Featured Speakers


Naila Kabeer

Naila Kabeer is currently Professor of Gender and Development at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. She possesses an extensive research experience in gender, poverty, social exclusion, labor markets and livelihoods, social protection and citizenship, and was previously Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University. Prior to that, she was Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex which is where she started work after completing her Ph.D and to which she is still associated as an Emeritus Fellow. She has authored several books, articles, and blogs on the topics of gender, poverty, and women’s empowerment. Explore More >>
She tweets @N_Kabeer

Linda Jones
Linda Jones

Dr. Linda Jones is a globally recognized expert in the field of inclusive economic growth, with a focus on the integration of disadvantaged populations – particularly women – into market systems and financial sectors. Linda recently joined MEDA Canada as the Senior Director – Global Programs, and has held senior positions at the Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva and the Coady International Institute. Linda consulted for a number of years, advising on a wide range of bilateral, multilateral and NGO programs, offering strategic direction, research and analysis, capacity building and technical backstopping in investment, rural finance, agricultural development and women’s economic empowerment. Linda holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Linguistics from McMaster University in Canada where she received numerous awards for academic excellence. Linda is senior technical advisor and serves as the chair of the Steering Committee for the 2017 WEE Global Learning Forum.

Sarah Hendricks
Sarah Hendriks

Sarah Hendriks, Director of Gender Equality at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation leads their efforts to achieve substantive and sustainable results in promoting gender equality and unlocking the empowerment of women and girls. She is responsible for working across the foundation and with external partners to develop and drive a strategic vision on gender equality, build organizational commitment, and establish technical processes that shape the foundation’s current and future work in the area.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Sarah worked as the Director of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion for Plan International. Before joining Plan International, Sarah worked with Women and the Law in Southern Africa, Malawi and has worked extensively as a gender equality consultant in areas such as Gender-Based Violence (CIDA), Women’s Access to Justice (GTZ), HIV & AIDS, and the design of gender equality strategies.

Annemarie ReerinkAnnemarie Reerink

Annemarie has been a senior gender advisor in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2013. Prior to that, she spent 15 years advising and managing projects on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment at country and regional level for UN agencies in South East and South Asia. Annemarie holds a PhD from the Australian National University.

Lis Myers2

Lis Meyers

Lis Meyers, Senior Gender Specialist at Banyan Global, facilitates the SEEP Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group and chairs the Technical Advisory Committee for the 2017 WEE Global Learning Forum. Ms. Meyers has led research on child, early and forced marriage, women’s role in informal cross border trade, the potential of impact sourcing to generate employment opportunities for vulnerable populations, and addressing social norms and women’s financial inclusion. She is an experienced trainer, and has facilitated Gender 101 and advanced gender integration trainings, as well as Persuasive Communication workshops for women entrepreneurs. Prior to joining Banyan Global, Ms. Meyers worked as a gender consultant for ACDI/VOCA, Concern International, GIZ, and UNWomen. She has managed gender and women’s empowerment projects in Southern Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Ms. Meyers has a Master’s Degree with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a BA in History from Brown University.

Abigail Hunt

Abigail Hunt

Abigail Hunt is the research lead on women’s economic empowerment within the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at the Overseas Development Institute. She has worked for many years on research and policy development around women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality. This has seen her work at the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels and and as gender adviser to the Ministry of Women and the Secrétariat permanent des organisations non gouvernementales in Burkina Faso, among other roles. She is excited to share, learn and strategize with others at the WEE Global Learning Forum!


Wendy Gonzalez

Wendy is currently the Senior Vice President and Managing Director at Samasource.  She has over 20 years of experience in business and sales consulting at companies such as Ernst & Young, and Capgemini. She has also held leadership positions at Level 3 Communications and GCI. Prior to Samasource, Wendy was Vice President of Product and Professional Services at Cycle30, an internet of things software startup.

