May 7, 2015
Vancouver, Canada

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Opening Remarks

Welcoming Comments by The Next Billion Conference Chair, Lisa Wolverton

Session 1

Women & The Bottom Line: Business Sustainability and Growth in the 21st Century Economy

A panel discussion on the meeting’s key themes and explore how different sectors are responding to the rapidly changing role of women in today’s economy.

Session 2

Beyond the Micro: Women as Entrepreneurs

This session focused on the challenges women-owned businesses face and on the business opportunities associated with investing in and providing capital (and other services) to women entrepreneurs.

Session 3

Driving Profit & Innovation By Re-thinking Value Chains

The speakers on this panel discuss the ways in which they have pursued supplier diversity and how doing so has contributed to their bottom line.

Session 4

Supply or Demand? Addressing the Real Obstacles to Diversifying the C-Suite and the Board

In this session, we will explore what is being done to advance women into the executive suite and roadblocks companies face in enacting such change.

Session 5

The Skilled Labor Force of Today & Tomorrow: Keys to Attracting & Retaining Women Employees

This session looks across different industries and geographics to attempt to identify individual policies, educational training and recruitment strategies, and other mechanisms for attracting and retaining skilled talent.

Closing Remarks

Charting a Path for Future Action

The Next Billion Conference draws to a close with remarks from The Next Billion Conference Chair, Lisa Wolverton

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