Ed. Note: This blog is cross posted from The Huffington Post
With a broad smile, and a gleam in her eyes, Ayo Megbope sat beside me, and shared story after story about the humble beginnings of her business, cooking bean cakes in her fourth-floor apartment, wrapping them in banana leaves, and selling them throughout her community in Lagos, Nigeria. It was September of 2009, and we were seated together at the first annual Goldman Sachs “10,000 Women” Dinner in New York City. Ayo was one of the first graduates of the 10,000 Women program, which helps women entrepreneurs around the world obtain the training and access to capital they need to turn their business dreams into reality.
Almost exactly four years later, I was back in New York City, forging partnerships, and working to secure new public and private sector commitments to promote the success and empowerment of women and girls.
My first stop was to co-host a United Nations General Assembly event with Secretary of State, John Kerry, and U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues Cathy Russell, marking the one year anniversary of the day former Secretary Hillary Clinton and I launched the Equal Futures Partnership. Equal Futures was developed in response to President Obama’s call at the 2011 UN General Assembly, for his fellow heads of state to join him in breaking down economic and political barriers that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential.