Chicago – Day 1

Today was the official start of the Global Ambassadors Program (GAP) in Chicago, and we welcomed 11 Global Ambassadors and 11 mentees for the first full day of what will be an incredible week of connection, learning and growth.

There was a buzz in the room as we got acquainted with mentees from as far away as Bangladesh and from as close as a few blocks away here in downtown. They introduced themselves, their organizations and shared a little about the challenges they’re hoping to tackle together with their mentors.

Mentee Kirsty Galliard, CEO of Five Star Media in Johannesburg, faces financial challenges in her business. “Our economy has taken a big knock in the last two years. This means that that a lot of our clients, mostly medium to large corporates, are cutting spending. So getting work is an issue.” Kirsty is looking forward to building new skills in marketing and communications, as well as making connections that could lead to expansion beyond South Africa. 

Kirsty Galliard, center

Kirsty’s mentor is Global Ambassador Shelly Porges, investor and global entrepreneurship advocate, and one of an impressive cohort of Global Ambassadors from the U.S., Mexico, Turkey and Switzerland. Their backgrounds and experience at the highest levels of banking and finance, public policy, law and entertainment will be leveraged to provide guidance and support for their mentees.

A new element of GAP is the integration of financial mentors – available to the mentees for a couple of days this week and then virtually after the end of the week’s program, through email, Skype and WhatsApp, to provide targeted advice on financial challenges that may need more attention over a longer period of time.

Judie Caribeaux, left 

It’s a resource that mentee Judie Caribeaux will take advantage of. She’s executive director of the Family Shelter Service in Chicago, looking to develop insights and new perspectives on ways to meet the demand in a challenging economic environment. A new way to approach domestic violence services, she says, “is just within my reach but still outside my grasp.” Judie’s intention is to build discipline in her work routine in order to sustain what she learns alongside her mentor Global Ambassador Ann Thorn this week.

Whether it’s managing faster-than-anticipated growth, human resources, or sustainability in a turbulent economy, Global Ambassadors Program mentees have just started on a journey of transformation that will benefit not only their businesses and organizations but their own leadership as they navigate the path forward. 

Stay connected:

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, hashtag #GlobalAmbassadors.

Watch the program’s YouTube playlist.

Visit the Global Ambassadors page at Bank of America and learn about their other women’s empowerment programs.

Photography: Joel Plotkin
Image at top: Trainings begin at GAP Chicago