Michelle A. Nicholas, New York-based founder and CEO of The NICO Consulting, Inc, and co-creator of Guyana’s 25 Influential Women Leaders, recently, launched the Women’s Leadership Program (WLP), during a recent reception at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel under the theme ‘Creating an Empire of Women Leaders.’
Nicholas told Caribbean Life that the program, with the mission of advancing and developing talented women across practices, roles, and locations, reflects 25IWLA’s ongoing commitment to supporting women at all stages of their careers.
Nicholas expressed confidence that the participants will discover how to navigate and leverage internal and external networks, participate in peer coaching and engage in community service and community-building activities.
“The Women’s Leadership Program is a community, not a classroom,” Nicholas said. “We are at the beginning of the building of a movement, the assembling of a force to be reckoned with as we tap into the immense knowledge, experience and capabilities of these outstanding women and come out on the other side of this journey of self-discovery and fortification of the strengths inherent in each through supportive efforts and expert executive mentoring,” she noted.
“I look forward with pleasure to the completion of this initial growth process, where we will have added another cohort of stronger and more empowered women to this empire of women leaders.”
Recognizing the need for initiatives such as the Women’s Leadership Program, members of the national, international, and corporate community joined and shared their commitment to the advancement of gender equity and women’s leadership in Guyana.
Nicholas, along with Lyndell Danzie-Black, and managing director, Cerulean Incorporated, and co-creator — said the Women’s Leadership Program, a 10-month imitative will address the issue of women’s historical under-representation in leadership positions.
With a cohort of only 25 women annually, the program will provide a safe space, mentors, training, opportunities, networking, and a community for its participants to be and feel empowered as they create positive change in themselves and the world, she said.
“Women are the driving force behind our economics and enabling the growth of one woman can impact the lives of many more. It is an honor to further impact the lives of women through the WLP, particularly now as women are taking the lead in adjusting to the new normal by finding innovative and profitable ways to keep on serving and elevating their communities,” said Lyndell Danzie-Black.
Guest speaker at the launch, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, encouraged the beginning of the conversation on gender equity among girls and boys.
“There has to be change in perspective by the men who are around us, who support us and lead with us, that must also be for her,” she said. Senator Cummins, while sharing experiences as a woman professional, said that there was excellence and leadership in women, and it was on the basis of merit, performance, and capabilities.
“We are supporting women in the transformation of every aspect of our society because this is important.” Continuing the focus on supporting programs like WLP, she called upon the gathering to effect change in schools, businesses, policies with the view of mainstreaming women in leadership and development in every society and sector. “Women are being empowered to lead and being given agency to use and own their voice,” said Cummins.
H.E. Jane Miller, OBE, British High Commissioner to Guyana built on her address given to the awardees in October of 2021, adding three concepts to her previous exhortation of claiming their seat at the table, calling other women out by acknowledging and rewarding their valuable contributions and seeking mentorship to grow leadership.
She encouraged the participants of the Women’s Leadership Program to “embrace and celebrate your leadership, keep learning, and look after your friends and yourself. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Surround yourself with people with different views.”
H.E. Sarah-Ann Lynch, ambassador of the USA to Guyana, lauded the co-creators of the program for their continued investment in women leaders, sharing that in her travels across Guyana she had the privilege of meeting many outstanding women, and she was now proud to see this group of women brought together to improve on their already outstanding achievements. The ambassador shared that investing in women has local, national and global effects.
“Personal and professional development cannot be an individual responsibility. It must come from a supportive environment that motivates people to perform at their highest level,” said Lynch.
Welcoming the chance to continue the EU’s support of the women in Guyana, H.E. Fernando Ponz Cantó, ambassador of the European Union to Guyana shared his excitement for the launch of the program. “There needs to be a fair playing ground and will only exist when women are not treated differently for being women and treated equally to men,” he said. Expressing the commitment of the EU, Ambassador Cantó was proud of its external support program that empowers the development of women in countries such as Guyana.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud assured the participants of the support of the ministry, stating that this support will be provided through tangible means. She congratulated the co-creators for their work to empower Guyanese women and encouraged all women to “be fearless, have confidence in yourself. Use your voices not only for yourself but for those who will come after you and be on your journey with you.”
The curated sessions will explore critical areas that include access to networks, leadership and social equity, executive presence and more, all aimed at building new and strengthened relationships internally and externally. Fostering an instant community, it will bring together thoughtful-and-inspirational leaders in relevant fields who are ready to transform and impact the lives of the women participating.
To learn more, go to [email protected]