For the past six months, groundbreaking businesswomen and gender advocates from around the world have flocked to Dubai for the international Women’s Pavilion, an ongoing conference and gala on women’s rights. The Women’s Pavilion is a component of the world’s fair, Expo 2020, which was originally slated to begin two years ago but was postponed because of the pandemic.
Northeastern’s Women Who Empower initiative was included on the guest list of noteworthy organizations invited to the global event. Its founder, Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement, was invited to participate in the pavilion, which was sponsored in large part by Cartier’s Women’s Initiative, by Mercedes Abramo, the chief executive of Cartier’s North American division.
Over the years, MacGillivray has forged relationships with members of Cartier’s gender-equality initiative. In 2020, Abramo spoke during the Women Who Empower Leadership Series, and last year, Cartier contributed to the Women Who Empower Innovators Awards fund, which distributed $100,000 among 19 female business leaders associated with Northeastern.
“We’re so excited to be here because everything this pavilion stands for is in line with our mission with Women Who Empower,” MacGillivray says. The slogan of the Women’s Pavilion was: When women thrive, humanity thrives.
“Being here has allowed us to connect members of the Northeastern community to the global community of people who care about enhancing the next generation of women who will be innovators and entrepreneurs,” she says.
MacGillivray launched Women Who Empower in 2013 with the generous support of Northeastern trustee and chair emeritus Henry Nasella in an effort to acknowledge and celebrate women for their leadership. The program has grown over the years to include entrepreneurial support, mentorship, and global events that bring together outstanding talent from industries around the world.
MacGillivray attended the Women’s Pavilion with Betsy Ludwig, the executive director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, an offshoot of Women Who Empower. During the three days that the women were at the conference in Dubai, they listened to speakers address wide-reaching topics such as how the pandemic has set back gender equality, and how clean drinking water can empower women.
“We’ve heard from women such as the prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Meta,” MacGillivray says. “The most inspiring stories have come from Cartier’s Women’s Initiative fellows who have so many inspiring ideas about health care and business strategies for women.”
“Meeting the people here has really energized our efforts with Women Who Empower,” MacGillivray says. “We’re always trying to find more ways for our students and alums to be part of communities like this, and the pavilion was such an incredible opportunity to grow those connections.”