Influencer of the year. She is also the awardee of the 2019 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle, the 2018 Women of the year by Stanislaus Commission for Women, and 2016 20 under 40 Modesto Bee. 

”As a visionary leader, I create opportunities for women to grow personally, and professionally while doing social good. ”

 

Domenica Escatel_Headshot Domenica Anna Escatel
United States

Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri (aka Dr May) is the Medical Director and Psychiatrist-In-Chief at Pinnacle Medical Services (PMS). PMS is a leading psychology and mental health facility in Nigeria that is prominent in the application of innovative clinical approaches in the management of psychological, emotional, and behavioral related disorders. Dr. Yusuf Kadiri is also the founder of Pinnacle Medicals SPEAKOUT Initiative, which is geared towards creating Mental Health literacy in Africa. The project “How Bodi Mobile Counselling Booth” aims to provide improved access to mental healthcare services and hope for people in rural, remote, and urban slum communities across Nigeria using the How Bodi telemedicine platform.  

Dr. Yusuf Kadiri is a dynamic Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist and a Fellow of the National Post- Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (FMCPsych) with almost 20 years of experience as a practicing physician. She completed training and certification as a Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioral therapist from Albert Ellis Institute in New York. She is a Goldman Sachs scholar, Vital Voices Fellow, an Ashoka change maker, an alumna of the US      State Department International Visitors Leadership program (IVLP), 2021 Aspen Fellow, and 2022 AWEC Fellow. 

In 2022 she was given the “Outstanding achievement in Healthcare” award at the Top50 Global Professional & Career Women Awards in Dubai by Women in Management. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that contributes to the normalization of mental health conversations by building a culture of compassion in Africa.”    

Drmaymunahyusufkadiri_Headshot Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri
Nigeria

Edna Chepkurui Laboso 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Chepkurui Laboso is starting Missing Third Project, an organization that will use research and advocacy to champion Kenyan women’s participation in political leadership. Her vision is to give a platform to women who are passionate about leadership but face barriers due to their cultural backgrounds, including women from rural communities who are often left out of mainstream media and civic spaces. She hopes her work helps support the passing of the 2/3 affirmative action rule which would ensure women’s participation as integral across national social, economic and political leadership roles. 

Chepkurui Laboso earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the United States International University (USIU-Africa), in Nairobi, Kenya.  In 2022, she participated in the party primaries for the United Democratic Alliance of Kenya party as a candidate for the Member of County Assembly (MCA).  She was the only woman candidate among six men and ranked 6th place in a political context that did not believe in women’s leadership. Chepkurui Laboso is actively involved in a grassroots women’s movement and hopes to continue educating women and her community on the importance of including women in leadership roles and supporting girls through education to set them up for success and inclusion in the future. 

 

Edna Laboso_Headshot
Kenya

Ethel Mwedziwendira

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ethel Mwedziwendira plans to launch a digital media initiative that focuses on BIPOC women who have been impacted by the prison system in hopes of amplifying their voices. Through her work, she seeks to raise awareness about the realities of mass incarceration in the United States and its draconian court systems by bringing to light the people whose voices are often silenced by the criminal legal system. 

 A lifelong storyteller and human rights advocate, Mwedziwendira graduated from the University of Mississippi where she majored in journalism and political science. While in undergrad, Mwedziwendira served as the Opinion and Design Editor for the Daily Mississippian. In addition, she held numerous leadership positions and internships, including interning at the Yemen Peace Project where she monitored human rights violations and political developments in the region.

Currently, Mwedziwendira develops and implements communications strategies for capital litigators across the United States. She also serves on the Communications Committee for the Black Professionals in International Affairs, is involved in ColorComm Inc., and is a mentor at Hope Multiplied.  

”As a visionary leader, I want to make sure that all voices are heard and that everyone has a seat at the table.” 

 

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United States

Fernanda Sartori

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Fernanda Sartori is putting into action her goal of ​​improving the educational system for children and adolescents living in socio-educational homes after committing an infraction. Sartori aims to build real opportunities for this future generation of youth who must also be included within the roles of society in order to break the vicious cycle of marginalization and give way to new visions and voices. 

Sartori has a degree in public management and has worked in private banks in the areas of compliance, accounting, and external auditing during her 8-year career in the private sector. After making a career transition, Sartori joined the Film School and volunteered with Engajamundo for more than three years where she was the screenwriter and producer of “Pimenta pra Jovem é Refresco”, a podcast where the voices and plurality of Brazilian youth echoes. She was part of the Youth Climate Leaders Program (YCL) where she received training in socio-environmental areas. Sartori was also the winner of the Action4SDG Zovu with the Plante Histórias (Plant Stories) Project, bringing stories of Brazilian socio-environmental emergencies to the rest of the world. 

”As a visionary leader, I intend to build bridges to bring education and opportunities to children and adolescents through socio-educational measures in Brazil.”

Fernandasartori_Headshot Fernanda Mendes Sartori
Brazil

Gabi Del Rosario

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Gabi Del Rosario is the founder of Alon and Araw Club, a community-based organization for disadvantaged children from a small fishing village in the Philippines. She envisions a world where children of vulnerable coastal communities are free to dream and pursue a purposeful life. “Alon” and “Araw” mean waves and sun respectively, embodying the mission of the organization to create waves of opportunities through the four pillars of sports accessibility, education support, environmental protection, and personal development.  

