Paris, France: Advancing Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment in Europe

Zoë Dean-Smith, Vice President, Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship

Zoë Dean-Smith, Vice President, Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship

We’re a week away from our 20th Global Ambassadors Program – our fifth time in Europe with our partner Bank of America, and I can barely contain my excitement. Our latest cohort is about to leave everything behind, head to Paris and settle in for a life-changing week of mentorship, training and connecting.

Together, we’ll all work toward a singular goal: strengthening their leadership and building their skills in financial management, strategic planning, talent management and communications needed to grow their businesses. What’s striking is that most, if not all, of our mentees are tackling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in innovative, game-changing ways.

The mentees are all Europe-based, from Ireland and the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Sweden, Kosovo and France. They lead fascinating businesses – fair trade craft and accessories, waste management solutions, full-service communications – and more. There are experts in global development and European Union policy, climate advocacy, “green” beauty salons, investment platforms for women, African culture and travel, education, housing and healthcare. Add to that mix our joyful Parisian mentee Jean, entrepreneur extraordinaire, who makes life in the city a little sweeter through her sensational bakery, JHC Cookies.

Each mentee is paired with a Global Ambassador, a mentor who has reached top echelons of her industry, and who has carved out a week of her time to provide guidance, expertise and access to a new network. In Paris, the Global Ambassadors (mentors) come from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Poland, Ireland and Turkey, and they represent Fortune 500 companies, the banking and finance sector, media, policy and academia.

In conjunction with the Paris program, Bank of America will host a global forum, featuring distinguished leaders and entrepreneurs who will discuss the importance of women’s roles in driving economic and social progress. It will be a fascinating exploration of challenges that women entrepreneurs face, and also a celebration of the success and ingenuity of those who are leading the way.

Read the blog and follow us on social media (@VitalVoices and @BofA_News), tracking the hashtags #GlobalAmbassadors and #GAP20.

Meet the participants



Agnieszka Slomka-Golebiowska
Board Member, Advisor, Digital Explorer
Warsaw, Poland
Christina Limbird
Co-Founder, Linden Global Learning Support
Berlin, Germany
Andrea Sullivan
International Executive, Global Environmental, Social & Governance, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
London, UK
Erëza Vela
Founder, RedMill
Pristina, Kosovo
Elizabeth Buchanan
Non-Executive Director, S4Capital
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Deniz Alexandra Duygu
Managing Partner, Arya Women Investment Platform
Istanbul, Turkey
Idil Türkmenoğlu
Organisation, Culture, and Talent Consultant, Lecturer, Author
Istanbul, Turkey
Karine Jackson
Owner, Karine Jackson Hair and Beauty Salon
London, UK
Julie Kinch
Former Senior Vice President, Chief Legal
Heineken USA Inc.
Westchester County, New York, USA
Mairead Mackle
Founder and CEO, Homecare and Healthcare
Services Ireland LTD

Dublin, Ireland
Jeannie Diefenderfer
Founder & CEO, courageNpurpose, LLC
Chester, New Jersey, USA
Silvia de Vaan
Founder and CEO, SweepSmart
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Nina Easton
Co-Founder, SellersEaston Media
Washington, D.C., USA
Jacqueline NGO MPII
Founder and CEO, Little Africa Enterprise
Paris, France
Val Quinn
Global Consumer Director, The Coca-Cola Company
Dublin, Ireland
Andrea Bury
Founder and CEO, ABURY Collection
Berlin, Germany
Saba Nazar
Managing Director, Investment Banking Division Co-Head of Global Financial Sponsors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
London, UK
Jean Hwang Carrant
Founder, JHC Cookies
Paris, France
Yvonne Ike
Managing Director, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa (Ex-RSA), Bank of America Merrill Lynch
London, UK
Katharina Paoli
Founder and CEO, Nudgd
Gothenburg, Sweden
Norah Casey
Broadcaster, Publishing Entrepreneur and Human Rights Campaigner
Dublin, Ireland
Aida Axelsson-Bakri
Founder and Managing Director, ADS Insight
Brussels, Belgium