Vital Voices welcomed more than a dozen talented women business leaders from across the globe to Vital Voices’ 18th annual Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.

The Fortune program aims to improve the business and leadership abilities of international women professionals by having some of America’s top executives serve as mentors to fellows selected for the month-long program.

Over the course of that time, mentees worked on developing their leadership potential, while making valuable connections through strategic networking opportunities. Panel discussions, skill development sessions, and individualized mentoring with like-minded women executives from major corporations such as Morgan Stanley, Nationwide, and CVS Health, well-position participants to springboard into the next phase of their careers when they return home from the programs.

In the 2023 program, mentees spent their first week learning about Vital Voices, taking part in panel discussions with women business executives, and exploring Washington, DC, including some of the city’s most famous landmarks before going to meet their mentors on-site at their organizations for individualized mentorship training.

Pictured: Mentee Betty Wamaitha, Head of Marketing of Quick Mart Ltd based in Kenya, during opening remarks

“I’m very excited to meet great women leaders from all over the world, especially our mentors who will guide us on how we can tackle challenges with our work,” said Souksaveuy Keotiamchanh, founder of Zero Waste Laos, during the opening session.

In the days that followed, mentees had the opportunity to meet women leaders from the US Department of State, including Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, and Ambassador Joan Polaschik, Director of the Foreign Service Institute, as well as corporate leaders such as Joi Edwards of Common Future, who invests in racially equitable economic solutions for communities.

Additionally, the mentees were afforded the opportunity to meet with local officials including Diana Leon Brown, President of Artem Venture and former Director of Strategic Partnerships for the County Executive Office of Prince George’s County. Leon and other women executives shared their leadership paths, some of the obstacles they endured in their professions, social responsibility initiatives they were spearheading, and the influence that mentorship had on them.

“For me, the most important thing is gaining the knowledge and perspectives of other people,” said Martyna Zastawna, CEO & founder of WoshWosh, as she shared that getting exposed to other women leaders and being able to hear their experiences made her feel supported.

Diana Leon Brown and Vital Voices’ Kim Lamar, speak to the 2023 Fortune-State Cohort

During the program, mentees also visited a local high school in Washington, DC to serve as mentors to young high school women.

The program wrapped with a reconvening of the mentees in New York City to reflect on their experiences and plan for the future!

Fortune-State 2023 Cohort group picture with Diana Leon Brown [center]; President of Artem Venture and former Director of Strategic Partnerships for the County Executive Office of Prince George’s County

Vital Voices is committed to investing in, connecting with & amplifying the impact of women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

Please consider donating to Vital Voices today in support of our mission.

Written by the Communication Team at Vital Voices



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