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5 Leaders to Watch on International Women’s Day
As the Bush Institute works to develop leaders, advance policy, and take action, we come across inspirational women leaders the world needs to know. Here are just a few of the remarkable women we get to work with who are making waves in their communities.
1. First Lady of Namibia Monica Geingos
is an accomplished lawyer, business leader, and gender advocate who is working to bridge the economic and social divides in her country. As the UNAIDS Special Advocate for Women and Adolescent Girls and founder of the One Economy Foundation, Madame Geingos focuses on key social challenges including youth empowerment, inequality, gender-based violence, and poverty. Demonstrating the global influence of first ladies, the First Ladies Initiative has collaborated with Madame Geingos and her team in support of her efforts.
2. Emna Jeblaoui,
a 2015 Women’s Initiative Fellow from Tunisia, serves as executive director of the International Institute of Human Development and professor of Letters, Arts, and Humanities at the University of Manouba. An expert in peace, security, and counter-radicalization, Dr. Jeblaoui is currently launching Women 4Peace and Security, which aims to put Tunisian women at the core of national efforts to consolidate peace and security and promotes women as the key to countering terrorism at its roots.
3. Diana Mao,
a 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar and speaker at the upcoming Forum on Leadership, is an advocate for human trafficking survivors. The co-founder of Nomi Network, Mao provides trainings and job opportunities for survivors and women at risk in Cambodia and India. Witnessing a father offer his young daughter for sale lit a fire in Mao to dedicate her life to creating economic opportunities for these vulnerable women.
4. Kelly Rodriguez,
who served in the US Army for 21 years, today leads in her community of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Warrior 100K alumna is passionate about holistic healing and courageously raises awareness about post-traumatic stress, a condition both she and her husband – also a combat veteran – have experienced. Rodriguez works as a mortgage banker with The Federal Savings Bank and enjoys helping people, especially fellow veterans, achieve the dream of home ownership.
5. Ye Ye Win,
a 2017 Liberty and Leadership Forum alumna from Burma, is an executive and a health and education program coordinator at the Ta’ang Women’s Organization. The organization advocates to advance the status of women, achieve gender equality, and eliminate violence against women, a mission Win has personally supported since 2003. Win’s current role involves providing gender and human rights training to Ta’ang women and their communities and raising international awareness of the human rights abuses this group suffers.
Miriam Spradling serves as Senior Manager, Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where she focuses on the Bush Institute’s global initiatives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, Miriam was an Assistant Director of External Relations at Stanford Law School, managing recent graduate engagement, direct appeals, and the class gift campaign. Before Stanford, Miriam worked for MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Communications Specialist. In that role, she provided writing, video production, and media relations support. Miriam also worked for ABC13 in Houston as an Associate Producer.
Miriam graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in business. As a student, she completed multiple internships, including roles with former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Monthly, ESPNU, and ABC News.Full Bio
Dreamer to Achiever
In Egypt, it was not common for women to run or play sports in public. 2013 WE Lead Scholar Mariz Doss worked to change that perception.
WE Lead Graduation
The inaugural class of WE Lead scholars graduated from the 5-month program on March 21. WE Lead seeks to empower and equip women to become more effective leaders and to advance economic opportunity in their communities and countries.
Q&A with WE Lead Scholar Nadia Behboodi
Nadia Behboodi, a 2019 WE Lead Scholar from Afghanistan, is CEO of the Afghan Women’s Organization for Research, Learning, and Development. She volunteers with Seeds of Change, a network of professional women and men standing for female leadership at all levels, and manages Afghanistan’s first circle of the Lean In network, which promotes female empowerment.