Del Rosario obtained a bachelor’s degree from Ateneo de Manila University where she majored in communications. She has a background working in corporate retail. Although she has always active as a volunteer and involved in charity work, she never foresaw moving to a coastal town to start a non-profit. Alon and Araw Club is still in its startup phase yet Del Rosario considers it her greatest achievement to date. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that inspires young Filipinas to break barriers and go above and beyond their own self-imposed limitations.  As a visionary leader I will always uphold patience, love, and empathy regardless of who I’m with or where I am.’

Gabi Del Rosario_Headshot (1)
Philippines

Hope Farayi Marere

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Hope Farayi Marere is the Country Head of Retail & Business Banking for BancABC Zimbabwe and is passionate about the financial literacy and inclusion of women. She has mentored women who have been challenged to grow and succeed in their chosen careers and aspires to continue supporting women to become the best version of who then can be professionally. 

Marere has over 20 years of experience in the retail landscape and in retail Banking including retail sales, card operations, digital banking, private banking, marketing and public relations, agency banking, microfinance, and banking operations. Marere is also interested in digital transformation and innovation in banking and leveraging these to improve product design and to enhance customer experience. 

Marere has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Finance from the National University of Science and Technology and an MBA from Management College of Southern Africa. She has attended the Authentic Women in Leadership Programme from Alchemy by the Deloitte School of Leadership and completed the Executive Leadership training program. In 2021, Marere received the Most Outstanding Financial leader of Repute from the Zimbabwe CEOS network. 

”I want to be the visionary leader that recognizes and celebrates diversity and inspires excellence in financial services.” 

Hope Farayi Marere Headshot HOPE MARERE
Zimbabwe

Jenna Smith

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

 

Jenna Smith is planning to re-launch The LGBT History Project. Her vision is to create an organization dedicated to creating access to queer history education through virtual media. Its purpose is to share the rich and diverse history of the LGBTQ+ community in a widely accessible format. It also aims to bring attention to the BIPOC who have contributed to the queer liberation movement but had their stories erased. 

Smith is a Robertson Scholar at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Duke, she is pursuing impact work as the Programming Director of Kidz Vote, the Head of the Advocacy Team on the Duke Justice Project, and a Research Assistant at the Wilson Center for Science and Justice. She has pursued her passion for historical preservation as an intern at the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. In this role, she was tasked with designing and launching a Civil Rights Heritage Archive to preserve the stories of the Mississippi Delta. She will continue to engage in historical preservation as an independent student researcher, focusing on rectifying methods of erasure levied against Black women in history.  

Smith is also a 2019 HERLead Fellow, a Rising Voices Club Mentor, a Point Foundation Scholar, an Eva Clayton Fellow, and is ranked among the Top 20 Best Speakers in the nation as a first-year competitor at the AMCA Undergraduate Moot Court Competition.

”As a visionary leader, I hope to dismantle systems of ignorance through education and storytelling.”  

Jenna Smith_Headshot
United States

Jennifer Barrera Wandrey

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Jennifer Barrera Wandrey is a cofounder of Beyond Great. The mission of Beyond Great is to enrich the lives of young women by providing mentoring, educational workshops, and personal and professional development opportunities to aid in their success of becoming great leaders. Beyond Great helps to provide activities and experiences for personal growth, social responsibility, and education. In addition, Beyond Great works to provide opportunities for participants to foster positive relationships amongst other young women. 

Barrera Wandrey is a dedicated public servant with over 8 years of experience serving the Houston community through Marketing and Outreach management roles for the City of Houston. She also serves as a Spanish speaking media liaison for the municipal animal shelter.  

Barrera Wandrey received her Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston-Downtown with a leadership focus. The Greater Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation recognized her as Emerging Leader in 2015. She is an alumnus of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc a Latina-based sorority devoted to serving the community while fostering a sense of pride and respect for the Latin heritage.

”I want to be a visionary leader who empowers young women to reach their full leadership potential. As a visionary leader I hope to offer guidance and support to my community who has also nurtured my own vision.”

Jennifer Barrera Garcia_Headshot
United States

Jo Bell

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Bell works with women who are at a point where they need change in their lives. This can be a change in mindset, career, life choices and everything in between! Through her 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring business she aspires to create an environment for women to re-balance, reassess, and reboot, enabling them to be the true version of themselves. 

Bell had an accomplished 15-year career as a teacher and manager in education before working in the corporate sector for five years where she worked in partnership with public, private, and volunteer organizations.  

”As a visionary leader I will inspire other women to be their awesome, authentic selves, despite the environment they find themselves in.”

 

 

Jo Bell_Headshot
United Kingdom

Jodeen Olguín-Tayler

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Olguín-Tayler is a nationally recognized leader in racial justice and gender equity movements, and has served in executive roles across the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. A sought-after social change strategist, she is known for driving large-scale advocacy and civic engagement programs, as well as designing winning public policy campaigns. After two decades of leading frontline work to advance climate justice as well as racial and gender equity, Olguín-Tayler is on a mission to shift power and practices in the philanthropic sector to democratize access to capital and resources as a means of scaling social change infrastructure. As a philanthropic leader Olguín-Tayler draws on over 20 years of frontline organizing, cross-sector movement-building, DEI and change management expertise.  

