World Leadership Conferences, conducted annually by the International Women’s Forum, draw women from more than 50 countries who are the world’s leading architects, advocates, catalysts, and pioneers of change – the women who are re-drawing the map for how we’ll live, work, produce, and maintain healthy communities in the coming years. As seismic shifts in the world power structure reshape modern economies, polities, and environments, IWF’s cutting-edge conferences show the way for women leaders of today and tomorrow, corporations, and governments to build the world that we want.
The International Women’s Forum advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. The IWF brings together an unprecedented global membership to exchange ideas, to learn and inspire, and to promote better leadership for a changing world.
Founded in 1982 in the United States, the International Women’s Forum has grown across 5 continents into 29 nations. There are more than 5,500 women leaders participating in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.
Membership in the International Women’s Forum (IWF) is by invitation and is influenced by definitive international standards. Members are committed to bettering global leadership today and cultivating women leaders of tomorrow.
IWF provides one-of–a-kind programming designed by world leaders, for world leaders, both present and future. IWF provides a platform for leaders to meet among their peers in an environment where meaningful partnerships and friendships can grow and form.
10:30 AM – 2:45 PM — PRESIDENTS’ COUNCIL MEETING – Level Two Ballroom of Americas Section D
8:15 AM — OPENING REMARKS
• Teresa Weintraub, President of the International Women’s Forum and member of IWF Florida
• Gracie Cavnar, 2017 Conference Co-chair and President of IWF Texas-Houston
8:30 AM — OPENING KEYNOTE – GLOBAL CITY FOR TOMORROW
Many of the challenges facing our world are not contained by borders. Neither are the solutions. The entire world can be changed with a medical breakthrough, an environmentally friendly technology, or expanding economic opportunity, no matter where it originates.
We take a look at the roles and responsibilities we each have as global citizens and take a closer look at Houston.
Houston is the most racially and ethnically diverse city in the United States. The city has drawn immigrants from all over the world, with more than 100 spoken languages. Demographers say it is a bellwether. In 25 years, the rest of the United States will look very much like Houston does now.
What unites the city, and what divides it? What are the implications for society and business? What can we learn from Houston about helping each other and the rest of the world?
• Annise Parker, former two-time Mayor of Houston and one of only two women to hold the city’s highest elected office; member of IWF Texas-Houston and 2017 Conference Co-chair
8:45 AM — GLOBAL STORMS: EXTREME WEATHER
Hurricane Harvey is just one of the latest in a series of severe weather events—from superstorms and floods, to droughts, heat waves, and fires. Around the globe, these natural disasters have damaged infrastructure, destroyed property, devastated economies, and taken far too many lives. In some instances, extreme weather has created famine, fueled conflict, and triggered mass migrations of refugees.
Are world weather patterns permanently changing? Is human activity contributing? What can be done to better predict the weather, reduce its impact, and make population centers more resilient? A global panel of experts makes a forecast.
• Suzana Camargo, PhD, Executive Director of Columbia University’s Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate
• Mary Glackin, Director of Science and Forecasting Operations, The Weather Company, Watson Content and Internet of Things Platform at IBM
• Stéphane Hallegatte, PhD, Lead Economist at the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery
• Zoe Daniel, Washington Bureau Chief for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and member of IWF Australia
10:00 AM — COFFEE BREAK: Sponsored by the Better Business Bureau of Houston
10:20 AM — POWERING THE WORLD: ENERGY ECONOMICS
Houston is the epicenter of the global energy industry, with an estimated 5,000 energy-related firms doing business here. Although oil and gas have been the backbone of the Texas energy sector, today the state leads the United States in the use of renewable energy.
We draw from the global community of experts to discuss the economics and geopolitics of energy production, taking a look at supply and demand, and the impact of emerging technologies.
• Mary Beth Gracy, Managing Director at Accenture and leader of the Oilfield and Equipment Services practice
• Melanie Kenderdine, Principal of the Energy Futures Initiative and Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council
• Jayshree Desai, Chief Operating Officer of Clean Line Energy Partners
• Kenneth B. Medlock III, PhD, is the James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics at the Baker Institute.
