Event Included a Conversation with Three of the Top Voices in International Trade  – All of Whom are Women of Color

WASHINGTON, DC — Women Business Collaborative (WBC), the leading non-profit alliance advancing equal position, pay, and power for women in business presented its 2024 Trailblazer in Gender Equity and Diversity Award to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), at its annual award ceremony kicking off Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on Friday, January 12, 2024. The ceremony occurred at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

Led by Women Business Collaborative CEO Gwen K. Young, the ceremony brought together leaders and influencers from various industries across Washington to celebrate of the trailblazing career of Dr. Ngozi, the first woman and first African to head the WTO.

Following the presentation of the award, Dr. Ngozi and Ms. Young were joined in conversation by U.S. Export-Import Bank President and Chair of the Board, The Honorable Reta Jo Lewis, and the Director of the United States Trade and Development Agency Director, The Honorable Enoh Ebong. 

The panel conversation highlighted the need to continue elevating more women in leadership including negotiating trade agreements and integrating women into value and supply chains to advance equality and boost GDP. Both Young and Dr. Ngozi noted that digital technology is transforming industries and the economy as business growth and development become more global.  The panel discussed how women-owned businesses’ growth impacts global trade and how to close the financing gap for women. USTDA Director Ebong discussed how global infrastructure projects must consider women. The panel also emphasized the importance and need for building a truly inclusive economy.

“We need to work together to reimagine what trade can and should look like to ensure a prosperous, inclusive global trade environment for everyone, said Young. “A reimagined trade approach must include women – women in leadership, women as part of value chains, women as part of the workforce, women in government.” 

The Trailblazer in Gender Equity and Diversity Award, an annual accolade bestowed by Women Business Collaborative, celebrates individual leaders who actively demonstrate a commitment to implementing innovative change for others and their communities. Previous honorees have included Geena Davis, Judy Woodruff, Sheila C. Johnson, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Indra Nooyi.

For more information about Women Business Collaborative, visit wbcollaborative.org.

About Women Business Collaborative

Women Business Collaborative (WBC) is an unprecedented alliance of more than 80+ women’s business organizations and hundreds of business leaders building a movement to achieve equal position, pay, and power for all women in business. Through collaboration, advocacy, action, and accountability, they mobilize thousands of diverse professional women and men, business organizations, and public and private companies to accelerate change. For more information on the Women Business Collaborative, visit wbcollaborative.org.


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