Olguín-Tayler has served as Campaign Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Field Director for MoveOn.org, advisor to the Movement for Black Lives policy table, and is the president of the board of trustees for the Chicana Climate Justice Fund and the Movement Voter Fund. She was a recipient of the Movement Makers fellowship and a Senior Fellow for Racial Justice and Inclusive Democracy at the Amalgamated Foundation. 

As a community leader and Chicana mother from the ancestral homelands of the Pueblo (Tewa) and Ute people, her work as a social movement strategist is part of her journey as a future ancestor. Advancing social and climate justice is both an expression of love and responsibility to steward resources, traditions and cultural inheritance for generations to come.  

 

Jodeen Olguín Tayler_Headshot
United States

Karina Diaz Fuyimoto

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

The mission of Operacion Nanas is to generate well-being for families while providing formal jobs and training for domestic workers in Peru. Operacion Nanas combines technology, distance education, and psychological assistance to support Peruvian and immigrant women with and promote well-paid jobs, backed by labor laws for domestic workers in Peru. 

From a very young age, Diaz had a vocation for helping others.  She was a volunteer that helped develop her local Rotary Club, through which she supported vulnerable areas of her hometown, Huaral.  Diaz has also worked in nutrition clubs, helping to improve the nutrition and wellbeing of families in her community, which has allowed her to develop the leadership skills necessary to start current venture. 

Operacion Nanas received the Women for Tomorrow Award (Mujeres para el Mañana) by Soft Bank & We Work and the Strategic Business Management Award (Programa de Gestión Estratégica Comercial) by the Japanese Peruvian Association. 

”I want to be a visionary leader who helps women to be able to achieve all their dreams, goals and aspirations through formal work and constant training.”

Karina Diaz Fuyimoto_Headshot
Peru

Kathryn Kosmides  

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Kathryn Kosmides is the Founder and CEO of Garbo, a new kind of online background check on a mission to proactively prevent harm in the digital age. Through technology, tools, and education Garbo empowers individuals with access to potentially life-saving information while providing access to personalized resources. Since our founding in 2018, Garbo has reached millions of individuals, developed partnerships with other nonprofits like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and solidified a partnership with Match Group — the largest online dating company.  

Kosmides is a longtime entrepreneur and activist who has worked with dozens of early stage venture-backed companies to launch and scale their sales and marketing. She has been published in every major news outlet including op-eds in Fortune and TechCrunch. In 2021, she was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.  

I want to be a visionary leader that holds systems and individuals accountable while protecting the most vulnerable communities both online and in-person.” 

Kathrynkosmides_Headshot Kathryn Kosmides
United States

Kirthi Jayakumar

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Jayakumar founded and runs The Gender Security Project, one of the few WPS centres in the global south, working at the cusp of gender, security, peace, and conflict through research, reportage, and documentation.  

Jayakumar serves as an advisor to the Women7 (W7) under the German Presidency of the G7 and as the Head of Training at World Pulse. She formerly founded and ran the Red Elephant Foundation, a civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality through storytelling, advocacy and digital interventions. She has trained over 7,000 individuals in bystander intervention, over 20,000 children in safe and unsafe touch awareness, and over 1,000 teachers on child sexual abuse prevention and timely response. Jayakumar also created an app called Saahas that supports survivors of gender-based violence and assists in bystander intervention in 196 countries.  

Jayakumar received her bachelor’s degree in Law from SOEL, Chennai. She has a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Coventry University where she was a Commonwealth Scholarship Awardee, and another in Sustainable Peace in a Contemporary World from UPEACE, Costa Rica. Jayakumar is a Vital Voices Engage Fellow, and a former Vital Voices Lead Fellow.  

 

Kirthi Jayakumar_Headshot (1)
India

Liya Safina

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Liya is a digital design director and web3 strategist living in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her academic background lies in architecture and educational methodology. Through her work in blockchain innovation, Liya is building an educational platform with a mission to help people get educated, connected, and empowered in web3. 

With a focus on strategy and user experience, she collaborates with clients to achieve a creative vision and bring innovative technologies to life. Liya has established creative for Fortune 500 companies and startups, including Alibaba, Nike, Google, Sotheby’s, Reuters, StreetEasy, Brandless, and CoinBase to name a few. She has experienced a variety of leadership scenarios, from bootstrapping a startup to designing for future citizens of a city built by Toyota in Japan (2025). Liya is also the advisor of an accelerator program tailored specifically to the needs of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian women and mothers. 

Previously, Liya co-founded an accelerator-backed startup in the Silicon Valley and a digital educational platform in Moscow. She was selected for her work as a fellow at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design 2012 and awarded as Innovator of the Year by Falling Walls Labs in 2014.  

”Liya’s vision is to build a future where technology serves human needs, instead of humans serving revenue models.”

 

Liya Safina_Headshot3 (1)
United States

Ioanna Gallo Jimenez 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Growing Together (GT) is a non-profit organization founded in May 2020 in Peru to promote gender equality with and for adolescents. GT works with public schools, on the north coast of Peru, by providing workshops and educational programs with a gender equality framework that challenges gender stereotypes. We support youth as gender equality champions and empower them to end gender-based violence. 

I am an international development professional with more than nine years of working experience in diverse development issues in Peru and the United States. I am a social entrepreneur that promotes the conversation about gender gaps in Peru, especially those related to education, data analysis, and public policy. I am a co-founder of Growing Together (GT). 

Ioanna Gallo Jimenez is a candidate for a master’s in Public Administration at Maxell School of Syracuse University. She was a recipient of the De Sardon-Glass Fellowship. Since April 2022 she is member of Meaningful Business community.  

