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2013 World of Difference 100 Award Recipients | Page 10
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 Elizabeth Thande    Kenya     Community

Elizabeth Thande started a successful career in the agricultural sector 25 years ago, moving from dairy animals and food crops, becoming a grower of vegetables and flowers and now is Managing Director of PJ Flower Limited, a subsidiary of WETFARM Ltd. When she first settled onto her farm, the poverty and hunger facing immediate neighbours moved her so she took action. Her first step was to organize the women farmers into groups each consisting of 15-30 members. Each group was encouraged to produce a familiar crop and she provided them with a complete production package which included planting material, information on timely farm operations, qualified personnel and marketing of their produce. These farmers are paid their fees every two weeks this scheme has provided tremendous economic empowerment to the women. They speak of being able to keep their children in school, to provide nutritious meals, resulting in an overall improvement in their standard of living. The improvement of these women farmers has improved the local economic base, providing poverty alleviation for many families and communities. Ms. Thande believes in helping rural women farmers adopt new technologies, reduce costs and undertake sustainable farming with profitable returns. Her mission is critical, given that 99% of all farming in Africa is done by women and less the 1% of all loans to farmers go to women.

 


Tracy Theemes     Canada     Education

Tracy Theemes entered financial services with a major U.S. brokerage firm and later co-founded Sophia Financial Group (Raymond James), the only full service advisory firm in Vancouver prioritizing the financial needs of women. Ms. Theemes believes that while women make more spending decisions and start more businesses than men, they often lack the knowledge to make confident, informed financial and business decisions. Sophia FG empowers women by providing high quality foundational education, advice and support. In 2007, Ms. Theemes initiated the "Wealth Academy”, a day-long conference where women of all economic levels are taught by the city’s top experts in banking, career, financial planning, investing and negotiation. Those who can afford to attend are encouraged to sponsor those who cannot. In 2013, forty women attended thanks to other women. Through this sustainable model, and her one day per week of pro bono work, Tracy closes the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged women. Over 225 women attended this year’s conference and all proceeds go to Dress for Success, a charity that provides business clothing to women entering or returning to the workforce.


Pervin Todiwala    United Kingdom     Entrepreneurship

Bombay-born Pervin Todiwala is the co-founder and patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, now on its 18th year and a consistent holder of a Michelin BIB Gourmand. She is a rarity as the "quiet” half of one of the most dynamic and successful partnerships in the UK’s male-dominated £3 billion Asian cuisine industry. While her husband, Mr. Todiwala of Mr. Todiwala’s Kitchen, is the celebrity chef, those in the know recognise her as the real decision-maker and instigator of the business's continued expansion. She is a staunch supporter of women’s business organizations, including City Women’s Network, Women in Marketing and TIAW. She holds restaurant fund-raisers for charities supporting women in rural areas of the Sub-Continent such as Learning for Life and Find Your Feet. She has provided several paid internships for women from the Sub-continent wishing to learn more about the food trade, and is a champion of diversity, personally choosing women from different ethnic backgrounds to hers for senior posts within her business.

 


Diane Tompson    Australia    Entrepreneurship

Diane Tompson is a role model and inspiration for women. She shares her talents and wisdom with women around the world and is passionate about the success of women both in business and in maintaining good health and life balance. She is actively involved in many efforts that directly help women empower themselves and grow their businesses. Ms. Tompson is a Past National President of Women Chiefs of Enterprises International and serves as a regional commissioner for FCEM (Les Femmes Chefs D’Entreprise Mondial). She currently serves as Managing Director and co-owner of Powercom Group (parent of four companies), established in 1991 and based in Tasmania, Australia, in addition to serving on numerous boards related to manufacturing in Australia: Tasmanian Council of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is Tasmanian Chair and member of the National Board of Family Business Australia. Diane was named a finalist in the 2013 Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Australia. In 2011, she was a recipient of an International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Award. In 2009, Ms. Tompson became the first woman to receive the Gold Medal Award presented by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2005, Diane was named Tasmania’s Telstra Business Woman of the Year.

 


Artemis Toumazi     Cyprus      Entrepreneurship

Artemis Toumazi is the president of the Cyprus National Federation of Business and Professional Women and has been a driving force behind the advancement of women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in Cyprus. She strongly believes that women’s small businesses will prove to be the crucial factor in changing the country's economic problems and will shape Cyprus’s economy towards sustainable development.Under her guidance in 2001, a group of 350 women, decided to start-up their own business to empower women entrepreneurs and founded the Cyprus Women’s Cooperative Bank (Women’s Co-Op Bank). Since its establishment, the Women’s Co-Op Bank has financed more than 470 enterprises owned by women. It remains the first and only cooperative bank founded, financed, and operated by women. Through the efforts of Ms. Toumazi and the Women’s Co-Op Bank, women’s participation in entrepreneurship in Cyprus has grown from 12% to 28%. The Women’s Co-Op Bank identifies gaps in the economy, promotes support programs for female entrepreneurship and provides free advice and guidance, as well as loans that are tailor-made to the needs of small business owners. Said Ms. Toumazi, "Unless men are accepting the new role of women being economically independent (and) being politicians, society won’t progress”.

