International Women’s Day 2019

Substantial research studies have been done to highlight the fact that there are substantive developmental benefits of music and art for the educational advancement of youth.  It increases motor skills, aids in language development, helps develop positive decision making abilities, strengthens visual and listening abilities, expands inventiveness, facilitates cultural awareness, and leads to increased academic performance.

We believe that Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Culture, and Math (STEAM) are important drivers of innovation and change and can create opportunities for self sustenance for youth across the globe. The ability to develop and utilize skills in these areas have become essential to participate in the current and future marketplace. However, the rise and rapid evolution of technology has not been matched by the emergence of skilled workers able to adapt, develop and utilize innovative advances. The limited gender diversity in these fields not only exacerbate the challenge of finding skilled workers, but also inhibits the different perspectives that brings innovation. 

Undoubtedly, science and technology have an impact on ordinary lives beyond the highly-publicized breakthroughs. Technology has stimulated developments that have rapidly altered both rural and urban employment landscapes and economic sectors, including water resource management, sanitation, and agriculture, through enhancements to knowledge working, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. There is no denying that technology has a ubiquitous presence. Studies have demonstrated that the interdisciplinary model of a STEAM approach fosters innovative thinking, leaving students better prepared to understand and apply science and technology concepts. STEAM has been described as an integrated model that compels students to actively think about and tackle real world problems through finding creative solutions.  

The Aspire Artemis Foundation believes that when young women and girls have role models, they can become become excited about a field in which they may not have otherwise considered.

International Women’s Day 2019

The Inclusion of Arts and Culture in STEM education and programming through Reuniting Game Changers, Road Shapers and Trailblazers from across the globe.


2019 Annual Women's Empowerment and Youth Development Event Reuniting Game changers, Road Shapers and Trail Blazers from across the globe

Friday March 8, 2018, 15:00 – 18:00 United Nations Headquarters New York Conference Room VIII

Hosted by the Government of Djibouti
Theme: Think equal – Build Smart – Innovate for Change

In order to highlight the importance of the arts to the STEM curriculum, the programme includes short live musical interludes throughout the event.

Settling in Musical Interlude: (3 minutes)
Ms. Kaori Fujii, International Flutist, Founder and CEO, Music Beyond, Inc.


Introduction to the event:
Ms. Hermina Johnny, Founder, Aspire Artemis Foundation. (3 minutes)

Welcome remarks
His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti to the United Nations (7 minutes)

Remarks from delegations on national activities that support thinking equal, building smart and innovating for change. (7 minutes per delegation)

Remarks from United Nations system organizations on activities and initiatives that drive thinking equal, building smart and innovating for change. (5 minutes per organization)

Keynote Address:

The journey to science, innovation and change (5 minutes) Ms. Yvonne Thevenot, Founder & Executive Director, STEM Kids NYC

Musical interlude: (3 minutes)
Mr. Gabriel Mayers, Singer/Songwriter

Thinking Equal:

Panel discussion reflecting on experiences that can empower a drive towards equality. (20 minutes)
Moderator: Ms. Sabrina Tucker-Barrett, President & CEO, Girls for Technology

Mr. Jason Juliano, CEO Aponia Data
Ms. Tiana Hercules, ESQ, MBA Attorney at Law, Tech Entrepreneur
Ms. Monique Golden, PhD Candidate at the University of Connecticut (Young leader participant)

Topic: Gender equality in the STEM fields continues to lag, although many initiatives have been developed to achieve a more equal gender balance in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Panel members will be asked to consider the effectiveness of these efforts, and examine the social paradigms that can inhibit, or encourage equality.

Q&A: (7 minutes)

Musical Interlude: (3 minutes)
Ms. Piera Van de Wiel, Singer/Artist

Building Smart:

Panel discussion on mechanisms that can build capacity (20 minutes.)
Moderator: Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief of UNCTAD New York Panellists:

Ms. Harsha Bennur, Director of Partner Technology, Microsoft
Ms. Jo Singel, Author, Speaker, Generative Learning Leader
Ms. On Tim Tang, Management Consultant, Integrated Biometrics (Young leader participant)

Topic: Beyond any structural or social impediments to improving gender equality in STEM, challenges may also remain when it comes to ensuring the quality and availability of training and skills development opportunities. Panel members will consider the challenges associated with technology skills transfers, either through integration into formal education channels or via informal extracurricular activities.