”I want to be a visionary leader representing the voices of Latin-American local women who work to eliminate social norms that reproduce inequalities. As a visionary leader, I will lead a transformative change in the gender norms that relegate women’s futures.”

Loanna Gallo Jimenez_Headshot
Peru

Luiza Brunelli Bührer

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Luiza Brunelli Bührer is the Founder and President of MC², short for “Meninas na Ciência” (Girls in STEM in Portuguese), an organization that aims to bridge the gender gap in the STEM field through educational programs focused on inspiring and empowering girls from a young age. Powered by more than 150 volunteers, MC² has impacted more than 1,100 middle school girls from the Brazilian public education system since 2020. 

Luiza is also a Leader in Girl Up, a UN Foundation initiative for gender equality. Through her Girl Up club, Brunelli Bührer has donated more than 45,000 menstrual products, advocated for bills regarding period poverty, and worked on a campaign to encourage young voters in Brazil. Moreover, she currently serves as a Chapter Coordinator for Youth for Women in Technology (WiTech), a youth-led nonprofit organization based in the Philippines that aims to encourage youth to break gender stereotypes and make a difference using technology, overseeing activities in Europe and South America. 

Luiza received the 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (currently named Prudential Emerging Visionaries) in Brazil for her work with MC², out of 2,125 other young changemakers. Through this award, she participated in the Prudential Emerging Visionaries Summit in Newark and was featured on a billboard in Times Square. Her work was also featured in online magazines, printed newspapers, radio stations, and national television networks.
 

”As a visionary leader, I hope to create meaningful connections that will help me bring to life a world where STEM is an inclusive field for everyone.”

 

Luiza Brunelli Bührer_Headshot
Brazil

Meghan Chayka

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Meghan Chayka is a multifaceted entrepreneur, data scientist and sports industry speaker. An influential voice in the intersectional worlds of sports, media, and tech, Chayka is the co-founder of Stathletes, a hockey data and analytics company launched in 2010 that provides decision-making insights to more than 22 leagues worldwide, with some of the most elite clients in the sports industry. 

Named to The Hockey News’ 100 People of Power and Influence in 2019, Chayka was featured in the insert cover alongside industry heavyweights Gary Bettman (NHL Commissioner), René Fasel (International Ice Hockey Federation President), and Donald Fehr Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association). In another industry role, Meghan is a Data Scientist in Residence at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Chayka and Stathletes have also been awarded Top Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018/2019 by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Top 40 under 40 in hockey for the Athletic in 2019 & 2020. She is on the board of advisors of US Integrity in the sports betting space. Chayka was awarded Women of the Year 2022 by the DMZ Ryerson tech incubator in Toronto.  

 

 

Meghan Chayka_Headshot
Canada

Melisa Bustamante

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Melisa Bustamante is the executive director of a platform called RESILISER, created by an NGO (FIDUS) located in Córdoba, Argentina. She has been working since 2020 to create alliances with different institutions that are doing social impact work and are involved with gender inequality. SALTO project is available in the platform RESILISER, where women find not only the training related to SALTO, but also other courses and workshops to enhance different areas of their lives. The project aims at giving women the necessary tools to achieve that shift in their mindset, providing high quality information, training and coaching delivered by experts in their fields of study. By getting to know themselves, what their dreams are, what prevents them from manifesting those dreams, women will be able to take a giant leap, defy their own mental boundaries, and change their lives, spot opportunities where they used to see obstacles. 

Bustamante holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Strayer University and is enrolled in an MBA program at Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Melisa is also a language instructor. She has been teaching since she was 16 years old. She has experience in class planning and curriculum design, and education technology. Teaching has always been her vocation, and she feels that teaching has enhanced her leadership skills.  

”As a visionary leader I aspire to become the voice of those who come from underdeveloped regions to show Latinas and the rest of the world that our lives can be better, and that we do not need to settle for what our patriarchal society has to offer. ”

Melisa Bustamante_Headshot
Argentina

Neivia Justa

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Neivia Justa is a journalist, executive, influencer, activist, change maker, mother, entrepreneur, speaker, mentor, teacher and founder of #JustaCausa. 

With 30 years of experience as a leader in Communication, Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in companies such as Timex, Natura, Schincariol, GE, Goodyear, J&J and UHG, she is the creator of the #lídercomneivia live streaming program and the social media movements #ondeestãoasmulheres (where are the women?) and #aquiestãoasmulheres (here the women are). 

She won the Women’s Press Trophy and the Aberje Award in 2017 and since 2018 she is one of LinkedIn Brazil’s Top Voices

Neivia Justa_Headshot
Brazil

Rebecca Tendai Chirenga

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Women in Communities is a women-led organization whose mandate is to uphold women’s rights, health and livelihoods and it is a registered Trust that was established in 2009. It seeks to create safe spaces for women to participate in governance processes and exercise their constitutional rights. The vision of Wico is to create a world in which women play decisive roles in agriculture; health; governance; and natural resources management for sustainable livelihoods and development.

Chirenga is a lecturer and trainer by profession with over 20 years of experience working with tertiary institutions and is an avid community developer and advocacy champion. She has held various leadership positions including Head of Commerce faculty, senior lecturer, and has sat on a number of Boards of Directors. She has been the Executive Director of Wico for the past 12 years and is responsible for planning and implementing programs, training and capacity building, supporting organizational networks and mobilizing resources.