Moin Rahgir

Moinuddin Rahgir

Moinuddin Rahgir (Moin) is the Chief financial officer and the Company Secretary at bKash Limited based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Moin joined bKash in October 2012 after having spent more than fifteen years in different areas of Finance in British American Tobacco. Moin has been a part of the journey which has seen bKash grow from a base of 2 million registered customers to more than 27 million and growing. He has been instrumental in shaping the treasury and finance functions of bKash and has been a key member of the management team. He draws his passion and motivation from the impact bKash has made in the lives of the people of Bangladesh and the immense opportunities that lie ahead in attaining financial inclusion in Bangladesh.

Junayed Jamal Mir

Junayed Jamal

Junayed has twelve years of experience working in the development sector in Bangladesh implementing innovative political governance, human rights and civil society engagement programs. Currently with the Asia Foundation, he played a key role in the pioneering effort to promote social justice for women within an Islamic framework, contributing to the creation of a network of female and influential actors – both men and women – who are committed to advancing women’s rights across South Asia. He is currently co-leading a 5-year program that employs a holistic, non-traditional approach to increase women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh through a market systems approach.

Sarah Gammage

Sarah Gammage

Sarah Gammage is a feminist economist with the International Center for Research on Women in Washington DC with more than 25 years of experience working on gender and development. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  She has worked with and for a number of international and multilateral organizations including the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the International Labour Organisation and UN Women. She and has written academic and policy research articles on gender and trade, poverty, labor markets, migration and environment. 

Thalia Kidder

Thalia Kidder

Thalia leads Oxfam’s initiative WE-Care (women’s economic empowerment and care), designing the Rapid Care Analysis and Household Care Survey to collect evidence for advocacy and programme design. She was Oxfam’s lead trainer on women’s economic leadership in agricultural markets in Asia and Latin America, and advised the research project Women’s Collective Action, covering Ethiopia, Mali, and Tanzania. Over 25 years, based in Central America, US and UK, her work also includes women workers’ rights in Make Trade Fair campaigning, gendered micro-finance, and community and labour organising. Thalia holds an MA in Economic Development (University Minnesota) and is member of IAFFE.

Wade ChannelWade Channell

Wade Channell, J.D., is the Senior Economic Growth Advisor for the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GenDev) at USAID. A specialist in business enabling environments, Wade has worked extensively on issues constraining growth and private sector development as a commercial lawyer (Brazil and New York) and later as a development professional. In 2013, he turned his focus to the disparate constraints faced by economically active women; he now leads USAID’s efforts to create a framework for promoting women’s economic empowerment and equality. He actively promotes comprehensive approaches to women’s financial inclusion, emphasizing secured lending.

Cynthia DrakemanCynthia Drakeman

Dr. Cynthia L. Drakeman is the founding CEO of DoubleXEconomy, LLC, one of the world’s leading research and consulting firms focused on enhancing women’s economic empowerment.  Cindy was the lead author of the second report for the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She created the University of Oxford’s first partnership between Walmart’s Empowering Women Together program and Professor Linda Scott, DP World Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation as Director of Major Gifts for the University of Oxford in North America.  Three years later, Cindy and Professor Scott formed DoubleXEconomy together to bring women into greater economic engagement throughout the world by working with public, private, and civil society organizations to design effective interventions, undertake research to fill knowledge gaps, advocate for transformative change, and facilitate cross-sectoral partnerships. Cindy also serves on the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti Women’s Economic Participation Advisory Council and has an AB from Princeton University and a DPhil from the University of Oxford.

Ewa WojkowskaEwa Wojkowska

Ewa Wojkowska is the Co-Founder of Kopernik –  an award winning organisation that focuses on finding smart solutions to reduce poverty. Before Kopernik, Ewa spent a decade working for the United Nations and the World Bank in several Asian and African countries. She has been recognized as the Rutgers University Social Entrepreneur of the Year, an Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader and an Ashoka Fellow. Ewa lives in Indonesia where Kopernik’s main office is located.

