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Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World

ISBN: 978-1-118-18477-6
304 pages
June 2012, Jossey-Bass
Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World (1118184777) cover image

Description

How women around the world are leading powerful change

Women's progress is global progress. Where there is an increase in women's university enrollment rates, women's earnings, and maternal health, and a reduction in violence against women, we see more prosperous communities, better educated, healthier families, and the preservation of equal human rights. Yet globally, women remain the most consistently under-utilized resource. Vital Voices calls for and makes possible transformative leadership around the world.

In Vital Voices, CEO Alyse Nelson shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide. For 15 years, Vital Voices has brought together women who want to enable others to become change agents in their governments, advocates for social justice, and supporters of democracy. They equip women with management and business development skills to expand their enterprises and create jobs in their communities. Their voices, stories, and hard-earned lessons—shared here for the first time—are deeply authentic and truly vital.

  • Features interviews and first-person accounts of global leaders, such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize-winning Burmese pro-democracy leader, as well as business leaders
  • Draws on the work of the Vital Voices, the organization founded by Hillary Clinton in 1997 as a government initiative that transformed into a leading non-profit, which enables a network of 10,000 emerging women leaders in politics, human rights, and economic development in 127 countries. These women have gone on to mentor and train more than 500,000
  • Focuses on the key elements of the Vital Voices five-step model of transformational leadership, including how to find a voice, lead with purpose, cross lines that divide, and more

Through the firsthand accounts of trail-blazing leaders, Vital Voices introduces unforgettable, inspiring women who are shaping our world.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD BY the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Founder, Vital Voices ix

INTRODUCTION xiii

1 A DRIVING FORCE OR SENSE OF MISSION 1

Introduced by the Honorable Michelle Bachelet

2 STRONG ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY 39

Introduced by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

3 AN ABILITY TO CONNECT ACROSS LINES THAT DIVIDE 83

Introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

4 BOLD IDEAS AND BOLD ACTION 125

Introduced by Diane von Furstenberg

5 PAYING IT FORWARD 171

Introduced by Ambassador Melanne Verveer

CONCLUSION: LEADERSHIP IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION 207

Introduced by Sally Field

AFTERWORD 223

by Susan Ann Davis and Bobbie Greene McCarthy, Chair and Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Vital Voices additional information on the women featured in vital voices 225

notes 239

acknowledgments 251

about the author 263

index 265

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Author Information

Alyse Nelson is president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A co-founder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked with women leaders since 1996 to develop mentoring and training programs in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders. She completed her graduate degree work at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and she lives in Washington, D.C.

Vital Voices Global Partnership, founded by Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the leading nongovernmental organization that identifies, trains, and invests in emerging women leaders, enabling them to create a better world for us all. Learn more at www.vitalvoices.org.

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Reviews

#8 Washington Post Best Seller (Hardcover Nonfiction)

“In this compelling new book, Alyse Nelson shares the stories of the remarkable women who have motivated her work at Vital Voices. For anyone who wants our world to live up to the promises of the twenty-first century, look no further than these determined agents of change for blueprints on courageous leadership.”
—Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

“This timely book tells the story of a movement that is transforming our world and of an organization—Vital Voices—is clearing the path. Its message is about more than equality, it's about leadership, justice, and hearing those who in prior generations possessed only a single right—to remain silent. If you are looking for inspiration about what is possible, and for a challenge about what is still necessary, here is your guide.”
—Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

“I have been humbled and inspired throughout my life by the determination of African women and women in other parts of the developing world who are committed to bettering their families and their communities. The power and possibility of women's leadership are captured in this book's innovative model. There has never been a more fitting time for the world to embrace a new brand of leadership by embracing the power and possibility of women worldwide.”
—H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

“From the poorest villages to the highest government offices, women are leading the way in tackling humanity's biggest challenges. Alyse Nelson's Vital Voices imagines what's possible if we can fully tap the unique leadership potential of all women and girls. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in building a better world.”
—Melinda French Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Over the next 25 years, nothing will do more to build a more peaceful, more prosperous, and more sustainable world than the empowerment of women and girls. As an innovative and collaborative leader, Vital Voices is making a profound and lasting difference for the better, as the stories in this book clearly demonstrate.”
—Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

“This powerful book tells the story of a pioneering organization and shows us what is possible when we invest in transformational leaders—from dissidents to entrepreneurs, these women motivate us and change lives.”
—Tina Brown, editor-in-chief, Newsweek and The Daily Beast

Vital Voices is a vital read. The world is changing and in the places where the most progress is happening, women are leading the charge. Alyse Nelson empirically states the case that when women are given opportunities, they seize them and ignite positive changes in their communities and even their countries. At a time of such universal economic uncertainty, investing in women can make all of the difference.”
—Lisa Ling, executive producer and host, Our America

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Press Release

May 31, 2012
Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World

Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World
By Alyse Nelson,
President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership 

With Foreword By Hillary Rodham Clinton 

“This timely book tells the story of a movement that is transforming our world and of an organization—Vital Voices—that is clearing the path…If you are looking for inspiration about what is possible, and for a challenge about what is still necessary, here is your guide.”

Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State 

In her new book, Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World (Jossey-Bass; June 2012; 978-1-118-18477-6; $27.95), author Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership—the leading nongovernmental organization that identifies, trains and invests in emerging women leaders around the world—shares a unique and innovative model of leadership, illustrated through the stories of 32 remarkable, world-changing women whose leadership has had a significant impact in their communities and beyond.

International voices and vision for progress in our world—shared here for the first time—are deeply authentic and essential.  From the mothers of Northern Ireland who came together to end violence, to entrepreneurs creating economic opportunity to rebuild Haiti, women are

agents of progress, and their leadership is not qualified by title, salary or social standing, as Vital Voices makes clear.

This book is about a new order of leadership and a global network of women who are bravely improving the world for us all. Their courageous, trailblazing stories will ignite anyone's potential to lead the way to transformational change.

Vital Voices features essays and commentary from global leaders including: Vital Voices Founder U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, Nigerian Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, as well as Vital Voices Board Chair Susan Ann Davis and Board members designer Diane von Furstenberg and actor Sally Field.

Alyse Nelson interweaves her own personal journey, from her life-changing experience at the historic 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to the establishment of Vital Voices as an organization, with compelling accounts of brave, visionary women willing to risk everything to improve the lives of those around them.  The author focuses on five qualities of leadership:  a driving force or sense of mission; strong roots in the community; an ability to connect across lines that divide; bold ideas and bold action; and a mindset of paying it forward.

For 15 years, Vital Voices has trained and mentored a network of 12,000 emerging women leaders advancing economic opportunity, defending human rights and promoting political participation in 144 countries. These women have gone on to mentor and train more than 500,000.

 

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