Giving Women in the Workplace a Voice

Empowering women and girls to have control over their lives and be able to participate actively in social, political and economic activities.


Encourage women to be more proactive in the improvement of practices in the workplace.


Empowering women with knowledge, skills and self-confidence


Achieve sustainable gender equality and empower all women and girls

Our Commitment

We strive for a world where women are independent socially and economically and have decision-making power in institutions that they are in.

The Team

Arienne Chauvet

Entrepreneur/Women's Advocate

Arienne runs her own digital marketing business and does advocacy work during her free time.

Victorine Lanoie

Freelance Artist/Women's Advocate

Victorine plies her craft online. She is a member of her community’s women organization.

Mariette Sauvé

Social Worker/Women's Advocate

Mariette is not a stranger to women’s advocacy since her job as a social worker, exposes her to their plights.

News & Blog

Victorine Lanoie

My Prospecting Methods

When you decide to be self-employed, you are not only a political strategy consultant, but you are also an accountant, secretary, salesman and sometimes even

Mariette Sauvé

Being Respected as a Woman

Glass ceilings, sexual harassment, scale-tone-pork, all concepts that tend to prove that women are struggling to gain respect in the workplace and to get the

Latest Article

woman working on amazon fba business

The Complete Guide to selling your products on Amazon for Women

How do you sell products effectively on Amazon when you don’t know much about them (or nothing)? That is the question we will answer in this comprehensive guide. We will focus on the techniques and things to know (or avoid) to really succeed in doing “business” thanks to the most famous marketplace in the world. This article is much more than just a tutorial as there are dozens on the web!

5 Reasons to sell your products on Amazon

working on amazon

#1 You don’t need to create a website

Creating a website takes time, especially when it’s an e-commerce site. Not only do you have to create your site “technically” but you also have to build trust around your shop… which sometimes takes months or even years. With Amazon, you can take advantage of their easy-to-use platform and start selling products with just a few clicks.

#2 You don’t need to get traffic yourself

You have to drive a lot of traffic on an e-commerce site to make it profitable. Traffic generation is not done with a pair of sleeves. Again, it often takes many months. Selling on Amazon allows you to enjoy a lot of traffic without having to do SEO! Amazon gets about 200 million unique visitors per month…

#3 You can hand over logistics to Amazon

Amazon gives you the “Fulfilled by Amazon” program, FBA, which allows you to take advantage of the US giant’s logistics infrastructure. Amazon is responsible for storing and delivering your products after each order. It is recommended you get a serious Amazon business training course from Matt Clark

#4 No complicated merchant 

Amazon manages payments and refunds for you. You are paid every 14 days directly to the bank account you have informed. Amazon is probably the best marketplace to use, and the most flexible.

#5 Amazon’s customer support is impeccable

Amazon’s customer support is known for its quality whether you’re a customer a seller. You can contact them for any request or question, you will have a very quick answer.

How does it work? How much does it cost?

To sell on Amazon, it’s very simple: you just have to create a “Seller” account, which gives you access to the “Seller Central” interface. When creating your account, you must provide information (credit card, phone, company details, etc.). Then you download your products to the platform and use your account interface. To learn more about registration, it’s here. It costs 39 euros (HT) per month – a commission that varies depending on the type of products sold.

What products to sell on Amazon?

Are you convinced of the opportunity to sell on Amazon? But what types of products sell? Here are some explanations.

The three ways to sell on Amazon
You have three options:

  1. Sell other people’s products. You sell products marketed by a brand, by supplying you with it.
  2. Sell white-label products. They are usually very inexpensive to acquire, but because they do not have a recognizable brand, their value is difficult for customers to perceive. As a result, these products are more difficult to sell.
  3. Sell your own products, providing you with suppliers like Alibaba. This allows you to make more margins. This solution, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, is arguably the most cost-effective.

In this guide, we will focus on the latter category of products. To get started, you need to list product ideas. Here are three tips for finding product ideas:

Think about your hobbies and passions, and the products associated with them.
Identify problems and pain points, and look for products that could solve these problems.

Read magazines that cover topics of interest to you and list the products that are featured in advertising spaces.

Try to make a list of 10 to 20 products.

It’s a very good start. To help you in this work, let’s take a concrete example. You have identified a promising and growing niche: Uber drivers. To work, an Uber driver needs two things: a car and an iPhone. Here is a list of products that could interest Uber drivers: suction cups to fix the iPhone, iPhone 6 chargers, coffee cups, portable vacuum cleaners, deodorants…

How big is the market?

You can answer this question using your Google friend. You’ll soon find press reports about the number of active drivers on Uber and more generally statistics about the platform’s drivers. Also, remember that your niche also more or less indirectly includes drivers using other applications of the same type. If the niche is large, you must answer the second question.

How many people look for these products every month?

To answer this question, you can use the free “Google Keyword Planner” tool. You’ll find out how many people search for the products you’ve listed each month- via keyword queries. Note: This tool is based on queries made on Google, and can therefore deviate slightly from the volume of queries on Amazon. Nevertheless, this gives a good idea of the demand for a particular product.

Are these products seasonal?

Google Keyword Planner doesn’t let you know if the products on your list are seasonal or not, i.e. if there are variations in demand during the year. For stock building and marketing strategy, it’s important to be able to answer this question. There is a very effective tool for this, and completely free: Google Trends. Here is the result obtained for the “Sunscreen” request in France:

It can be inferred from this graph that the demand for sunscreen peaks during the summer. Which is not very surprising!

