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Women mean business and mentorship as ambassadors
Weeklong global forum held in Charlotte
 
Published Friday, May 12, 2017 2:18 pm
by Kareem Wilson, The Charlotte Post

PHOTO/DAVID KENNERLY
Debra Plousha Moore, executive vice president at Carolinas Medical Center, mentored Annak Bunak from Cambodia at the Global Ambassadors Program in Charlotte. The initiative brings women business leaders together for mentoring and idea sharing.

Empowering women mean empowering business.

The Global Ambassadors Program, an international initiative that brings together women in business for mentoring, is being held in Charlotte through May 12. This is the first time the program will be held in United States.

“They’re running nonprofits and businesses in countries all over the world,” said Andrea Smith, chief administrative officer of Bank of America. “This program is one way we can invest in women business owners in Charlotte, and from other countries, to give them the support they need to take their countries to the next level.”

Sponsored by Bank of America and Vital Voices Global Partnership, which was founded in 2012 by former first lady and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, the Global Ambassadors Program brings women entrepreneurs around the world together to learn life and business tips. It focuses on strategy marketing, financial stability, organizational management, and leadership skills.

Brenda Harris, director of BPN Healthcare Concepts in Charlotte, teamed with other entrepreneurs to learn about important skills that will benefit them in their business.

“My goal for the company is to help people get jobs that they normally wouldn’t’ get,” she said. “To get paid what they’re worth.”

Harris says she has dealt with the pressures of running a company as an African American woman.

“You do everything they ask and you still don’t get it, so I want to know why when someone who doesn’t live here in the city gets those [requests for proposals] when I show proof that I’m able to do it also,” she said.

Kimberly McMillian, spokeswomen for the Moore & Van Allen law firm, got a chance to hear Harris’ goals and what she wants to accomplish.

“Her goal is to grow her business but maintain that personal relationship,” McMillan said. “Not get too big where she can’t have the personal service that’s she giving clients today.”

Nigest Haile, founder of Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment and mentor to Harris, sees the need for women to be more visible and relates to how things have changed for women leaders.

“This generation is really lucky,” said Haile, who lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “There are so many opportunities that are in place because there are so many financial institutions now that are trying to help young girls to help join the groups.”

Debra Plousha Moore, executive vice president at Carolinas HealthCare System and mentor to Anak Bunnak from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sees the potential of her role as a mentor.

“As a mentor, my role has been…to become familiar with Anak and her business so that I can listen and give feedback,” Moore said. “And each of these women has something that contributes back to promote their community, to bring power tips, provide jobs, and to create friends.”

Haile also said that in order for young women to be able to start on their own path they need to have the drive for it.

“They need to have the passion to do business and getting what the area they really want to bring out differences,” she said.

Harris said no matter how tough the road might be to keep pushing on. “I don’t think things are handed to us,” she said. “We work hard to move forward. It is a lot of opportunities out here. You have to educate yourself on what you learn.”

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