Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join
E-Connections: July 2014
Share |

President's Message

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

At the request of President Lisa Kaiser Hickey, I have stepped in as acting President for TIAW.  It will begin the transition for me to officially take office in October 2014.   I am honored to take on this role to serve as the President for TIAW and to continue to work with the Board of Directors, our Associations and Individual Members, Affiliations and Sponsors for the success of TIAW.   Thank you for your vote of confidence. 

Just a friendly reminder that nominations are currently being accepted for the 2014 TIAW Board of Directors.  Please feel free to submit nominations through August 3, 2014.   

The World of Difference 100 award nomination process will begin in the next few weeks.  A special announcement will be made so that you can start nominating candidates within the various categories.   The TIAW World of Difference 100 Award recognizes women and men, whose efforts have advanced the economic empowerment of women locally, regionally or worldwide. Whether the candidate is working on a small scale in the developing world or making an impact at the topic of the world’s biggest businesses, whether the candidate is well known or an unsung heroine or hero, we want you to tell us the stories of the people whose achievements are furthering the economic empowerment of women.   Recipients will be celebrated at the World of Difference Awards Dinner during the TIAW Global Forum.

As most of you know, I have chaired the Global Forum for the last two years and while I cannot believe it, we are already making plans for the next Global Forum.  It will be held in Washington, DC in the Spring of 2015.  Announcements will be made as soon as possible as more details become available, thus allowing you to make timely travel plans. 

In this issue of e-Connections, read about the tremendous work that long-time association member WIL of Greater Philadelphia is doing on a local, regional and global level.   Through the TIAW Micro-Credit program, they have established several village banks and have plans for several more.   I had the opportunity to attend one of WIL’s events and was inspired by the many things WIL is doing.   Also in this issue, read a story of an individual’s experience seeing the immediate and long-lasting impact of a village bank established  by the TIAW Micro-Credit program.   You may take this opportunity to contribute to the funding of a village bank by going to

Networking is such a significant member benefit for all of us and provides tremendous opportunities, including learning from each other, discussing key issues, and friendship. 

While visiting in London with TIAW past-president Diane Morris, we attended a breakfast meeting "Power of Diversity: Power of Difference" as part of The Lord Mayor's Appeal 2014.  We met with The Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf who is a TIAW World of Difference award recipient (2011).  Coordinating the appeal events amongst other things is Charlotte Sweeney, also a World of Difference awardee (2012).

For lunch at Cafe Spice, Diane and I enjoyed meeting with other award recipients -- Pervin Todiwala, Gina McAdam, and Zenobia Nadirshaw.  We had a tremendous and engaging time together. The power of networking is so valuable, please do take advantage of it!

Front row - Diane Morris, Zenobia Nadirshaw, Pervin Todiwala
Back row- Peg Weir, Gina McAdam

Best regards.


Margaret (Peg) Weir


Micro Credit Program

Seeing Positive Change Through a Child’s Eyes – TIAW Micro-Credit in Action


I’ll never forget the first time I experienced the TIAW Micro-Credit Program in action. It was 2009. I was in Santiago, Chile at a TIAW conference. One afternoon we had the opportunity to visit a woman who had benefited from a TIAW Micro-Credit loan.


I don’t remember her name, but what I do remember was that she was older – in Chile this means late 50s or early 60s. She lived in a poorer part of Santiago – not a slum, mind you, but definitely not amongst the fancy hotels and office buildings where I had been staying and working while I was in the city.

She lived in a house with her daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren. She was a small woman with darker brown skin, black curly hair, and a wide smile. She looked – how do I describe it – natural. She reminded me of my Italian grandmother in some ways.  Very unpretentious, friendly, down to earth, humble and caring.

She had received a small loan to start a small hair dressing shop in the front room of their very humble home. Just enough to purchase and install a sink, nozzle, hose, mirror, hair dryer and curler stand, and purchase her scissors, mirrors, supplies. She learned to cut hair, and started her small business. At the age of 50 years old, she had created a successful small enterprise that was the talk of the barrio.

