Nine former fellows of the Initiative were awarded an Impact Award for the extraordinary impact their businesses have achieved over the years.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the groundbreaking Cartier Women’s Initiative, change makers, fellows, dignitaries, and many more joined together in Dubai for an evening of reception, reflection, and recognition. Cartier awarded nine former fellows an Impact Award for the extraordinary impact that their businesses have achieved over the years.
Dubai was a distinctive choice for this event, where new ideas and bold curiosity feel integral to the city’s global outlook. It was also a daring one: historically, women’s rights in the region have been challenged, with strides in liberation only being made in the last few decades. The Opera House itself is a contemporary showpiece in downtown Dubai, not overshadowed but rather complimented by the soaring Burj Khalifa tower in the background.
Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception before filling the grand theatre and settling in for a series of performances, talks, and presentation of awards.
Hosted by Tiffany Dufu, Founder and CEO at the Cru, a training organization for women in the United States, the celebration began with a concert of the Italian-Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes, whose theatrical conducting comes as a groundbreaking act of femininity in itself- 90% of orchestra conductors are male. Her offerings spanned a wide range of talents, highlighting passionate piano work by Mara Dobresco and a spirited interpretation of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Aria Cantilena, sung by soprano Camila Titinger. The all-female Erato Choir closed the concert with a hauntingly beautiful work by Brahms.
Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International then offered a thoughtful reflection on the week, recognizing the achievements of the past 15 years while reaffirming the importance of continued empowerment. “During all these years this initiative has brought together a community of passionate social entrepreneurs, who have developed successful business models improving lives around them. This community is a constant source of awe and inspiration”, remarked Mr. Vigneron.
For some context, it’s been 15 years since Cartier launched the Cartier Women’s Initiative, a program that crystalizes the maison’s mission of open-mindedness and curiosity by supporting female entrepreneurs with funding and sophisticated coaching, mentorship, and feedback programs.
Guo Jingjing, world diving champion and pioneering woman remotely offered a rousing talk on the importance of protection and validation. Yara Shahidi (Black-ish, Grown-ish) shared her vision of gender equality and women’s empowerment with a thought-provoking oration- almost poetic in nature, citing James Baldwin and Audrey Lorde’s iconic conversation as being a particularly inspiring demonstration of dreaming while being inclusive. Shahidi appreciates a key detail: the need to give back even after finding success.
After a short intermission, guests heard from each of the Impact awardees, nine in total, describing their journey from struggles to moments of hope and ultimately, success and giving back. The categories for the Impact Awards are based on the United Nations’ own Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The categories and winners are as follows:
- Preserving the Planet: First Place awarded to Charlotte Wang, China, EQuota Energy
- Improving Lives: First Place awarded to Temie Giwa Tubosun, Nigeria, LifeBank
- Creating Opportunities: First Place award to Fariel Salahuddin, Pakistan, UpTrade
Discover the stories of the other winners here.
The first-place awardee took home US $100,000 in grant, while the second- and third-place awardees respectively receive USD $60,000 and US $30,000. Finally, the 9 awardees will each receive human capital support valued at US $10,000.
Currently lead by Wingee Sampaio, The Cartier Women’s Initiative remains a radical departure from many other philanthropic efforts by virtue of its long-tail approach. It’s not just a matter of handing over a blank check. Instead, it’s a continued conversation between fellows, community members, and thought leaders thought a number of forums, both virtual and in-person. In fact, this awards ceremony was only a small portion of a week-long series of events organized by the Cartier Women’s Initiative. Other events during the week included business workshops, Q&A sessions, networking opportunities, and an inspiring International Women’s Day event at Expo 2020 Dubai.