Thursday, March 4, 2010

NCRW - Making a Difference Awards Dinner and More..

Yesterday was a special day. Eight years after leaving Goldman Sachs to pursue philanthropic interests, the primary of which being to help advance women’s leadership, I was back at 32 Old Slip, a secondary GS building, to moderate a panel discussing that and more! The convening organization was the National Council for Research on Women, where I a proudly serve as a Board Member Emeriti.

The title given to the conversation was “From Turbulence to Transformation” – challenges and opportunities for advancing real and substantive social change. My fellow panelists were
- Melanne Verveer – U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues
- Edith Cooper, Managing Director, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs
- Chris Grumm, President and CEO, Women’s Funding Network
- Letty Chirwara, UNIFEM Cross Regional Programmes

We had an amazing two hour discussion, and although we did not solve all the world’s problems, it felt like we had some great moments and I hope some solid take-aways.

The issue of gender inequality is a wicked one indeed, but one that is being tackled every moment of every day in a million different ways. Melanne spoke of the passion Secretary of State Clinton has and continues to frame women’s rights as human rights. Edith connected the incredible economic research Goldman has done on the contribution narrowing the gender gap has on growth and GDP to their decision to launch their 10,000 Women Initiative. Letty told stories of Unifem’s economic development work with women in many countries including Kenya, some of whom were present, and how creating markets for their products is transforming communities. Chris articulated the incredible work of women’s funds around the world, and how resourcing women led solutions offer the highest return on investment. Hopefully we will have video available to share as I would need pages and pages to do this conversation justice ……

The discussion was followed by the annual awards dinner where in addition to Ambassador Verveer and Edith Cooper being honored, so was
- Michelle Clayman of New Amsterdam Partners
- Wayne Windborne of Prudential
- Matthew Winkler , Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg New

I had the additional honor of being seated with Eve Ensler, playwright and Founder of V-day, Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff and so many other incredible people. A big shout out to my friends and family who came in support of NCRW!

The work of the Council is so important because, as I believe Allison Bernstein, Vice President of The Ford Foundation said, if it did not exist we WOULD have to create it. Credible research informs decision making. We need an organization that works to organize, to convene, to amplify, to create, to promote research and research organizations that focus on women and girls and NCRW is that organization.

I was asked to close the evening’s program and in addition to asking for support for NCRW I asked that everyone in the audience consider this…. Are you doing enough? Can you do more? How can you “do what you can, with what you have, where you are, to make a difference around gender inequality?” I ask you dear reader to consider this as well................. as am I.

1 comment:

Linda Basch said...

I loved the way you moderated the Panel from Turbulence to Transformation, and emphasized the importance of the different sectors - public, private and the women's funding, activist and research communities collaborating. For sure, that's an important way that we'll be able to have a larger impact! But I also like the way you ended your blog, asking everyone to make a difference in their own way. As Margaret Mead was famously said -- "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."