Air Date

February 28, 2024

Featured Guests

Scarlet Cronin
Vice President for the Americas & Global Strategy, Tent Partnership for Refugees

Sandi Hendry
Founder & Owner, Minky Couture

Dekonti Mends-Cole
Executive Director, Head of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Initiatives for Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase


Michelle Russo
Chief Communications Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Across the country, women are underrepresented at the highest ranks of business and in their access to capital and wealth-building. During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 14th Annual International Women's Day Forum, Michelle Russo, chief communications officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke with three inspiring panelists on the significant role corporations and small businesses play in promoting economic opportunities for women.

Empowering Women in the Workforce and Beyond

Throughout the discussion, speakers emphasized the interconnectedness of business and societal challenges, particularly in elevating women's economic roles.

Dekonti Mends-Cole, head of diversity equity and inclusion initiatives for corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase, highlighted the effectiveness of targeted support and the ripple effect that investing in women has on their communities: "We know that if we want to change the trajectory of households, we need to target women specifically, and ensure that our unique solutions and strategies are meeting and investing in women and not just changing their households but transforming their communities.”

Sandi Hendry, owner and founder of Minky Couture, spoke to the power of entrepreneurial spirit and the importance of pursing personal ambitions regardless of one’s stage in life, stating, "Dreams and passions don't have an expiration date... You can fulfill your dream, your passion.”

Opportunities Amid Global Conflict

Scarlet Cronin, vice president for the Americas and global strategy at Tent Partnership for Refugees, addressed the challenges of women from conflict zones, emphasizing their resilience and ambition: "We are looking at an issue that is immensely solvable based on the fact that we know women, no matter where they're from, are resilient, ambitious, driven.” This perspective shed light on the potential for global economic empowerment of women, even in the face of significant obstacles.

A Call to Action for Continuous Improvement

The session concluded with a collective call to action to foster an ecosystem conducive to women thriving.  

“You have to listen to your voice, your gut, your head, your heart. And you just need to move forward,” Hendry shared. “If you know it's going to work or if you feel like there's even a slightest chance, you have to just keep plugging along."

“Every door that I can open I'll open it. I'll push it open on behalf of women,” said Mends-Cole.