Who are your main competitors?

To answer this fourth and final question, you can use Amazon directly and learn about the flagship products (the top sales). This provides information about your main competitors, the products they market and the prices charged.

It’s generally important to use Amazon’s search features. Because you should know that today there are more people looking for products on Amazon than on Google. When you click on a product in the results page, and scroll to the bottom of the product page, you can find out where it is in Amazon sales.

How do I find suppliers for your products?

Now that you’ve identified the high-potential products you’re going to sell on Amazon, you need to find suppliers. When it is looking for suppliers, you have two main solutions:

If your product is perishable (e.g. food) or is a product to be applied to the skin (creams, cosmetics), you must source from local suppliers.

For all other products, the best suppliers are Chinese!

If you want to sell deodorants to Uber drivers, you need to stock up in China. Specifically: on Alibaba the first supplier platform of the Middle Kingdom. It is by using this platform that you will find suppliers the fastest and most easily. Let’s say we’re looking for cushions. We type “cushions” into the search bar. A list of suppliers/products is offered. When you click on a product, you get to a product page. Alibaba, until then, works exactly like… Amazon.

Once you’ve identified a product you’re interested in on Alibaba, you need to take several steps:

Contact the supplier to verify that the price displayed corresponds to the actual price, to obtain information on delivery times, sample cost, quality control, wholesale offers, the location of the production company, etc.

Test product samples, so you can check the quality of the products first-hand and compare them with the quality of your competitors’ products. Depending on the products and suppliers, the samples are free or paid for. In any case, delivery is charged.
Check that this is a serious business, with references. Use Google, apply for certifications or hire a quality inspector to visit the company.

Before you commit, make cost-effectiveness calculations. Make sure you’re a real winner. This involves calculating all your expenses (including the cost of the product) and comparing it to the selling price.

Women’s Entrepreneurship: The Key Figures

Today 30% of French companies are created, and then run, by women. Women account for 40% of micro-enterprises, a third of whom are business consulting, one-quarter household service, and one-fifth in trade.

According to the government, the number of women entering entrepreneurship doubled between 2012 and 2015. Globally, Paris ranks 6th in the ranking of cities in which women undertake the most, just behind Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, the pioneers of the world of startups.

The share of women in entrepreneurship and their profile-type

30% of French companies are created and then run by women. Women account for 40% of micro-enterprises, of which 1/3 consists of business consulting, 1/4 in household service, and 1/5 in trade. 

Business leaders are more educated than men: 72% of them have a degree between a master’s degree and a doctorate, when only 62% of male business leaders graduate at this level. 

As with men, the average entrepreneur is married and has children, and must therefore balance family and professional life, 46% of them consider it easier to reconcile these two worlds as a business leader.

Funding for women-created and run enterprises

Women are less well funded than men when starting a business. Thus, 44% believe that the failures of start-up are due to the lack of funding. The credit rejection rate requested by entrepreneurs is 4.3%, when it is 2.3% for men, or almost half. Yet the financing they need is generally lower than that of their male counterparts, since companies initiated by women require a smaller starting line-up, as their companies often depend on the service or consulting sector. 44% believe that the failures to start a business can be explained by the lack of funding.

What about women’s entrepreneurship in Tech?

For the few women who undertake innovative technology-based startups, a field more popular with men, the initial capital requirements are greater, and this is where the problem of investment in entrepreneurs-led companies arises. 

In 2016, the latter raised 126.6 million euros for the development of their startup… that’s only 7% of the total amount of fundraising in the year!

The average fundraiser for a female-led startup is 1.8 million euros, compared to double (3.5 million euros) for male-led startups.

Why are the fundraisings initiated by women in Tech reduced compared to those enjoyed by men?

And while some bad languages might want to explain this difference in amounts by the quality of projects initiated by female-led startups, this would be a mistake, since the timing of the business development process in which fundraising is involved is the same for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs.

That is, they achieve the same goal, and get their funding at the same time, so they are tied on the path they follow in order to obtain grants. 

In 2015, only 15% of them raised funds in the digital industry.

According to Starther, a volunteer collective aimed at putting women entrepreneurs in the spotlight, companies created by women in Tech in 2017, which raised funds, are in the e-commerce and e-services sector at 59%, compared to 17% in IT, and only 13% in biotechnology. 

As the capabilities and practical knowledge of computer science and web tool creation are increasingly developing, it is likely that many of the companies in these 59% needed little funding, unlike companies focused on research and the creation of new materials.

What hypotheses explain these differences?

The reason why women raise less money than men in the process of starting a business is therefore likely to be a lower demand for financing. This is the sector in which women are embarking, which, once again, requires little funding to develop.

Whether it’s an individual business in the retail and consulting sector, or a tech startup, entrepreneurs would tend to ask for less financing than men. Eva Sadoun, founder of, a crowdfunding platform, says: “I feel that women are more accurately determining their need for cash while men are looking to maximize the amount raised to gain market share more quickly.” It remains to be seen whether they are right to settle for a subsidy that is less than their fellow human beings.

Women’s Cancers: Research Moves Forward

Women’s cancers are a real concern today. More than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, while about 5,000 cases of ovarian and resusc have had cancer and 3,000 cases of cervical cancer. Every woman can be involved throughout her life. WNSF takes stock of these specific cancers and their different treatments.

Several specifically female cancers

When we talk about female cancers, it is mainly ovarian and fallopian cancers, uterine cancer and breast cancer.

