Support for Women Leaders Crucial to Solving Most Urgent Issues of Our Time, Senior Leaders Tell Guests at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Vital Voices’ Public Forum in London

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  • Mentoring Vital to Developing Skillsets in MENA and Eastern Europe

LONDON – Advancing women’s leadership skills and opportunities is vital to lifting economies and stabilising communities across the world, a Bank of America senior executive said on Thursday at the Women, Progress and the Global Economy Public Forum in London (#WomenLead).

Anne Finucane, vice chair, Bank of America, said support of women leading businesses and social enterprises — particularly those in regions facing conflict — will promote economic growth and social change. The remarks were made at the Public Forum, held in conjunction with the Global Ambassadors Program (#GlobalAmbassadors), a week-long mentorship initiative led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Vital Voices Global Partnership which aims to advance women’s leadership and economic empowerment.

“For every dollar a woman earns, she invests 60 percent back into her family and community, ultimately leading to long-term economic stability,” Finucane stated as part of a keynote conversation with Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, CNN.

Attendees, including Global Ambassador Program mentors and mentees, heard from senior leaders including Ambassador Melanne Verveer, co-author of Fast Forward, Baroness Mary Goudie, member, House of Lords, and Her Excellency Atifete Jahjaga, president, Republic of Kosovo, who highlighted the value that women bring to decision-making in the board room and long-term peace-building.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer stated that “Women are increasingly using their voice, harnessing their power and purpose to create change and promote growth.”

Recognising the importance of mentorship to developing women’s leadership skills, Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson underlined that mentoring is not just a “soft skill,” but rather a “business strategy” noting, “77 percent of Global Ambassadors Program mentees have seen their revenues increase. And we know that those who are mentored are more likely to go on to mentor others.”

Ahu Serter, president, Farplas Group and founder of Arya Women’s Investment Platform, re-affirmed this, stating “We need to support women to become investors and entrepreneurs,” and “By leveraging your business to foster social change, you can start improving the lives of those around you.”

Andrew Plepler, Environmental, Social and Governance executive, Bank of America, highlighted the value of cross sector partnerships like the Global Ambassadors Program, noting that through the sharing of skills, experiences and resources, progress can be made in addressing pressing challenges, including women’s economic empowerment.

The event was livestreamed and is available to view here.