The accomplished women listed below inspire us, surprise us, and give us hope that the world can be a better place. Each of these determined women honored this year is working diligently to solve critical social and economic problems.
These courageous women tackle our most challenging modern issues including environmental sustainability, human rights, business trust, equitable capital allocation, social enterprise, women’s economic empowerment, and ethical leadership with indefatigable energy and dedication.
The “Good Business New York™ Leading Women of 2012” includes economists, lawyers, thought leaders, journalists, policy makers, activists, investors, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, scientists, quants, and academics. Some are known to us personally at Good-b; others are not. All of these women have been selected for their impact and effectiveness in the world of business and finance.
We live in times of crises. Critical social and economic challenges are more important than ever to address, and even more importantly to resolve. These women are among the champions and change makers who are creating real and positive change. Most of these women are well known in their circles, but none are household names. Some operate behind-the-scenes; others take center stage. Our goal at Good Business New York™ is to celebrate the important work that each of these remarkable women do everyday with committment, personal sacrifice, passion, purpose, and sheer determination – work that might sometimes go unnoticed by the general population, but is never-the-less shaping the positive changes taking place in business and society. At Good Business New York™, we honor the triumphs and accomplishments of these 25 Leading Women in the face of real challenges.
After eight months of deliberation and research at Good Business New York™, we have selected 25 amazing women to represent the power that one person has to make a big difference. We believe they deserve even greater recognition for the socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable work they do every day. They serve as role models for women and girls everywhere.
We celebrate these 25 dynamic women who inspire and empower us to create a better world for all. The “Good Business New York™ Leading Women for 2012” offer us hope that a more equitable and sustainable economy is possible, one that serves all levels of society fairly and responsibly and doesn’t leave millions of the world’s inhabitants out. We congratulate and applaud all of them for what they do every day for our communities and our world.
1. Diana Ayton-Shenker: Helping Women & Girls Take Their Seat at the Table
Diana Ayton-Shenker is a social impact philanthropy advisor, a Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the New School in New York, and a passionate advocate for women’s leadership. She advises philanthropists and socially minded investors on channeling their resources into effective projects for social good. Diana brings her background in law, human rights advocacy, and international relations to mentoring youth leadership in social enterprise at the Fast Forward Fund. She is a powerful advocate of filling the gap in women’s sustainability leadership by creating mentorship programs for future leaders. “Women sustain the species naturally,” says Shenker. “We need women at the table of decision making.”
2. Susan McPherson: Inspiring Business to Support Social Innovation
Susan McPherson is a principle at Fenton, a mission-based public interest firm that “builds campaigns that inspire people to take action around important issues, ideas and brands,” otherwise known as “cause marketing.” Susan regularly writes on CSR, sustainability, and the value of public/private partnerships. With over 20 years experience in cause marketing, Susan is a dedicated supporter of “social innovation” defined as a “solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions.” She serves on the board of Bpeace, “the Business Council for Peace.” BPeace assists women in regions of conflict and post-conflict to start businesses by utilizing the skills of BPeace business professionals.
The Green Economy
3. Cindy Esposito: Bringing Corporate Responsibility to the World
Cindy Esposito is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of 3BL Media, an innovative newswire service and public relations platform for the sustainable business community. She is responsible for the oversight of Media Consulting and Client Service. Prior to co-founding 3BL Media, Cindy was the Director of Operations at CSR Wire where she worked with for-profit and non-profit organizations to guide and assist them with their CSR media strategies. Cindy has become an expert in structuring and delivering the world’s CSR information and communications. She has also developed a niche in the Cause Marketing distribution sector. Cindy is a pro-active leader in moving sustainability and CSR forward in the 21st century.
4. Hazel Henderson: Advancing the Progress of the Green Economy
Hazel Henderson is a living legend. Literally! A one-woman dynamo, she single-handedly changed the sustainability game in 1964 when as a young mother she galvanized the environmental movement with “Citizens for Clean Air” in New York City. Forty-seven years later she continues to be a major player in the movement for financial reform founding the groundbreaking multi-media platform “Ethical Markets.” She is a pioneer in socially responsible investing and helped create the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators with the Calvert Investment Group. Most recently, she developed a state-of-the-art global ratings system that tracks the green marketplace known as: The Green Transitions Scoreboard (GTS).
