Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Women’s Leadership Program Graduation Ceremony
November 3, 2022
Ms. Lyndell Danzie-Black, Managing Director of Cerulean Inc. and co-creator of the 25 Influential Women Leaders Award
Ms. Michelle A. Nicholas, Founder and CEO of The NICO Consulting Inc. and co-creator of the 25 Influential Women Leaders Award
Her Excellency Jane Miller, British High Commissioner
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin
Members of the private sector,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! It’s wonderful to be here with you today to celebrate this milestone on the completion of the inaugural “Women’s Leadership Program.” As I think you know by now, I am a big supporter of this phenomenal program. I had the distinct honor of engaging with the graduates early in the program in a fireside chat held at the Ramada Princess Hotel. And, what an incredible conversation that was! Not only was I able to share my perspective and experience on leading from your strengths and creating your personal leadership context, but I was also happy to hear the perspectives of these amazing leaders on Guyana’s future.
Thank you to co-creators Michelle Nicholas and Department of State alumna Lyndell Danzie-Black for the opportunity to engage with this dynamic cohort of women leaders. I applaud your vision and commitment to empower and create an empire of extraordinary women leaders. Lyndell’s and Michelle’s passion for women’s empowerment and guiding them in unlocking their full potential is ever present in the work they do. You have built a network of community — a community that not only supports each other but also supports the development of young girls who aspire to leadership.
Recently, the U.S. Embassy supported a Youth Ambassador Program alumni project in Region 10 entitled “G.I.R.L: Growing Independent Resilient Leaders” a program designed to equip young women, ages 15 – 18 from the Linden/Soesdyke area with the knowledge and skills to be effective leaders and changemakers in their communities. What an inspiring group of young women with a dynamic vision for Guyana’s future! Two of today’s graduates, Ms. Sancha Halley and Ms. Beverly Braithwaite-Chan (pronounced BRAF-FET-CHAN) contributed to the program by sharing their expertise on communication and conflict resolution. Your pearls of wisdom helped these young women to develop a vision for their projects that will benefit their schools and communities. Thank you Sancha and Beverly!
The United States is committed to increasing women’s empowerment through investment, financing, and support to help women realize their full potential and achieve economic empowerment through these and similar initiatives. Women’s meaningful participation is integral to achieving greater security and stability around the world. We’ve all seen the analysis – if we strengthen women’s capabilities and their access to resources, the prospect of leadership roles will be within reach for many more women in the region and across the globe. The United States’ Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) focuses on improving the effectiveness of our foreign policy and assistance efforts across the board by proactively integrating the needs and perspectives of women, and empowering women to contribute their talents and energies to international peace, security, and prosperity.
This was reemphasized during the recently concluded 2022 Caribbean Women, Peace, and Security Conference that included female officers from the Guyana Defense Force and partner nations across fourteen Caribbean nations.
Harassment of women continues to be a challenge both here in Guyana and around the globe. The U.S. is no exception. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to engage with women working in the energy sector. The participants, all of whom have achieved great accomplishments in their respective fields, discussed barriers they faced and possible steps to reduce such hurdles for the next generation of women leaders. One participant told me that her ability to function effectively within the sector was challenged because of her gender. To counter some of these challenges, she recommended that women in the sector lead with their experience and integrity.
We all have a role to play. Men and women alike. Everyone benefits from greater inclusion and gender equity. Our institutions and nations are richer when we ALL have a voice, so I encourage you to build your networks wide and strong.
In closing, I urge you graduates to continue learning, sharing, and growing and do
what you can to help other women from your communities – mentor them- , so that they too can have the opportunity to unlock their full potential and succeed as you have. When we support each other, we all win!
Congratulations and my best wishes to you all.