 

 


Jannet Vaessen    The Netherlands      Non-Profit/NGO

Jannet Vaessen is General Director and the driving force behind the national women’s network WOMEN Inc. Ms. Vaessen has led this network with great passion, vision, dedication and inspiration. She has proven to be a successful female leader in the new feminist movement by inspiring society, businesses and government to make a difference. WOMEN Inc. provides an accessible and active media platform where women from all walks of life can meet, be heard and join forces, bridging the gaps between individual women, business professionals and policy makers in order to solve collective issues related to women. The main pillars are programs to help women develop financial independence and programs to address gender-specific health issues. In the areas of financial independence, WOMEN Inc. has created a special program focused on women who lacking formal education. It enables them to develop the kinds of skills that are important if they are to be employable and helps them on the road to financial independence. This program has been very successful and has been implemented in all of the provinces of the Netherlands. Likewise, in the field of health, WOMEN Inc has programs to highlight the gender–specific medical needs of women that aren’t always recognized by medical professionals and is necessary to ensure the well-being of women and their ability to contribute to their own independence and the economy.

 


Ludo Van der Heyden     France      Champion, Women’s Economic Empowerment

Ludo Van der Heyden is Academic Director of the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative and has been a Professor of Technology Management at INSEAD since 1988. As a leader of INSEAD's International Corporate Strategy and Governance programs, Mr. Van der Heyden has promoted board gender diversity as an economic factor in global corporations. He has been a key supporter of Viviane Reding and Candace Johnson’s European Business Schools’ initiative to get more women onto corporate boards and has been vocal in his support of quotas to bring gender diversity to corporate boards in Europe. He says not only should boards become more gender diverse but also that it is "absurd and not normal” that there are corporations with no women in their executive ranks. His view is without quotas, nothing will change, noting that the current rate of 1% improvement per year is unacceptable. Mr. Van der Heyden has held the Solvay Chair of Technological Innovation, the Wendel Chair in the Large Family Firm, which initiated INSEAD's activities in family businesses. He has been recognized with numerous awards for his work on the introduction of the Euro, for teaching excellence and for his case studies. He currently holds the Mubadala Chair in Corporate Governance & Strategy.

 


Flora Villarosa   Philippines    Public Service/Government

Flora Villarosa is Mayor of the poorest municipality in Zamboanga del Norte and her biggest accomplishment has been her focus on creating livelihood opportunities to the people of her town, particularly the women. For the first three years as Mayor (2010-2013), she did not receive her monthly salary, which she instead gave to a cooperative that she organized in the villages. By the end of her first term, all the villages in the town had at least one functioning cooperative. Through shares in these cooperatives, members can earn vitally important extra money. In addition to assisting several farmers in the marketing their products, Ms. Villarosa has supported women who are vendors in the market to increase their business activity. After three years, Siayan is no longer the poorest town in the province and the skills trainings and capability building have helped prepare her constituents, particularly women, to engage in business.

 


Susan Vinnicombe     United Kingdom     Education

Susan is the Director of the International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield School of Management in the UK, her particular research interests are gender diversity on corporate boards, women’s leadership styles and the issues involved in women developing their managerial careers. Her Research Centre is unique in Europe with its focus on women leaders and the annual Female FTSE Report is regarded as the premier research resource on women directors in the UK. A prolific writer and much in demand conference speaker, her latest book, "Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers”. She has consulted for organisations in over twenty countries including the UAE, the Philippines, Trinidad, Nigeria and Malaysia on how best to attract, retain and develop women executives. She has advised government in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Finland and Spain on how to increase the number of women on corporate boards. Susan is the founder and Chair of the judges for Women in the City Awards. She is a Board member of the Saudi British Joint Business Council and Vice Patron of Working Families, a charity. She is also Visiting Professor of Curtin University, Graduate Business School, Perth, Australia. She was awarded the OBE for her Services to Diversity in 2005.

 


Fatuma Wamala    Uganda     Education

At only 32 years of age, Fatuma Wamala is the Deputy Executive Director of the Girls’ Education Movement (GEM-Uganda). She is one of the six visionary youth leaders who transformedGEM-Uganda intoan NGOthree years ago. The child-centred organization is led by young people and promotes girls’ education through skills development, advocating and mobilizing for increased opportunities, and creating platforms for girls’ empowerment. Ms. Wamala is passionate about the GEM-Uganda strategy of putting girls in the lead, with boys as allies and tapping into the wisdom of elders. With a fund of more than $1million, her work is positively impacting more than 1,000 girls in secondary schools and vocational institutes by providing scholarships, scholastic materials, health, mentoring, technical and entrepreneurship skills. This hasn’t only inspired girls to go to school, but also increased the school retention rates for girls. Ms. Wamala is also part of the team that developed theUnited Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI)training guidelines in Uganda and a member of the gender task force and the national UNGEI chapter, a gender trainer and monitor with the ministry of education.

 


Padmasree Warrior     United States of America      Corporate

As Cisco’s Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Padmasree Warrior is charged with aligning technology development and corporate strategy to drive technology and operational innovation across the company and oversees strategic partnerships. Ms. Warrior shares her knowledge as a mentor and coach, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math area (STEM), and has used her prominence to support other women following in her wake. She recently participated in the US State Department’s International Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership and Women in Technology Sharing Online (WitsOn). Her key points of focus for increasing women in STEM are to provide role models, remove barriers for careers, develop flexibility for integrating family and work, coaching to sharing experiences, and speaking publicly to women in STEM fields. Ms. Warrior has been widely recognized for her creative, visionary leadership. In 2012, Forbes named her one of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women," Business Insider called her one of the "25 Most Influential Women in Wireless," the Aspen Institute honored her with its first Leadership in Science and Technology Award, and Fast Company included her among the "100 Most Creative People in Business”. In 2007 she was inducted into the Women in Information Technology International Hall of Fame.

 


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