Q&A: (7 minutes)

Musical interlude: (3 minutes) Mr. Ryan Brahms

Innovating for Change:

Panel discussion exploring directions for achieving balance (20 minutes)
Moderator: Ms. Ifeomasinachi Ike Esq, Social Impact Strategist and Founding Partner– Think Rubix LLC

Ms. Megan McCoskey, Director of Product for FiscalNote
Ms. Xian Horn, Disability Activist, Social Entrepreneur, Forbes Contributor 

Ms. Tamie Marie, Coordinator Precision Medicine Program at Morgan StanleyChildren’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian (Young leader participant)

Topic: Creating a gender equal world requires action and encouragement by many stakeholders, with creativity and innovation. Panel members will consider the new directions that each stakeholder group could take to achieve a gender balance. Q&A: (7 minutes)

The importance of Arts and culture in STEM:

Research continuously highlights that there are substantive developmental benefits of music and art for the educational advancement of youth

Address: Ms. Indira Etwaroo

Musical Interlude: (3 minutes)

Ms. Barbara Siesel, flutist, educator, producer and entrepreneur. Final observations by the Aspire Artemis Foundation (5 minutes)

Conclusion and wrap-up by the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Djibouti to the United Nations (5 minutes)

Opening Speaker Bios

H.E Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Mission of Djibouti to the United Nations.

Mr. Doualeh served concurrently as Ambassador of Djibouti to the United Nations in Geneva, the World Trade Organization and Switzerland from 2006. During that tenure, he held various chairmanships, including Chairman-Rapporteur of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2009 to 2015. Between 2007 and 2008 he was Vice-President of the Human Rights Council during its second cycle.

Before assuming his duties in Geneva, Mr. Doualeh served as Special Envoy to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development-led process for Somalia. In that capacity, he was a member of the Djibouti ministerial delegation to the special session of the Security Council on Sudan and Somalia held in Nairobi in 2004. Previous to that, in 2002, he was appointed to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s technical committee to prepare for the National Conference for peace in Somalia. In 2000, he served as a member of the technical secretariat that assisted the national committee in the planning and organizing of the National Reconciliation Conference for Peace in Somalia held in Arta, Djibouti.

In October 2001, he was appointed Secretary to his country’s National Committee on Terrorism. From April to October 2001, he served as Special Envoy to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development-led Sudan Peace Process.

Ms. Hermina Johnny, Founder, Aspire Artemis Foundation

Ms. Johnny is a humanitarian specialized in gender, human rights, sustainable development, inter-agency coordination and internal communications. Ms. Johnny has worked in several capacities within the United Nations system and its specialized agencies and programmes on a wide array of economic, social and political affairs. Ms. Johnny has written several reports for the UN Secretary General as well as served as focal point on inputs to drafting sessions for reports, outcome documents, and other United Nations instruments, including for high level conferences. She conducted substantial research studies as well as wrote guidance notes and papers, which had strong implications for the future of inter-agency coordination. Ms. Johnny formulated key partnerships with stakeholders, the private sector, civil society and businesses on climate change policy and coordination.

Ms. Johnny has worked with the European Parliament and the International Organisation for Migration as well as had extensive experience working in the private sector. She conducted a substantial amount of outreach activities for the private sector and supported CEOs and Executive management in elaborating strategies for market expansion managing all pre-launch aspects of new business development including sales, marketing, product design, risk assessment and compliance. She has taught English and written chapters for English language learning books, as well as for skits, intensive programmes and listen-and-learn tapes. Her teaching experience ranges from teaching English at John Cabot University and the American University of Rome, law firms, as well as to diplomats, and executives at big banks and pharmaceutical companies in the Czech Republic. Ms. Johnny has also worked in the area of Intellectual Property Law, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions and other legal areas.

Ms. Johnny believes passionately in youth development and building strong communities. She also volunteers her free time to community service, mentoring youth, leadership development, and speaking out on the need for equality, justice, human rights, and women's empowerment. A native of Saint Lucia who has lived in several countries at different stages of development, her multiracial background, and her passion for playing her small part in building a better world for all, has given her unique insight into finding local solutions to facing global challenges.

Ms. Johnny has lived in her home country of Saint Lucia as well as in New York, Connecticut, Paris, Brussels, Prague, Madrid, Rome, and Copenhagen

Participant Bios

H. E. Mr. Marc-André Blanchard, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York

Mr. Blanchard was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault, one of Canada’s largest law firms, advising companies on strategic and public policy issues. In 2014, he served on the boards of the Conference Board of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer.