They are added to the list of many cancers that can affect men and women, such as lung cancer but also colorectal cancer, which affects more than 40,000 people each year. Moreover, it is important to know that men can also report breast cancer (CSH), a rare condition that affects less than 1% of male cancers and 1% of mixed cancers.

The number to remember? The very significant increase in the number of cases of breast cancer, in the order of 138%. Helping cancer research then becomes a no-brainer.

Screening for female cancers

These female cancers are now more or less well detected. For example, when it is concerned with breast cancer, mammograms and palpations now allow many women to be managed extremely early in the disease and thus hope for a cure.

For the cervix, it is thanks to the smear that your gynecologist can detect a disorder very early on. But for ovarian cancer, the signs often go unnoticed and are limited to lower abdomen pain and small bleeding. More difficult to detect, this cancer is often diagnosed late.

It is therefore interesting to visit your gynecologist very regularly, even if you do not feel any discomfort or pain. From the beginning of your sex life, an annual appointment is recommended or at least every 18 months.

Treatments advance thanks to research

Prevention remains the best treatment: regular sports activity (about 3 hours per week) and a healthy lifestyle are excellent bases. But as you can imagine, this is not enough and no woman is immune to female cancer.

The Curie Institute has been developing new personalized cancer treatments for many years that better target tumours and also provide a better understanding of cancer, such as immunotherapy and proton therapy.

You can help research by donating to the Curie Institute, either by cheque, online, by SMS or monthly. You will then receive a tax receipt that will allow you to benefit from a tax reduction.

Becoming a patron can be as simple as donating five to a few tens of euros. You help research while optimizing your tax: a win-win action that it would be a shame not to consider.

My Prospecting Methods

When you decide to be self-employed, you are not only a political strategy consultant, but you are also an accountant, secretary, salesman and sometimes even a computer scientist… And all at the same time! Unless you have the budget to use outside providers. So I had to develop some methods to perform all these functions effectively. I’ll tell you about my tips for organizing my work in the near future; for now, here are my prospecting methods.

Choose your land/s for prospecting

The first question to ask is: where to look for and find my clients? Before you even think about how to approach them and convince them to offer my services, you still need to know who my clients are and where they are. So I established a first WHO list in which I listed all categories of people, companies and administrations likely to become prospects. I then drew up a list OR listing the places where I can easily approach them, whether for physical or digital prospecting.

Remember: You can’t be everywhere at once, especially if you don’t have an employee to delegate certain tasks to. Therefore, in order not to waste your energy, focus on a limited number of spaces, especially on the internet.

My exploration grounds

  • Linkedin

Contact your prospect

Once the prospect is found, you still need to contact him. If it sounds simple for a prospect encountered at an event (as long as he gave you his business card), on social networks (contact profile), it will be more difficult for a prospect spotted in the press. It will then be a matter of finding your contact information from the information you have. And these are not always as precise as we would like!

Find a lead’s contact information in 3 steps

  1. Type your name on a search engine followed by “contact.” If you find a direct number and/or email address, this is perfect. You can go!
  2. If you can’t find any direct contact, you’ll at least find its function in the company or organization he or she works for. You will be able to contact the company directly to obtain its contact details.
  3. If you can’t find any phone or email contacts, you can send a letter in his name to the company’s or organization’s address.

Remember: Don’t hesitate to raise by recalling if you don’t have an answer following your first contact.

How to contact your prospect

  1. By email: for my part, I always start by sending a first email in which I introduce myself and I recall the context of our meeting and possibly the subject of our exchange by adding more precise information on the issue and then I propose to my interlocutor to come back to me by email or phone for further explanations. If he calls back or sends me an email the negotiations can begin!
  2. By phone: if after a week my first email goes unanswered, I pick up my phone to call the prospect. The approach remains the same: introduce myself, remind him of the context of our meeting and move forward in the discussion until an appointment is reached.

The essentials to turn a prospect into a customer

Prospecting is a long-term undertaking and requires a lot of patience. Don’t be too rushed, even if financial constraints can lead to things being done in a hurry. The prospect should not be rushed, or risk having him flee. On the contrary, you have to gradually take him where you want him to go, always giving him the impression that he made the decision to go and not you who drove him there. Here are some essential elements, in my opinion, to make a prospect a customer:

  1. Be clear and precise: it is essential to present things in the clearest way possible so that the prospect knows exactly what you want and where you are coming from. If you want the prospect to follow you, you need to make it clear where you’re going!
  2. Give them complete information: if you send your prospect a proposal, you must send him precise and flawless documents both in terms of form and content. That is also what your credibility will depend on.
  3. Don’t harass your prospect: sometimes you have to know how to stop. If a prospect is not interested in your offer, they will tell you or make it clear to you by not answering you. If after three calls or emails, you still haven’t received a response when your prospect is likely to be available, consider that they don’t want to follow up on your proposal. In this case, the only solution is to stop sending the proposal back or calling it. However, if he is not interested in the immediate future, this does not mean that the situation will not change in the near future. In this case, I send a last email to indicate that I remain at his disposal if he needs it and I stop the raises by email or phone. However, I keep it in the mailing list of my newsletters to remind me of his fond memories.

And you? What are your prospecting methods?

Love or Business, should we choose?

Love or Business should I choose?

