Highlights from our Global Ambassadors Singapore forum

May 09, 2013

Day 3: Women in Southeast Asia, From Poverty to Prosperity to Prominence

The third day of the Global Ambassadors Program in Singapore brought together a cross-section of women leaders in Southeast Asia for a public forum featuring lively discussion about women’s leadership, the power of mentoring and women as drivers of economic growth.

“Women are an emerging market,” said Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices Global Partnership president & CEO, in opening remarks. Welcoming attendees, Loh Boon Chye, deputy president for Asia Pacific, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said “The Global Ambassadors Program is about connecting women leaders across continents and proving a platform for mentoring and collaboration.”

In an on-stage interview with Alyse Nelson, reflecting on the best advice she had for women beginning their careers, Kate James, chief communications officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said “Connect and support other women as early as you can.”

The public forum included four panel discussions on core topics including women as untapped natural resources, the role of women as drivers of business and economic growth, policies for advancing women as senior leaders and success stories from top women leaders. Additional working sessions explored network building, mentoring as a strategy for professional development, cultivating women entrepreneurs and access to finance.

“We have to create environments that offer equal opportunities for women to excel based on merit,” said Datuk Yvonne Chia, chief executive officer, Hong Leong Bank Berhad. “We have to make sure the ecosystem is not prejudicial.”

Tomorrow, the closing day of the Global Ambassadors Program in Singapore, mentors and mentees will finalize their vision for working together and map out their future plans for collaboration. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #globalambassadors.

Day 2: Mentoring and Bintan Island, Indonesia

The impact of mentoring and community leaders of Bintan Island were at the center of day two of the Global Ambassadors Program in Singapore.

Heena Patel, executive director of The Island Foundation and a mentee, hosted Global Ambassador Program participants on a site visit to The Island Foundation, located in Bintan Island in Indonesia. The community-based nonprofit works in partnership with local leaders to create sustainable economic development and self-reliance among coastal villages in the Riau Archipelago.

“What I aspire to do is help build the capacity of leaders here who can help this community grow,” said Patel. There is untapped talent and a desire for a better life. What people need is access to 21st century skills and ideas, and an understanding of how to create more options in their own lives.”

The day included meetings with ten local women artisans who specialize in artwork made with recycled newspaper, where mentors and mentees shared ideas on product design, marketing and distribution. Mentors and mentees also held a group conversation with women from a subsistence farming community and participated in a cross-cultural cooking class.

Tomorrow’s events include a public forum with 125 business, community and media leaders in Singapore who will explore the role of women as drivers of economic growth in Southeast Asia.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #globalambassadors.

Day 1: Developing Women Leaders

“No one of us is as good as all of us – we need to gather wisdom from each other,” said Beth Brooke, Ernst & Young global vice chair of public policy in an opening session at the launch of the second year of the Global Ambassador Program in Singapore today.

In a talk that set a tone for a candid conversation about the challenges and rewards of mentoring, Brooke, who was interviewed by Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices Global Partnership president & CEO, made a persuasive case for why women leaders need to invest in developing women leaders. “Women without mentors are out there on their own,” Brooke said.

In a day that was packed with one-on-one mentoring sessions, seven mentor-mentee pairs worked to map out goals and objectives for their work together. The program continues tomorrow with a field visit to Island Foundation, Bintan Island and a public forum with business and community leaders on Thursday focused on the business case for empowering women as leaders.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #globalambassadors.

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