The house felt friendly and open. Clean front yard, with some flowers planted, pinkish in color. Tile roof, if I remember correctly. We all walked in – about 20 women from all over the world , some of us CEOs of our own companies, or senior executives in large corporations. Dressed in our fancy clothes, just out of the conference, waiting to experience what our hard work and funding was doing to change lives.

She greeted us by the door. All smiles, beckoning us in, all these strangers, into her home, to see what she had made of her life. We were taken to the hair salon room – clean, neat, pink if I recall, no clients there at the moment, but you could sense all the stories that had been shared in that room. Women talking about their lives, pondering, venting, elating, celebrating. All those things that we all do with our own hairdressers, wherever we live.

She was the hairdresser at that moment, beckoning us then into their family room, where they had a cooler of bottles of Coca-Cola waiting for us all to enjoy. She told us, through a translator, of how opening that small business had changed the lives of her entire family.  How she had been motivated to get into shape, to meet people, to earn an income, to help her family. How her grandchildren were going to a better school and happy.

What I recall most about that moment, when she was telling her story about her grandchildren, was looking down at her grandson to see his reaction. He was about 7 years old, a sweet looking little boy, dressed in a clean t-shirt and shorts, being very quiet and polite and every once in a while eyeing the bottles of Coke, likely waiting his turn.

That little boy was looking at his grandmother with utter adoration. Admiration. Marvel. Respect. Love.

And what I thought to myself, in that precious moment was, “You, young man, will never abuse a woman in your life, and you will support women – your sister, your mother, your wife, and your yet to be born daughters, because you admire and respect your grandmother and have experienced what women can do.” And that moment changed my life forever, because I now know that helping women not only helps them, but helps their children, and future generations  of both men and women.  I will never forget that.

That’s how the TIAW Micro-Credit Program has changed me. How has it changed you?

Share your story on the TIAW Facebook page!


Read about WIL of Greater Philadelphia – one of TIAW’s Silver-level Association members – and learn about all they are doing to economically empower women.


 Empowering Women Globally


WIL was founded in 2007 by Linda Resnick, Bobbie Gohn and Terri Gelberg, who shared a passion for women’s empowerment and making a difference in people’s life. WIL is a group of diverse women leaders in business, academia and other professions in the Philadelphia area focused on improving the status of women globally.  We share a vision that women and their families around the world will one day become safe, healthy and self-supporting leaders in their own communities.


Our focus

·        Offer programs that educate our members on international women’s issues

·        Provide microfinance loans to women worldwide through village banks

·        Identify well respected international women’s groups and provide grants to support their work

·        Take educational and service trips to destinations where we have funded village banks

Our Impact

· WIL has improved the lives of thousands of women worldwide

· WIL funded 8 village banks in Ghana, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa, Guatemala, Tanzania and Haiti through our partnership with The International Alliance for Women (TIAW)

· WIL sponsors a yearly grant program to further the work of respected International NGOs focused on contributing to women’s empowerment



Village Banks Improve Women’s Lives


·         Results:  Since 2008, WIL has funded ten Village Banks in Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa, Ghana, Haiti, Tanzania, East Timor and Philippines.  We are now on to our 11th bank!

·         Perpetual Impact: Women pay back loans at a rate of 97% so banks can make new loans every 9 – 12 months, giving additional women the opportunity to improve their lives.

·         Additional Benefits:  With these loans, women generate additional money to feed, clothe and send their children to school.

·         Even More Benefits: Micro enterprise empowers loan recipients to become role models and leaders in their villages.


How Microfinance Works


Ø  Micro Finance increases economic security for very poor women earning less than $2 / day with small loans for home based business enterprises.

Ø  Each village bank loans $5,000 to 15-20 impoverished women to start or expand a business.

