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2015 Global Forum Speakers
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October 21-23, 2015 – Washington, DC





Selima Ahmad, 2014-2015 TIAW World of Difference Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

Selima Ahmad, Founder of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vice Chairperson of Nitol-Niloy Group is the developing world’s personification working for the private sector development for last 28 years. With her deep understanding of business, she focused on developing entrepreneurial talent, organizing financial and marketing resources to enable women get over hurdles. She founded BWCCI in 2001 to empower women into businesses and developed more than 7,000 women entrepreneurs. Her dynamic advocacy for women entrepreneurs’ access to credit resulted in collateral free loan at low interest by central bank and created separate allocation of US$ 12.88 million in national budget. Ahmad is an activist who promotes democracy, gender equality, anti-corruption and women entrepreneurship.

Ahmad is in the board of Sonali Bank, the largest public commercial bank of the country and the key person of Women Democracy Network’s Bangladesh chapter. She is a Global Ambassador of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) and also teaches Entrepreneurship Development in a renowned private university in Dhaka. She is the board member of SME foundation. She acts as mentor for women around the globe. She has been awarded with the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award 2014. She received Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award 2013, Islamic Development Bank Prize 2012, Priyadarshini Award 2012, TIAW World of Difference Award 2010 for her accomplishments. Among many others, she has also been awarded with the title of best female entrepreneur in Bangladesh by different organizations and best women achiever, 2005, 06 by Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India. She obtained her graduation and Masters in Business Management from University of Dhaka and did many short courses from USA, Japan, Denmark and Canada. She is a fellow of Stanford University, USA.

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Ahmad is in the board of Sonali Bank, the largest public commercial bank of the country and the key person of Women Democracy Network’s Bangladesh chapter. She is a Global Ambassador of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) and also teaches Entrepreneurship Development in a renowned private university in Dhaka.  She is the board member of SME foundation. She also acts as mentor for women around the globe.


Recently, she has been awarded with the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award 2014. She received Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award 2013, Islamic Development Bank Prize 2012, Priyadarshini Award 2012, TIAW World of Difference Award 2010 for her accomplishments. Among many others, she has also been awarded with the title of best female entrepreneur in Bangladesh by different organizations and best women achiever, 2005, 06 by Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India.

She obtained her graduation and Masters in Business Management from University of Dhaka and did many short courses from USA, Japan, Denmark and Canada. She is a fellow of Stanford University, USA.



 Andrina Lever, B.A. (Hons), Barrister and Solicitor, ICD.DPresident, Lever Enterprises (Canada)

Andrina Lever is a barrister and solicitor in England and Victoria, Australia. She is the Founder and President of Lever Enterprises (Canada) a consulting company specializing in international commercial development. With a background in banking, advertising and law, she has led projects for major international clients including acting as an advisor to major financial institutions, governments, private sector clients and multi-lateral international trade organizations.For nine years Mrs. Lever represented the Prime Minister of Canada on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) where she chaired the SME Task Force, and the Disaster Response Task Force and represented ABAC to the SME Working Group and both APEC Women’s Ministerial Meetings. She served as the New Zealand Honorary Consul to Toronto for 10 years.

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She has lived in or undertaken work in more than 60 countries worldwide. As the Co-founder, Women Leader’s Network of APEC and past chair, co-chair, Canadian Focal Point, and general advisor on women and women in business in APEC she was the first woman to address a major APEC meeting on the Economic Impact of Women in Asia Pacific in Adelaide in 1995. As a certified director she has sat on the boards of directors of several charities, the third largest university in Canada and a national bank. Currently she is also acts asIn house legal counsel for Balloon Express s.r.l, with responsibility for global business development. Balloon Express is headquartered in Florence, Italy and is wholly owned by the Lever Family. It is one of Italy’s largest private companies specializing in the import, distribution, retail and manufacture of balloons and party products.Mrs. Lever is the recipient of several international awards in recognition of her work as an advocate for women and business. In addition, Ms. Lever is currently involved in research to write a book about her great grandfather and grandfather who are considered the fathers of the modern age of electronics and engineering and the inventors of the first robots. She is also a distant tutor for international law and economics for the Institute of Export in the UK.


