May 7, 2015
Vancouver, Canada

About Us

Lisa Wolverton, Chair
The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future

Lisa is a co-owner of Wolverton Securities Ltd, a family-owned brokerage firm in Vancouver, Canada. Lisa is also involved in the operations of the Pacific Investment Corporation, a family-owned, private real estate holdings and investment company. She is an active philanthropist that invests in issues relating to women and children.

Lisa Wolverton is the Founder and President of the small, Canadian non-profit GenerationChild. GenerationChild provides funding to small community-based organizations geared to aiding projects that directly improve the lives of women and children in critical states of need.

Lisa has recently formed a new initiative-Women in the Economy Ltd.-to create a platform for global C-Suite-level business leaders to engage in a candid, results-oriented set of discussions that will focus not only on the challenges they face in today’s economy, but also on the sharing of practical approaches to these problems. Many of these solutions will involve rethinking the role of women in the global economy. This initiative begins with the international, precedent-setting conference, “The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future.”

Lisa serves on the board of UNICEF Canada. She is also acting as the Managing Director of the Wolverton Foundation. Within this role, she spearheaded a $7.5 million grant project provided to the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, a school that provides free music lessons to marginalized youth in East Vancouver. This grant included the purchase and complete renovation of a Vancouver building, in order to provide a permanent home for the school.

Lisa has also sat on the board of Unicef Canada for six years and is currently on the President’s Council of the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. She is also a member of the Institute of Philanthropy in London, England.



Eric S. Nonacs, Senior Advisor
The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future

Eric Nonacs is an independent consultant whose expertise is in building results-oriented collaborations among and between the private sector, governments, philanthropy, and NGOs to address global challenges such as climate change, pandemic disease, poverty, and economic inequality.  Eric’s most recent role was as Vice President for Alliances and Partnerships at the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Previously, Eric was the Managing Director for Global Affairs at Endeavour Financial, a merchant bank based in Vancouver, Canada.  Concurrently, he served as a Senior Advisor to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a position he still holds today.  From June 2002 until August 2007, he was the Foreign Policy Advisor to President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.  Throughout his career, Eric has developed organizations and programs supporting sustainable economic and social development, conflict resolution, increased access to health services, food security, and climate change mitigation across Africa, Europe, North America, and Latin America.

Eric holds an AB from the University of Chicago, an MA from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from New York University.  He is the Chairman of Building Markets, the President of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), and a member of the Advisory Council of the Clinton Global Initiative.  Eric is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Sue Bauman, Committee Member
The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future

Sue Bauman has close to forty years’ service both as a professional and volunteer in the non-profit sector. In June of 2012, her passion for the advancement of the rights of women and children in legal and social systems was recognized and a fund was established in her name to support prevention and intervention services for women and children who are victims of violence. Sue continues to champion increasing evidence that demonstrates the economic empowerment of women leads to a reduction in domestic violence.

Sue’s past achievements in British Columbia include six years as the Executive Director of Family Services of the North Shore, the implementation of the first transition house in Kelowna, the development of the Court watch Program, the implementation of the Domestic Violence Project, the implementation of the award winning I hope family centre, and the development of Jessie’s Legacy, a provincial program for the prevention of eating disorders.

Sue is an active volunteer. She served six years as a BC Government appointment to the Vancouver Police Board and is currently a Board member of the Wolverton Family Foundation, which is dedicated to elevating the exposure of children across British Columbia to the arts and facilitating artistic programs for those who would otherwise be excluded from these opportunities. She also serves on the Board of Generation i Foundation, which provides global funding to small community-based organizations to facilitate projects that directly improve the lives of vulnerable children.



