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2013 World of Difference 100 Award Recipients
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TIAW congratulates the extraordinary individuals who have been selected as recipients of the 2013 TIAW World of Difference 100 Award!

Each year, the TIAW World of Difference 100 Award recognizes women - and men - who have advanced the economic empowerment of women, whether on a small scale in the developing world, or effecting change in the boardrooms of the business capitals of the world. Established in 2008, the TIAW World of Difference 100 Award has garnered worldwide attention for the high caliber of achievement and change leadership demonstrated by its recipients, the impressive reach the awards throughout the world and by their growing impact.The awards celebrate the inspiring, courageous, tenacious and creative achievements of the extraordinary champions of women’s economic advancement.

Recipients of the 2013 TIAW World of Difference 100 represent 35 different countries on five continents and their accomplishments are truly inspiring. The awards were presented at the TIAW World of Difference Awards dinner on March 27, 2014 in Washington, DC as part of the annual TIAW Global Forum

Be inspired: Read their extraordinary stories.

Astrid Aafjes     The Netherlands      Non-Profit/NGO

Astrid Aafjes is the founder and President of Women Win, an internationally recognized centre of excellence on gender and sport. In 2006, after joining more than 22,000 others in an all-women race in Morocco, Astrid realized how sports can be a powerful strategy to improve the lives of girls and women. Identifying sports as a way for girls to learn new skills and dissolve restrictive gender norms, Women Win works with a curriculum called ‘Goal’ that combines sport with life skills education. Targeting girls aged 12-18, especially those living in underserved communities, Goal is divided into four modules, each focused on one key life skill; communication, health and hygiene, rights, and financial literacy. Astrid has focused her career on gender and human rights and has been advancing the lives of girls and women by creating social change through her innovative strategies. This year, Women Win expanded to 14 countries, serving more than 17 000 girls through the Goal curriculum. "Women in sport leadership can shape attitudes towards women’s capabilities as leaders and decision-makers, especially in traditional male domains.” – UN Division for the Advancement of Women States.

Grace Amey-Obeng     Ghana     Non-Profit/NGO

In 2007, Grace Obeng set up the Grace Amey-Obeng Foundation International (GAOFI) to improve the quality of life for vulnerable women by helping them learn trades in beauty therapy, cosmetology, dressmaking and other areas of their interest at the expense of her NGO. Mainly, the focus of the organization is to assist child prostitutes and the vulnerable through empowerment and skills training. In this respect, GAOFI has over the years organized countless vocational and rehabilitation programmes for commercial sex workers, females at the Buduburam Refugee Camp and recently for inmates of the Osu Girl’s Correctional Centre. Ms. Obeng is a dedicated, solutions-oriented, and compassionate professional, with in-depth knowledge in providing exceptional care, implementing effective treatment plans, and promoting health and wellness. She is also a Medical Aesthetician, running a highly successful beauty therapy providing services that include service delivery, education, manufacturing, and sale of salon equipment and beauty supplies. She has over the past twenty-five (25) years grown her company from a Cosmetic Retail Shop to a big conglomerate but has never forgotten her society and the marginalized women that form part of the community.

Christine Asiko     United Kingdom     Education

Christine Asiko was inspired by a press release that asked "what makes Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Norman Foster special?” The Answer? Dyslexia. The title of this press release was "”Entrepreneurs Five Times More Likely to Suffer from Dyslexia”. After meeting an inspiring girl with dyslexia named Maria, Christine studied dyslexia in the UK and qualified to teach dyslexic students. During her studies, she wondered how girls with dyslexia in her birth-place, Africa, were doing. Boys, she learned, are disproportionately identified with dyslexia, yet research suggests that the learning difficulty is as common in girls. Christine then established Strive International (SI) in the UK to improve the education of children with Dyslexia in Africa by building awareness, helping to identify those with dyslexia, particularly girls, and providing dyslexia-related training for teachers. By addressing teaching strategies as well as the issues surrounding dyslexic students and providing opportunities for teachers to improve their skills in recognizing and managing students with specific learning difficulties, SI is increasing the number of children who can succeed in the educational system. Her Flagship project is in Kenya, which focuses on teacher training and education reform. Christine has also launched an awareness campaign in South Africa which will culminate in an annual Conference on Dyslexia.