Chirenga was awarded the 2019 Netherlands Embassy Gender Champion Award and The Best Community Developer for 2019for Wico awarded by the National Association of NGOs in Zimbabwe.  She currently sits on the World Patients Alliance Africa Committee. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that will champion the cause of women and girls in all facets of their health, rights and education.  As a visionary leader I want to leave a legacy of empowered and informed women that are in a safe space to demand their human rights.”

 

 

Rebecca Chirenga_Headshot
Zimbabwe

Renata Koch Alvarenga

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

 Renata Koch Alvarenga (she/her) is the Founder and Director of EmpoderaClima, which is a Brazil-based, youth-led initiative created to raise awareness of the disproportionate impacts of climate change that girls and women face in the Global South, as well as the need for women’s leadership in climate action.  

Koch Alvarenga is working as a Climate and Sustainable Development Fellow at the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth this summer in New York City. She has been engaged in international initiatives for gender and climate justice for the past 7 years. Koch Alvarenga is a G(irls)20/Fora Ambassador of Brazil, National Gender Youth Activist of UN Women, Transform Education Leader, Voices That Inspire Fellow and Gender Co-lead for Youth at UN Climate. She has also worked as a Political Analyst for the British Mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   

Koch Alvarenga holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Unisinos (Brazil), having studied for two years at the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations (United States). Currently, she is a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, as a Belfer Young Leader Fellow and Claudio Haddad Brazil Fellow.  

Koch Alvarenga has spoken about her work and the need for youth leadership in climate action at conferences across Europe, Latin America, and Asia, including UN conferences COP25 and COP26, and was the first Brazilian to speak at the opening of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), alongside the UN Secretary-General. 

“I want to be a visionary leader that centers young women and girls from Latin America in climate decision-making spaces”

Renata_Kochalvarenga_Headshot Renata Koch Alvarenga (1)
Brazil

Ridhi Aggarwal

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ridhi Aggarwal is the co-founder of Swatantra Talim, a non-profit working in the field of alternative education in the interior villages of Uttar Pradesh, India since July 2013. The organization’s vision is to co-create every village as a ”centre of innovation” and every child as an “innovator” facilitating social change. The students are in the age group of 6 to 18 years with whom efforts are made to nurture their socio-scientific temper through hands-on curriculum and contextual pedagogy.  

Aggarwal’s focus points in the organization is towards strategy, curriculum, and building competencies of grass-root teachers through capacity building workshops. Before Swatantra Talim, she worked in corporates, NGOs, and schools like Times of India, Edelweiss Capital, Nalanda (Lucknow), and Sahyadri School (Krishnamurthi Foundation India).  

 

A graduate from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi University), Aggarwal is a post-graduate in education and commerce from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and Delhi School of Economics. She has been a Wipro Seeding Fellow since 2017 and a FabLearn Fellow 2020-22 from Columbia University, USA.   

Aggarwal is also an avid storyteller and an origami lover. She has been instrumental in co-creating maker-spaces in public, private schools and non-formal learning centers. She has presented a paper in FabLearn, Italy on “Culturally responsive maker-space learning model towards meaningful education for marginalized communities”. She has initiated a children’s newspaper — Baal-Kranti (the revolutionary voices of children) in the year 2021.  

Ridhi Aggarwal_Headshot (1)
India

Rosario del Pilar Diaz Garavito

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Rosario del Pilar Diaz Garavito is a young activist and the Founder and Executive Director of The Millennials Movement, a youth lead organization, that delivers actions in 16 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The organization aims to engage young citizens and stakeholders in the sustainable development process of their communities, promoting active citizenship and supporting their transition from public policies beneficiaries to change makers. Through our innovative “molecular” and “GloCal” approaches, we deliver capacity building initiatives, interventions in the territories, participatory processes and provide networking opportunities that open spaces for young citizens and social actors. 

Pilar Diaz Garavito is a member of the Youth Advisory Board Member for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and Silatech for the initiative Education About All. Currently she serves as Elected Focal Point for the Children, Adolescent and Youth Group of the Latin American and the Caribbean Civil Society Participation Mechanism MesCLAC / MGCY, for the formal review of the 2030 Agenda at the United Nations. Pilar Diaz Garavito is an Alumni for the LAC Women Empower Program 2022- 2023 of the Ban Ki Moon Center.  

In 2019, Pilar Diaz Garavito was awarded as Obama Foundation Scholar 2019-2020, graduating from the Master´s Program on International Development and Policy at the University of Chicago. Her work has been recognized by the Vice Presidency of Peru, the Regional Coordinator of the UN System in Peru, The United Nations Millennium Campaign, AIESEC International with the Leader for Peace Award. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosario del Pilar Diaz Garavito_Headshot
Peru

Rukmini Iyer

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Rukmini Iyer is a core team member of Disom Foundation, an organization that works in development of ethical political leadership in India through a fellowship program that nurtures future political and social ‘servant leaders’. The school encourages leadership that shares responsibilities and decision-making with communities and constituencies with humility, compassion, and grace. It fosters leaders who are driven by a spirit of service and see power as a means to achieve shared wellbeing. 

Over the last 21 years, Iyer has worked across the globe with corporate organizations, the development sector, communities and individuals through the modalities of consulting, facilitation, coaching and dialogue. In 2008, she founded Exult! Solutions, which bridges the spaces of conscious leadership and organizational development and peacebuilding.