Gladys England

Following a decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone, formal businesses in the country were significantly reduced and the nation was left with very few indigenous entrepreneurs. The culture that recognises and rewards entrepreneurship is still limited. The social, cultural and religious attitudes to women in Sierra Leone have acted as a barrier to women entering business in the country.

Against this backdrop Gladys England, BSc. Business Administration, a former female NGO worker, decided to set up a business which took advantage of both her own passion for cooking and the rich variety of fruits and vegetables that the country produces.

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With no previous experience of running a business, she entered a national business planning competition run by AFFORD SL. She impressed the judges with her drive and her vision and was chosen as one of the top twenty businesses out of 300 entries. She won 25,000,000SLL ($7,000) in seed capital towards the setting up of the business. Gladys finalised her business plan and was able to persuade three people to back the enterprise and take shares in the business. She started trading in Feb 2011.

Gladys is a sterling example of an entrepreneurial woman who has not let typical ongoing challenges in the Sierra Leone business world stand in her way of success. She has encountered and overcome the stigma of women’s role in society as homemakers only; she runs her enterprise singlehandedly with a complement of 15 staff of which 80% are women. She supports other women in their businesses; she exclusively makes her purchases of fresh produce from women, she supports women tie and dye SMEs who create soft furnishings for her business, and provides regular work experience for home economics students.

Gladys who rose to the position of Country Director of World Relief, an international NGO, brings her administrative experience to Oasis which has positively contributed to the day-to-day running of the business.

She is also a member of the Cherie Blair mentoring program which has positively impacted her business. She has made great gains in the business due to the mentoring program. She considers herself fortunate to have been matched with Sherry Gysler with a wealth of experience in the business sector. Her support and mentorship has helped Gladys make great strides in her business.

Gladys encourages other women to become entrepreneurs by sharing her experience in workshops, contributing to seminars, giving interviews to magazines and radio programmes [has been featured more than once on the BBC world service].

She has not only made Oasis Juice Bar & Café a well-known name in its niche market but she has also successfully set up a guest house which is usually booked to full capacity.

In June 2012, Gladys also received an award from VSO, for demonstrating outstanding entrepreneurial spirit. This was during a program organized in Abuja Nigeria named "Making Market Work for the Poor, a VSO Secure Livelihoods Program in partnership with Accenture Foundations.



Honourable Sarmite (Sam) Bulte, P.C., B.A., LL.B., 2008 TIAW World of Difference Award Winner is a lawyer and former Member of Parliament who currently serves as an international consultant providing advice on public policy, advocacy, government relations, governance and entrepreneurship to not-for-profit organizations, businesses and governments.


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Diane Morris

A graduate of the London School of Economics for whom she was the inaugural Chair of the Female Alumni Network, Diane has a marketing background, originally working in consumer magazines and advertising for IPC Women’s Magazines and Gillette in the UK, moving into international business media with BBC World, TIME and Fortune Magazine during the ten years she spent in Asia. She moved into conferences with DNMstrategies who were the producers and managers of the BusinessWeek conferences in Asia. Her experience of working in Africa, USA, and Asia has recently led to an invitation to become a tutor in International Marketing with the Institute of Export and International Trade.

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Since returning to London, she has been granted the Freedom of the City of London, and is a Court Assistant and the Fellowship Chairman of The Worshipful Company of Marketors, and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of World Traders. These Liveries are highly influential in the City of London.

In parallel to her career, Diane has been very active in women’s networks, as President of Foreign Executive Women (FEW Tokyo) joining TIAW in 1994, and Programme Director of PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association (Singapore). She moved back to London in 2001, joining City Women Network (CWN) on the recommendation of TIAW. She was responsible for the TIAW programme in London in 2003, successfully promoting its Women on Boards' programme to become part of the UK Government’s policy to encourage women into the boardroom. She is a Past President of CWN, and also a Past President of TIAW, 2008 -2010. She is a co founder of the TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards, and serves on TIAW’s Finance and Board Nomination Committees.

She is also the Chairman of the Judging Panel for the European Union Women Inventors and Innovators Awards and a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation.

Barbara Annis

Barbara Annis, Founding Partner of Gender Intelligence Group (GIG -formerly Barbara Annis & Associates), is a world-renowned expert on Inclusive Leadership through Gender & Cultural Intelligence, advocating the value and practice of this new type of leadership inFortune 500companies and numerous organizations worldwide. Her insights and achievements have pioneered a transformational shift in cultural attitudes across the globe on the importance of gender unity to organizational success.

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 Barbara began her career as the first women in sales at Sony and became the first woman Sales Manager with 14 Outstanding Sales Achievement Awards and Sony’s MVP Award. Over the past 27 years, Barbara Annis and her 51 global associates have facilitated over 8,000 corporate workshops and conducted thousands of leadership assessments and executive coaching sessions. GIG has introduced breakthrough research on the practice and benefits of inclusive leadership and gender diversity. Additionally, GIG offers diagnostics, workshops, and coaching sessions both onsite and online.

Barbara Annis is chair emeritus of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School and was recently conferred the International Alliance for Women, Lifetime Achievement Award. Her extensive studies have included work with exceptional thinkers such as famed psychologist Dr. Virginia Satir, Dr. Fernando Flores, Director of the PhD program in Linguistics at Berkeley University, and Dr. Willis Harman, Founder and President of the Noetic Sciences Foundation.

Barbara has produced four transformational books:

Her latest book,Gender Intelligence:Breakthrough Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Improving Your Bottom Line(May 2014) co-authored with Dr. Keith Merron, represents the culmination of twenty-seven years of gender-based research and global practice that uniquely apply cutting-edge brain-based research to the workplace. It offers leaders the mindset and systemic changes needed to transform their organizations, bridge the gap between men and women at all levels of leadership and management, and in the process, create more inclusive and productive organizations.

Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots between Men and Women in Business(May 2013) is written in conjunction with John Gray of Mars Venus renown.This blended work-life, personal-life guide published in thirty countries exposes and debunks the eight blind spots that frequently result in gender misunderstandings and miscommunication, affecting men’s and women’s ability to find success and satisfaction in their careers and relationships.

Same Words, Different Language: An Updated Guide for Improved Gender Intelligence at Work(Second Edition 2011) is considered a seminal contribution to the new conversation between men and women at work. It accelerates powerful ‘aha” moments with regards to the different challenges men and women experience and the communication styles of gender differences.

Leadership and the Sexes(2008) is co-authored with Michael Gurian, uniquely weaves brain science and gender studies with real-life examples from business leaders to provide a new vision of gender diversity.

For more information, please



Mrs Tanya Hine OBE, FRSA

On completion of her education she joined the Royal Air Force; after many years serving in various companies as an Accountant and Financial Director, she set up her own Corporate Graphic Design business in 1994.,having  made various business and trade mission visits throughout Europe. Many of these were in her capacity as President of Central Scotland Chamber of Commerce.

Awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List 2010 for ‘Services to Business’, I She is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Becoming a member of The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) in 1995, elected British National President in 2004- 2010. Elected to serve on the Parent Association FCEM as World Vice President and served until May 2011.

Elected in 2009 to serve on the Advisory Group of the ‘Women’s National Commission’, Europe and the Commonwealth. In  2011 became one of 50 UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors, whose aim is to spread the word amongst female pupils and students.  She became a European Mentor in June 2012.  Served as Corporate Secretary of TIAW.  October 2012 - February 2014. Elected to the Scottish Board of the RSA in October 2010 and Elected to the Fellowship Council of the RSA Sept 2014. Elected to the Board of Young Enterprise Scotland Forth Valley May 2013. Together with EUWIIN undertook a European project on Gender Balance in economic development this year.

Candace Waterman

As the Chief of Staff and Business Operations for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s leading third party certifier of Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) and Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs), Candace Waterman serves as the authority on all matters related to certification, compliance, legal business structures, program operations and business strategies.  She is responsible for effective operational management of all WBENC CORE processes with specific oversight of the WBENC WBE and WOSB certification programs, sustaining programs and business development. Candace holds an M.B.A. and M.C.A. and is armed with over 22 years of experience in business relations, medical facilities management, procurement, finance, real estate law, strategic leadership and operational excellence. 

Nancy Ploeger

Nancy Ploeger is the President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and celebrated her 21st year in this role in Jan. 2015. Nancy’s goals/objectives are to ensure that MCC continues to be the voice for Manhattan's small businesses, launching a variety of economic development programs and networks as well as strong relationships with government officials at all levels.  She has increased the membership to 10,000 members and subscribers.  She also oversees the MCC Foundation and MCC Community Benefit Fund.

Nancy is one of the Founding members of the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC).  This program has lead the Chamber to become a catalyst that has created and strengthened a global SME network of women business owners from across the globe including India, Spain, Peru, Sweden, US, many African nations and Central Asian countries as well.

Nancy also serves on a number of boards and advisory groups and is heavily engaged with the 5 Boro Chamber Coalition in NYC which fights for pro-business legislation.

Prior to joining MCC, Nancy was the VP for TSI where she spent 12 years building one of NYC's/east coast premiere health and fitness corporations.  Prior to TSI, Nancy worked for 7 years with Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s).

Nancy resides in New York City. She is a native of St. Louis, MO and a graduate of Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Elizabeth A. Vazquez 

Elizabeth A. Vazquez is a serial social entrepreneur and world leader in global supplier diversity and inclusion.  As the CEO of WEConnect International, Elizabeth is responsible for mission delivery and impact.  WEConnect International corporate member annual revenues exceed US$3.6 trillion.  The WEConnect International team promotes women-owned businesses in over 95 countries and supports local representatives in 17 countries--Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, and the UK. Elizabeth is the co-author of the book, "Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change Our World." She sits on several Boards of Directors, including the Global Banking Alliance for Women, the Cornerstone Capital Group, the Eisenhower Fellowships Board of Trustees, and is also an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative.  Elizabeth was born in Mexico and has a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University where she studied development economics and international negotiation as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.  

Global Forum Resources

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
2014 Speaker Biographies PDF (739.48 KB) Administration 3/23/2014
2014 Global Forum Information and Reminders DOCX (218.1 KB) Administration 2/24/2014
Become a Sponsor: 2014 Global Forum PDF (1.16 MB) Administration 9/12/2013
Become a Sponsor: 2014 World of Difference Awards PDF (364.34 KB) Administration 9/12/2013
2012 Global Forum Photo Gallery Link Administration 10/31/2012
2012 Global Forum Speaker Bios PDF (808.76 KB) Administration 11/3/2012
2012 Global Forum Awards PDF (194.76 KB) Administration 10/31/2012
2012 Global Forum Agenda PDF (171.5 KB) Administration 10/31/2012
2012 Global Forum: Become A Sponsor PDF (362.18 KB) Administration 10/31/2012
Press Release template for WODA recipients DOC (59 KB) Administration 11/5/2012
World of Difference 100 Awards Winners Stories DOC (1.37 MB) Administration 12/5/2012
Entrepreneurship Panel PPTX (2.8 MB) Administration 11/5/2012
Coaching Circles presentation PPTX (187.91 KB) Administration 11/5/2012
BNY Mellon presentation PPTX (1.02 MB) Administration 11/5/2012
Forbes: If You Don't Feel Like You're Bragging... PDF (727.02 KB)  more ] Administration 11/3/2012

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