Inspiring Women and Power Players – Social Good Summit

Due to my amazing internship with the SISGI group, as well as the happenstance that I live in New York City, I was able to attend the two-day Social Good Summit 2016.  This summit is hosted by Mashable and takes place during the United Nations Global Goals week. It brings together global leaders from around the world to discuss plans to achieve these sustainable development goals by 2030. It focuses on how technology and innovation can positively address these challenges.

“Not just about connecting the world with more technology, but connecting the world with more humanity.”  #2030NOW


During the first day of this global conversation, I couldn’t help but notice that women’s rights and equality was a prominent theme when discussing concrete plans to reach these goals. The wide range of injustices that are present in the world today occur disproportionately to women and children. It takes certain people to lead in creating much of the change needed across the globe. Qualities that are necessary for success in these roles are statistically seen more in women, such as compassion and the ability to organize and include.  


“Change is difficult, but not impossible” – Muzoon Almellehan

Inspiring Women Power Players

The Social Good Summit 2016 recognized and featured many powerful female global leaders of today. These ranged from the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S., to two young refugee Malala Fund campaign girls, Muzoon Almellehan and Zaynab Abdi. Here are a few of the inspiring women who shared their passion, experiences and plans to change the world.

carolynCarolyn Miles is the CEO of Save the Children  and works with refugees, although she prefers to call her mission working with human beings.  

“These are not just not people with needs, they are people with rights”.  A refugee is a not just a number, although it is important to remember that there are 65 million refugees, making this issue a current global crisis. “This is not a secondary problem, this is central.”

Carolyn recognizes that collaboration between all resources is the only way to create long term investments that are necessary to solve this issue. Her compassion allows her to advocate for the tremendous skills, resiliency, and drive that refugees possess.


malalagirlsMuzoon Almellehan & Zaynab Abdi

These two girls are both refugees, Malala Fund campaigners. The girls participated in a conversation with the Malala Fund President and with the U.S. Secretary of State Toby Blinken.  This was one of my favorite conversations, and it was amazing to witness the intelligence, drive and courage of these two.

“I want world leaders to keep their promises…Not just to Syrian children, every child.” – Muzoon.

Zaynab Abdi is a refugee girl displaced 3 times, and is now in a U.S. school with a 4.0 GPA and captain of her soccer team.

“Refugees are the same as other people. We all come from the same sky.” – Zaynab


maryrobinsonMary Robinson is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Change.

Mary Robinson is an expert on climate change and action and emphasizes that environmental issues and human rights are very interdependent and awareness creation is critical.

“It is not just a global climate issue but a humanitarian, environmental, gender, inequality, politics, issue.  It is not effecting the most developed countries as much, but these countries are causing it.”


dr-alaaDr. Alaa Murabit discussed the necessity of universal health. For political reasons, universal healthcare has not been possible. However, Dr. Alaa Murabit explained how healthier citizens lead to more productive and peaceful countries. She explains that even just basic immunizations and prenatal care are not available in many areas of the world. “Girls have the greatest need for health care, but least access to it in poor countries.”





megansmithMegan Smith is the Chief Technology Officer of the United States. She was previously a vice president of Google[x] at Google. How amazing and inspiring is her leadership position in a field which is predominately men?! She is currently using her position to try and bridge the gap between tech people and the rest of the general public, and to spread the importance of women in these roles.





brittanyBrittany Packnett is the Founder of Campaign Zero which advocates for the #blacklivesmatter movement. Brittany is fearless, and is in the front line of protests around the country. She prides herself and her community on speaking the truth and is not afraid to do so in any situation or environment, including the White House.





helenclarkjoyceUNDP Administrator Helen Clark and former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda spoke together about the importance of women in leadership positions and the need for women to support each other.

“Before colonization we were already queens. We are prepared for leadership because we have always been in leadership” –  Joyce Banda

“We’ve been cracking our way through these glass ceilings to say women can do these jobs! And, by the way, very well.” -Helen Clark


chelseaChelsea Handler is a comedian and the host of her own Netflix show, which airs in 190 different countries. Chelsea makes difficult and complicated topics digestible for people. She is not scared to be political and talk about what matters in the world.  She understands that human beings are more than same than they are different.

“If you have a soapbox, stand on it and scream.”




memorybandaMemory Banda a young leader and board member from Girl Up discusses what “leading like a girl” means. In her country of Malawi, child marriage and rape is a common practice, and education is not an option. She continuously stands up for girl’s rights, and is a role model for other girls in her country and around the world.





… and this is just a small portion of the women featured during the Social Good Summit 2016.  The incredible potential that women have to be leaders in today’s society is clear.  The essential contribution of and focus on women as part of the plan to achieve the UN’s global goals must be acknowledged and acclaimed. Who runs the world? GIRLS!




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