Feisal HussainFeisal Hussain

Feisal Hussain is the corporate representative of the UN Capital Development Fund in Asia. Feisal also manages UNCDF’s financial inclusion investment and programme portfolio in the region, including management of thematic women’s economic empowerment and financial market development projects in the ASEAN and SAARC sub-regions.  Feisal Hussain has over 20 years of international development experience in strategic leadership, technical advisory and programme development roles, with a particular focus on financial services for the poor. Prior to joining UNCDF, Feisal ran a development consultancy in the UK, designing and evaluating livelihood projects and advising some of the largest donors, not-for-profit organisations and microfinance institutions. Before this, Feisal spent five years designing and overseeing economic livelihood projects globally for ActionAid International, after serving four years as ActionAid’s country director in Bangladesh.

Kristie DruczaKristie Drucza

Dr. Kristie Drucza has explored the governance and income needs of women on the island of Vava’u, Tonga, worked at AusAID, Hewlett Packard in China; worked for SNV in Nepal, completed social policy related consultancies for UNICEF and worked as a consultant for the World Bank. Her PhD examined social inclusion and social protection in the post conflict state of Nepal.  She has designed several private sector related development projects and trained many others on the economic empowerment needs of women. Dr Drucza is currently a gender focused qualitative researcher for CIMMYT the wheat and maize research institute based in Ethiopia where she manages a research for development project on gender in agriculture. Research interests include: building inclusive institutions, markets and states, agricultural development, protecting the poor and excluded, and women’s economic empowerment.

Shawn HayesShawn Hayes

Shawn Hayes is a Senior Gender Equality Specialist at Global Affairs Canada providing technical advice to Canada’s development programs in Asia and the Caribbean regions.  She has served as a long term gender equality advisor with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Maldives on the development of their 5 year plan of action for women, and an in-country Gender Equality Advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia.  She has three years of work in education in Nigeria with a Canadian NGO, CUSO and has worked on gender equality and women’s empowerment sensitization and project design with development partners including, African Development Bank, World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, international development NGOs, private sector companies and governments.

Anne Thandeka GebhardtAnne Thandeka Gebhardt

Anne Thandeka Gebhardt was the first black woman to be admitted in the Real Estate Industry when Namibia gained independence in 1990. She runs a Real Estate School to assist those who want to enter the industry, something that previously didn’t exist in Namibia. She is currently the Chairperson of the Namibia Estate Agents Board (NEAB), a government body that regulates the operations of the estate agents in the country. For the last ten years, she has led a very successful organization called House of Women (HOW) whose objective is to provide a platform for the empowerment of women, with special emphasis on women entrepreneurs and women in leadership positions. She has hosted a 3-day Namibian Women Summit for 10 successive years. In 2011, Anne was appointed Ambassador of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program.

Pacharee Pantoomano-PfirschPacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch

Pantoomano-Pfirsch is an international marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of experience.  Pacharee got her start in direct marketing as Database Manager for the US Desk & Furnishings chain.  In the late 1990s, after relocating to Thailand, Pacharee joined Lucent Technologies Thailand as a Marketing Manager. After a series of different marketing roles, to further build her brand management experience, Pacharee joined the auto industry as Ford Brand Manager in 2004. Today, in addition to serving her clients, Pacharee is the Chairwoman for Bangkok Now, an organization she founded in 2003 that is dedicated to supporting business owners in the Bangkok area.  Pacharee holds a bachelors in International Relations and Economics from The American University in Washington DC and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Phoenix.

Bounmy SengphachanBounmy Sengphachan

Bounmy Sengphachan currently serves in the role of Deputy Managing Director at Bank Franco Laos Ltd. He has more than fourteen years of financial services both in Laos and Australia. Previously at JPMorgan Chase Australia in the corporate and institutional banking, in 2010, he decided to return home to Laos and take on the position with Bank Franco Laos Ltd – a joint venture between BRED (Part of BPCE group – France and BCEL – Laos largest state owned bank). He currently looks after all the commercial aspects of the banks. In 2016, with the help of IFC, Bounmy helped initiated the Banking on Women program at BFL. The program is designed to help women entrepreneur gain access to both financial and non-financial services program provided by the bank.