Mr. Blanchard holds master’s degrees in public administration and international relations from Columbia University in New York City and in public international law from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the Université de Montréal in Canada.

Born on 10 November 1965, he is married and has two children.

H.E Ms. Fatoumata Kaba, Permanent Representative of Guinea to the United Nations

Prior to her latest appointment, Ms. Kaba was her country’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, as well as Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) between 2013 and 2018. She also served as Chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee at the African Union for 2017.

Ms. Kaba served as diplomatic adviser to the President of Guinea from 2009 to 2010, Minister for International Cooperation (2006-2007) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (2005-2006). She was Ambassador to Nigeria and Permanent Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, 2002-2005); as well as Ambassador and National Director (2000-2002), and Deputy National Director of Cultural and Political Affairs (1997-2000) in Guinea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Also in the Foreign Ministry, she served as Head of the Africa and Asia Division and the Division of Cultural and Political Affairs (1995-1997). She also headed the Africa Section (1989-1994).

Ms. Kaba holds a graduate diploma in international relations from the Institut des Relations Internationales du Cameroun (IRIC), a master’s degree in economy and philosophy from the Université de Conakry and a bachelor’s from Lycée Technique Ho Chi Minh, in Kankan, Guinea.

H.E Mr Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations

Mr. Hilale occupies the post of Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations. Formerly, he served asAmbassador Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva. Between May 2005 and November 2008, Hilale was also Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

Prior to this Mr. Hilale was Chief of the section of the General Assembly and the Security Council at the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. He was also a member of the Office of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, before being appointed Ambassador of Morocco to Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand between 1996 to 2001. He has also served as Coordinator of the African Group WIPO (2004-2005), Coordinator of the African Group at the WTO (2003), President of the Conference on Disarmament (2004) and since 2004, he chaired the Board of Directors the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Hilale is married and is the father of three children. He holds a degree in political science obtained in 1974 in Rabat.

H.E. Mr Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Gafoor served as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Australia from 2014. He also served as the country’s Ambassador and Chief Negotiator for United Nations Climate Change Negotiations from 2010 to 2014. Between 2007 and 2010, he was Singapore’s Ambassador to France, and from 2004 to 2007 he served as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Having joined the Singapore Foreign Service in 1988, Mr. Gafoor has held several other positions, including that of Press Secretary to former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong from 2002 to 2004. He represented his country as President of the Diplomatic Conference of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2006 and as Chairman of the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development, World Trade Organization, from 2006 to 2007.

Mr. Gafoor holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore, a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a degree in public administration from the École nationale d’administration in Paris.

Born on 20 October 1965, he is married and has two sons.

H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed was a Senior Special Adviser to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, with a focus on peace and security, regional integration and organizational development.

Before joining ECOWAS, she was the Executive Director at West Africa Conflict and Security Consulting. Earlier, she worked as a Programme Manager at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS; and as Regional Project Manager for Security Policy Projects in West Africa with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Ms. Mohammed holds a Master of Arts in peace, security, development and conflict transformation from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, as well as a master’s degree in sustainable economic development from the United Nations University of Peace. Additionally, she holds a Master of Business Administration from the European University, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.

Ms. Bience Gawanas - Under Secretary General and Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General

Ms. Gawanas has served as Special Adviser to the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Namibia. Prior to this, she was Special Adviser to the Minister of Health and Social Services. A champion of women’s health and rights in Africa, she has been commended for her role in initiating far-reaching campaigns such as the continental Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Ms. Gawanas was elected for two terms as the Commissioner for Social Affairs by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2003 and 2008, during which time she was responsible for advocacy as well as the harmonization and coordination of regional and continental policies and programme on promoting social development. Her portfolio included health, HIV/AIDS and nutrition, migration and population, arts and culture, the welfare of vulnerable groups, labour and migration, and sports. Prior to her work as Commissioner, she was Ombudswoman of Namibia (1996-2003). She has also worked as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre, a human rights NGO (1990-1991) and as a lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia (1995-1997).

She has served on various taskforces and commissions, including the UNAIDS Global Task Team on Improving AIDS Coordination Among Multilateral Institutions and International Donors, the Task Force for Scaling-up Education and Training of Health Workers, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, the Global Steering Committee on Scaling-up towards Universal Access, and the Lancet-Oslo University Commission on Global Governance for Health.

Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Director New York Office, UNCTAD

Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, a Canadian citizen, is the Chief of UNCTAD office in New York. Prior to 2014, she was actively involved in the successful negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). During her tenure with DESA, she served as the Major Groups coordinator to enhance non-state actors engagement with the UN. She facilitated the participation of more than 10,000 non-state actors – a record - in the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable development. She was also the DESA focal point for sustainable consumption and production, food security and sustainable agriculture.

Prior to her UN career, she served as Head of the Trade and Environment Program of the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation from 2000 to 2007, as policy analyst for the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture from 1998-2000, and as post doc for IFPRI in the Brazilian Amazon from 1996-98. She made the Ideagen 2016 100Individuals and Organization empowering women and girl, is a 2006 Yale World Fellow, a UNEP Who’s Who’s of Women and the Environment. She has consulted to UNDP, World Bank, OCDE, and USDA.

Dr. Carpentier is a published scholar and a frequent public speaker. An economist by training, she holds a PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a Master’s and Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from McGill University.

Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO Liaison Office New York and UNESCO Representative to the United Nations

Ms. Marie Paule Roudil is the Director of UNESCO Liaison Office New York and UNESCO Representative to the United Nations since 2015. She previously was Head of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels and the UNESCO Representative to the European Union having been appointed to that position in October 2010.

Roudil started her career in 1986 as a lawyer at the Cour de Paris (Paris Court). She then joined UNESCO in 1990 to participate in, and contribute to the design and launching of, the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). As part of her responsibilities, she acted as UNESCO’s AIDS focal point, promoting a UNESCO interdisciplinary approach, ensuring cooperation with UNAIDS and developing joint activities with Professor Luc Montagnier’s, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Fondation Mondiale Recherche et Prévention Sida.

From 2001, she joined the International Standards Section of the Culture Sector, assisting in the final stages of the negotiations that led up to the adoption of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. She also carried out preparatory work on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted in 2003.

Ms Roudil previously served as Head of the Culture Section in the Regional UNESCO Office in Venice, where she was responsible for developing and implementing a culture strategy for South-East Europe. In particular, she worked on UNESCO’s contribution to the reconstruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar and to the rehabilitation of the Cultural Heritage in Kosovo, and the establishment of annual Ministerial Conferences on Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe. She was also in charge of the Organization’s Programme for the Safeguarding of Venice.

Ms Roudil holds a "Licence en Droit public international", a "Maîtrise de Droit privé", and a "Diplôme d’études approfondies (DEA) de Droit des affaires et Droit économique". Ms Roudil is member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Ms. Megan Gilgan, Deputy Director, Public Partnerships Division, UNICEF

Ms Gilgan is the Deputy Director of Public Partnerships at UNICEF New York. She previously served as the Regional Emergency Advisor with UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office and the Chief of Emergency and Field Operations for UNICEF Kenya.

Ms Gilgan holds an MSc in International Relations and Affairs from the London School of Economics.

Ms. Harsha Bennur, Director, Partner Technology, Microsoft

Harsha Bennur has held a number of progressively responsible, managerial roles at Microsoft. Currently, she is the Director of Partner Technology. In this role she works with strategists to oversee business growth amongst Microsoft’s Public Sector partners.

Bennur holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science.

Ms. Indira Etwaroo, Executive Director, Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

In January 2015, Dr. Etwaroo was appointed as the Executive Director for the Center for Arts and Culture at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, rebranded as RestorationART - a 21st century creative complex that folds audiences into world class artistic discovery and art-making in the epicenter of the largest Black community in the nation. Prior to her work at RestorationART, Dr. Etwaroo is noted for teaching music and dance in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Richmond, Virginia. She acted as an adjunct professor, lecturer and scholar/artist-in-residence at colleges and universities across the country and globe. She has also worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music where she worked on education and humanities programming in music, dance, drama and visual arts fields. Since 2015, Dr. Etwaroo has been directing projects at the Billie Holiday Theatre, Youth Arts Academy, Skylight Gallery, and Restoration Plaza's Presenting Program for the Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Dr. Indira Etwaroo holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Longwood University, a Master’s Degree in Dance Education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2004, she received her PhD in Cultural Studies also from Temple University with a concentration in Dance, and a Graduate Certificate in Women's studies, Anthropology, and African-American Studies.

