This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) highlights the theme “Women First, Prosperity for All” and focuses on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally. The increased participation of women in the economy is a valuable source of expertise and leadership for businesses, but also empowers and strengthens families and communities. Marginalized groups, particularly women, also reinvest a large portion of their incomes locally, which advances economic growth and stability.
Are you a woman entrepreneur or are you interested in promoting diversity in business? Would you like to hear about the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face and strategies for success? The women entrepreneurs featured on this panel share their insights, best practices, and examples from their careers in the business world.
The U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India organized an on-camera viewing group for the program. India is the host of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Audrey Bracey Deegan, CEO
Audrey has over 25 years’ experience driving strategy, capacity-building and strategic change in government, non-profit and for- profit organizations. She has advised social sector leaders in global relief, community engagement, and international development as well as global for-profit leaders in the oil and gas, financial services and manufacturing sectors to identify opportunities, chart analytically sound strategies, build essential capacity, and measure impact.
Audrey brings to this work a deep understanding of organizational and programmatic functions, having held senior positions in the public, private and social sector, both domestically and internationally. She worked most recently with tomato farmer associations in Tanzania to improve profitability and growth; a health and education NGO in Haiti to expand and deepen its impact in remote locations; and a global youth organization to bolster its fundraising skills and capacity. Before coming to StepByStep, Audrey held a number of senior leadership positions with Plan USA, Deloitte, Textron, McKinsey, OMG, OPIC and JP Morgan. She has also been an entrepreneur, co-founding both Hudson Chesapeake and Last Mile4D.
Desiree Stolar, Director – Alumni Strategy and Engagement
Stolar is currently serves at Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) as its Director of Alumni Engagement and Strategy. Stolar spent most of her career as a consultant for Fortune 500 media, tech and retail companies on brand strategies, loyalty programs, and audience engagement.
During graduate school, she accidentally shrank a beloved cashmere sweater in the dryer and decided to do something about it. Right in the HBS dorm rooms, Stolar and a few classmates launched a patent-pending product (Unshrinkit) that unshrinks shrunken wool clothing. Unshrinkit has been featured on NPR, The Today Show, Bloomberg, Boston Globe, and many other media outlets. The company was a 2015 MassChallenge Top 26 Finalist. Most notably, Desiree successfully won a deal on the international phenomenon “Shark Tank” in November 2015 and can be found with major US retailers today.
Moderator – J. Michelle Schohn is a public diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer serving as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Ms. Schohn was member of household when her wife joined the Foreign Service in 2002 until she herself joined the Service in 2004.
Her most recent overseas tour was in Pristina, Kosovo, where she served as Public Affairs Officer from 2015-2017. She has also served overseas as PAO in Tallinn, Estonia and as a consular/ political officer in Jerusalem, as well as domestically as a watch officer on the Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s (INR) Watch, and as the special assistant to the INR and Public Affairs Front Offices. From 2009 to 2010, she was President of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), a Department of State affinity group, and is a founding member of the Native American Foreign Affairs Council.
Chatspace Expert Bio:
Rahama Wright, Founder and CEO
Rahama Wright is the Founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The DC-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Shea Yeleen products are currently distributed through select Whole Foods Markets, independent natural grocery stores, and MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, and CNBC Africa. Most recently, Rahama appeared as a contestant on the BET/Centric reality competition Queen Boss.