5. Hunter Lovins: Pioneering New Ways to Advance Sustainable Business
Hunter Lovins is the woman who put “natural” in the common term: Natural Capitalism. She also co-wrote the book on it with ex-hubby physicist Amory Lovins and eco-preneur Paul Hawkin. In the green economy movement, Hunter is a major force. She co-founded the sustainable management program at San Francisco’s Presidio B-School and at Bainbridge Graduate Institute near Seattle. She is currently co-creating the only sustainable MBA on the East Coast with Eban Goodstein at Bard College. Hunter studied political science, climate science, sociology and law. Her work in organizational sustainability, profitable climate change solutions, and energy efficiency earned her the title, “Hero of the Planet” by Time Magazine.
6. Jacquie Ottman: Setting the Standard for Green Business Integrity
For all those who are concerned about “greenwashing,” Jacquie Ottman helped launch the USDA’s Certified Biobased label and the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star label. Her work as a former advertising executive representing Fortune 500 companies has transformed her into an expert on “green marketing.” She literally wrote the book on it: “The New Rules for Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding.” Jacquie is one of the premier innovators in eco-design education. She is the founding co-chair for the Sustainable Brands conference for green market makers. As co-founder of the Sustainable Business Committee of the Columbia University Business School Alumni Club of New York, she continues to lead the way in establishing for integrity-based standards for green business.
21st Century Leadership
7. Mary Gentile: Inspiring Future Executives to Ethical Leadership
B-Schools ethics programs have been famously ineffective. Educator Mary Gentile has created one of the only truly effective MBA programs called, “Giving Voice to Values.” Mary’s award-winning book and corresponding values-based leadership curriculum arm business students with practical tools to resolve ethical dilemmas before they enter the C-Suite. Mary spent ten years at Harvard Business School where she developed and taught the school’s first course on managing diversity, and helped design and taught its first required module on ethical decision-making. Mary now heads up the GVV curriculum for Babson College and teaches future business leaders the value of ethical leadership.
8. Nadja Fidelia: Empowering Women Leaders to Find Their Voice
Born in war-torn Haiti, Nadja Fidelia transformed her humble beginnings into becoming a champion for women and minority leadership. A former emerging markets trader at Lehman Brothers, Nadja’s passion for inclusive leadership led her to co-found Lehman’s Partnership Solutions Group, a commercial platform to proactively develop business opportunities for women and minority-owned firms. She left Wall Street to obtain a PhD in Divinity from the New York Theological Seminary. At NYTS, she created a powerful new program: Woman Anointed Ministry (WAM) to “inspire and empower women in ministry to lead their communities to their fullest potential for the betterment of themselves and the world.”
9. Nicole Valentine: Helping Future Leaders Find the Path to Success
Nicole Valentine began her professional life as a securities lawyer for the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald. After successfully navigating the rough waters of a Wall Street career, Nicole left to head up her own business and technology strategy company. She soon began helping at-risk youth strategize their futures. Passionate about the educational and opportunity deficit for young people of color in her Harlem New York neighborhood, Nicole has become a dedicated leader in the youth organization Brotherhood/Sister Sol. Through Bro/Sis, Nicole applies her legal and entrepreneurial skills to provide at-risk youth with unique opportunities for their personal, academic, and professional achievement.
10. Judith Neal: Developing Business Leaders Who Dare to Take the High Road
After obtaining a PhD in Management from Yale, Judith Neal entered the corporate world. As a senior executive in a global corporation, she soon discovered that the company was supplying a defense contract with dangerously defective weapons. When upper management refused to cease the practice, Judi became a champion of corporate social responsibility. Her belief that corporations force individuals to separate their personal values from their work life led her to spearhead the “Spirit at Work” movement now counting thousands of members world-wide. To help executives, Judi created “Edgewalkers,” the international leadership training program for individuals and groups leading the charge for ethical leadership.
11. Michelle Green: Bringing New Values to The Oldest Marketplace
Harvard educated lawyer Michelle Green worked at the Department of Treasury under the Obama Administration directing the financial literacy programs. She left the Treasury to head up the Corporate Social Responsibility effort at the oldest Wall Street institution in America: the New York Stock Exchange, now NYSE Euronext. Under Ms. Green’s innovative leadership, financial literacy, environmental sustainability, community engagement, small business and jobs initiatives have flourished. Ms. Green believes that Corporate Responsibility is a “Collaborative Responsibility.” Her goal is for the NYSE to serve as an inspiring role model for business integrity and accountability for other global companies and financial institutions.