Etwaroo has performed at the National Black Theatre Festival under the direction of African American Theater pioneer Ernie McClintock. In 2003, Dr. Etwaroo worked for a year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar where she collaborated with a group of refugee Somali women and children "to explore the performance aesthetics that surround the controversial practice of female genital cutting." For her endeavors, Dr. Etwaroo received the Emerging Doctoral Scholar Award and the Graduate Research Award from the National Congress on Research in Dance. Within the same year, she has also served as Adjunct Professor teaching Dance, Movement and Pluralism, and Research Methods at Temple University. Before joining the New York Public Radio (NYPR) in 2006, she offered her services at BAM (The Brooklyn Academy of Music) where she cultivated some of the most notable education and humanities programming in the music, dance, drama and visual arts field.

Ms. Monique Golden

Ms Golden is a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut pursuing Leadership and Education Policy. She also holds an M.A in Higher Education and Student Affairs and a B.S in Industrial Engineering.

Ms. Xian Horn, Disability Activist

Xian has spoken at Apple, Viacom, AppNexus, New York Life, Met Life, for the New York Public Library, Barnard College, Williams College, the ReelAbilities film festival (where she serves on the Film Selection Committee). In 2018, Xian was invited to join Cooper Hewitt's Accessibility Advisory Committee and AT&T's Accessibility Advisory Panel. She also judged innovations at NYU Hack since 2016. She has served on the NY Women's Foundation Committee for the Future and mentored at the White House for Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0., the US Business Leadership Network's Innovation Lab (now Disability:In), coaching their Rising Leaders. Xian has also run vocational workshops for the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for Disability Mentoring Day. She served the State Department's International Visitors Leadership Program's European delegation, and has been on the State Department's Speaker's Bureau since 2016. Xian has been featured in The White House Blog's Women Working To Do Good series, NPR, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Bloomberg News, NBC News, Fox 5 and more. Finally, she is a blogger for Positively Positive - a community of over 2.5 million readers and a contributor at Forbes.

Ms. Ifeomasinachi Ike, Esq., Founding Partner, Think Rubix LLC

Ifeoma Ike, Esq. is a Lehman College Professor, Co-Founding Principal of social impact firm, Think Rubix and visionary of the Black Policy Lab, which explores how culture, research and policy informs and impacts communities of color. A natural problem solver, Ify has driven public policy as a former researcher for the American Bar Association, counsel on the US House Judiciary Committee, senior policy advocate at the Innocence Project, and as Deputy Executive Director of NYC Young Men’s Initiative.

Ify has designed efforts to address mental health, criminal justice, teacher diversity, workforce inclusion, gender-based discrimination and international relief. An award-winning change agent and activist, Ify’s creativity has supported social movements, including NYC Men Teach; tech inclusion camp “Change the Game;” Black and Brown People Vote; NYC’s Black mental health strategy--Sisters & Brothers Thrive; and Mass Bail Out--the nation’s largest bail action, freeing over 100 women and children from Rikers in a month.

Ify is a proud board member of the Women’s Prison Association, has served on the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee, and helped create two congressional caucuses: Caucus on Black Men and Boys (now the “My Brother’s Keeper Caucus”) and Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

Mr. Jason Juliano, CEO of Aponia Data

Jason Juliano is a pioneering technologist and leader inventing "think big" strategies that shape the market. Juliano has a background in technology management; information risk and security; and information management with over 20 years’ experience in the banking, healthcare, insurance and financial services industry.

He has previously held senior positions leading Enterprise, Risk Management; Information Management on Big Data, AI, Cloud Computing, Application Engineering and Technology Infrastructure.

Juliano has also served as a member of Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS/ISAC) and a member of the Wall Street Technology Association. He has conducted speaking engagements at Network World, New Jersey Business Summit, New York University Stern School, Business & Technology Manager Forum.

Ms. Tamara Marie – MHA Candidate at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Born in the Nature Isle of Dominica and raised in Saint Lucia, Tamara Marie is the coordinator of a precision medicine sequencing effort at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. She is currently pursuing a Master of Healthcare Administration from Mailman School of Public Health as she believes the operations and management of health programs and systems is crucial in facilitating the innovations that will lead to the improved health outcomes. Tamara is driven by a passion to work with public health systems in the Caribbean and hopes to someday advocate for creative health and non-health related policies that promote the health of diverse populations and underserved communities.

Tamara holds a BA (Cum Laude) in Biological Sciences and has worked as a Medical Technician and a Science teacher in St. Lucia, and a Research Technician in New York. She describes her experience as an educator as pivotal – stating that it bridged a gap between education and health, and ultimately sparked her interest in Public Health.