I have seen a lot of people (often women but not only in fact…) who did not allow themselves to flourish professionally because they were afraid to shadow their spouse, to earn more than him, not to be available enough for him, in short, to have to choose between their love and their business or job…

Love… a very broad subject that is often at the heart of every person, entrepreneur or not. I have never met anyone who does not wish to live a beautiful love story. I do not pretend that this does not exist, but I believe that in every human being rests a deep desire for sharing that can be expressed particularly in a relationship. Personally, I also have the intimate conviction that the relationship to the other in a couple is an extraordinary mirror to transform and evolve.

And if I’m honest, I myself spent several years in a relationship that was extinguishing me because I couldn’t fully deploy on it without fear of losing my loved one. Throughout the relationship, I did my best to meet each other’s needs and mine at the same time when it was clear that they were incompatible. In doing this I prevented myself from flourishing, but the worst part is that being in this relationship made me lose the desire and the desire to work, I even thought I was doing a burn out: I didn’t want anything, even to do coaching! This type of relationship can be very insidious and especially what was the hardest to accept is that it was only after the relationship that I understood what was going on… When I dared to break up, put an end to this relationship, as if by magic the desire to make projects came back.

You’re going to say to me, “Well then, isn’t that proof that business and love are incompatible”? Well, actually not. It just proves that it wasn’t a true love relationship… Loving, for me is anything but trying to prevent the other from spreading his wings because it risks making you shade or it puts in front of you everything you would like to do and you can not do … To love is not to try to control the other to be sure that he does not leave you or for fear that he will walk away…

The relationship to money is very revealing of what is going on in your couple in fact. As I often say, “The way you manage your money reflects the way you manage your life.” In the couple, money can become a problem, expressed or not. What is certain is that money is only the mirror of what is played out in your J couple. Because be sure, money does not have the power to transform people, only you have that power for you!

Loving is not simple, and for good reason, it seems to me that it is to all our essential learning… What my journey has taught me is that a true Love relationship requires these 3 essential keys:

  1. Communication and exchanges
  2. Personal development work with each partner
  3. Keep your heart open and leave the other free to come true

So if darling starts to criticize what you’re doing, to complain that you spend too much time working, to tell yourself that doing this or it’s not worth it, that you’d better do like this or like that or not to do it or … look in his words what could help you move forward better and ask him what his real need is behind his speech…

If meeting one’s needs means denying you… you may have to choose, not between Love and Business, but between your realization or his. Because a story of Love always finds the way that allows everyone to flourish…

What do you think? What is your own experience?

Being Respected as a Woman

Glass ceilings, sexual harassment, scale-tone-pork, all concepts that tend to prove that women are struggling to gain respect in the workplace and to get the recognition they deserve for their good and loyal service.

Should you throw your pig?

In France, equality between men and women seems a pipe dream, unless our Minister for Gender Equality, Marlene Schiappa, is stepping up to move her issues in this direction.

Considering that 80% of women complain of inappropriate behaviour on the part of their colleagues, we are faced with a societal emergency. Let’s not forget the 30% or so who do not dare to lift the veil on a subject so taboo for them. They who, out of necessity, choose to continue working under the libidinous gazes of these men constantly on the lookout for the perfect time to touch them or whisper unhealthy words to their ears.

I myself have had my share of harassment, I still live it and unfortunately, I am one of those who do not denounce because, still on the threshold of my career, I can not afford to put myself on the back of the people who can move it forward. So I took the side of laughing at the jokes and gently pushing the hand that lost its way to find itself in the middle of my thigh. In my misfortune, I am lucky to have a tempered character and they see it well.

For the question these women are asking is this: if I denounce, it will be my word against hers. Will I be taken seriously? Will I be listened to? And for good reason, one must keep in mind the fact that generally the harasser is almost always a superior and therefore by definition has more power, including that of making and undoing the career of his victim. So here they are before a corneal choice: my career or my virtue?

For the record, I was dealing with a man who knew I was in a relationship and who said to me “Warn him that if I decide to court you, he has no chance because when I want something, I always end up having it” And I always end up having it” And I always answer him, angry “Watch out, wash your mouth when you talk to me when you talk to me , I am not a thing but a woman who does not like presumptuous men”

Businesses, slingshot against demeaning behaviours for women

Fashion effect or simple publicity stunt, large companies such as AREVA, PSA, SODEXO, DANONE have made gender equality a real development issue. However, it is a problem that has existed for many decades and to which these same companies were reluctant to give the importance it deserves.

Art. R1142-1

All discrimination in hiring is prohibited

Differentiation on remuneration, training and career development is prohibited.

Art. L3221-1 to 7

For the same work or work of the same value, the woman had to be paid equally.

The entrepreneur has an obligation to set up prevention sessions on sexual harassment in the workplace and the penalties incurred by the person who commits such acts.

Businesses are therefore concerned about the glass ceiling and the protection of women in the workplace, but how can we be sure that their sudden interest in the cause of women is really selfless?

Since the Balance Ton Pig case, victims have become more loquacious, thus harmful to the company; they decide to take the lead before employees decide to speak out. Between one year’s imprisonment and 3,750 euros in damages on the one hand, and a lawsuit that could splash the company on the other hand, the choice is quickly made!

Gender equality, the choice of success

A survey conducted last year by Sodexo on 50,000 of its employees in 80 countries, showed that between 40% and 60% of women in its teams would be the optimal criteria for achieving the best results, not only in terms of turnover but also in terms of employee engagement, the reputation of the company as well as customer satisfaction.

Let us hope that this latest information will convince societies to give women the respect and place they deserve.

Hairstyles for Women Business Leaders

The Five Powerful Hairstyles for Women Business Leaders

Since the start of the 1980s, women have begun to make their presence known in the business world. It was not until the modern era that businesswomen started to embrace their public appearance in terms of sexuality and smartness.

