International Women’s Forum welcomes Barbados Chapter

Barbados has become the fifth country in the Atlantic and Caribbean region to establish a local Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, following its successful initiation this October.

Other regional countries which already have local IWF Chapters include The Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The official announcement by IWF President, Teresa Weintraub was welcomed by founding President, Brenda Pope, and other members of the new Chapter. Just last month, President Weintraub and other regional and international IWF executive members, including IWF Chief Operating Officer Mr. Heath Nash, met with Pope and supporters to discuss the way forward.

The meeting was sponsored jointly by Sagicor and Goddard Enterprises ltd and facilitated at the Goddard Enterprises Conference Room, Haggatt Hall. It was chaired by Dr. Jeannine Comma, founding Vice-President and a Director of Sagicor Life Inc. Dr. Comma welcomed the “gathering of powerful Caribbean and International Women” to Barbados, noting they were here to support the process of building and reinforcing leadership among women in Barbados.

In her address on that occasion, founding President Brenda Pope expressed her humble appreciation at having been granted the honour to lead as founding President of Barbados Chapter of the prestigious IWF, noting she was overwhelmed by the interest, encouragement and support of so many extraordinary women.

“I commit to bringing all the passion, and energy that I am known for, in helping our Chapter to become a gem in the IWF crown. Our light may be small, but I promise it will shine brightly,” Pope stated.

The founding President also expressed thanks to IWF director and sponsor of the Barbados Chapter, Sharon Christopher, who she said had been a pillar of strength, advice and knowledge. Pope said her vision for IWF Barbados was encapsulated in an appeal by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg for: “women at all levels, including the top to change the dynamic, to reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, and not overlooked and ignored”.

Among the Barbados contingent to the recent IWF Miami conference back row from left are:  Carole Eleuthere-JnMarie, Dhisha Moorjani, and Brenda Pope - President of the Barbados IWF chapter. Front row from left are Natalie Abrahams, Dr. Jeannine Comma, and Susan Boyea.

Among the Barbados contingent to the recent IWF Miami conference back row from left are: Carole Eleuthere-JnMarie, Dhisha Moorjani, and Brenda Pope – President of the Barbados IWF chapter. Front row from left are Natalie Abrahams, Dr. Jeannine Comma, and Susan Boyea.

In her appeal to the gathering of high-profile women in Barbados and again when addressing the IWF President’s council in Miami, Pope drew attention to the first syllable of the word “network”, describing ways in which the NET acronym aptly defined the contribution of women in society. These included Notable, Extraordinary, Trailblazers; Novel, Empathetic, Trust; and Nurture, Empower, Transform.

Notable in the work we undertake, both in front of the camera, and very often behind the scenes, and the contribution that we make in leading our countries, companies, families, and in transforming our societies…; Extraordinary in the stories of the challenges and obstacles we overcame to reach where we are…; and Trailblazers for our gender, and sometimes our race, in our fields of work or endeavour.”

Later that month Barbados was also represented in Miami by the president, vice president and five other founding members at one of the two annual IWF global conferences. These conferences are unique gatherings of thought leaders brought together to examine critical issues of the day through a woman’s lens. Topics in Miami ranged from climate change to blockchain technology, the opioid crisis, political warfare, trade and the future economy, and assembled an extraordinary network of women to exchange ideas, learn, inspire, and build better leadership for a changing world. The event culminated in a gala reception and induction into the 2018 IWF Hall of Fame of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, and Alice Walton, philanthropist and patron of the arts.

IWF is an invitation-only, membership organization comprised of more than 7,000 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations on six continents. Members include Fortune 500 executives, government leaders from the local to sovereign level, international non-profit leaders, and luminaries from the academy, arts, and sciences. Its members are trailblazers, innovators, and pioneers united to advance women’s leadership globally and locally.

In addition to the annual conferences, IWF’s Leadership Foundation (LF) supports high-potential women through leadership development programs and provides intensive leadership training programs for women at every stage of professional development through its Executive Development Roundtables.

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