Having attended all-girls' primary and secondary schools, Tamara is no stranger to the ideology of women empowerment. She hopes to inspire young girls and women, having firsthand knowledge of the importance female mentors and role models to help ideate who you want to become.

Ms. Megan McCoskey, Director of Product for FiscalNote

As a SaaS product leader, Megan has a passion for building relationships to solve problems for users and continually delivering valuable developments to clients. She joined the FiscalNote Research and Development leadership team as director of product in 2018 and led the initiative to integrate the product team and the products themselves following a string of acquisitions.

Prior to joining FiscalNote Megan spent nearly a decade in product management and development for B2B SaaS, news, and advertising products. She worked to develop world-class workflow and issues management tools, grassroots and grasstops digital advocacy products, and even a mobile app for legislative staff to compete to learn the faces of all 535 members of Congress. She is a regular contributor at FiscalNote and CQ thought leadership events.

On her journey to product and technology, Megan had a varied career in customer success, editorial and branding events, political campaigns, and retail merchandising. She earned a BA in political science from the University of Denver.

Ms. On Tim Tang – Management Consultant, Integrated Biometrics

On Tim Tang is a Management Consultant at Integrated Biometrics, which designs and produces FBI-certified fingerprint sensors for law enforcement, military operations, homeland security, national identity, election validation, financial services, and a wide range of commercial applications. Identity management solutions providers, government agencies, and corporations around the world rely on Integrated Biometrics' products to enroll and verify individual identity quickly and accurately, even in remote locations. In her role, On Tim works with teams to develop strategies in pursuit of continuous improvement and long-term planning.

On Tim received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Colgate University in 2017. She has prior experience in consulting, think tanks, nonprofits, legal services, and education. On Tim has lived in six culturally distinct places; Singapore, Hong Kong, rural New York, Washington, D.C., the American Midwest, and the American South. She is drawn to new places, poetry, and candid conversations.

Ms Yvonne Thevenot, M.Ed, Founder and Executive Director, STEM Kids NYC

Ms Thevenot is a native of Springfield, Ohio and is an educator who firmly believes that “education is a form of resistance, and that everyone is a scholar who is capable of learning.” She received her Master in Education from the University of Southern California, specializing in K-12 STEM curriculum and instruction, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from the University of Dayton, where she was a Mead Corporation Minority Scholar and a Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship recipient. She is currently in Teachers College at Columbia University’s Curriculum & Teaching program, where she is researching how STEM curriculum and teaching can promote equity in the classroom for diverse learners.

Yvonne brings over 15 years of experience working in IT, Finance, and Education fields, for companies like Computer Sciences Corporation, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Silicon Valley companies K2 Optronics, Ripple Effects, and NumberSpeak, Inc. (a company she founded). Ms. Thevenot is the former Director of academic programs for Youth On The Move In The Community, a nonprofit based in Harlem, where, she implemented a STEM based afterschool program and day camps, where she taught Scratch, HTML, and co-taught app development and numerous enrichment classes to approximately 60 students over the 2014-15 school years.

Prior to her role as an educator, Yvonne was a leader in corporate America, serving in roles as Systems Programmer and Finance & Planning Analyst for Morgan Stanley in Riverwoods, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) where she designed a system that was awarded Best In Class by Booz Allen Hamilton, Corporate Controller for Business Systems Engineering, Inc. (Chicago), President & CEO of NumberSpeak Inc. (San Francisco & Dallas), and various senior vice president roles at JPMorgan Chase (Hoboken, NJ & New York), where she managed business units with $1.7B assets under management. Yvonne is a hockey mom and devoted friend to many in her communities, and enjoys sailing, interior decorating, and using education as an instrument to erase the cycle of poverty.

Ms. Sabrina Tucker-Barrett, President & CEO, Girls for Technology

Mr. Tucker-Barrett, a native of New London, CT, graduated with a B.A., concentration in Healthcare Administration from Charter Oak State College, and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education. During her younger college years Sabrina worked for AmeriCorps teaching inner-city teens computer skills. Sabrina has always had a passion for helping underrepresented girls strive to reach their full potential. While still in college Sabrina took a proposal writing class, it was through that class that Girls for Technology (GFT) was inspired. After a decade in corporate America in the Health Insurance sector, she felt an inability to make an impact the way she envisioned and Founded GFT.

“Mentoring is very important and through GFT girls will see prominent successful women and exposed to different career paths and most important build a life-long love for technology and engineering.”