As a successful businesswoman, you need to recognize the importance of having a smart look in the workplace. One of the things that show your lifestyle is how you style your hair. The hairstyle is as essential as your clothing.

You will also need a good hair salon to keep up with the trends and your busy schedule. You can check from a professional hair salon in Portland, Oregon, who can provide you with professional services in hairstyling, conditioning, maintenance, and extension.

Why You Must Choose Powerful Hairstyles

hair salon in Portland, Oregon

Many women do not give as much importance to the hairstyle they wear. It might be because they feel their hair is good enough as long as it is not looking horrible. Here are three reasons why you should wear the right hairstyle.

  • Enhances looks and confidence

Having a stylish hairstyle is one of the ways to enhance your look and personality. A woman in the entertainment business might look better with a trendy and funky hairstyle, while a professional hairstyle is suitable for an office woman. Whatever hairstyle it is, it can go a long way in enhancing your looks and confidence.

  • Brings back youthfulness

The right hairstyle can bring back youthfulness in women. When you wear a suitable hairstyle, you look younger than your age.

Hairstyles such as bobs can bring back the memories of your youth days. It is necessary to choose a perfect hairstyle as the wrong hairstyle can also make you older.

  • Complements your lifestyle

Your hairstyle reflects what type of lifestyle you have. The right hairstyles have helped a lot of women in a different business to attain success.

Many celebrities gain several followers through their hairstyles, and office women become role models to younger ladies aiming to emulate their achievement.

The Five Powerful Hairstyles for Women Business Leaders

Are you wondering about the hairstyle suitable for your office? Here are five powerful hairstyles for women business leaders;

  • Bob

Bob is one of the most popular female hairstyles. It is a classic hairstyle that you can wear at diverse lengths based on your preference. You can also wear it smooth and sleek or curled for texture. Bob is one of the hairstyles suitable for any work environment.

  • The Shag

This lovely hairstyle is also suitable for all workplaces. The shag is for women who are confident about what they want and never hold back from pursuing it.

It can fit nicely on any hair texture and any hair. Any businesswoman wearing this hairstyle shows confidence and absolute comfort in their personality.

  • Chignon

Chignon is also one of the favorite hairstyles for businesswomen. Although Chignon may look like a highly complex hairstyle on sight, you can style it within a few minutes.

This beautiful hairstyle can fit in anywhere and any day, and you can look all classy, feminine, and gorgeous at the same time.

  • Ponytail

Ponytail has always been a beautiful hairstyle for the office. The ordinary ponytail may get a little bit outdated if used too many times.

You can choose to wear a low, side, or textured ponytail to keep it elegant. Anyhow, you want it, you can never run out of options with your ponytail.

  • Curls

Many powerful women with natural hair don’t need to keep their elegant curls away from the public. This fancy hairstyle has long been a sign of beauty, which is why many young women look for ways to make curls. The perfect mix of casualness and elegance make this lovely hairstyle a suitable look for the office.


Whatever hairstyle you choose to wear, you must remember that you don’t have to give up your lifestyle to have a professional hairstyle.

As a strong and confident woman, you can choose from a host of options to select. Finding a hairstyle that is suitable for both your professional and personal life should not be hard.

After going through the options above, it is equally important to have the right hairstyle. The hairstyle you wear is part of your dressing attire, and it is one of the things people see first when speaking with you.



You’re invited to join us for our upcoming event:

Women & Sustainability in Social Entrepreneurship

Wed, June 4, 2014, 12-1:30 pm,
The New School, Wollman Hall (5th Fl),
65 West 11th St, New York, NY 10003.


Experts in social innovation and medical technologies will engage in conversation about women in social entrepreneurship; what sustainability looks like in entrepreneurship, in the medical device field, and when working in developing contexts; and will share challenges and feedback with young women entrepreneurs from a promising new medical device startup.


  • Michele Kahane, co-leader of The New School’s Social Innovation Initiative, formerly of the Ford Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative
  • Erica Frenkel, Vice President of Business Strategy at Gradian Health Systems
  • Sabine Blaizin, Director of Alumni Relations and Community Engagement at Public Allies NY and leader of social entrepreneurship
  • Natalie Grillon, of the innovation team at Acumen, former Acumen Global Fellow, as well as COO and co-founder of JUST, an online marketplace to connect designers with ethical sustainable suppliers.
  • Lindsay Siegel, Managing Director of Social Entrepreneurship at Zahn Innovation Center, City College of NY
  • Moderator:  Erika Nonken, Founder and CEO of Reimagine Consulting, fundraising associate at the Omega Institute, and friend of WNSF

Featured Entrepreneurs: Sisu Global Health

Sisu Global Health is a global platform to implement culture-centric, resource-derived medical technologies in the developing world. Sisu is bringing medical products to market through a set of design criteria and connections to in-country sales-channels, developed over the course of 4 years of local involvement in Ghana and India. The first step in developing this platform is implementing Sisu’s patent pending technology in Ghana, starting with the (r)Evolve, a modular centrifuge capable of separating blood both with and without electricity. This will be followed by the Hemafuse, a completely manual autologous transfusion device as well as other medical technologies. Founded by three young women (pictured above), this new company looks forward to serving as a case study for the conversation on women, sustainability and entrepreneurship, and will welcome feedback.  More information can be found on, or in recent features in MiBiz and Rapid Growth Media.


The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP (via Eventbrite) is required.
No need to bring your printed ticket: we’ll have your name on a list at the door.

Questions about the event?

Feel free to contact us.


The Business of Climate Change: Post-Copenhagen Opportunities


I. Presentation

II. Key Findings

III. Presenters

IV. Questions for the Panel

V. Next Events

VI. News

VII. WNSF Concept


“The Business of Climate Change: Post-Copenhagen Opportunities”

The luncheon panel looked at the opportunities and risks facing businesses after COP15. With heightened corporate focus on sustainability, business took increased interest in this climate conference. The panelists discussed their impressions on the results of COP15, and how it is affecting sustainability initiatives at their respective companies. In particular, panelists focused on the challenges presented by climate change, and the benefits of initiating sustainable efforts.


  • While COP15 accomplished little in way of concrete policy, it was highly effective at increasing global awareness of and concern for climate change.
  • With or without government regulation, corporations are making serious efforts to address the issue of climate change.
  • Small companies that find it difficult to invest in sustainability can still initiate green efforts that are cheap and cost-effective.
  • In the long run sustainability is profitable.


Helle Bank Jorgensen: US Sustainability Advisory Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Dianne Dillon-Ridgley: Director, Interface Inc.

Rebecca Craft: Director: Energy Efficiency Programs, Con Edison

Alison Taylor: Vice President Sustainability-Americas, Siemens Corporation

James Fuschetti: Managing Director Office of Environmental Affairs, JP Morgan Chase

Helle Bank Jorgensen; US Sustainability Advisory Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Ms. Jorgensen opened up the conversation by highlighting the efforts that companies are making to become more sustainable. While the Copenhagen conference did not produce the certainty that many were looking forward to, she said, neither did it diminish the significant role that business plays in advancing sustainability. With 800 specialists working in this field, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) exemplifies corporate sustainability efforts.

In fact, many companies likewise are prioritizing sustainability. Ms. Jorgensen illustrated this point, citing PwC’s 2010 CEO Survey, which questioned some 1200 global business leaders from August to November of 2009, prior to COP15. One of the major findings, Ms. Jorgensen shared, is that one third of all respondents, both in the US and internationally, are concerned that climate change poses a threat to prospective business growth. CEO Tigran Nersisyan of Borodino Group, a Russian soft drink company, said: “We have lost markets due to climate change,” further explaining that increasingly rainy summers in Moscow have reduced the corporation’s sales during what used to be a very profitable season. Other CEOs suggested that it is not only an option, but an obligation for the industry to implement initiatives to combat climate change, independent of government regulation. Many take on that responsibility by setting goals to decrease carbon emissions.

Even amid the recession, the CEO survey showed that companies continue to prioritize climate change investments. In fact, in the past year more companies have raised than reduced them. Lastly, 60% of all companies, both local and foreign-based said at the time of the survey that they were preparing for the impacts of climate change initiatives in the next 12 months.

Dianne Dillon-Ridgley; Director, Interface Inc.

With 30 years of experience working in environment, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility, Ms. Dillon-Ridgley presented a brief historical background on the UN climate change process, pointing out that “Copenhagen” was in fact COP15, the 15th annual conference on climate change.

Yvo De Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC had resigned just days before, making the meeting a particularly timely event. Ms. Dillon-Ridgley explained that this was no doubt in part from frustration on the failure of COP15 to establish the replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012. This was not only disappointing, but also served as a harbinger for the upcoming 16th session in Mexico, she said, adding that the Kyoto Protocol was deeply flawed, in that four of the five largest carbon emitters, China, US, India, and Russia, were not included in the treaty. The US never ratified the treaty, while the other countries were not eligible to do so. If COP15 is any indicator of what is to come, it is unlikely that the UN will be able to implement a strong new framework by 2012, she added.

The UN process on climate change began with the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and since then the UNFCCC meets every December. The initial meeting produced the Rio Declaration.

Numerous earth conventions led up to the Earth Summit at Rio, including the Basel Treaty in 1985 dealing with hazardous waste. The resulting treaty attempted to eliminate the transfer of hazardous materials to recipient countries. Ms. Dillon-Ridgley explained that the US is one of only two eligible “industrialized” or so-called “developed” countries not implementing the Basel Treaty. This is largely viewed as decreasing its effectiveness. She suggested that this in part led to the Bamako Accord, a very empowering sign for developing nations.

The dynamics between governments and the private sector have evolved over the past 18 years, as have the key players in the discussions on climate change Ms. Dillon-Ridgley said. Although conditions are unpredictable, there are still opportunities.

In her closing remark Ms. Dillon-Ridgley declared that the most important thing to note is that we have spent the last 35 years politicizing the environment. What we should have been doing was environmentalizing politics. Environmental issues need to be a primary focus in policy decisions, she said. Instead of arguing with climate change skeptics, people need to take action, Ms. Dillon-Ridgley urged.

Rebecca Craft: Director; Energy Efficiency Programs, Con Edison

A representative of Con Edison, Ms. Craft brought the conversation to the local level, and discussed some of the risks and opportunities in the State of New York. Con Edison serves 3.2 million electricity customers. All contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, so in addressing climate change, both companies and individuals alike must be made aware of their responsibility, she said. Ms. Craft was disappointed with the results of Copenhagen, explaining that policymakers at both the state and local levels have the potential to implement sustainable policies. New York is making efforts in this process, she said

Con Edison has had an efficiency program since the 1970s. These programs are valuable not only because they benefit the environment, but also because they benefit the company and customers financially. By focusing on sustainability, Con Edison has been able to decrease its costs and thus decrease costs for customers as well. The company has lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 30% since the year 2005 and hopes to decrease emissions by another 10% in the next 10 years. Reducing emissions beyond that will not be possible without the efforts of the many Con Edison customers, she said.

