Setting a precedent for women’s empowerment, economically, socially and politically.
CHANGING THE U.S. LANDSCAPE
Take stock of your most basic rights, as a woman, as a man, as a human. And then imagine what it would be like to have that right taken from you. Living in America, arguably among the freest nations to ever grace this planet, it’s often difficult to take stock of what liberties we take for granted. Just 30 years ago, American women didn’t have ownership over their very own pocketbook, perhaps the most vital of all rights as a self-determined human being. It is thanks to women entrepreneur trailblazers that mentored the likes of IEEW’s own founder and CEO Terry Neese and others like her on the road to gender equality, that on October 25, 1988, women took back control of their financial destinies with the passage of H.R. 5050. If there is one thing that can secure the future of an individual it is surely economic empowerment!
In a rare and dizzying display of finesse, it took 103 days to forever alter the landscape for female entrepreneurs and women in general. Neese and her fellow courageous warriors at the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) saw their opening, collaborated as only sisters can, and helped ease through historic passage that finally saw women being able to take out a loan as an entrepreneur or sign her own credit card. In fact, one of the witnesses called to testify on Capitol Hill was a successful entrepreneur who had to have a business loan co-signed by her 17-year old son! While it’s inconceivable now as Americans, this basic right to sign on our own behalf as women was not even a thought.CLICK HERE to watch a film documenting how the legislation came to pass and to be signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
Three decades later, that fortuitous fire that burned for H.R. 5050 has grown stronger and gone global. Today, Neese and NAWBO are collaborating to spread economic empowerment in a different way, fit for our global economy and century: last year they signed an MOU to provide a steady, ongoing stream of NAWBO mentors for the women business owners in Rwanda and Afghanistan, building tomorrow’s barrier breakers one by one across the miles and years. CLICK HERE to mentor a student from the upcoming Class of 2019 of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® and help us to continue to carry the spirit of H.R. 5050 around the world.
Class of 2018: Bibi Yalda Seddiqi
It is hard to forget Bibi Yalda’s nurturing smile, dedication, and her kindness towards her PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® sisters from Afghanistan and Rwanda. In July of this year, Ms. Seddiqi was awarded her visa to the USA just 3 days before our annual Leadership Development program, and boy are we glad to have had her with us.
When we hear about all that Bibi Yalda is doing for her community, we are reminded of how special and powerful these women are. Ms. Seddiqi is the founder of Women Prosperity Social Foundation (WPSF) in Afghanistan, a non-profit with the mission to improve society in multiple facets: women’s empowerment, education, healthcare, agricultural development, and environmental and international relations.
Her current project under the umbrella of WPSF: building the Improved Cook Stoves Assembling Industry, improving the lives of women and children who are exposed to harmful smoke from the current inefficient cook stoves, which also take a large amount of time, money, and physical burden to upkeep. Bibi Yalda is working to implement local assembly of these improved, energy-efficient stoves to boost the economy and provide prosperity for all involved. She is using the entrepreneurial skills and training from PTB to create innovations in many industries and to become a leader for other Afghan women in business. During her time here, she was also able to spend Mentorship Week with her eMentor, Karla Powell, an independent consultant in the Dallas area. We are confident in the efforts of Ms. Seddiqi as a leader in business for women in Afghanistan to shape the future of her country and are honored to have given her the tools to do so.
*Photo above: Bibi Yalda Seddiqi and mentor Karla Powell at the Class of 2018 Graduation Gala.
Alumnae: Making an Impact
A product of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®’s Class of 2017, Mathilde Umurerwa built a nutrition consulting company after transforming her own health and body years earlier. Her passion is healthy living, and her business allows her to educate fellow women on how to build and grow healthy bodies and families through the use of meal planning, shopping lists and more. As Mathilde herself says it, she sees following her heart as her gift to humanity, “reinforcing unity, love and cohesion between family members.” She credits her year with PTB as giving her the planning and marketing tools necessary to grow her business to where it is today, with the depth and breadth of her client list growing beyond her wildest dreams. In fact, she has almost 700 followers today that take advantage of her shared expertise and nutrition advice online. CLICK HERE to read more on how Mathilde is Paying it Forward in her community.
*Above photo: Mathilde Umurerwa and her fellow Class of 2017 members are Women of Destiny.
Spotlight on Bank of America
Bank of America has a long-standing commitment to women business owners through their multiple partnerships and programs. One of those partnerships is with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), where they have served as the presenting sponsor for the Women’s Business Conference for the last six years. It is because of organizations like NAWBO that women have a platform for themselves to take part in the shaping of our world. Bank of America has demonstrated an unfaltering support for this very value by their yearly Presidential Sponsorship of IEEW since 2016.
Along with their monetary generosity, Bank of America’s team of North Texas volunteers have worked with our Leadership Development program in July for the past three years. We absolutely would not be capable of creating this opportunity for the women of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® without the help of our volunteers. This last July, we had over 47 volunteers from Bank of America. We greatly appreciate their leadership.
We also have the pleasure of hearing annually from Managing Director and Head of Wealth Management Banking & Lending, Jill Calabrese Bain, who is also a national advisory board member for NAWBO. Jill flew into Dallas this July just to spend time with our ladies and discuss topics such as the development of women business owners, Bank of America’s commitment to women around the world, career/life balance, and the benefits of organizations such as NAWBO. It is a tremendous opportunity for our women to hear from leaders such as Jill.
Again, Bank of America, we thank you for your support in all forms, and applaud your ongoing experience in lifting the status of women around the world. We are proud to have you on our team.
*Photo above: Dr. Terry Neese with Jill Bain, Bank of America, at 2018 National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO in Spokane, Washington.