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this week ~ #GSW25
november 6, 2015

My mother always told me that inaction is not an option. And neither is going it alone.
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South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka has stepped into the international spotlight as the executive director of UN Women. With a doctorate in mobile tech, she has helped bring discussions of gender equality + solidarity into the 21st century. One billion people have joined in the online conversation surrounding her “He For She” campaign alone.

Phumzile’s efforts to get us to “Planet 50/50 by 2030” were recognized at the 2015 Global Summit of Women in Sao Paolo, Brazil where 1200 participants from 63 countries kicked off the "countdown to gender equality."

One of the earliest conferences of its kind, The Global Summit of Women has been bringing together the world’s top business, government + NGO leaders for 25 years. The GSW mission? To “accelerate women’s route to economic empowerment by learning from each other.”

A week from today, GSW will be in Washington, DC to celebrate their silver anniversary. Here are quotes + stories from inspiring Summit leaders in honor of the many glass ceilings they’ve cracked.


Irene Natividad
the women’s rights power-player

Irene Natividad_newsletter

"With money, you gain power. Whether you are a waitress or an executive."
source it! Irene Natividad

~ a girl from the Philippines with an international upbringing in Japan, India, Iran + Greece

~ a Columbia alum who became the first Asian-American leader of the National Women’s Political Caucus

~ the president of DC’s GlobeWomen public affairs firm + chair of Corporate Women Directors International

Women’s economic empowerment is at the top of many agendas these days as data continues to reveal stubborn imbalances. And, the real potential for sustainable growth. The stats come as no surprise to Irene Natividad, who has been championing inclusive economies for more than a quarter century. Irene got her start in women’s rights in the 1980s with the National Women’s Political Caucus. But, by the 1990s, she made a deliberate shift ~ from politics to economics as the path to win gender equality, dollar by dollar.

Irene organized the Global Summit of Women ~ held everywhere from Vietnam to Poland ~ as a nexus for professionals from all sectors + countries. She and her all-volunteer board of remarkable female leaders focus on creating opportunities for skill-building, swapping best practices and sparking practical strategies {corporate initiatives, NGO programs, public policies} that improve women’s economic status.

At this year's Summit in Brazil, Irene left an impact by releasing a report that showed Latin America is lagging behind when it comes to female directors, who account for only 6.4% of all boards. The longtime GSW president also scored a major win when 3 government ministries committed to increase the percentage of contracts for women on state enterprises. Discover more about how the activist-exec’s proving that gender equality is good business...

Irene Natividad

Atifete Jahjaga
the non-partisan politician

Atifete Jahjaga_newsletter

"When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions."
source it! Atifete Jahjaga

~ a girl born in the future capital of Kosovo

~ the 4th president of the Republic of Kosovo

~ a member of the Council of World Women Leaders + a Clinton Global Initiative awardee for public service

Atifete Jahjaga grew up in a conflict-torn Yugoslavia. Living through the 1999 Kosovo War inspired the University of Pristina student to shift her studies from law to law enforcement so that she could help her country build an independent police force...one, that for the first time, accepted women into its ranks.

In a decade, Atifete rose from rookie officer to deputy director of the Kosovo Police. Then, an unexpected nomination saw her elected president by the Assembly of Kosovo when she was just 35 years old. The 80-10 vote made her not only the first female but also the youngest + first non-partisan head of state in the Balkans.

Since assuming office in 2011, Atifete has embraced the opportunity to rebuild her war-scarred homeland + foster its fledgling democracy. Having no background in politics + hailing from a country that remains a “disputed territory” {unrecognized by 85 UN member states} hasn’t kept Atifete from becoming a major player in global affairs.

Atifete is keynoting the Global Summit of Women’s 25th Anniversary. She’s a woman whose empowerment has helped countless others rise. See more about her initiatives to end corruption, encourage tolerance + support survivors of sexual violence...

Atifete Jahjaga

Sung-Joo Kim
the chief visionary officer

Sung-Joo Kim_newsletter

"Succeed to serve."
source it! Sung-Joo Kim

~ the ambitious youngest daughter in a wealthy Korean family

~ a Bloomingdale’s vet who founded her own Seoul-based fashion company

~ the president of the Sungjoo Group, MCM + the Korean Red Cross

Sung-joo Kim inherited her entrepreneurial spirit from her father, the founder of energy conglomerate Daesung. She inherited her personal motto ~ “succeed to serve” ~ from her mother, whose Christian values + charity work with South Korea’s widows and orphans left a deep impression on her young daughter.

Sung-joo grew up in a culture where privileged women did not study business or take jobs. She bucked the tradition {along with her parents’ wishes} by attending Amherst + going into the fashion industry. Returning to Korea to build her own conglomerate, Sung-joo forged deals with Gucci, Yves St. Laurent + Marks & Spencer and revitalized MCM by making their lux handbag brand utterly modern + truly global. Today, her group runs 90 stores, employs 500 workers and grosses $120 billion per year.

The CEO has used her remarkable achievements in cutting-edge fashion + the global luxury market to become a leader in international philanthropy. In 2010, Sung-joo announced the launch of her foundation by presenting the Global Summit of Women with a million-dollar check. Ten percent of all her company’s profits go to charities that fuel women’s empowerment. Hear more about how Sung-joo is ensuring women have opportunities to fashion their own success stories...

Sung-Joo Kim

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Quotabelle news   who said it?

Quotabelle will be at the Global Summit of Women’s 25th Anniversary Gala on November 13.

We’re supporting Summit sponsor SAIC with a team from Quotabelle who will creatively help guests “Find your own voice.” Follow our live coverage + join the conversation ~ #GSW25 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

And, watch for our own milestone event when we debut the Quotabelle marketplace through our first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, just in time for holiday gift-giving. Think: purpose-filled products for teachers + mentors, coaches + colleagues, mothers + daughters ~ beginning November 17.

Learn more + spread the word ~ Quotabelle on Indiegogo, November 17.
"When companies have more women in leadership, they make more money. It is nice when the economy rewards the good guys—even when they are women." 
"You’ve got to be authentic, you've got to be open and you’ve got to respect diversity for the world around us to work." 
"To achieve gender equality, we need to mobilize not just parliaments but populations, not only civil society but all of society." 

from our #citeseers
These 2 trailblazing journalists will be among the roomful of remarkable women at #GSW25...

Let me finish! We need to be vigilant because our voices still need to be heard.

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