• Deborah Byers, Managing Partner of EY’s Houston office and US Energy Leader
11:20 AM — BREAK / NASA BEHIND THE SCENES LAUNCH
12:15 PM — LUNCHEON – SHOOT FOR THE MOON: SPACE
We sit down for a conversation on space exploration and science, STEM education, and women’s leadership with Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space and Director of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
• Ellen Ochoa, Director of the Johnson Space Center, former US Astronaut and member, IWF Texas-Houston
• Jeanne Meserve, former Anchor and Homeland Security Correspondent at CNN, and former State Department correspondent for ABC
1:30 PM PROGRAM ENDS | BEHIND THE SCENES SESSIONS LAUNCH
8:15 AM — GLOBAL HEALTH: PRIORITIES AND POSSIBILITIES
As Zika and Ebola have shown us, disease knows no boundaries. In our interconnected world, a health threat in another part of the world is often quickly menacing our own neighborhood.
We have assembled in Houston, home of the nation’s largest medical center, the foremost names in global health to discuss emerging issues, frontiers in research, and barriers to success.
• Maria Elena Bottazzi, Ph.D., FASTMH, Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Deputy Director of Texas Children’s Hospital for Vaccine Development
• Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Panorama Global and former Director of the Ebola Program at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
• Rebecca Richards-Kortum, MD, Director of Rice 360: Institute for Global Health and Founder of Beyond Traditional Borders at Rice University
• Donna Shalala PhD, Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the University of Miami and former US Secretary of Health and Human Services; member of IWF Florida
9:20 AM — COFFEE BREAK
9:35 AM — IDEAS REMAKING THE WORLD
IWF members from around the world will present their leading-edge ideas and inventions for building a better world—and better lives. IWF’s own innovators, instigators, and disruptors will take the stage to make lightning-round presentations about their compelling concepts, business propositions, and transformational technologies.
• Carole Feuerman, hyperrealist sculptor and President and Board Member of the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation; member of the Women’s Forum of New York
• Lia Grimanis, Chief Executive Officer of Up with Women, an organization rebuilding formerly homeless women’s lives through career and business development; member of IWF Canada
• Ilya Marotta, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management at the Panama Canal Authority; member of IWF Panama
• Priscilla Douglas, PhD, Chair of the Ideas Remaking the World Selection Committee and Founder and Principal of PHDouglas & Associates; member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum
10:40 AM — BREAK
11:00 AM — THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY
The internet has become the global marketplace for ideas, goods, and entertainment. With skyrocketing demand, how do we keep the information highway from becoming a parking lot? How do today’s infrastructure and bandwidth impact the exchange of ideas, global competition, and consumer choice? And, what does the future hold?
• Janet Ang, Vice President, Industry Solutions and Smarter Cities of IBM Asia Pacific, Board Member of InfoComm Media Development Authority and member of IWF Singapore
• Sumaiya Balbale, Vice President of E-Commerce, Mobile and Digital Marketing for Walmart US and Vice President of Marketing at Jet.com
• Matt Harrington, Global Chief Operating Officer at Edelman
• Leisa Holland-Nelson, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of ASTOUNDZ and member of IWF Texas-Houston
11:00 AM — FEEDING FRENZY
Over the last 30 years, human weight has spiraled out of control. According to a recent Gates Foundation funded study, ten percent of adults globally and 40 percent of American adults are now clinically obese, which contributed to four million deaths in 2015 from heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other factors. All data point to the growing consumption of inexpensive, nutrient-poor, calorie-dense packaged foods as the leading cause. The study’s authors observed that, “to date, no country has been able to control the food environment, which seems to be the main driver of obesity.” In other words, the food we eat and the way we eat it are now killing us. How can we, as consumers, parents, and business people, change the picture? Join our panel to explore your role in driving regulation, education, and innovation to combat what has become the number one global pandemic.
• Danielle Nierenberg, Co-founder and President of Food Tank
• Katherine Miller, Founder of Chef Action Network and Senior Director of Food Policy Advocacy at the James Beard Foundation
• Corinna Hawkes, PhD, Director of the Centre for Food Policy and Professor of Food Policy at the City University of London
• Gracie Cavnar, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Recipe for Success Foundation; 2017 Conference Co-chair and President of IWF Texas-Houston
• Anne Doyle, leadership and communications strategist, and Principal of Anne Doyle Strategies; President of IWF Michigan
11:00 AM — SHOOT FOR THE MOON – A DEEPER DIVE
Competition between the US and USSR fueled the space race, but today the US and Russia are partners, along with Japan and the European Space Agency, in the International Space Station. It demonstrates the benefits of cooperation and fosters a sense of global community.
