president’s advisory council

H. E. Anca Dragu  

She is Romanian economist and politician, she was the Minister of Public Finance (November 2015 – January 2017) and was the President of the Senate of Romania from December 2020 until November 2021. She is the first woman in the history of the Senate to hold this position. Dragu graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies in 1996. 

From 1999 to 2000 she studied at Georgetown University and George Washington University. She obtained an MA degree in public administration from the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in 2007 and a PhD in economics from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies in 2010.

Dr. Haifa Al Kaylani  

She is the President and Founder of Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), she is a Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative (2017) and served as a Commissioner on the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work (2017-2019). The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) is recognised in Arab and international government, private sector and NGO circles as a high-impact change agent focussed on women’s leadership and youth empowerment, working for progress, inclusion, peace and prosperity in the Arab region and internationally.

Haifa is a development economist, an alumna of the American University of Beirut and read for a Diploma in Economic Development at Oxford University, a Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative 2017, and a Commissioner of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work (2017-2019). She brings a wide range of skills and experience to her personal mission of encouraging greater cultural understanding and sustainable economic growth and reform, supporting a strong role for women and young leaders at the heart of that process.

Donna Downs Kawasaki 

She is the VP of Global Marketing and Operations at multiple companies. Her experience includes working with Fortune 1000 industry-leading customers in the areas of strategy, cross-functional business development, business operations, partner development, solutions development, and marketing. At Cisco Systems, where Donna held senior management positions, she managed Cisco’s largest marketing organization for Asia Pacific and Japan and was the only women on the executive team. At Hewlett-Packard, Donna was a top 100 worldwide sales manager and winner of the top team award. She has been on the board of multiple companies and non-profits and currently focuses her community contribution on finding a cure for hearing loss and increasing the number of women on Fortune 1000 boards. Integrated with her consultancy, IT, and healthcare experience, Donna has energy sector experience, having worked with various power and alternative energy customers.

Donna is a graduate of the Asia Pacific Masters in Business Administration Program from National University of Singapore, and Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from the University of Manitoba, Canada.



Katja Iversen

She is an executive adviser, author, board member and global advocate on purpose driven leadership, sustainability, networking, diversity, equality and the health and the rights of girls and women. She has more than 25 years’ experience working in and with corporates, NGOs, and United Nations agencies, and has a vast and high level network across these sectors.

She is the former President/CEO of Women Deliver, trainer of Fortune 500 Executives in diversity and cross cultural management, and has also been a senior professional with various UN agencies in the field of Strategic Communication and Public Advocacy. Katja, who is Danish, today sits on UNILEVER’s Sustainability Advisory Council, is an executive advisor to Women Political Leaders, an advisor to the World Economic Forum, King’s College Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, and to Global Goals World Cup, is one of the original 100Women@Davos, as well on the Board of 4LifeSolutions and appointed a UN Food Champion and Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador. She is a member of VL2. Previously, she has been a member of President Macron’s and Prime Minister Trudeau’s G7 Gender Equality Councils, a long-term advisor to Bill Clinton in the Clinton Global Initiative, on MIT Solve Challenge Women and Tech Leadership Group, and a board member at Women@theTable, PMNCH, Women Deliver etc. As the leader of Women Deliver she oversaw the development  and execution of the world’s largest conference on gender equality.


Marijela Margeta Hasimbegovic

She is An accomplished leader in cultural management, performing arts & politics, she is first woman Director of National Theatre of Sarajevo in 100 years of its existence. With an architecture degree and extensive set designing experience, she’s credited for bringing the audiences back to the theatre. With an indomitable will matched by a graceful essence, she says in an interview, “I consciously ‘entered the fire,’ I knew what to expect, but I also knew that nothing could defeat hard work, love and sacrifice.’ Since 1993, she began working in Theatre and film for sets and costume design. Artistic works during Siege of Sarajevo were a tool to survive, showing human power with hope and enthusiasm, using words, images, symbols, culture, theatre. Actively leading in the cultural spaces, she has been involved for over two decade in the organization of various important cultural events in the region, including the Sarajevo International Winter Festival and festival Mess. Between 2000 and 2021, she serves as the Technical Director of the National Theatre of Sarajevo. 





Aijan Chynybaeva 

She was graduated from American University in Central Asia in 1999 with a Bachelor in Business Administration. She has serving on the board of AUCA since 2012. A businesswoman with great entrepreneurial zeal, she is the owner of the Talisman resort and other businesses. She has over 15 years of business experience, and has worked for several international firms over her career. A natural leader, Aijan is passionate about community leadership. From 2016 to 2020, she was Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Norway in the Kyrgyz Republic. 

