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#GC4W International Women’s Day Awards

As a female entrepreneur it’s wonderful to see organisations such as GC4Women making a difference and enriching the lives of other women and girls across the globe. Following the success of their first GC4W International Women’s Day Awards last year GC4Women (the Global Connections for Women Foundation) is celebrating the achievements of women on International Women’s Day with their Awards Gala on 7th March at Library of Congress, Washington DC.

“Global Women Champions” are being recognised for making a real difference in their industry. I was very surprised and am truly honoured to be one of the recipients of the Global Women Champions Award for outstanding contribution and leadership in business. It’s incredibly humbling (and somewhat surreal!) to be listed alongside such inspirational women, including Congresswomen, Ambassadors, Noble Peace Prize winners and other successful women.

gc4w international women's day awardsI was delighted to be able to have the opportunity to interview the Founder of GC4Women, Lilian Ajayi. You can read our interview below and learn more about the amazing work and how GC4W makes such a difference to thousands of women around the world.

Lilian1. How was the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W) born?

Established in 2012, the Global Connections for Women Foundation was created in direct response to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Foundation’s aim to enrich the lives of 100 thousand women and youth by the end of 2015 is strategically aligned to support its achievement. With a goal to enrich the lives of 100,000 thousand women and girls, the Global Connections for Women Foundation has quickly grown into one of the leading international non-profits of the millennium in the areas of gender equality and women empowerment. The Global Connections for Women Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organisation headquartered in New York with programs and partnerships in various parts of the world.

2. Tell us about the GC4W Global Women Champion Awards Programme? 

With the Global Women Champions Awards program, GC4W is undertaking the important task of celebrating the accomplishments of female leaders on International Women’s Day, whose remarkable journey has made a tremendous impact on the social economic growth of women and girls today. The International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women, while focusing the world’s attention on areas requiring further action. The GC4W foundation “Global Women Champion” honorees include prominent Global Women leaders, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ambassadors, CEOs, NGO leaders, Government officials, Magazine Editors, Business Leaders, and several others.

women champions3. Why did you come up with the initiative? How are the winner’s chosen? 

The purpose of this award is to recognise, celebrate and encourage the noble work of these exemplary women leaders – who are committed to the global advancement of women and continue to make a significant impact in the lives of others. By recognising these distinguished women leaders on such a momentous occasion as International Women’s Day, by honoring them with the GC4W Foundation “Global Women Champion” – we hope to encourage them to continue on their mission and draw attention to the areas that requires further action — and inspire others to join the movement of making gender equality and women empowerment a reality across the globe.

4. What are the award categories? 

This year’s Global Women Champion awards categories include the following:

  • Leadership in Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership in Civic & Political Activism
  • Leadership in Community Development & Advocacy
  • Leadership in Global Health & Humanity
  • Corporate Contribution & Leadership (Intel and Simon Venture Group)

This year’s list of honorees include: H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda (Former President of Malawi), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (California’s 13th Congressional District), Lilach Bullock (Co-Founder of Comms Axis), Wendy Diamond (Founder and CEO of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day), Maura Paully (Acting CEO of Clinton Foundation), Michelle King Robson (Founder of EmpowHER.com), Ana C. Rold (Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier), Janell Hazelwood (Black Enterprise) to name a few.

5.  Which winners have you found the most inspiring on a personal level? 

Great question, all of the awards honorees have inspiring stories and personal journey that I hold dear to my heart and I hope that women and girls will also be inspired to find their voice, purpose and passion — and move forward without fear, that is the commonality that I see in the message I see from all the women on this year’s list of “Global Women Champions.”

6. GC4Women.org has achieved so much in such a short space of time, what are your highlights of the last year? 

Thank you, we are grateful to have the support of our board, sponsors, partners, GC4W team, and the ongoing commitment of our Honorary Chair, Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora) and Wendy Diamond (Founder of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day). GC4W continues to thrive from our global partnership with larger organisations, the diversity of our global projects and with the ongoing support of supporters.
The most memorable moments for GC4W in the past year was 1) the launch of the GC4W Global Champions Awards, which took place at the Harvard Club of New York — a well attended event and the honorees include; Paula Cole (Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist), Leymah Gbowee (Nobel Peace Laureate & CEO of Gbowee Peace Foundation), Jenna Fernandes (CEO of CareBooker.com), H.E. Ambassador Joy U Ogwu (Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations), H.E. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora), Denise Williams (Founder & Creative Director of Workingmomin20s), to name a few.

As a part of the GC4W Community Outreach and Partnership Program, we also co-sponsored 30 rural high school students in 5 countries in Africa to take part in the first Taungana STEM Career Expo in Johnnesburg, South Africa. Taungana is a movement with a goal of providing high school girls with an opportunity to explore careers in STEM. We also donated school supplies to the Ministry of Women in Nigeria and to a school for disabled girls in Nigeria that we promised to return — to build additional classrooms for the town.

Lastly, with the GC4W Campus Affiliate Program, we hosted a panel at Social Media Week New York, titled “GC4W Socializing Leadership in Millennials and Gen Y: An Emerging Global Trend.” This year, we are following up with another panel titled “Mobilizing for Social Impact” as part of GC4W Socializing Leadership in Millennials and Gen Y panel on Social Media Week — and with confirmed speakers from Johnson & Johnson, charity : water, Change.org, Clinton Global Initiative, Black Enterprise and the Global Connections for Women Foundation.

millennium goals

7. What plans does GC4Women.org have for the future?

The future of GC4W not only depends on our ability to continue to raise the funding needed to sustain and support our programs and initiatives — but our ability to continue to meet our goal of enriching the lives of 100,000 women and girls globally. We added a new program to the “GC4W Professional and Career Development Initiative” – with a focus on connecting women and girls with career mentors, training, educational and skill development opportunities with potential job placement and/or support them with their entreprenuership ideas. With job placement – we plan to launch the “GC4W Job board” – where we are looking to connect amazing talents with equally amazing organisations that strive to empower women and leaders. The pilot is scheduled for April, 2015.

8. How can people get involved and support GC4Women?

In 2015, the Global Connections for Women Foundation is committed to a new school development project for disabled girls in the City of Karamajiji in Abuja, a city with over 90% of its residents challenged by their physical disabilities. We are committed to building new classrooms, providing a school bus, tables and chairs, school supplies, and clean water supply – to further ensure the success of these girls. We are seeking both in-kind donations and/or charitable contributions to help us meet this goal, and are asking for a pledge of support by making a Donation or contact us at champions@gc4women.org to learn more.

A very big thank you to Lilian for taking the time out of her incredibly busy schedule to speak with us. Please do connect with Lilian via Twitter here.  You can learn more about the wonderful work that GC4W does and how you can support them by visiting their website here.

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