One of the many perks of being stationed in New York City is the numerous business luncheons and social benefits I get invited to as a representative member of the military. Often times local businesses and organizations want to include the military as part of their honoree or awards functions, sometimes even honoring military members as awardees. This past Wednesday's Women of Concern annual awards luncheon was such an event I found especially enlightening.
Concern Worldwide, I learned this week, is an NGO dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world's poorest countries. Their work for displaced women and children in the Darfur region of Sudan was highlighted at the awards luncheon, as Ernst and Young's Global Vice Chair Beth Brooke and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairperson of the American Ireland Fund, were honored.
I considered myself very fortunate to be included as a guest to this luncheon because I was reminded of just how important it is for our government to foster diplomacy in troubled regions of the globe by leveraging closely coordinated relationships with not-for-profit organizations and NGOs. During her speech, Brooke spoke of how great business leaders today understand that companies, NGOs and organizations around the world need to work together for all societies, big and small. She then followed with a comparison of statistics involving strategic investments in women -- domestically, if a business invests in women at the top of their organizational structure, those institutions perform financially better than those that do not; globally, it's proven that if you invest in women of third world countries, those women turn around 90 percent of their earnings and feed it back into their societies. Brooke concluded her remarks by saying that now, in today's financially troubled times, is an opportunity to collaborate and invest in an improved business model, leveraging diversity.
An impressive and uplifting notion, indeed.