12. Barbara Kimmel: Establishing the Standard for Business Trust & Integrity
A former consultant to McKinsey, Barbara Kimmel co-founded a corporate research firm “Trust Across America” that sets the gold standard for trust in business. Each year, her firm announces the “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business in America.” Barbara and TAA report on companies and leaders who operate as role models of integrity for others. Her latest innovation is the “Best” platform – “a collaborative media-based program revealing best practices in building and maintaining trust.” Barbara hosts a groundbreaking radio program showcasing leading thought leaders in ethical business. Her seemingly limitless energy to build a new business model based on integrity has empowered leaders across the globe.
13. Dena Merriam: Leading the Change in Business From Within
Dena Merriam is a managing partner of Finn Partners, a division of the world-class public relations firm founded by her father, David Finn. Not content to sit back and coast, Dena has been a one-woman force for social change traveling the world to advance peace through her NGO Global Peace Initiative of Women. She has worked with the UN on critical climate change issues and fostered interfaith dialogues in conflict-stricken nations. Dena has taken up the torch that her father’s company has actively embodied: corporate responsibility. Organizing a groundbreaking conference on “Re-Envisioning Prosperity” on Wall Street in 2012, Dena fervently believes that “business can lead change and bring benefit to all sectors of society.“
14. Judith Samuelson: Innovating Initiatives that Serve Business & Society
Judith Samuelson conceived and created the highly acclaimed “Business and Society” Program at the Aspen Institute. The program inspires business to foster social good and sustainability in their practices. Judith’s uses her background in banking, philanthropy, and public policy advocacy to support her mission to create an inclusive economy for all levels of society. The Business & Society program under her direction works effectively to establish social and public policy that eliminates the short-termism that led to the financial crisis and business scandals of the 21st century. She is a relentless activist for ethical business practices on Wall Street and a dedicated trailblazer for the pursuit of socially responsible profits.
Power of the Pen
15. Patricia Aburdene: Bringing a Moral Imperative to the Value of Money
Patricia Aburdene is a renowned thought-leader and author of the bestselling business book series: Megatrends. A visionary, Patricia predicted trends in business long before they occurred including the current “doing good and giving back” trend. She began in business journalism at Forbes before writing and selling 14million books including Re-Inventing the Corporation. As a Public Policy Fellow at Radcliffe College, Patricia explored new leadership models in business and became inspired by values-based models. Her upcoming book, “Conscious Money: Living, Creating, and Investing with Your Values for a Sustainable New Prosperity” details a holistic program of wealth building that integrates personal values and sound money sense.
16. Amy Cortese: Innovating New Platforms for Sustainable Small Business
Amy Cortese is an award-winning investigative journalist and editor who reports on topics spanning business, finance, and environmental issues. Her 2011 book, Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From it explores new sources of local financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses. In it, Amy reveals how a small shift in investment away from multinationals towards locally-owned enterprises can reap enormous economic and social benefits for individuals and communities. Her innovative work catapulted Amy to become an outstanding spokesperson for the “Slow Money,” crowd-funding, and local economy movements. She is an active leader in the revolution for small business economic empowerment.
17. Ann Graham: Setting the Standard for Global Social-Economic Change
Ann Graham collected degrees in economics from both Georgetown University and Columbia University. She worked as an economist at Merrill Lynch before becoming a managing editor at the Economist Intelligence Group and deputy-editor of the sustainable business journal: “strategy+business.” Her groundbreaking article, “Too Good to Fail” detailed one of the world’s largest conglomerates, India’s Tata, and its ambitious strategy of 142 years of social entrepreneurship. As an editor, she worked closely with Ross School’s CK Prahalad, author of the “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” and “The New Age of Innovation.” Ann was an editorial consultant at Good-b and is one of the top journalists in the field of socially responsible business.
18. Eileen Borris: Helping the World Find A Better Way to Co-Exist
Eileen Borris has dedicated her life to creating international peace. She parlayed a PhD in psychology from Columbia University to become the world’s leading expert on “forgiveness.” Dr. Eileen Borris is an internationally trained conflict resolution facilitator and an adjunct Professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Eileen travels the globe bringing her practical solutions for “Finding Forgiveness” to some of the world’s most volatile regions. She speaks frequently at the United Nations and is an active part of international peacekeeping coalitions. Eileen has innovated a world standard for Peace Psychology. Somehow she never loses faith that humanity will come to their senses and learn how to stop killing each other.