From 2017 to 2020, she was President of the Consuls Club of the Kyrgyz Republic. In 2018, she was Ambassador of Woman Expo Kazakhstan. In 2020/21, she was Vice Mayor of Bishkek for Social Development. She was President of the Rotary Club Bishkek in2015-2016. From 2016 to 2019, she was President of the Public Association of Women of Kyrgyzstan “Kurak”. She is Member of the Council of the Association of Social Entrepreneurship, mentor at the ASP school. 

She is the initiator of the movement “Taza Issyk-Kul”. (Clean Lake), the Founder of the Eco-Demi Public Fund.


Mrinalini Venkatachalam

She is Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Oceania, Mrinalini (Minnie) provides support to WEConnect International by enhancing brand visibility and conducting outreach to women entrepreneurs and corporate buyers in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania. 

Her region is probably the fastest growing for small and medium enterprises, including those that are women owned. There is a large diversity in types of products, particularly in the sectors of finished consumer goods, commodities and professional services. 

This has the potential to create mass appeal, especially amongst large established FMCGs and retail chains. Consistency in quality also allows these businesses to remain sustainable, thus providing employment and allowing communities to thrive. With experience spanning over a decade, Minnie has worked to bridge the gap between unmet social needs and service providers, giving large corporations, government agencies, community organizations and social enterprises the platform to create measurable social impact. 

She speaks regularly at schools, community events, corporate gatherings and conferences about the role that gender equality plays in achieving a more sustainable world for everyone. Minnie has been awarded the Singapore Women’s Weekly’s Great Women of Our Time Award in the Public Service and Education category and has been nominated as one of Cleo Singapore’s 2016 top ten Changemakers.


Mantasha Ahmed

She is the founder president of Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh (AFDB), and founder of ‘Deshi Bhalobashi’, an E-commerce Platform for SMEs in the handloom and crafts sector. Having completed her BSc in Software Engineering in 2001 from Independent University Bangladesh IUB, Dhaka, Mantasha set up a computer training school. 

After completing her MA in International Relations and Contemporary Political Theory from The University of Westminster, London, UK, she joined the House of Lords, London, Through her vision, hard work, dedication, and strategic planning, Mantasha turned the small sized business into one of the leading brand names in Bangladesh. 

Awards and Accolades: 2013: IWEC International Women Entrepreneurial Challenges Award 2013, Lima, Peru 2016: Pages Award by Chanel I, Dhaka, Bangladesh, the President of Bangladesh-India Business Council (BIBC) of Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI). Ahmed is also a board member of the SME Foundation Bangladesh. 

Under her leadership, BIBC has organized many successful events including Asian Women Entrepreneurs’ Summit 2021, Mentorship program with ULAB etc. Through her vision, hard work and dedication Ahmed has established herself as an eminent SME expert in the country with a heavy focus on women empowerment, training and social welfare.


Marianela Mirpuri

She is a successful entrepreneur mainly in the field of aviation, Marianela Mirpuri decided to dedicate her time to philanthropy, in the spirit of giving back to society what society gave to her. 

In 2018 she takes forward her project Hera The Light of Women. It started in early 2000 as an informal movement for the empowerment of women and the Future of Humanity, and focus in the target of building a City with women leading the Mission – Hera City. 

Her work as the Founder and President of Hera the light of women, is recognized worldwide, and Hera counts with a powerful team of Ambassadors and Advisors in all Continents, working for the education of women and for a better Future for Humanity. 

She is also an Advisor to the Mirpuri Foundation, her family foundation and leads the “Game Changer” project The Good Bottle, with the aim to replace the plastic around the world for a biodegradable/compostable solution. Marianela is invited regularly as speaker in international conferences globally. 



Tanja Wehsely

She is the CEO of Volkshilfe based in Vienna. Volkshilfe is a big Aid/Social/Care Organisation mostly publicly funded and operating in various fields, from home care/nursing, housing first/homeless shelters, preventing evictions, refugee shelters and counseling, foster care, day care for kids, counseling for sexworkers, programmes for labour market reintegration, general social work counseling, volunteer services and mentoring porgrammes. Volkshilfe employs 1.500 people, works with 400 volunteers and counts about 3000 members of our association.

Before Tanja´s appointment as managing director, she was a member of the Viennese state parliament and chairwoman of the economic and finance committee of the city of Vienna. As a studied social worker, she taught social work at the FH Campus Wien. She is a board member in numerous social enterprises, such as the Association of Viennese Youth Centers, the Umbrella Association of Vienna Social Institutions, the SWÖ – Social Economy Austria, as well as the umbrella association Arbeit plus. Tanja Wehsely is a member of the supervisory board of WU’s NPO Institute and is a juror for the annual World Summit Awards (WSA) and Social Impact Awards (SIA).




