How women around the world are leading powerful change Women's progress is global progress. Where there is an increase in women's university enrollment rates, women's earnings, and maternal health, and a reduction in violence against women, we see more prosperous communities, better educated, healthier families, and the preservation of equal human rights. Yet globally, women remain the most consistently under-utilized resource. Vital Voices calls for and makes possible transformative leadership around the world. In Vital Voices, CEO Alyse Nelson shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide. For 15 years, Vital Voices has brought together women who want to enable others to become change agents in their governments, advocates for social justice, and supporters of democracy. They equip women with management and business development skills to expand their enterprises and create jobs in their communities. Their voices, stories, and hard-earned lessons-shared here for the first time-are deeply authentic and truly vital. Features interviews and first-person accounts of global leaders, such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize-winning Burmese pro-democracy leader, as well as business leaders Draws on the work of the Vital Voices, the organization founded by Hillary Clinton in 1997 as a government initiative that transformed into a leading non-profit, which enables a network of 10,000 emerging women leaders in politics, human rights, and economic development in 127 countries. These women have gone on to mentor and train more than 500,000 Focuses on the key elements of the Vital Voices five-step model of transformational leadership, including how to find a voice, lead with purpose, cross lines that divide, and more Through the firsthand accounts of trail-blazing leaders, Vital Voices introduces unforgettable, inspiring women who are shaping our world.
Alyse Nelson is president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A co-founder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked with women leaders since 1996 to develop mentoring and training programs in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders. She completed her graduate degree work at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and she lives in Washington, D.C.
Vital Voices Global Partnership, founded by Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the leading nongovernmental organization that identifies, trains, and invests in emerging women leaders, enabling them to create a better world for us all. Learn more at www.vitalvoices.org.
Table of Contents
FOREWORD BY the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Founder, Vital Voices ix
1 A DRIVING FORCE OR SENSE OF MISSION 1
Introduced by the Honorable Michelle Bachelet
2 STRONG ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY 39
Introduced by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
3 AN ABILITY TO CONNECT ACROSS LINES THAT DIVIDE 83
Introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
4 BOLD IDEAS AND BOLD ACTION 125
Introduced by Diane von Furstenberg
5 PAYING IT FORWARD 171
Introduced by Ambassador Melanne Verveer
CONCLUSION: LEADERSHIP IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION 207
Introduced by Sally Field
by Susan Ann Davis and Bobbie Greene McCarthy, Chair and Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Vital Voices additional information on the women featured in vital voices 225
about the author 263