The space station has been a test bed for research into human health, biology, and materials science that has benefited us all. But in a time of increased international tensions and tight budgets, what is the future of space exploration? Should it be a private enterprise rather than a governmental one?
Houston, home to the Johnson Space Center, is the perfect place to explore.
• Catherine “Cady” Coleman, PhD, former US Astronaut and member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum
• Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency and member of IWF France
• Evelyn Miralles, Principal Engineer and Lead VR Innovator for the Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRLab) at NASA Johnson Space Center
• Dana Born, PhD, retired Brigadier General in the US Air Force, Co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum
12:00 PM — COFFEE BREAK
12:15 PM — LUNCHEON – INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
All around the world, philanthropists are driving change. Charitable giving is revolutionizing health care and drug development. It is offering educational opportunity and economic empowerment. It is opening new horizons and creating new possibilities.
In a conversation with philanthropic leaders, we discuss creating sustainable and scalable change through impact investing, activism, and the power of women.
• Julia Stasch, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and member of IWF Chicago
• Wendy Appelbaum, South African entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Co-founder of the Women’s Investment Portfolio Limited; member of IWF South Africa
• Laura Arnold, Co-Chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation
• Joanne Harrell, Senior Director for US Citizenship at Microsoft, member of IWF Washington State and a 2017 Woman Who Makes a Difference
1:55 PM — COFFEE BREAK
2:15 PM — GLOBAL CITIZENS ENGAGED: COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Worldwide, an estimated 21 million people are trafficked every year, the majority of whom are women and girls. These are the disenfranchised global citizens who don’t have a voice in their own lives.
Despite an increased awareness of trafficking, efforts to reduce it have not succeeded. Prosecutions and convictions are still shockingly rare.
We examine the issue, and what can be done about it, with advocates and members of the legal community.
• Vanessa Gilmore, Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and member of IWF Texas-Houston
• Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney and member of IWF Florida
• Allyson Maynard Gibson, human rights advocate and former Attorney General of The Bahamas; member of IWF Bahamas
• Ludy Green PhD, expert on human trafficking and Founder of Second Chance Employment Services; member of IWF Washington, DC
• Melanie Lawson, award-winning Journalist and Anchor on Houston’s ABC13 and member of IWF Texas-Houston
2:15 PM — FORMULA FOR CHANGE: STEM MENTORING Sponsored by Texas Instruments (TI)
We invite IWF leaders in the STEM fields to participate in a mentoring roundtable with eighth-grade girls from Houston-area schools. Join us as we discuss exploring new and different opportunities, pivotal moments, and managing the learning curve as women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Mentoring moments provided by attending IWF STEM leaders.
• Krunali Patel, Vice President of Analog Design Services for Texas Instruments (TI)
• Mina Teicher, PhD, Professor of Mathematics and Neural Computation at Bar-Ilan University and former Chief Scientist of Israel; Vice President of the IWF Board of Directors and member of IWF Israel
2:15 PM — THE NEXT PATTERN: THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF FASHION
Fashion is a $2.4 trillion global business that has an impact on all of us. Fueling the industry is the genius and creativity of fashion designers. As baby boomers continue to age and the millennial population continues to grow, the fashion retail business is turning its attention to new ways of attracting shoppers.
Whether it’s shopping online, visiting brick-and-mortar stores, or shopping your closet, we all need to find our way in the new retail marketplace.
• Lynn Wyatt, fashion icon, philanthropist and patron of the arts
• Marty Wikstrom, angel investor and former Chief Executive Officer of Richemont Fashion and Accessories, former President of Nordstrom’s Full Line Store Group, and former Managing Director of Harrods Limited; IWF Leadership Foundation Board Director and member of IWF United Kingdom
• Valerie Salembier, former fashion executive and Publisher of Harper’s Bazaar magazine; member of the Women’s Forum of New York
3:30 PM — CONFERENCE ENDS
6:30 PM — PRE-GALA RECEPTION
7:15 PM — IWF AND LEADERSHIP FOUNDATION HALL OF FAME AWARDS GALA
We feature the induction of The Honorable Hillary Clinton into the IWF and Leadership Foundation Hall of Fame. As an attorney and advocate, former First Lady, US Senator, Secretary of State, and the first woman to win a major party nomination for President of the United States, Secretary Clinton is a recognized icon across the globe for her support and promotion of women’s leadership.
Former two-time Mayor of Houston