Helene Marie Gosselin 

She is unique career has led her to almost every country on earth, in management and leadership positions. Her networks span the globe and have facilitated remarkable achievements, which have been recognized by stakeholders and leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors as well as the media. Her inspirational leadership and powers of persuasion have attracted tens of millions of dollars in funding and significant media profile to the projects she has led over the last three decades: thinking “outside the box”, mobilizing new partners, re-energizing existing ones and attracting new audiences.

Over the past decade, she has devoted herself mainly to the development of women’s empowerment & leadership. A member of the International Women’s Forum in Canada, she is the founder of the Austrian branch of the organization. In this capacity, she is mentoring several young professional women involved in public service, governance

and the private sector. Likewise, she is supporting startups in female leadership.






Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo 

She is an international strategist and public policy, diplomacy professional. Ms. Soobroydoo previously served at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Executive Office on Global and Africa Strategic Priorities and Lead Public Engagement Adviser of the Generation Equality Forum. 

She most recently served as Director for Leadership Engagement and Partnerships at WPL. She devotes her efforts to building cross-sectorial partnerships and multi-stakeholders’ strategic engagements. Her efforts are rooted in policy, human rights, women and youth empowerment, inclusion, diversity, equality, and social justice. 

Ms. Soobroydoo has deep experience in the field of movement and community building for gender equality and women’s empowerment, including service as founding Coordinator of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), the joint African Union-UN Women initiative established to scale up women’s leadership in Africa and beyond. She brings solid and diversified international affairs expertise in governance, as well as in women, peace and security issues. Ms. Soobroydoo served on the Advisory Panel of Women in Power of the 73rd President of the UN General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés. 

Verlaine was recognized in 2018 in the Top 100 list of Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in the Politics and Governance Category, and in 2019 in the Top 100 Influencers on Gender Equality and Diversity by Onalytica. She is the recipient of the Nalafem Feminist Collective Award (2022) for building Intergenerational leadership platforms at the UN, AU and throughout Africa.  Verlaine is the author of UNBOUND: Twitter thoughts for the heart and Mind with foreword by Oscar Winning Sound Designer Resul Pookutty.

H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul 

She served as Thailand Minister for Tourism and Sports from 2014 to 2017, enhancing Thailand’s status as a top tourist destination in all aspects. 

She has since taken on the role of President of Toshiba Thailand, where she had previously served as Chairperson prior to her government post.

She also currently serves as a Board Director for Kasikornbank, Honorary 

President of the Thai-Japanese Association, Member of the Committee of the Foundation for a Clean and Transparent Thailand, Member of the Special Advisory Committee for the Prime Minister, Advisor to the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Advisor to the President of the Federation of Business and Professional Woman’s Associations of Thailand.

H.E. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

She is former President of the United Nations General Assembly, she served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, becoming the fourth woman in history and the first from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over this body. A scholar, diplomat and political leader, she has held several leadership positions in Ecuador serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as of Defense, as also of Cultural and Natural Heritage. She was the first female Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva. She is an expert in international affairs and multilateralism, defense and security, sustainable development, climate change, gender equality and indigenous peoples’ rights. She is also member of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission; Co-Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateral Approaches to Pandemics, Security, and Sustainable Development – COMPASS – at the International Peace Institute; Councilor of the World Future Council; member of the multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the Generation Equality, the Beijing + 25 process and the Generation Equality Forum; member of the Political Advisory Panel of the Universal Health Coverage 2030 Movement, UHC2030; member and Executive Director of the Group of Women Leaders for Change and inclusion, GWL; member of the Strategic Committee of the SDSN Science Panel for the Amazon, SPA; member of the High-Level Advisory Council for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, UNAOC; and Founding Member of the Centre for UN Studies at the University of Buckingham. Excellency Espinosa acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Latin American and Caribbean Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples, FILAC and for Common Home of Humanity.


Chiara Corazza

She has been named by President Emmanuel Macron the French Representative for the Private Sector to the G20 Business Women Leader Taskforce Empower She is also Member of the Gender Equality Advisory Council of the G7.

Member of the ESCP International Advisory Board, since March 2023 Chiara Corazza is also Affiliate Professor at this prestigious international Business School.

She has been the Special Representative to the G7 and G20 for the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society, the world’s leading platform to highlight women’s voices and vision to build a more inclusive world. Since 2017 she has been the Managing Director of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society. 

From 2002 to 2017, Chiara Corazza was the Managing Director of the Greater Paris Investment Agency (GPIA), in charge of attracting foreign investors, tourists, talents and capitals to the Greater Paris Region. The success of the “Grand Paris” project has always been at the core of Chiara Corazza’s activities.

From 1999 to 2002, Chiara Corazza was Director of International Affairs of Paris 2008, in charge of promoting the Paris bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.