Ø  97% of the loans are repaid and these funds then become available for additional lending.


What Have We Been Doing in 2014?

·         POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN SIERRA LEONE: A Path Toward Sustainable Peace. Presented by Loretta Raider. Loretta focused on this unique new program for women’s political empowerment that has the potential to bring transformative change to women & girls in all areas: social, education, health and financial.

·         Jenny Koleth spoke to our group about Profugo, a non-profit organization involved in International Development

o    Profugo started a Tailoring Training Program within the Center of Development in Wayanad, India in 2012 to teach women the basics of tailoring which allowed them to earn income and help provide for their families

o    Please visit for more information on this amazing organization

·         Seventeen WIL members spent 10 days in Cuba learning about the culture, politics, environment, arts, and sciences in Cuba, primarily focusing on women’s influence. 

o    There will be an excerpt published from some of the members who traveled to Cuba, detailing their experience and providing some of their favorite pictures taken during the trip—stay tuned!

·         WIL had its first fundraising event of 2014 at Moonshine Bar in South Philadelphia

·         Attendees enjoyed food and beverages for $25, $15 of which went to Village Bank #11

·         We raised a total of $300!  Thank you to all who attended!

·         Educating Girls:  The Path from Poverty to Leadership

o    The program featured two speakers Lexi Hensley  and Christen Brandt from innovative programs that partner to overcome the challenges of educating girls in developing nations, supporting the girls from elementary through secondary education

·          Microfinance: Ending Poverty or Profiting from the Poor? Understanding Micro-Credit Products


What are we planning to do in 2015?


In 2015 our theme will be, In Praise of Education:  Improving the Status of Women.  Programs will focus on Literacy, Finance, Health and Politics.  Watch your email for exciting Program details to come! 


Visit us on our Website for more information:


WIL is on LinkedIn, available for all members to join: WIL of Greater Philadelphia



Power the Girls Into Women

by Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie

Women's economic empowerment has come a long way and it still has a long way to go. The potential for this lies in young girls that will one day become women. Each of us play a small role in the development of these girls.

So allow me for a second, to lead you through the process despite the fact that I am a woman?  These were some of the words from a friend of mine. I don’t know how passionate you are, concerning the recent advancement of women’s economic empowerment but I would like to encourage you to play a role. Now a days, technology has broadened our horizon to the extent that, we sit at one place and perform almost all activities within a twinkle of an eye.  We have been a part of all these developments as we play our role extremely and exceedingly well even though some of us do not have full control over ourselves.

The point we want to make is, if we have the chance, we can explore and add more value to the development of our communities and to the world at large.

Have you heard about the young girls from Nigeria who have shown their ingenuity by going an extra mile to make fuel out of urine?  Read the full story about these young girls at Forbes here.

I believe, you would acknowledge and support their positive daring attitude rather than ignoring the great potential they have. This can be done with your support in your own community and recognition of girls and women that play major roles in their development.  We can make some great changes. Be the change that you want to see!



The latest issue of Dialogue focuses on the ‘brand new world’ – asking how companies can navigate the complex marketing environment and create personal, professional and consumer brands that will be authentic, compelling and most-importantly future-proof.The July issue is available here.

Thank you for reading our July issue of e-Connections, if you enjoyed it - please share it with your network by using the social sharing buttons above. If you are not a subscriber, please subscribe today. 

Are you interested in submitting an article for inclusion in one of our upcoming issues or becoming a contributing editor? If so, please contact for more information.


About Us

Who are We?

The International Alliance for Women is organized as a 501(c)3 foundation in the USA. We are a global community of economically empowered women across all continents that welcome you to our members’ cities and countries, connecting you with their networks of business and community professionals.

What's our Purpose?

The International Alliance for Women connects leading women’s organizations worldwide to leverage their reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women.

Through our Global Programs we seek to make a difference in the world for those women who are not empowered economically.