Ms. Jo Singel, Author, Speaker, Generative Learning Leader, Founder World+®

Ms. Singel is an Author, Speaker, Generative Learning Leader, Founder, WORLD+®. She is an executive with experience in a variety of Fortune 500 companies, education, health-care, pharmaceutical, biotech, manufacturing, financial services and consulting industries.

Jo is committed leader creating value in uniquely designed experiences ranging from one-on-one coaching and assessment, organizational transformation, multi-cultural and large-group leadership simulations. She is known for being a source of inspiration, empowerment and expansion of mind-set to see and grasp opportunities that are not always visible or believed as possible to attain. Jo received her B.A. in Humanities, New York University and won the Founder's Day Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She was an Adjunct Professor for the School of Continuing Education, Baruch College and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, New York University Entrepreneurial Institute, Stern School of Business.

Musical Interlude Performer Bios:

Mr. Ryan Brahms

Born and raised in New York City, Ryan Brahms always knew music was his calling. Starting at a young age he honed his craft learning classical piano, saxophone, clarinet and guitar. His passion for the creative fuelled a journey that led him to his chosen career as a noted singer, songwriter, producer and musician.

Ryan's proficient talent has afforded him to perform with such incredible legends such as James Brown and Dave Brubeck by the age 19. His earlier songs quickly gained attention by multiple managers and labels in the music Meccas of LA and New York. After relocating to Los Angeles for several years, Ryan recognized what a lot of young artists discover, you need to rely upon yourself. After writing hundreds of songs about his experiences pushing the boundaries of both himself and the world around him.

But in 2013 life came to a devastating halt, while leaving a performance Ryan was brutally attacked and beaten. Hospitalized and requiring reconstructive surgery, a titanium plate was implanted throughout the left side of his face, doctors required his jaw wired shut for two months as well. During this time Ryan was unable to eat, let alone sing. Yet somehow though it all Ryan found his strength and threw himself deeper into song writing. He was able to have a voice and outlet through his music & lyrics.

Ms. Kaori Fujii

Born in Tokyo and currently residing in New York, Ms. Kaori Fujii is one of the leading imaginative and creative flutists ever to come out of the classical Music world. Kaori has performed, toured, and recorded with renowned artists and orchestras worldwide. Kaori has performed in concert halls such as John F. Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Teresa Carreno Theater, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall and Suntory Hall, and has released eight albums, one of which was pre-nominated for the Grammy Awards.

Kaori still holds the record for being the youngest prize-winner for the three biggest music competitions in Japan, which she won consecutively from 1996 to 1998.

As an educator, Kaori has presented clinics and masterclasses for flutists around the world. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, and of the Solistenklasse of the University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, Kaori has studied extensively with Jean‐Claude Gerard, Paul Meisen, Jeannie Baxtresser, Aurele Nicolet, Wolfgang Schulz, Sir James Galway and Akiko Mikami.

In 2014, Kaori has founded Music Beyond, Inc., a non-profit organization that trains and empowers musicians in developing countries. Currently, she frequently visits the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa to teach existing classical musicians.

Mr. Gabriel Mayers

Gabriel Mayers got his start in music by playing in the subways of New York City. In 2012 he was featured in several videos in which he was pictured playing underground. In 2014 Gabriel was asked to fly to Hollywood by Grammy Award Nominee Linda Perry, to star in a reality series about songwriters. In 2016 he was featured in Oscar Nominee Josh Fox’s documentary, ‘How to let go of the world (and love all the things climate can’t change)’, soon after embarking on a nationwide tour. That same year Gabriel’s original song, ‘Sixty Charisma Scented Blackbirds’ would be placed on the Academy Awards shortlist for Best Original Song. It has over 1 million streams worldwide. Gabriel has performed with likes of Nahko (and medicine for the people), Sarah Lee Guthrie, Peter Yarrow, Kyp Malone (of TV on the radio), Francis and the lights and more.

Ms. Barbara Siesel

Barbara Siesel is a flutist, educator, producer and entrepreneur. Her artistic journey to flute mastery has been a spiritual one. On this journey she’s the co-founder of the Award Winning Green Golly Project/Curriculive, an organization established to introduce children to classical music through live interdisciplinary performances, curricula, books, sheet music, flutes and meaningful education. Institutional partners for Green Golly Project/Curriculive have included The Ravinia Festival, the NYU StartED Incubator and The Ars Veritas Foundation.