Elisabeth Babcock     United States of America     Non-Profit/NGO

Elisabeth Babcock is the President and CEO of Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU). Under her leadership, CWU has become a leading voice across the United States, focused solely on helping low-income women attain economic independence. CWU has improved its client outcomes in all areas, including graduation rates, average earnings, and family savings. CWU addresses the root causes of poverty through a combination of powerful direct services, advocacy for policies that support the working poor, and research on best practices that lead to benefits for the sector as a whole. The results of this approach provide women with a tangible and realistic set of goals and the skills needed to create better futures for themselves and their families. Today, CWU is recognized internationally as an innovator in its field, helping more than 1,400 women a year establish a clear pathway out of poverty. Her dedication to helping women achieve economic independence combined with her business acumen and results-oriented mentality is changing the face of women in the American workforce. She regards every woman who attains economic independence as a career accomplishment and is dramatically changing the lives and future for low-income women.

Svetlana Balanova     Russia     Corporate

Svetlana Balanova is passionately committed to women’s economic empowerment and she is an outstanding role model and mentor for women looking to build a successful career in male-dominated fields. As well as advocating for more women on boards and top corporate levels, she co-founded the community of high-potential corporate women called Leadership Without Boundaries and is a board member of the non-profit organization The Committee of 20, an organization of leading Russian businesswomen dedicated to helping other Russian businesswomen increase their success and be recognized as an influential power in the economic development of the country. Ms. Balanova is currently the General Director of IBS Company, the top IT service provider in Russia. Before IBS, she developed an international career at 3M, ascending from junior positions to President, Electronic Monitoring Business, and was the first Russian citizen and the first woman to become a Managing Director at 3M Russia. In 2009, she was elected to the Board of Directors of American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. She has received accolades as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Russian Business, one of the Top Managers in the Ukraine and has joined the list of 500 managers identified as the human capital reserve under patronage of the President of Russia.

Ifat Baron     Israel     Non-Profit/NGO

Ifat Baron began her career providing the tools for economic empowerment to men and women as an Area Manager for the Cisco Systems Corporate Social Responsibility Networking Academy. While working in this capacity, she noticed the disparity in training and employment opportunities, as well as economic gaps between Israel’s genders and social classes. Recognizing that the technology sectors were generating job opportunities that were not reaching those most in need of skilled employment, she founded ITWorks, a non-profit organization that provides technological training for low income, unemployed, and uneducated women from all backgrounds in Israel. The curricula was designed in cooperation with local businesses in low-income communities and includes professional skills training to meet the many needs of low income and unemployed women. This program has provided the tools for financial self-sufficiency and long-term integration into Israel’s technology sectors for approximately 1,200 women from diverse backgrounds. Achieving a 70% skilled job-placement success rate. ITWorks is diversifying the skilled work force and providing women with greater access to economic resources. At the same time, the programs have created a cadre of women that will inspire others in their respective families and communities to pursue education and training for fulfilling careers.

Tanvi Bhatt     India     Entrepreneurship

Tanvi Bhatt is a young entrepreneur who has broken out of the corporate mould to pursue what she loves and what she believes in: the power of having a personal brand that leaves behind a legacy of inspiration! At 22 years old, she created a corporate grooming studio called Panache, with the sole mission of helping those in corporate roles to create their own personal brand. She empowers the female thought leaders in India to discover what makes each one of them unique and teaches them how to leverage their personal brand equity to convert their ideas into professional and economic milestones. Building profile and personal brand has been a stumbling block for many women whose skills and contributions remained unseen and unappreciated. Ms. Bhatt has envisioned a future where everyone, and especially women, have access to a platform that empowers men and women alike to build a powerful personal brand. Featured in numerous blogs, magazines, and other publications, she is credited with bringing the billion dollar global industry of Personal Branding to India and pioneering a revolution in the way executives manage their personal brand, reputations, and careers.