H.E. Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo

Her Excellency Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, the only female Minister in the current cabinet of Bhutan formally took charge of the Ministry of Health on 7th November 2018. Prior to joining politic in 2018, Her Excellency worked as a public health international consultant with primary focus on health system, governance, policy and strategic planning for governments and civil societies in many countries (USA, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, PNG, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Senegal). She brings her background working on various global health issues including health system strengthening, health governance, grant implementation, monitoring and evaluation system to the current portfolio.

On 17th December 2020 in recognition of her outstanding service to the Nation, she was conferred the “Red Scarf”, one of highest honors a Bhutanese civilian by His Majesty the King. Her Excellency is a passionate public health advocate and social worker at heart. Hon’ble Lyonpo was nominated as the President of the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) by Member States of the WHO’s South East Asia Region in 2020. She will hold the office of the President for a duration of one year and it is an honour bestowed on Bhutan for the first time since it became a member of the WHO in 1982.

Beside her membership to professional organization, she is also a founder of Bhutan Cancer Society, a CSO working for the well being of cancer patients in Bhutan and a founding chairperson for Lhaksam, HIV positive network in the country. Her Excellency has a Master in Public Health (MPH) from Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, USA and a Bachelor in Cardiopulmonary Science (magna cum laude) from Northeastern University, Boston, USA.

Anat Bernstein-Reich

She is a dynamic entrepreneur, she is the CEO and Co-Founder of the GATE, BDO Israel-India, an investment Banking and advisory firm operating on the axis of Israel, India, Sri Lanka, and emerging markets. Anat is a columnist at The Marker, and is also a frequent speaker on “doing business in India”. She served as a consultant to The World Bank in Washington for various economic development projects, co-founded 2 start-up companies in the USA, and worked with technology incubators to promote strategic partnerships for JV technology companies within Silicon Valley. Anat holds a LL.B. degree from the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, is a member of the Israeli Bar Association, and holds an MBA (with distinction) in Finance from the University of San Francisco.

Anat also serves as the Chairperson of Israel-India & Nepal Chamber of Commerce, and is the President of TiE Israel. She has helped more than 100 startups to scale in sectors like technology, agriculture, real estate, edtech, clean tech, deep tech, etc. She says in an interview to Your Story, “The first lessons we give companies are humility and patience, and other cultural training. We also ask them to tweak and customise their products and technology.”deep tech, etc.

Arif Zaman

Arif Zaman is Senior Lecturer, Bloomsbury Institute and Director, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, the only organisation directly recognised by 56 Governments with a primary mandate on women’s economic empowerment and leadership. Author of the bestselling book on Reputational Risk (Financial Times, 2004, published in Russian, 2008), still the only international research-based book on the topic from a leading business publisher, Arif led the Commonwealth’s work on corporate governance as Adviser on both Corporate Governance and South Asia to the Commonwealth Business Council (2005-14) where his recommendations were incorporated by Commonwealth Governments in their Corporate Governance Codes. Arif was Global Market and Industry Analyst at British Airways (1996- 2005) where he won several company awards including for his contribution to BA’s Business Principles and Sustainability Policy and industry awards for his work on logistics, trade and strategy. He led the market research and analysis for the British Airways Cargocentre which was the largest on-airport investment in the company’s history prior to Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport. Arif was the first Associate Director and a founder member of the National Steering Group of Mosaic (2005-2010), founded by then HRH The Prince of Wales, which creates opportunities for young people, and especially Muslims, growing up in the UK’s most deprived and disadvantaged communities. In 2011 he received an award from former Malaysian PM Badawi for his “excellent contribution in the field of public relations serving world communities.”

H.E. Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría

She is Former Vice President of Costa Rica, Excellency Chacón has led her nation eminently as minister, ambassador and humanitarian leader. Vice President Chacón held positions in both private and public institutions, where she consistently defended human rights. She represented the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Enterprises (UCCAEP) in the commission for Employability of People with Disabilities in the Ministry of Labor from 2010 to 2014. Before, from 2010 until 2011, she served as Director of Management Consulting in Deloitte, Costa Rica. From 2006 to 2010, she was elected deputy to the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, where she wrote projects of social interest that are now current laws of the Republic. Through the Social Council and the public institutions in their effort to reduce poverty and achieve social development. From 2002 to 2005 she worked as the Deputy Minister of Public Security. Her work was aimed at improving response mechanisms and raising awareness of important issues such as domestic violence, sexual exploitation of minors, gender equity, juvenile justice and human trafficking. Throughout her role as Deputy Minister, she developed different programs concerning treatment for drug addiction in homeless people. Here, she also started working on tourism safety issues, which she continued during her time in the Legislative Assembly.