Siesel has appeared as a flute soloist in the principal halls of China, Korea, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Russia and the United States (including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Adrienne Arsht Center, Ravinia) and given master classes in China, Russia, and Korea. She was flute professor and director of woodwinds and the contemporary ensemble at The New World School of the Arts in Miami and Colby College in Maine as well as lecturing on entrepreneurship at The Juilliard School, NYU and flute festivals throughout the world. A pioneering artist and producer she co-founded ACT (Art Culture & Technology) an organization devoted to helping artists with new technology in performance and production. Siesel commissioned and produced new works for visual artists and composers to access new technology and create new forms that combined composition, performance and visual arts. These works were performed throughout the US and a few are now in the MOMA Library collection. She was also the Artistic Director and Co-founder of the Storm King Music Festival which presented composers at the intersection of new music and new technology, 60 composers over 5 years. Barbara is a founding editor of The Flute View online magazine, a publication that seeks to help flutists navigate the changing music business with articles, interviews, reviews, podcasts, etc.

An advocate for presenting and performing woman composers, Siesel performed at the 1995 UN Woman’s Conference in Beijing, performing 2 recitals of all woman composers, one opening for the legendary singing group “Sweet Honey in the Rock”. Siesel also required and achieved gender parity in all programming at the Storm King Music Festival and commissioned pieces from noted composers Stefania De Kenessey, Elisenda Fabregas, Chen Yi and more.

Siesel has received grants and awards from the NEA, NYSCA, Ars Veritas Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Edward Cone Foundation as well as a 2015 “Deserving Person Award” from the Dr. David Milch Foundation. Her books and CD’s have won a Parent’s Choice Gold award and a Family Choice award and her music editions are all published by the Theodore Presser Company. Siesel is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she received both BM and MM degrees. Recently Ms. Siesel performed and lectured at the James Galway Flute Festival in Switzerland and with Green Golly Project at the Ravinia Festival near Chicago, the Gonjiam Festival in Korea and master classes and recitals in Beijing, China. This summer she will be performing in London and Switzerland and will launch her Spiritual Flute Retreat in Woodstock, NY She plays a 14k gold Arista Flute and lives in NYC with her husband Keith and no pets!

Ms. Piera Van de Wiel

Piera Van de Wiel is a singer and artist and an advocate for change. She started her artist collective Stronger With Music to share the synergy of music and mental health, showing the physiological and psychological benefits of music. After suffering from depression when she was 15 when she lost her best friend, it was music that gave her the ability to find her voice and her strength. She aims to teach young girls and youth that music is a guiding tool for learning about yourself and your mental wellness. She has performed at 54 Below, Jazz at Lincoln Center, West End Lounge, Salvation Army Hall, and is singing at two charity foundations events in New York in the next month, “Applaud Our Kids” and “Barefoot College.”

A brilliant invention stems from one bright idea.

A brilliant invention stems from one bright idea.

Event at United Nations Headquarters - NY

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Djibouti to the UN, in partnership with The Aspire Artemis Foundation, is pleased to be hosting a side event in recognition of International Women's Day. This event reflects the UN’s official theme of “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” with a focus on the inclusion of arts and culture into the current STEM model. It will be held on March 8, 2019 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the United Nations Headquarters in Conference Room 8.

This Event will bring together a dynamic range of powerful trailblazers and changemakers from around the world to elucidate the importance of including arts and culture in STEM education and programming. We live in an increasingly globalized world which requires creativity combined with an interdisciplinary approach. The Aspire Artemis Foundation aims to increase the number and diversity of women and girls exposed to STEM education by highlighting its connection to arts and culture. STEAM is an equalizer and STEAM education has the ability to provide greater and more numerous employment opportunities for young women on a global scale.  


Brief Synopsis of Program Themes:

Thinking Equal: Gender equality in the STEM fields continues to lag, although many initiatives have been developed to achieve a more equal gender balance in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Panel members will be asked to consider the effectiveness of these efforts, and examine the social paradigms that can inhibit, or encourage, equality.

Building Smart: Beyond any structural or social impediments to improving gender equality in STEM, challenges may also remain when it comes to ensuring the quality and availability of training and skills development opportunities. Panel members will consider the challenges associated with technology skills transfers, either through integration into formal education channels or via informal extracurricular activities.

Innovating for Change: Creating a gender equal world requires action and encouragement by many stakeholders, with creativity and innovation. Panel members will consider the new directions that each stakeholder group could take to achieve a gender balance.