Ros Bopha     Cambodia     Community

For the past several years, Ros Bopha has dedicated herself to supporting hundreds of thousands of women in Cambodia who have been displaced from their land due to the expropriation of land for urban development and large scale farming, robbing women of their livelihoods in two ways; for women in the city, the land issues force them to relocate to smaller centres where there is no job opportunities and they have no way to commute to where the work is. For women in rural areas, their small farm holdings are being swallowed by big businesses as they buy land for large scale farming. Women and their families are forced to relocate, losing their livelihood in the process. Neither the rural or urban women receive adequate compensation for lost land. Ms. Bopha reacted by forming women's groups for organized protest and acquired the knowledge needed to negotiate on behalf of these groups and win fair compensation for lost land. She mobilized women to participate in national marches arranged by human rights organizations, each woman carrying a lotus flower that symbolizes Cambodia. She is now applying her skills to a social enterprise that is bringing tailoring work to displaced women, equipping them with sewing machines and developing markets for their products, thus restoring their livelihoods.

Ishreen Bradley    United Kingdom     Entrepreneurship

In 2003, Ishreen Bradley moved from her successful corporate career as a Senior Manager at Cap Gemini Ernst and Young to empower and enable people to realize their full potential. She soon discovered a passion for working with women executives and entrepreneurs, as she could relate to the challenges they faced. She has supported over 1,000 women executives and entrepreneurs to not only function at their highest ability and improve their economic capacity, but also to experience fulfilment, joy, and satisfaction at work. She typically enables her clients to double their turnover within a six month or one year period. She is a master of unlocking the potential in her clients and is known for helping her clients achieve goals they never thought was possible. She is also an expert in business and combines her practical experience of working in small and large organisations around the world with the academic knowledge from her London Business School MBA and her Masters in Coaching from Ashridge.

Melanie Brown      United States of America      Education

Melanie Brown, the founder and Executive Director of The Communiversity of South Africa, has eleven years of success in bringing major US foundations into South Africa to fund innovative educational programs, especially those that have a strong impact on the ability of young women to move ahead with their training. With a stellar team of South African business people and educators, she started a social enterprise for unemployed youth, representing 73% of the nation’s 25% unemployed. Of these, women represent almost two-thirds of the program recipients. The Communiversity brings educators and professionals into the community as a little "university on wheels”, saving student housing and transport costs. The first campus opened in Vrygrond, a former squatter camp in Cape Town in 2012, with funding from the Ford Foundation and others. A second campus will open in the Overberg area in 2014. The Communiversity, working directly with communities, helps students, particularly women, to achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency while providing companies and institutions with "hidden gems” – desirable candidates for higher education, training or business through individualized assessments. There are two phases – one is a six month "Pre-Professional” program covering a wide range of development from computer skills to stress-management. Phase two offers in depth skills development and placement either in internships, career entry positions and/or further training.

Claire Charamnac     Singapore      Education

Claire Charamnac is the co-founder of Women LEAD, the first and only leadership development organization for young women, led by young women, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since 2011, she has empowered more than 400 female high school students aged 14 to 18 to become leaders in their schools and communities. Women LEAD’s programs provide young women with leadership training, career guidance, professional skills building, mentoring, and a peer-support network. Ms. Charamnac co-founded Women LEAD at the age of 20, when she was still in university, because she strongly believes that the lack of female leaders around the world is one of the biggest inequalities of the 21st century and she strives to empower female leaders who will advocate for women's rights and encourage other women to be leaders. Women LEAD is motivating families and schools to support girls’ accomplishments, and reforming institutions to prioritize the professional development of women. They are building a culture in Nepal that values young women's leadership. The young women Ms. Charamnac has empowered are leading workshops for hundreds of students in their own schools, mentoring others, and creating social ventures to address problems such as waste and poverty in their community. They have incredible dreams for themselves and their country, and Claire is committed to supporting them as they pursue their vision for change in Nepal.

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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.

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