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#PowerShiftForum: Glittering List of Sessions and Speakers

Power Shift 2016 will include famous keynotes, impressive debaters, and fabulous social events.  But the core experience is always the panel sessions, at which innovations and information are presented and discussed among the participants. This year, we are thrilled with what we have been able to put together with the help of Melanne Verveer, now Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, and Cathy Tinsley, leader of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute.

There is a thread running through that touches on multiple policy issues and approaches, in order to ramp up to the final session and action step, in which the Power Shift audience will gather to provide their input to the new United Nations High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.  Throughout, key issues such as violence, religion, access to capital, and subconscious bias will be brought into consideration as global issues.

Below is a detailed listing, with descriptions, speaker names, and moderators for the sessions. These are not in order of appearance. To see the exact schedule and to indicate interest in attending, please click here.

Starting at the Top. In the past year, three supranational initiatives have emerged to support women’s empowerment globally. In this session, three behind-the-scenes organizers will talk about the formation of the W20, the Geneva Gender Champions, and the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Learn what it takes to go from idea to action and be the first to hear what’s next for these important efforts. Moderator: Cindy Drakeman, CEO, DoubleXEconomy.

A Few Good Women.  Hear from the front lines about the valuable contributions women make to international security, and how female leadership is changing military, intelligence, and peace-keeping efforts. Additionally, economic investment can be a crucial lever for peace. Learn how women are leading the way to a more secure global society. Moderator: Melanne Verveer, Exec Director, Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, Georgetown.

Moving the Needle.  In their eagerness to address gender equity problems, many organizations invest in interventions that “sound right” or “feel” like they might work, but may not actually move the needle. This panel will examine the use of evidence-based change interventions to create solutions thatwork, and will walk participants through one such corporate initiative.  Session will be self-moderated.


Engendering Policy Change. “Women’s issues” are often an add-on to larger policy processes. How do we get consideration for women when big decisions, like trade agreements and peace negotiations, are made? This panel will discuss the relationship between ensuring women’s participation in policy decisions, putting a gender lens on “neutral” decision- making, and the pursuit of “women’s issues.” Moderator: Avery Blank, Senior Social Policy & Advocacy Architect, TheSocialArchitects.

Sweat Equity. Fifty-two percent of C-suite women played sports in college, female athletes are global role models, and women control billions in sports spending,yet many challenges remain for women to achieve equal pay, respect, and leadership positions in sports. This session will discuss the importance of sports for leadership training as well as the barriers that remain for women in athletic careers. What is being done to level the playing field? Moderator:  Samantha Rappaport, Director of Football Development, USA Football.

Reinterpreting Holy Texts. There is often a very large gap between what sacred texts actually say about the role of women and what the adherents of that faith practice in any given time. What stands between the religion as written and its body of practice is often a long tradition of interpretive scholarship that subtly changes the understood intention. To make a religion more inclusive of women, therefore, anew interpretation of the original text is often required. This session will look at four of the world’s leading religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, to see how women’s leadership through faith might occur. Moderator: Carla Power, author of If the Oceans were Ink.

Growing Leaders. Dozens of organizations are joining forces to build and strengthen a global network of girls’ education leaders. The Center for Universal Education at Brookings, the Girl Scouts and the US Peace Corps will share the ambitions behind this initiative and engage with the audience about the opportunities and plans to expand it. Moderator:  Jennifer Simon, Senior Vice President, Edelman Corporate Affairs.

Resilient Leadership. From the glass cliff to the gender stress gap, women leaders face converging personal, professional, global and gendered challenges. Come learn about emerging research on why and how resilience that allows women leaders to use adversity to their advantage is essential in these challenging times. Session leader:  Ama Marston.

Double Bind. Women face a double bind in running for office – it is harder to raise money and they must counter overt and unconscious bias in the electorate. Would having more support from female donors be enough, or is that just one part of the solution? Join this expert panel to discuss the barriers preventing women from getting into office and wielding greater influence over policy making. Moderator: Mindy Finn, Founder, Empowered Women.

Leading Around the Barriers. This session will showcase pioneering initiatives creating new access to capital for women, from investments in women by women to changes in credit offerings. Around the world, among rich and poor, in developed and developing nations, one thing women have in common:  limited access to capital.  These experts are working with new ways to circumvent old restrictions or create entirely new opportunities. Moderator:  Sevi Simavi, CEO, Cherie Blair Foundation.

Protected but Neglected. Standing up to be counted is the first step toward leadership. But laws originally intended to protect against discrimination may limit our knowledge of women as a force in the economy.  Companies collecting gender information about their customers face an ethical dilemma. Hear data experts, branding professionals, and lawyers discuss the crossroads at which the law has arrived:  to protect through masking gender or empower through knowledge of it. Moderator: Susan Avarde, Former Head of Global Brand, Citigroup Inc.

Leading Against Violence. Violence drags on women’s freedom in every country on earth and generates huge costs for those countries. Women’s economic freedom, as well as their physical and emotional health, is impaired by the ongoing fear of attack, whether it is on the commute home from work or at a dinner with a client or, most often, at home. How can we lead against this issue all women face?  Perspectives from the  international level to the grassroots. Moderator:  Catherine Dolan, Associate Professor in Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

The Power Shift Forum for Women in the World Economy is made possible through the generosity of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.


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