Ms. Craft then described the three main types of greenhouse gases that Con-Edison is directly addressing: 1) Combustion gas emission reductions at steam/electric generating stations from NY power plants; 2) Fugitive sulfur hexafluoride gas which, she said, is far more damaging; 3) Fugitive methane, most commonly emitted from gas pipes and storage units. Through corporate responsibility initiatives, Con Edison has drastically reduced the latter two kinds of emissions.

In an effort to engage individuals, Con Edison supports New York State’s efforts to help customers reduce energy use by 15% by the year 2015. Numerous programs help customers assess their electricity usage and find ways to minimize it, such as purchasing more energy-efficient appliances. These programs benefit customers and the company alike.

Ms. Craft concluded on an optimistic note, noting that in spite of the disappointing results of COP15, companies have been and will continue to be heavily involved in the climate change movement. This in turn will decrease carbon emissions.

Alison Taylor: Vice President Sustainability-Americas, Siemens Corporation

Ms. Taylor, who was also at the Copenhagen talks, discussed the bottomline implications of COP15 for companies, focusing on business opportunities in the current uncertain regulatory environment. While she was disappointed by the results of the conference, she was heartened by the high level of interest in climate change displayed by business. Having served as the Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works before joining Siemens, Ms. Taylor had attended climate conventions before, but this was the first time that she saw so much corporate interest.

More and more companies are making sustainability an integral part of their business plans. She pointed out that while large companies invest in sustainable equipment and technologies, this option is less feasible for smaller companies, whose smaller budgets often force them to choose between equipment and employees. More concrete government policy on carbon emissions would create incentive for these companies, she said. Nonetheless, she has observed that sustainability initiatives are mushrooming, with or without a concrete policy. In response to the non-binding accord to decrease emissions by 2020, agreed upon at COP15, many countries are implementing voluntary reduction initiatives. This indicates that governments and businesses alike are eager to confront climate change, even without the pressure of a regime, she said.

In the US, policymakers, including President Obama, continue to push for comprehensive climate and energy legislation, she noted. Some possibilities include linking a cap-and-trade system or emission auction. Some policy makers suggest that “cap and trade,” should be rebranded in order to avoid some of the negative publicity it has received. The recent bill introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins outlines a cap and dividend system to minimize market manipulation and benefit consumers and households. On the whole, Ms. Taylor concluded, there is a lot more hope in the US than many would think.

James Fuschetti: Managing Director Office of Environmental Affairs, JP Morgan Chase

Like other panelists, Mr Fuschetti was disappointed by the results of COP15 and said he thinks the UN framework is flawed, partly because the conference is too big and unwieldy to reach a consensus. He noted that a big disappointment has been the drop in both media coverage and apparent public interest in the topic since the conference. The immense publicity and interest in climate change before the conference has drastically dwindled. Mr. Fuschetti also said that he thought the target to limit increase in climate change to two degrees centigrade is unlikely to be executed.

Nevertheless, he said the establishment of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) presents an excellent deterrent to climate change, one that was not included in the Kyto Protocol. Forests are an excellent sink for carbon, and REDD offers rewards for preserving forests. He pointed out that preserving forests not only mitigates the effects of carbon emissions, but also potentially creates an opportunity to transfer wealth from core countries to the periphery.

Mr. Fuschetti also talked about what companies are doing to combat climate change. Echoing Ms. Taylor, he noted that while large companies are generally making efforts to promote green growth, without concrete policies, smaller companies have a tougher time. While this is worrisome, he said, fortunately, many major business leaders are continuing their green efforts, with or without government regulation.


Q: Jim, as a lender and source of capital, how does JP Morgan encourage middle market firms on the margin to start making investments in sustainable business?

Jim Fuschetti: We must keep in mind that one year ago, the American capital market suffered a near-death experience. We are still recovering, and middle market companies had the hardest time weathering the recession. While large corporations still have access to capital, many midsized companies are finding that their credit worthiness has gone down and they are less able to take on large investments. Likewise, lenders are less proactive, creating a difficult situation.

Dianne Dillon-Ridgley: The biggest problem is that we still lead with the mentality that implementing environmentally sustainable practices will cost more, when in fact it may cost less and is certainly more cost-effective over time. To quote Amory Lovins, Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute,

“We needn’t debate how much it will cost to reduce emissions, nor whether that cost is worth paying, nor who should pay-because protecting the climate is not costly but profitable. Saving fuel is cheaper than buying fuel: energy efficiency costs less than the fuel it saves, as thousands of practitioners prove daily.
Many people get confused because economic theorists don’t count the money we save by needing less fuel. In fact, as many business leaders understand and apply, energy efficiency is one of the highest-return and lowest-risk investments in the whole economy.”

Rebecca Craft: Cost-effective sustainable practice is not limited to solar panels, which will never be cost-effective. There are a lot of less glamorous things that individuals and businesses can do to be green and save money. Some practices include installing good windows that bring in daylight effectively, and turning off lights that are not in use. People don’t talk as much about these unglamorous practices, but they work and they do pay back.

