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Women and Leadership at the AEO Leadership Forum

Although it’s true that women continue to be underrepresented in positions of leadership in such fields as politics, technology, finance, math and science, it’s also important to celebrate the areas in which women are leading the way. One of the fields in which women shine in leadership roles is that of Economic Justice, something which was made abundantly clear at the recent Association for Enterprise Opportunity Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.

The three-day event was attended by over 100 members of AEO, the majority of whom were women, and who came from all over the country. The list of speakers also featured a number of dynamic and impressive women, including Ann Donovan, the new Director of the CDFI Fund, and Julie Hanna, who was recently named the Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by President Obama. Other speakers included an MIT economist, Federal Reserve Bank staffers, political strategists, and even a futurist (very important!)

AEO’s CEO Connie Evans and the AEO staff did a terrific job organizing an electrifying three days. We left inspired, but also challenged. What was made very clear by the thought-provoking sessions was that, if U.S. microenterprise organizations do not innovate and achieve scale and efficiency, we will be left behind. We will also be doing a disservice to our clients, who may be forced to turn to high interest loans from the ever-increasing number of on-line lenders.

One of BCNA’s goals in 2015 is to make $2 million in microloans while to continuing to work with our 500-plus active loan clients. To that end, we have applied to participate in AEO’s TILT Forward Program, which will enable us to use a platform designed to expedite and formalize the loan underwriting process. We’re very excited to be moving forward with this and are looking forward to having exciting results to report at next year’s Leadership Forum.

Shown below, some of the terrific, dynamic women who attended our BCNA Immigrant Heritage Week Awards event.