Iyer has been a Global Peace Index Ambassador of the Institute for Peace and Economics, Australia since 2017 and has been recognized as a leader in constructive dialogue through achievements such as the Rotary Peace Fellowship in Peace and Conflict Resolution at Chulalongkorn University in 2013, representation as the delegation leader from India for the Seeds of Peace International Peace Dialogue in 2018, and the Emerging Leaders Fellowship by the Inner Climate Academy in 2022.

”As a visionary leader, Ayer aspires to sense into the nature of leadership needed to evolve us into our identity as planetary citizens.”

Rukmini Iyer_Headshot
India

Ruth Okoirhon

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Ruth Okoirhon is planning to launch an education initiative for young women to curb their vulnerability to human trafficking and gender-based violence. Her initiative would include education on staying safe online, vetting online job offers, identifying trafficking, and also provide skills formation to ensure self-sufficiency. Her vision is to raise a generation of smart, confident and self-sustaining women who will be less vulnerable to false job offers abroad and instead, pay it forward and build a network of independent African women.  

Okoirhon is experienced in psycho-social counselling, facilitation, digital publishing, livelihood training, project coordination, and curriculum design. She holds a bachelor’s in Mass Communication and certifications in international development. She also volunteers for a couple of gender-focused organizations.

 I want to be a visionary leader that equips women and girls with the right tools to achieve their full potential.”  

Ruth Okoirhon_Headshot
Nigeria

Seth Forbes

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Seth Forbes is the founder and executive director of Together Estranged (TE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports and empowers those estranged from family members while enhancing social understanding for the de-stigmatization of estrangement. TE offers support groups, virtual holiday programming, mental health-related workshops, scholarships, and collaborative community events, all which foster safe spaces for those who’ve struggled with abuse, disownment, or childhood trauma within their family ecosystem. With an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, TE primarily serves female-identifying individuals, LGBTQ+ folx, and the BIPOC community, between ages 18 and 45. 

Forbes holds a master’s degree in organizational communication from Ball State University, where she was a Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry Scholar in 2014 and student leader in a program titled “Breaking the Prejudice Habit.” She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science degree in Digital Technology from Boston University. Forbes is a Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellow as well as a Dean’s List Scholarship recipient and served as the Market Research Director for her university’s American Advertising Federation (AAF) chapter in 2015.  

She was invited to speak at the Moving Beyond Family Struggles Summit 2022 by the Center for Family Understanding and was recently selected to be a session director for entrepreneurship at the Look Back, Act Forward LGBTQ+ ROMBA Conference 2022. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that illuminates pathways for healing and encourages others to live their lives authentically and boldly, regardless of what others have told them.”

 

Seth Forbes_Headshot
United States

Shailaja Kayastha (Kasaju)

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Tekka is a social business hub for handcrafted products that empowers women through skill development, decision making and financial stability. Tekka has carried out several activities in relation to women empowerment, student support, and school reconstruction since its establishment

Kayastha was a Teach for Nepal fellow and worked as a volunteer teacher at Shree Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School in  Sanagachowk, Sindupalchowk. During the first month of her fellowship in 2015, Nepal was hit by the earthquake with Sindupalchowk at the epicenter. In the aftermath, Kayastha led multiple relief services, including health camps, student support campaigns, the Women Empowerment Project.

For her work, she was named one of Nepal’s 75 Women Leaders in 2016 by the Santosh Sha Foundation and an EntrepreneuHER in 2021. She is also the winner of multiple awards and recognitions, including the Change Maker Award in 2017, Connect IN awarded by Clock B innovation and Indian Embassy, and the Private Sector Innovation Challenge awarded by USAid. Kayastha has been a grantee of the Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme and the CHRA Award Grants by Open Society University Network. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that uplifts the life of local women and children.”  

Shailaja Kayastha Kasaju_Headshot shailaja Kayastha Kasaju (1)
Nepal

Shweta Kochatta

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

At the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, Shweta Kochatta is strengthening a center of learning to guide and mentor indigenous students and alumni to become leaders and changemakers. In this role, Kochatta aims to increase the representation and participation of indigenous communities in society and to inspire and uplift future generations. Through dynamic industry-academia collaborations, the KISS initiative strives to facilitate, design, and execute structured and intensive employability and skill development programs to enable the learners to access various opportunities in public, private, and social sectors as well as at the grassroots level. 

Kochatta is also an Odisha Development Fellow (O-Dev) with PHDMA (Poverty and Human Development Monitoring Agency), Govt. of Odisha. She is conducting an impact evaluation of women collectives & self-help groups to develop support systems focused on women’s economic empowerment, business development, and financial and digital literacy. A Finance enthusiast, she started her professional journey at one of the leading investment banks, Credit Suisse, working with the European Delta-one Desk and is a CFA Level III candidate. She has also tried her hand at entrepreneurship while running her family business Vipul Nirman, a supply-chain construction materials business based in Central India. 

Kochatta graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, with a Master of Science (Int.) in Chemistry. She was awarded the Academic Excellence award for three consecutive years, as well as the Best Incoming Sportsperson and the Best Outgoing Sportsperson awards. 

”As a visionary leader I aspire to work towards developing sustainable solutions for equitable education and economic empowerment.” 