Alison Taylor: Government entities have been thinking about how to create incentives for these companies to become more environmentally sustainable. Possible incentives include subsidies, rebates, and tax exemptions for small companies that go green. I am in agreement with Dianne that “going green” is in fact more profitable for companies. When Siemens consults other companies, many of them discuss becoming more sustainable as one of their goals. We have many cost-effective products to help clients do that. Slowly we are moving away from addressing sustainability only as “green” or “environmental.” We are discussing it in terms of its return on investments, and in that way it is profitable.

Q: Alison, please share with us an example of profitability you’ve seen through sustainable initiatives. What can be done to bridge the gap between best practices at places where people can afford them and the middle market that can’t?

Alison Taylor: At Siemens, from 2007 to 2011 we decreased our energy usage by 20% and found that this actually saved money. There are many cheap ways to decrease energy usage such as deploying energy efficient light bulbs in offices. CEOs often share information on best practice informally in conversation. Discussion forums like this one spread awareness, and that is the first step to integrating sustainable practice into business.

Q: Coming to the root of the problem, how specifically can each individual decrease his or her energy usage at the local level? How much energy do the various household appliances use, and which plug should we pull to decrease the total?

Rebecca Craft: The average apartment-dweller in New York uses 350 kilowatt hours per month. This is in fact far lower than the average American. The biggest energy user is the refrigerator, so investing in one that is energy efficient will greatly decrease energy usage. The second biggest is the air conditioner. Luckily in New York, this is only a seasonal appliance, and not one that is used very much. The third biggest user is the set top box for the TV. To eliminate this load, customers should buy a new TV that does not need a set top box. Lastly, the vampire load from plugs that are not being used greatly increase energy usage.

Dianne Dillon-Ridgley: New age refrigerators exponentially increase energy efficiency compared to older ones. Replacing an old refrigerator is a great way to decrease emissions. Another important factor is education. For example, teaching children ages nine to twelve about energy efficient practices can really improve the entire household. Psychologically, she explained, it is the middle school years in which one adopts their major world view and framework. Educating youth regarding energy efficiency will pay off in public policy for generations to come.

Q: Some of you spoke about subsidizing clean energy, but at present there are many subsidies of dirty energy. Although coal is considered cheap, when monetizing the real costs, coal costs 16.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Although customers do not pay this cost, taxpayers do. I would like to ask the large corporations with big lobbying groups, how are you pushing new bills to stop the old subsidies of dirty energy and replace them with support for clean energy?

Jim Fuschetti: I suggested that the government implement a policy to double the price of electricity. This would drastically decrease energy consumption, eliminating the need for subsidies altogether.

Rebecca Craft: Con-Edison does not have a lobbying group. However, carbon is deeply embedded into our system. What customers need to recognize is that decreasing emissions requires movement on everyone’s part. For example, since California has started using Smart Meters, people have been outraged by the true cost of energy. A simple solution to these high prices is to turn off the air conditioner, yet this is a price that customers are not willing to pay. Without these efforts on the consumers’ part it is impossible to make energy cheaper.

Alison Taylor: I find that investing in research and development accomplishes far more than lobbying. For example, Siemens invests a lot into researching wind energy and bringing it into the market. Ultimately it is the market that will pick the winners and losers among different energy technologies, so it makes little sense to lobby against coal subsidies or other specific technologies.

Q: Some of you discussed that the industry will self-regulate as oppose to government-imposed regulation. What is the role of policy? Where is regulation pushing the population?

Rebecca Craft: That depends on what you mean by policy. There is policy at both the state and local levels. State policy is quite strong in the US, and you will see that price signals allow the public to adjust its behavior. The federal government however, looks a lot more like Copenhagen, but smaller. There are very diverse interest groups across the States, making it difficult to settle on an agreement, but at the State level policymakers are taking aggressive action.

Dianne Dillon-Ridgely: There is a huge quagmire of misdirected subsidies that accomplish the wrong things. It is hard to decide where to begin because so much needs to be rebuilt, and we need to decide what to prioritize. People want the biggest return on investments, the lowest taxes, and the maximum protection from the government. It is of course impossible to have all of these things at the same time. What the public should do is demand honesty from policymakers. Then it would be possible to construct policies that are both feasible and directed appropriately. People are willing to deal with hardships if it means that they can achieve something better for their children.



  1. In June, WNSF Executive Director Ann Goodman will be honored with the University of Chicago Public service Citation. This is largely in recognition of her efforts in co-founding and directing WNSF. Dr. Goodman will receive the Award on June 5th at the University of Chicago.
  2. WNSF has moved to a new office. The organization is now headquartered at 440 Park Ave S, Second Floor.
  3. In February 2010, Iris Burkat joined WNSF as the Marketing Director.
  4. In February 2010, Lana Zaman joined WNSF as the Program Administrator. With a BA in Mathematical Economics from Brown University, Lana is delighted to be part of an organization that bolsters the movement towards a sustainable economy.
  5. WNSF’s Board Chair wrote an article for the book Written in Water, published by National Geographic and edited by Irena Salina, who made the film “FLOW: For Love of Water.” The foreword is by Peter Glieck, founder of the Pacific Institute. The book is a compilation of short personal essays on the importance of water to each author.


WNSF provides a forum for business and professional women to congregate, reflect, and act on the converging issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Through meetings and simple electronic support tools, the Network aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices on these vital workplace issues. By creating a new network of executive women, the Network seeks to improve responsible practices in workplaces; sensitize corporate culture more generally to issues of sustainability and social responsibility; and encourage a public commitment locally, nationally, and internationally to sustainability principles.