It was a very beautiful day in New York city, Sept 20th 2010 when the first ever Women Inspire and Enterprise Symposium kicked of in the early hours of the morning. Miss Fifi Soumah, the reigning Miss Africa USA 2010, a special guest invited by White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood was in attendance among many successful and aspiring women of all ages. The WIE conference, was hosted by the White Ribbon Alliance For Safe Motherhood of which former First Lady of Britain Sarah Brown serves as the Global chair and Urban Zen Foundation.
The conference was moderated by world renowned Fashion Designer Donna Karan, First Lady Sarah Brown and Media Personality Ariana Huffington.
The WIE Symposium (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise) that took place in New York City was timed to coincide with the Clinton Global Initiative and the UN General Assembly this year. The event included high profile speakers and guests drawn from the worlds of politics, philanthropy, media, fashion and the arts – as well as members of the next generation of leaders. Speakers participated on different Panel discussions ranging from business, health, beauty, humanitarian work and even spirituality. It was very empowering. Some of the Speakers included:
Acclaimed Actress Ashley Judd, Maria Eitel, Founding President of Nike Foundation, Ambassador Melanie Verveer, Baroness Amos, Aerin Lauder, Senior Vice President of Estee Lauder, Sheila C Johnson, Founding Partner of BET and many other very successful and dynamic women. Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the Key note address for the conference.
The WIE Symposium was held to coincide with a United Nations review summit on the Millennium Development Goals also held in New York. The Symposium provided an incredible opportunity to introduce powerful women to the work of the White Ribbon Alliance and the challenges of maternal health. The conference was certainly very inspiring as we listened to the speakers talking about the challenges in their lives as successful women, great motivational speeches and concerns for maternal health world wide.
Key note Speaker, humanitarian Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shares her experiences as she traveled the world to witness first hand, the impact of poverty and the devastating effects it has had on women and children and also see the work that their foundation is doing on the ground to make a difference in the world of poverty. It was really an honor to sit and listen to such a woman of great achievements and more so a humanitarian who works tirelessly to give millions of deprived families a chance to live and a chance to survive.
Sarah Brown, former First Lady of Britain who is also the Chair of The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood addresses the attendees at the Women Inspiration and Enterprise conference where over 500 professional and business women gathered for a day of empowerment and motivation. The White Ribbon Alliance is working very hard around the world to raise awareness on the need to ensure safe pregnancy and childbirth. WRA shared some harrowing stories that some mothers have gone through and some were not lucky to make it because of lack of provisions for safe child birth. This issue is also part of the United Nations Millenium Goals.
Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah spends a moment with Nthabiseng Tshabalala, a 12 yrs old South African girl who also one of the panelists of the conference. She is HIV positive and lost her mother to the disease when she was only 7. She is a beacon of hope for the 69 million children of the world who may never see a class room if education of the child is not prioritized. She addressed addressed President Zuma and other Heads of States during the World Cup Education Summit and was in New York for the United Nations Summit, calling for education for all children. She stunned the audience when she announced her ambition is to become a pilot in future…..well she got a standing ovation. To me she was the star of this conference, the hope of a new generation.
The day was packed with speakers from various industries and non-profits each one with something special to share about being a woman and dealing with womanhood. The message was simple, women have to support one another and together we can all elevate the status of women across the world. After all the speaking engagements, the night ended with a breath taking Fashion show organized by the world famous fashion designer Donna Karan as pictured above.
Fashion Designer Donna Karan and Miss Africa USA at the Women Inspiration and Enterprise Post conference Fashion show in New York City. The Fashion Show was held at the roof of the conference building. It was a beautiful night indeed.
Sarah Brown, Global Chair of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and Queen Fifi Soumah at the Women Inspiration and Enterprise Symposium in New York City during the Charity Fashion Show hosted by Donna Karan to wrap up the days activities.
Before the Fashion show kicked off, it was time to mix and mingle with other very dynamic and powerful women. Queen Fifi Soumah enjoyed sharing her platform and project for women with other guests. Pictured above, Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah chats with TV personalities from ABC news. Queen Fifi shared her campaign to against Female Genital mutilation and her platform to educate young girls in Guinea.
Miss Africa USA Fatoumata (Fifi) Soumah was also very happy to meet Dr. Veronica of Dr. Veronica talk show. She is a talk show host in New York city. Dr. Veronica also shared her thoughts about the challenges facing African American women and African women and ways we could all work together to help one another out. We sure had some very interesting conversations with Dr. Veronica.