 

Shweta Kochatta_Headshot
India

Sofia Scarlat

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sofia Scarlat is a 19-year-old advocate from Romania, working on women and children’s rights, gender-based violence and human trafficking prevention, sexual health and reproductive rights, and youth empowerment. She is the founder of the country’s first and currently only youth-led, gender equality organization, Girl Up Romania, where she has coordinated advocacy, research, and education initiatives that have reached thousands of young Romanians, supported survivors, and led to successful, country-wide policy change. Scarlat also has experience organizing, consulting, and researching for UN structures such as UN Women, where she served as one of the youngest members of the Generation Equality Youth Task Force, and for organizations such as Innovations for Poverty Action and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. 

Scarlat’s work was recognized internationally, receiving nominations for awards such as the International Children’s Peace Prize and the Princess of Girona International Award. She has also presented her work at conferences such as Women in Development (London) and TEDxBucharest, and as a Global Young Leader for Women Deliver. 

Sofia is a student at Stanford University, majoring in Sociology. There, she serves as the university’s Co-Director for Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, organizing to prevent campus sexual violence through advocacy and policy-change efforts. She is currently conducting research on the lives of women in rural Romania, with the support of a Chappell Lougee Grant.  

 

Sofia Scarlat_Headshot
Romania

Sophie Otiende

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sophie Otiende is the founder of a survivor-led initiative in Kenya called Azadi that focuses on supporting survivors of trafficking with long-term care and leadership skills to engage in the human rights space. Otiende is passionate about ethical engagement of survivors of trafficking and ethical storytelling. Sophie firmly believes in a future where empathy, harmony and trust can seamlessly be articulated in processes and systems within institutions. 

Otiende is a feminist, teacher, and survivor-advocate for survivors of trafficking. For the past eight years she has focused on creating ethical standards for the protection of survivors of trafficking, developing systems for organizations, training, and developing curriculum on both protection and awareness of human trafficking. She also speaks internationally on her standards of care and survivor engagement.  

Otiende studied education. She is a 2015 Vital Voices Fellow and the recipient of the US Trafficking in Persons Report Hero 2020. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. Previously, she worked as the Regional Operations Manager, Africa for Liberty Shared and later as the Director of Consulting for Survivor Alliance. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS).   

 ”I want to be a visionary leader that employs an intersectional approach in re-imagining solutions that centers survivors of trafficking in the world.”

 

 

Sophie Otiende_Headshot
Kenya

Sumaira Ishfaq 

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Sumaira Ishfaq hopes to start a new organization focused on the empowerment of marginalized communities in Pakistan. Ishfaq holds a Master of Science degree in Agriculture and works for Winrock International. Her thematic area of work is agriculture, rural development, and gender equity. She travels extensively in the remote areas of Pakistan because of her work with rural women farmers. She mobilizes women and rural communities at the grassroots level and connects them with different stakeholders at village, district, provincial and national levels. She also collaborates with government institutions to advance gender equality in agriculture.   

Ishfaq is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow and studied International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. She received the “Women of Courage” recognition certificate from Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC) for her work on rural women’s rights. She is member of the Intersectional Feminist Collective (IFC) and Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). She also worked as an Ambassador for Thought for Food (TFF) in Pakistan from 2019-2020.     

”I want to be a visionary leader that creates more space for feminist solidarity and sisterhood in local communities at the grassroot level.  As a visionary leader, I want to show the world that women’s leadership is critically important for sustainability.”

Sumaira Ishfaq_Headshot
Pakistan

Tabitha Willis

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Tabitha Willis is a part of ServUS, a startup seeking to revolutionize how students engage in volunteering and how nonprofits connect to students. ServUS is a platform that fosters community networking and organizing while creating a sustainable force of volunteers by breaking down barriers to service, linking students to opportunities that unlock their passions, and building career skills through professional development opportunities

Outside of ServUS, Willis has mentored youth with Essence Magazine’s Disney Dreamers Academy, tackled barriers to movement with Nike as one of ten selected for their Project Move Cohort, connected underserved communities with mental health resources as a member of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps, and advocated for women of color in STEM through writing for the Malala Fund. 

Willis holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Anthropology and Biology from The Ohio State University where she was a Morrill, Jesse Owens, LSAMP, and George M. Pullman Scholar. While an undergraduate, she was one of 20 students awarded the Outstanding Senior Award from a class of over 10,000 graduates for being in the top 1% of students in scholarship and endeavor. In addition, Willis was the only undergraduate recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award from the University Senate. She is currently taking a gap year at Northwestern Medicine in their NU-MHRT Program as she applies to medical school.

”I want to be a visionary that honors those who have come before me while paving new paths for those who will come after.”

Tabitha Willis_Headshot (1)
United States

Tsehaitu “Tubi” Retta

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Tubi Retta is a lawyer, social impact strategist, and gender equality advocate passionate about building a powerful movement of multisectoral actors to support and invest in young women around the world. She is currently the deputy director of the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation founded by Michelle Obama that focuses on empowering adolescent girls globally. In this role, she helps drive the strategy around funding, supporting, and amplifying community-based organizations serving girls. 

Previously she served as associate policy director to First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House, where she helped lead Let Girls Learn, a whole-of-government initiative with more than $1 billion dollars in investments to increase access to education for adolescent girls around the world. Retta believes deeply in the power of local solutions and collective action and that educating and empowering girls is among the most strategic and effective investments to solve global challenges and achieve sustainable development goals. She has also worked at the U.S. Department of State on gender equity and initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion of the U.S. diplomatic corps. 

