Women Leaders in Global Health Conference

Day 1

Opening & Reimagining Leadership: An Interview with The First Lady of Namibia, Madame Monica Geingos

This conversation focuses on what leading “fearlessly and unapologetically” means, how we can rethink traditional ideas of leadership, and how to advance the widespread empowerment and representation of African women leaders at all levels of the global health field.

Featuring H.E. Monica Geingos, First Lady, Republic of Namibia, interviewed by Tumi Makgabo, South African Journalist, Broadcaster, and Entrepreneur.

Redefining Leadership Through the Lens of Today’s Decision Makers

Panelists identify and explore practical, tangible steps to reimagine how those in power lead. The session articulates the current limitations of conventionally-defined leadership, explore the gendered perceptions of leadership traits and envision leadership qualities that better represent all of us.

  • Barkha Dutt, Editor-in-Chief, Mojo Story (moderator)
  • Hadiqa Bashir, Founder, Girls United for Human Rights
  • Julie Mwabe, Gender Advisor, Executive Office of the President, Kenya
  • Ms. Jedidah Lemaron, Founder and Executive Director of Malkia Initiative Geeta Rao Gupta, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation

Community Health Workers & COVID 19

The session highlights how female community health workers play a key role as grassroots leaders in South Asia and Africa, the common struggles they face, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives.

  • Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director, HIV, Health and Development Group, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, UNDP (moderator)
  • Shivani Mehta, Executive Director, CORO
  • Schola Matovu, Assistant Professor, University of Utah College of Nursing
  • Kaveri Mayra, Board Member, Human Rights in Childbirth
  • Marion Subah, Liberia Country Director, Last Mile Health

Closing the STEM Leadership Gap in Africa

Panelists share their experiences as researchers and leaders in science; discuss the unique barriers that African women in STEM face today – from limited resources, to stereotypes and regressive norms — and highlight what it will look like to reimagine leadership and close the gender gap in the field.

  • Dr. Ngozi Erondu, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House Centre for Global Health Security (moderator)
  • Dr. Ify Aniebo, Senior Research Scientist, Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation & Founder, Afroscientric
  • Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 6th President, Republic of Mauritius
  • Dr. Francine Ntoumi, Founder, Chair and Executive Director of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research
  • Dr. Salim Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa

Exploring your identity on the path to Authentic Leadership

Workshop led by Dr. Shelley Thompkins, Senior Faculty – Center for Creative Leadership.

Poetry Reading by Koleka Putuma at WLGH 2021: You Built This Country With Your Movements Too

  • Koleka Putuma, Award-Winning Poet

‘I am if we are’: A Conversation with Rising Women Leaders on Inventing the Future of Leadership

In this conversation co-hosted by Akili Dada and Global Health Corps, young leaders weigh in on the power of a networked, collective leadership approach to catalyze a sea change in closing the gender gap.

  • Dr. Angela Gichaga, CEO of the Financing Alliance for Health (moderator)
  • Alice Bayingana, Rwanda Program Officer – Global Health Corps
  • Constancia Mavodza, Process Evaluation Research Fellow, Biomedical Research and Training Institute/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Muchunku Kawira, Programs Lead at Dada STEM, Kenya
  • Susan Lankisa, Community Development Worker, Collaboration of Women in Development (CWID), Kenya

Women-Led Movements: Challenging Power and Privilege for Gender in Equity in Health

This session hosts women leaders from Women in Global Health chapters across the globe to share knowledge, experiences and ideas on women’s leadership in health and how women’s movements can collectively organize for gender-responsive health systems and gender equity in health.
  • Mwende Muya, Chapter Development Manager at Women in Global Health
  • Tikhala Itaye, Gender and Health Specialist (moderator)
  • Dr. Nicole Mbarga, WGH Cameroon
  • Becca Reisdorf, Co-founder of Women in Global Health Chile
  • Dr. Choolwe Jacobs, WGH Zambia Chapter Director and Academician/Researcher at the School of Public Health, University of Zambia
  • Dr. Preethi John, Director, Chitkara Global Health Institute, WGH India co-founder

Inclusive Leadership and How Best to Foster It

Workshop led by Miriam Fugfugosh, Leadership Solutions Associate, Center for Creative Leadership

WLGH 2021 Day 1 Closing Spotlights Featuring Hema Budaraju and Sanda Ojiambo

  • Hema Budaraju, General Manager – Health Vertical, Google Search
  • Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director, UN Global Compact

Day 2

Opening & Paving the Way in Biotech: A Conversation with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

The conversation explores how Kiran has navigated a male-dominated industry to become a trailblazer in biotechnology, her approach to leadership and her advocacy work.

  • Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics
  • Barkha Dutt, Editor-in-Chief, Mojo Story (interviewer)

Women Scientists on the Forefront of COVID-19 Research

The discussion focuses on how the pandemic has changed expectations of leadership, and the role leaders play in ensuring research outcomes are equitable and inclusive. Panelists share their personal experiences in research and speak to leadership traits and qualities that they have found helpful during the crisis.

  • Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group Chief Executive Officer, Amref Health Africa (moderator)
  • Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Professor at Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Christian Medical College, India
  • Dr. Shikoh Gitau, Computer scientist, member of Kenyan COVID-19 Data Modelling committee
  • Susan Silbermann, Independent Board Director, Business Advisor

Why it Will Take Women’s Leadership to End Malaria

This panel discusses how increasing women’s leadership in the malaria fight is essential to accelerating progress and ending the disease for all. Drawing on their expertise as researchers, health workers, practitioners, leaders and advocates, panelists speak to the impact that their lived experiences have made in the malaria fight and the potential that intentionally increasing women’s full participation in the malaria fight can have.

  • Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa (moderator)
  • Dr. Corine Karema, Senior Malaria Expert, Quality & Equity HealthCare
  • Mambwe Kabaso, VectorLink Zambia Operations Manager
  • Dr. Matoke-Muhia, Programme Manager, Capacity Building and Gender mainstreaming at the Pan African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA)
  • Dr. Gomez-Diaz, Distinguished Researcher, IPBLN-CSIC

Finding the Balance: Innovative Approaches to Care

This session focuses on the critical role that affordable, quality child care plays in achieving gender parity in leadership roles and examines strategies and policy solutions to support women in the workforce.

  • Dr. Anita Zaidi, President of the Gender Equality Division and Director of Vaccine Development, Global Health Surveillance, Diarrhea and Enteric Diseases at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mirian Jugheli, Co-Founder, MenCare Georgia
  • Dr. Chavi Eve Karkowsky, Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist
  • Dr. Patricia Kitsao-Wekulo, Associate Research Scientist, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
  • Sumitra Mishra, Executive Director, Mobile Creches, India

Social Media, Storytelling & Systems Thinking: Women who unbuild walls & amplify their voices

Attendees experience real-life campaign examples led by women who demonstrated systems thinking and amplified their stories online and offline.

  • Shalini Menon, Global Director of Training, Change.org Foundation


Poetry Reading by Swastika Jajoo: If A Bra Strap Could Talk

  • Swastika Jajoo, Award-Winning Poet

Shifting the Power: Reimagining Philanthropy in Pursuit of Global Equity

This session led by Co-Impact takes a critical look at how some philanthropic organizations are responding to calls for advancing gender equality in global health and shifting the balance of power into the hands of diverse leaders more closely aligned with the communities funders aim to reach.
  • Dr. J. Jarpa Dawuni, Associate Professor of Political Science, Howard University (moderator)
  • Yasmin Madan, Director of Programs, Co-Impact
  • Sarah K. Henry, Executive Director, Global Center for Gender Equality, Pediatrics – Neonatology ​​
  • Nachiket Mor, PhD, Visiting Scientist, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health

The Power of Communications: Making Science Accessible

In this partner-led panel by Just Human Productions, panelists speak about who they are, how they got involved in science communication, and what that looks like.

  • Dr. Celine Gounder, CEO/President/Founder of Just Human Productions (Moderator)
  • Dr. Stella Safo, Founder and Executive Director Just Equity for Health
  • Dr. Syra Madad, Senior Director, System-wide Special Pathogens Program, NYC Health + Hospitals, Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  • Dr. Mati Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis
  • Dr. Ebony Hilton, Co-Founder and Medical Director of GOODSTOCK Consulting, LLC

WLGH 2021: Leadership Storytelling Workshop

This interactive workshop led by Global Health Corps is designed to introduce participants to the concept of leadership storytelling — the idea that stories can and should be used effectively and powerfully by leaders to motivate and inspire, galvanize, and deliver results.

  • Heather Anderson, CEO, Global Health Corps
  • Ruth Achillah, Director of Fellowships, Global Health Corps
  • Brittany Cesarini, Director of Communications, Global Health Corps
  • Bailey Borchardt, Communications Associate, Global Health Corps
  • Mweene Chibbonta, Zambia Program and Operations Coordinator, Global Health Corps

Sexual and Reproductive Health: Broadening Access During COVID-19 and Beyond

Panelists explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing reproductive health barriers for millions of women, girls and gender non-conforming people around the world and will speak to concrete methods and solutions to overcome historic and recent challenges in order to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights are protected.

  • Dr. Namwinga Chintu, Africa Partnership Director, WomenLift Health (moderator)
  • Latanya Mapp Frett, President & CEO, Global Fund for Women
  • Mehreen Shahid, Founder and Chairperson, Safe Delivery Safe Mother
  • Diana Abou Abbas, Global Activist and SRHR Specialist
  • Margaret Bolaji-Adegbola, Executive Director/Founder, Stand With A Girl Initiative

WLGH 2021 Day 2 Closing Spotlights Featuring Suhasini Haidar, Fidji Simo & Laura Pace

  • Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Editor of The Hindu
  • Fidji Simo, CEO, Instacart; Co-founder, Women in Product; Co-founder, Metrodora Institute
  • Dr. Laura Pace, CEO, Metrodora Institute