Changing Faces: Women's Leadership Seminar

Theme: "Women's Economic Empowerment in the Asia Pacific Region"
August 18-21, 2003
Sydney, Australia

Seminar Summary
by Amanda Ellis, EWCA Vice President for Programs


EWCA joined forces with the Center in August 2003 to supplement and enrich the second annual Changing Faces program (which trains women leaders in the Asia Pacific region). The Sydney EWCA chapter hosted a four day program immediately following the Hawai‘i seminar entitled “Women in leadership: economic empowerment.” Each day examined a different aspect of the theme, with the first focusing on women as CEOs and board members, the second on entrepreneurship and the third on women leaders in the non-profit sector. The idea was to generate new, practical ideas for the Changing Faces participants so they could better design projects to empower other women economically in their home countries.


A wonderful array of talented international speakers and EWC alumni generously gave of their time to support the program. Speakers included Lyn Anzai, (Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Bar Association), Wendy McCarthy, (Board member, Plan International), Zou Xiaoqiao (International VP of the All China Women’s Federation), Dr Jannie Tay (founder of the Hour Glass and President of Singapore Retailers Association), and Meg Taylor (former PNG Ambassador to the US and now VP, International Finance Corporation). US Consul General Eileen Malloy kindly hosted a welcome reception for the group at her residence.


Over 100 participants from 20 different countries attended. In addition to the Changing Faces group, participants from Australia and other countries in the region were represented. The International Finance Corporation sponsored six Pacific Island businesswomen who had never had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas before. EWC and EWCA were both well represented. EWC Board members Lyn Anzai and Amy Agbayani both played an active role in the program. EWCA president Dan Berman, Board members Loretta Pang and Bill Armbruster, supported other alumni and mentees chosen by EWCA chapters. It was also a wonderful surprise to welcome a delegation of six women entrepreneurs from Tanzania, led by Deputy Minister of Trade, Rita Mlaki — their attendance is a tangible demonstration of the enormous need for more training and exchange in this area.


The level of interest in women’s economic empowerment was so high that participants suggested setting up a “Women’s Issues Chapter” with a view to continuing the discussions at the Tokyo conference. Robyn Henderson (Australia), Bhawani Rana (Nepal), Kristy Hsu (Taiwan) and Perveen Shaikh (Pakistan) were among the volunteers for the organizing committee.


The seminar program was sponsored by Westpac Banking Corporation Women’s Markets, the International Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Businesswomen Leaders Network. EWC program staff Abigail Sines and Noreen Tanouye ably supported the participants.