NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citi today announced plans to celebrate 2014 International Women’s Day with clients, communities and employees at over 230 events in 89 countries around the world focused on connecting women in ways that inspire change to foster progress, both personally and professionally. In addition, Citi and Vital Voices announced a $250,000 grant from the Citi Foundation to expand its signature economic development program that provides tailored support to high-potential, growth-oriented women business owners in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East through direct training, one-on-one support, and access to new networks. Citi participates in International Women’s Day annually as a way to honor the achievements and progress women have made around the world, while acknowledging the various challenges women still face.
“International Women’s Day is an important reminder to the global community that the recruitment, involvement and advancement of women is a business and economic imperative,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi. “Through internal initiatives like Citi Women and support for community organizations like Vital Voices, we’ve established a firm-wide strategy focused on the advancement of women as leaders and economic drivers. Our global celebration of International Women’s Day is an important expression of that commitment.”
In 2013, the Citi Foundation provided leadership funding to Vital Voices to support the needs of women business owners. The six-month one-on-one training program successfully paired high-level Citi executive volunteers with high-potential business owners in Argentina, Egypt, El Salvador and Kenya to strengthen their decision-making power and effectiveness. The $250,000 grant announced today will bring the program to two additional markets across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
“Women are drivers of economic growth—as entrepreneurs, business owners and employees. If we want to move from recovery to resurgence, we need to invest in women and enhance their participation in the economy through training and networks that provide critical access and opportunity. I am so pleased that we’re expanding our partnership with the Citi Foundation to further our shared goals of enabling women’s leadership development and sparking economic development,” said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices.
Throughout the pilot program’s implementation, Citi volunteers have supported women entrepreneurs in achieving business growth, improved operations, increased leadership abilities through knowledge and best-practice sharing, and business networking. The program has leveraged the strength of the Citi Foundation’s commitment to support innovative organizations and programs working to accelerate economic empowerment, and Citi Women, a company-wide effort to foster the ongoing development of women leaders from recruitment to senior management. During the pilot phase, more than 40 Citi executives have provided over 1,000 skills based volunteer hours in support of emerging small business women leaders.
“The unique perspective women business owners gain when paired with high-level Citi women leaders is unlike any other business growth training program,” said Suni Harford, Managing Director and Regional Head of North America Markets at Citi and Co-Head of Citi Women. “By matching women business owners with corporate executives, emerging women entrepreneurs have the opportunity to gain new perspectives on business management and growth challenges, particularly in the areas of financial inclusion, supplier readiness, access to markets and value chain development.”
International Women’s Day is celebrated globally through a focus on the economic, political and social achievements of women. Citi’s global celebration of International Women’s Day with over 230 events in 89 countries includes activities ranging from art exhibitions to lectures with top scholars on the role of women in politics and business to a reception honoring women entrepreneurs in technology. This year Citi’s activities are focused on the theme of Connecting Women. Inspiring Change. Making Progress.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, Citi's business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 14,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit http://www.vitalvoices.org to learn more.