Retta serves on the editorial board of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and the advisory board for Girl Rising, a nonprofit media organization that uses storytelling to change the way the world values girls and their education. 

 

 

Tubi Retta_Headshot Tsehaitu []Tubi[] Retta
United States

Vicky Pasion

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Vicky Pasion is the Co-Founder of Gifted, by Nature, a Media House championing artists and brands through management, production and publishing. Founded in 2019, GIFTED intentionally invests, amplifies and supports the creation of art by BAME and female voices, to increase representation and aspiration within the creative industry. GIFTED’s mission is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive industry by providing opportunities, safe spaces and community to help to unlock the power of sharing underrepresented stories. 

As an official UN Women UK Delegate, Pasion champions safer spaces for women and marginalised people in live music spaces. Pasion has also been hailed as ‘an artist on the rise’ by several cultural taste-makers, including Wonderland, BBC Radio, and Notion Magazine. As one of the UK’s emerging talents, she’s captivated audiences across international stages. The campaign of her socially conscious record “HEAVY” was supported by Autograph ABP, with a campaign Shortlisted for a Fair Education Alliance Innovation Award in 2021. 

Pasion is based in Somerset House, as part of the Black Business Incubator, and supported by the Mayor of London through the London & Partners Impact Cohort. Alongside her artistry, Pasion continues to raise awareness of the importance of safer spaces and mental health support for women and marginalised groups in the creative industries. 

”As a visionary leader, I aspire to create a globally recognised Media House that nurtures exceptional talent, amplifies underrepresented stories and moves towards a more diverse and inclusive creative industry.”

 

Vicky Pasion_Headshot3 (1)
United Kingdom

Watcharapon (Sia) Kukaewkasem

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Watcharapon (aka Sia) is the founder and CEO of Freedom Restoration Project (FRP). FRP is a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate gender-based violence and empower survivors to turn fear into safety, helplessness into strength, and isolation into hope. Kukaewkasem works predominantly with a migrant population of women and children who live-in high-risk situations, many who are victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence.   

Kukaewkasem comes from the Akha ethnic group in Thailand. She is a survivor of domestic violence and as a result, is passionate about helping families and communities end all gender-based violence issues. Kukaewkasem’s life goal is for people to experience healing and to recognize the power of their story and their voice.  

Kukaewkasem completed her masters degree in Clinical Social Work at Azusa Pacific University in the U.S. In 2017, she was a Community Solutions Program Fellow. Kukaewkasem has also been a storyteller and speaker at different international events including the UN Commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism #HearMeToo, UN E.Quality Talks, HeForShe University Tour, Human Library, and Dragonfly Summit 

”As a visionary leader I commit to empower other women and children so they can empower others.”

 

 

 

Watcharapon Kukaewkasem_Headshot Watcharapon (Sia)
Thailand

Zeinorin Angkang

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Zeinorin Angkang is the founder of Hill Wild, an organization that works with indigenous farmers of Northeast India to eradicate poverty by elevating the incomes of farmers through entrepreneurship. Hill Wild is committed to championing the cause of indigenous people and amplifying their voices through its tested, proven model. It offers a complete solution-based model starting from seed provision through the organization’s seed bank, financial assistance through its credit linkage scheme, pest intervention through its indigenous and natural method experts, as well as marketing and packaging support for farmers.  

Angkang believes in leadership through compassion. She dreams of spreading indigenous flavor to the world, elevating livelihoods, and sharing indigenous stories with a mission to ensure food security among indigenous communities, engage with farming to generate better income, protect indigenous seeds, and amplify indigenous voices. 

Zeinorin holds a management degree and was a Kofi Annan Changemaker in 2021. 

”I want to be a visionary leader that uplifts and improves the lives of indigenous people.” 

 

 

Zeinorin Angkang_Headshot
India

Kimhun Thit

2022 Fellow, VV VISIONARIES

Kimhun Thit currently serves as chairwoman of Cambodia National Rescue Party Americas & Overseas Women’s Affairs. She has been integral in advocating for bill HR 4686 Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021, S 3052 Cambodia Democracy Act and Human Rights Act of 2021, and S Resolution 427.

After graduating with a bachelors in public health from Walden University, Kimhun was a Pharmacy Assistant for 14 years and a professor of Pharmacy Technology for 11 years. In addition to her medical expertise, she is a Khmer cultural ambassador, helping to preserve Khmer culture within the US diaspora. Through her work at the Cambodian
Cultural Center of North Carolina, Kimhun taught Khmer language and led a youth dance troupe. Understanding the value of diversity and inclusion, Kimhun collaborates with other minorities to showcase the strength of community.

Kimhun’s passion to serve her community in culturally responsive ways led her to found the nonprofit Lexington Cambodia Community Center of NC. Kimhun is the bridge between elected officials and community members. Her driving force is focusing on the promotion of human rights, women’s rights, and democracy. Kimhun continues to work
with women outside Cambodia to promote women’s voices and women’s choices. For women inside who raised their voices against the dictatorship’s regime is very tough and tough. As an advocate for democracy, she partners with local and national stakeholders to fundraise and provide support for women in Cambodia. She is also a founder of Khmer Democratic Rescue Foundation (KDRF) is classified as a 501 (c) (3) to provide aid to victims of democracy seekers.

Kimhun s picture (1)
Cambodia