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The We-Fi Secretariat is pleased to announce the new group of Leadership Champions supporting its high-level advocacy efforts for the period 2020 – June 2022. Over the course of the past months, We-Fi donor countries nominated accomplished women leaders from their own countries and the Global South who will engage as advocates for women entrepreneurs worldwide.

The 14 Leadership Champions (LCs) represent diverse fields ranging from politics and policy making to finance, business, entrepreneurship, and media. Many of the current group of Champions served in the first group of LCs (2018 – 2020) and were renewed by their donor governments.

The Leadership Champions held a first online brainstorm session on October 8th to discuss improving access to finance and access to markets & networks. You can read more here. The LCs will be introduced to a wider audience through a series of personal video interviews, produced by the We-Fi Secretariat and conducted by former CNN Business News anchor Maggie Lake, supported by a social media campaign running from the Global Entrepreneurship Week in November until International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Depending on each Champion’s respective expertise, background and availability, LCs can advocate for specific issues important to women entrepreneurs. They can also be invited to participate in targeted We-Fi advocacy-related events or campaigns based on their background.

“I congratulate all Leadership Champions on their appointment as champions of women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in developing economies. I am very proud and grateful that we can draw on the leadership, expertise and networks of our LCs to advocate strongly for our causes. We need the support and advocacy of women leaders especially in these trying times as the coronavirus crisis is affecting so many women-led businesses around the world”, says Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi Secretariat.

Leadership Champions Group

The second cohort of We-Fi Leadership Champions consists of (in alphabetic order of surname):

(* indicates new a Leadership Champion, nominated in 2020)

  • Selima Ahmad, entrepreneur and business leader; Member of Parliament of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh * (nominated by the Government of Japan)
  • Her Excellency Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates
  • Sarah Al-Suhaimi, Chairperson of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), Chief Executive Officer and a Member of the Board of Directors of NCB Capital, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia*
  • Tone Lunde Bakker, CEO, Exportfinance Norway, Norway
  • Nadiya Cherkasova, Board Member and Head of Small and Medium Enterprise Division, Otkritie FC Bank (Open Bank), Russian Federation
  • Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman, Bank of America and Chair of the Board of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe, USA
  • Marilou van Golstein Brouwers, Impact Investment Advisor, Chair of the Supervisory Board of BRAC International Foundation, Former Chair of the Board of Directors (until 2019) of Triodos Investment Management, The Netherlands 
  • Danièle Henkel, entrepreneur, President Danièle Henkel Inc., Canada
  • Miky (Mie Kyung) Lee, Vice Chairwoman, CJ Group, Republic of Korea
  • Ma Lu, Director of China Resources (Holding) Company, People’s Republic of China
  • Dong Mingzhu, Chairperson of the Board and President of Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai, People’s Republic of China
  • Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank Group *
  • Oksana Pushkina, Deputy Vice-Chair, Committee on Family, Women and Children’s issues, The State Duma of the Russian Federation
  • Kaori Sasaki, entrepreneur, President & CEO, ewoman, Inc, Japan