Empowering Women Leaders to Advance Sustainable Development: The Global Ambassadors Program Heads to Australia October 3-7

Zoë Dean-Smith, Senior Director, Global Programs

Autumn is off to a busy and productive start. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and its ambitious agenda to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change by 2030. At the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting last week, Vital Voices joined 30 partners and signed on to one of the most comprehensive commitments to addressing goal 5 of the SDGs – gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The landmark commitment will invest $70 million to reach 900,000 individuals in 60 countries across six continents.

Our flagship mentoring effort, the Global Ambassadors Program, is a Vital Voices and Bank of America partnership committed to advancing women’s leadership and economic empowerment. Next week, we return to the Asia Pacific region for our 13th global mentoring initiative, convening women leaders from across the region, including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Australia and New Zealand, for a week of one-on-one mentoring sessions and strategic workshops focused on building organizational management, financial acumen and leadership skills.

This trip is centered on the theme Empowering Women Leaders to Advance Sustainable Development and I can’t wait to get started. We’ve accepted some of the best and brightest women in business and social enterprise to pair up with Global Ambassadors from a range of industries, including banking and finance, retail, media, and government and security, to work together on strategic plans to strengthen their businesses and organizations as they navigate myriad challenges associated with growing economies in the APAC region.

Here are the names and faces you’ll get to know next week. Follow #GlobalAmbassadors on Twitter for updates and join the conversation here and on Facebook and Instagram as we watch their stories unfold:



Adi Tafuna’i

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Women in Business Development, Inc.

Moale ‘Mo’ Vagikapi

Director, IM Associates

Amanda Ellis

Senior Advisor for International Programs and Partnerships, Office of the President, East-West Center

Nguyen Van Anh 

Center for Studies & Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women & Adolescents

Stacey Kelly Egide

Founder & CEO, Andalou Naturals

Brianne West

Founder, Ethique

Janet Lamkin

California State President, Bank of America

Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi

Managing & Creative Director, The Greenhouse Studio

Joanna Doolan

Director, EY

Linh Phuong Nguyen

Executive Director, Research Center for Management & Sustainable Development

Kim Kingsley 

Co-Founder & Former COO, POLITICO

Nguyen Thu Hue 

Founder and CEO, Center for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development 

Kitty Yung

Former Executive Officer & President of Asia, American Eagle Outfitters

Khin Chaw Su Win

Founder & CEO, Max Square Enterprises

Lauren C. Anderson 

Founder & CEO, LC Anderson International, and Former FBI Executive

Gladeys Jill A. Santos-Cua

Founder & CEO, Jill Santos-Cua & Company CPAs

Margaret Lyng

SVP – Regional Head of HR Asia-Pacific, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Nguyen Thi Le Hoa

Deputy Country Director, Oxfam Vietnam

Raegan Moya-Jones

Co-Founder & CEO, aden + anais

Kia Dowell

CEO, Codeswitch