19. Sharon Hamilton-Getz: Supporting Women’s Global Empowerment
Sharon Hamilton-Getz is the Chairwoman of the UN CONGO Committee Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns-NY and the founder of the Values & Business Working Group. Through her years of dedicated work as a UN representative, she has advocated for the educational and economic advancement of women in developing nations. As VP of the Institute of International Social Development (IISD) in New York, she helps women in rural India develop sustainable and independent incomes. She is an active supporter of the UN’s ground-breaking resolution 1325, calling on world leaders to make the economic empowerment of women a priority. Sharon has become a powerful advocate for the world’s underserved women. Women and Money
20. Monica Dodi: Supporting Women through Entrepreneurial Enterprise
Sometimes there are people who just want to give back. Monica Dodi got some lucky breaks early in career. Garnering an MBA from Harvard, she joined a little start-up called MTV. As part of the founding team of MTV Europe, the French-speaking American girl made history behind-the-scenes of the 1980s music video channel. Back in LA, she moved further up the media mogul chain heading up AOL’s Entertainment Asylum. A serial entrepreneur, she joined two other powerhouse female execs to form the Women’s Venture Capital Fund. WVCF invests in scalable digital media platforms run by women entrepreneurs that “embrace sustainability and enrich the lives of women, their families, communities and planet.”
21. Lisa Hall: Dedicated to Lifting Women Out of Poverty
Lisa Hall serves as president and CEO of the Calvert Foundation, a non-profit wing of the socially responsible mutual fund, Calvert Investments. Under her watch CF launched “WIN WIN: The Women Investing in Women Initiative.” The innovative program provides opportunities to invest in the economic empowerment of women in the U.S. and around the globe. Says Lisa, the initiative provides capital “to women-owned businesses and social services that help support women and improve their financial stability.” Lisa holds an economics degree from UPenn and an MBA from Harvard and claims that investing in women is “smart economics.” WIN WIN’s goal is to invest $20million in programs that lift women out of poverty.
22. Stephanie Newby: Leveling the Playing Field for Women & Money
After 20-years as a senior executive at JP Morgan, Stephanie Newby (fka Hanbury-Brown) founded a leading VC firm Golden Seeds in 2004 investing in women-owned companies. Explains Stephanie, “Women entrepreneurs are an underserved sector” of the market, attracting less than 6% of venture capital investment a year. “We want women to have more power and influence within companies — and ownership in them.” Golden Seeds created the term: “Positive Equity” which indicates a “values first” approach to private equity investment that focuses on transparency, ethics, and long-term value. She is currently interim CEO of one of Golden Seeds investments: Crimson Hexagon, a new social media & consumer analytics platform.
23. Nada Jain: Putting Economic Power Behind Women-Owned Business
Whoever said that women are not good at science didn’t know Dr. Nada Jain. Nada is a Managing Director at Golden Seeds venture capital fund for women. She has studied intellectual property law, agricultural engineering, plant science, genetics, cell biology, and immunology. Putting her multiple degrees and love for science and law together, she became a patent attorney representing medical companies and scientists inventing cures for disease. At Golden Seeds, she uses her unique expertise to support new innovations in science and medicine. She currently sits on the board of Cognition Therapeutics, an early stage life science company dedicated to preventing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
24. Jackie VanderBrug: Using the Power of Money as a Tool for Social Change
Jackie VanderBrug is a widely recognized leader of business and social change. She serves on the advisory board for the Social Venture Fund at her alma mater, the Ross School of Business, and founded the social investing fund, Good Capital. Jackie spent seven years at Criterion Ventures, a think tank for women’s economic empowerment. At CV, she innovated new programs including “The Women Effect Investments Initiative” that pioneered the groundbreaking gender lens investing movement. She created The Structure Lab, an organizational boot camp for entrepreneurs. Jackie has become one of the foremost movers and shakers for social capital and a powerful advocate for women’s entrepreneurship.
25. Jacki Zehner: Advancing Gender Equality through Economic Opportunity
Normally an ex-partner at Goldman Sachs might spend their days soaking up the sun at Hamptons polo matches or cruising the Adriatic on their yacht, not so for women’s leadership advocate Jacki Zehner. Rather than invest in luxury golf courses or more frivolous pursuits, Jacki is investing in the economic advancement of women. Through “The Women’s Funding Network” and “Women Moving Millions,” Jacki supports women-entrepreneurial initiatives around the globe. She actively advocates for women to take a seat at the table and currently supports a 30% quota of women to serve on U.S. corporate boards. Says Jacki: Gender diversity “makes for good governance which results in better business and overall economic outcomes.”