Maria Ebrahimji
The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future

Maria Ebrahimji is journalist, strategist, speaker, and independent consultant passionate about storytelling and talent development. As a former executive at CNN, she led a team in guest coverage, newsgathering, and story planning for CNN’s special events, breaking news, and multi-platform programming. Maria has produced live events with luminaries and newsmakers – during breaking news and in the backdrop of major global events. A vocal advocate for diversity in all its forms, Maria played an instrumental role on CNN’s Diversity Council, serving as its Vice Chair for several years and shaping strategy in the areas of marketplace, content, workplace, and workforce.

In 2012, Maria co-founded I Speak for Myself, Inc. (ISFM), a book publishing enterprise that produces narrative collections focused on faith and culture.  To date, ISFM has published five volumes in the series, with two more to be published in 2015.

Maria currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Press Club and Community Guilds and as an advisor to Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta, Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, and the National Center for Civil & Human Rights. She is a member of the World Affairs Council, the Georgia Diversity Council, and the Asian American Journalists Association. You will always find her at the intersection of people and ideas…or on a yoga mat!



Linda Roth
The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future

Linda Roth is an award winning journalist and skilled media executive with expertise in crisis communications, breaking news management and cross platform storytelling.

For over a decade, she was Wolf Blitzer’s most trusted producer at CNN, relied upon to manage every aspect of his editorial projects, trips and top newsmaker interviews.

She is the recipient of a 2012 Emmy award for her work on CNN’S “Election Night in America,” continuous election night coverage that crushed the competition in the ratings.

Roth was also Emmy nominated that year for producing in Israel during rocket attacks from Gaza. In 2014, she returned to report on renewed conflict, producing over six hours of live television a day; securing a television exclusive inside Hamas tunnels under Israel; and executing a news making interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For eight years she was the executive producer of “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” CNN’s two-hour Sunday political talk show.

Her experience leads to a deep reservoir of contacts in government, politics, media and entertainment, both domestically and abroad. She has a masterful understanding of the 24/7 news cycle; success in managing people in dynamic, often chaotic, environments; an acute ability to master complex topics quickly and making deadline decisions.

Roth is passionate about international development and foreign affairs. In May 2014, she was chosen as a Fulbright Specialist in Journalism to teach best practices and press freedom to professional journalists in Pakistan. She has volunteered her time to work with at-risk children at an NGO in Ethiopia and in Haiti, where she helped build a house for a family in need.

Roth began her career at CNN headquarters in Atlanta and has worked in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC.


Why This Issue?

Societies and companies, in particular, can—and must—integrate women economically if they are to remain competitive in the longer term. Why? It pays dividends, and some of the most influential companies in the world are paying attention. Unilever has opened markets and increased sales in India through female sales forces. Walmart has understood the benefits of including women in their supply chains. Coca Cola will be engaging over 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020 to increase market share. Over the next decade, the economic impact of women will be at least as significant as that of China and India’s respective 1 billion plus populations. Simply put investing in women—in the work force, supply chains, and as consumers—is good business, and those firms that learn how to operationalize this understanding will be poised to thrive in the coming years. Learn more

Why should you attend?

This unique gathering will bring together senior-level corporate leaders from throughout Canada, United States, Europe and Asia to discuss practical ways in which women-- as consumers and employees, entrepreneurs and executives--are critical to the continuing success of companies in today’s competitive, international economy. Learn more

Why is this conference unique?

There is no shortage of evidence to suggest that focusing on innovative ways to address the challenges faced by women and girls will lead to better health and education systems, and safer, stronger communities for all people living in the developing and developed world. This conference will devote its primary focus to the economic potential of the next billion women on the planet.

While most discussions of women and girls understandably focus on the social and health benefits of greater inclusiveness, relatively less time has been dedicated to the important question of the critical role that women—as customers and employees, executives and entrepreneurs—are currently playing in transforming the global economy. A number of the world’s largest companies are moving beyond rhetoric and recognizing the link between the economic engagement of women and the bottom line. We believe that this issue will only be taken seriously by the private sector when it informs day-to-day business operations and is grounded in the unsentimental realities of the balance sheet. Learn more