Musimibi Kanyoro is presented with the Womensphere Global Award, and a panel of women leaders discuss confronting the global challenges of the next generation.
Womensphere Global Award
Musimbi Kanyoro - CEO, Global Fund for WomenSoon-Young Yoon - Chair, NGO Committee on the Status of Women, United Nations
Heather Leathers - CEO & Founder, Global Fund for Widows
Victoria Budson - Executive Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Chair, Massachusetts Commission on Women
With Audience Q&A with Honoree and Speakers
Victoria A. Budson is the founding Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. WAPPP analyzes cutting-edge issues as they impact women's roles and lives. WAPPP conducts research, develops curriculum, and publishes materials focused on women and public policy. While at the Kennedy School, Budson was founding Executive Director of the Council of Women World Leaders, a group of current and former presidents and prime ministers.
Currently, Budson serves on the Board of Directors for the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) and iVillage Cares. The mission of NCRW is to harness the resources of its network to ensure fully informed debate, policies and practices to build a more inclusive and equitable world for women and girls. iVillage Cares, a national advocacy program designed to build awareness and support for causes of concern to women through iVillage, at present is a frequent destination site for 27 million women. Budson has been a member of numerous other Boards of Directors including: the National Women's Political Caucus, the Massachusetts National Abortion Rights Action League, the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, Women's Legislative Network and Alliance, Massachusetts Coalition of Democratic Women, the Wellesley College Hillel Alumnae Board. Budson has served on the Steering Committee for the Massachusetts State Treasury's Women and Money conference.
Heather Ibrahim-Leathers founded Global Fund for Widows and is the current CEO. Ibrahim-Leathers served as a Vice President in Credit Suisse's Leveraged Investment Group, where she was directly responsible for over $1 billion in high yield and leveraged loan assets. Prior to Credit Suisse, Ibrahim-Leathers worked at JPMorgan where she was an Emerging Markets Fixed Income analyst responsible for over $4 billion worth of debt issuance. Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers earned her Bachelors in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro is President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, a public foundation which seeds, strengthens, links and supports the capacity building of women's rights organizations in every part of the world. The Global Fund for Women's grants help expand the choices available to women and ensure that women's voices are heard at local, national and international levels.
Dr. Kanyoro is an accomplished leader with three decades of experience managing international non-governmental organizations, global programs, and ecumenical agencies in cross-cultural contexts. She is a strategic and visionary leader who inspires people, and mobilizes action and resources. She is a published author and a frequently sought after public speaker.
Dr. Kanyoro is a passionate advocate for women and girls' health and human rights, and social change philanthropy. She serves on the Global Committee of the Council on Foundations, and is a member of the Aspen Institute Leaders Council, the UNFPA/IPPF High level taskforce for Reproductive Health. She also serves on the boards of Intra Health, CHANGE, and CARE.
Kara Nichols is the Executive Director of Connect To Learn, a global education initiative created by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Ericsson and Millennium Promise. Nichols has more than 20 years of international experience with both private sector companies (from Fortune 500s to small family businesses) and non-profit organizations. Her expertise includes driving large-scale change, transformation, and development processes, alliance-building, and designing strategic communications campaigns.
Nichols spent four years living in Nairobi Kenya working with clients such as NCR Computers, Philips, Unga Mills, Bank of America, Serena Hotels, Thomas Cook, Lonrho, Peugot, and Dr. Richard Leakey, then head of Kenya Wildlife Services. She also lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1993-1994, and worked with Ogilvy & Mather, Studio Archetype, Sapient Corporation and Siegel & Gale in Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington DC, London and Tel Aviv, managing client relationships that included Hallmark, Kodak, Discovery Communications and UPS, as well as several successful start-up organizations.
As Director of Public Affairs at American Express in Hong Kong, Kara orchestrated and launched an innovative secondary school academic program in 26 Hong Kong high schools, forming a coalition of tourism industry business partners to work together with educators to prepare young people for college and career success. Based on an educational model founded by the National Academy Foundation in New York, the program included an industry-focused curriculum, work-based learning experiences such as internships, and the incorporation of business partner expertise through advisory boards and mentoring. Partners included, among others, the American Express Foundation, Cathay Pacific Airways, Northwest Airlines, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, and the Hong Kong Tourism Association.
Kara moved from San Francisco to New York in 2010 to lead the start-up of Connect To Learn at the invitation of Professor Jeffrey Sachs. Collaborating closely with the program's founding partners, she has led the establishment of the program in Millennium Village Project site in 10 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, also serving thousands of students and their teachers at schools in these countries with access to mobile broadband connectiivity.
Soon-Young Yoon is the current chair of NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and is the UN representative for the International Alliance of Women. Yoon also works as a consultant for the World Health Organization. She was one of the organizers of the NGO Forum during the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and was a columnist for the EarthTimes newspaper. Yoon currently serves as a board member of the International Advisory Council at the Harvard AIDS Initiative and of the International Foundation for Ewha Womans University. A former Fulbright Senior scholar, she holds an AB with honors in French literature and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Victoria Budson, Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, looks at how women in government effect policy, equality, and the next generation of women.