Women’s History Month Celebration


“Leadership Initiatives of Women World Leaders”

AAFSW Webinar via Zoom

Tuesday, March 23, at 11:00 a.m.


The Associates of the American foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) cordially invites you to our twelfth annual Women’s History Month panel discussion entitled “Leadership Initiatives of Women World Leaders” Please join us for this interesting Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, March 23, at 11:00 a.m.

The event celebrates and promotes women’s history and empowerment, recognizing the important role that women have been playing in our society throughout the centuries, demonstrating their exceptional vision and leadership in all spheres.

The panel discussion will feature highly accomplished women who have contributed to advancing women’s causes in important ways: Edie Fraser is the President & CEO of the Women’s Business Collaborative (WBC).  WBC is an unprecedented alliance of the most powerful professional women’s organizations. Ms. Fraser is also the Founder and CEO of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors (MWM). Maria Cavalcanti is President and CEO of Pro Mujer. She joined Pro Mujer in 2016, bringing over 25 years of professional experience advancing women and working with a wide range of business and non-profit organizations across Latin America, the United States, Western Europe, and India

If you would like to join this Zoom webinar, please RSVP to office@aafsw.org and provide your email address. We welcome donations to defray the cost of Zoom. Go to https://www.aafsw.org/ and click on the donate button on the right sidebar.


Edie Fraser

Edie Fraser is the President & CEO of the Women’s Business Collaborative.  WBC is an unprecedented alliance of the most powerful professional women’s organizations. Associations, corporations, researchers and the media who have pledged to work together in a coordinated and collaborative fashion to accelerate the achievement of parity for businesswomen.  WBC is a solution based non-profit tax-exempt “accelerator” organization.  We are #WBCFasterTogether.

Ms. Fraser is also the Founder and CEO of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors(MWM). She also serves as Vice Chair of the leading executive search firm and the largest woman-owned executive search firm, Diversified Search LLC. She has served for three years as the first woman Chair of the World Affairs Council DC, and a founding member of C200 and a supporter and honoree of many organizations.

 Million Women Mentors(MWM) was established to change the career opportunities for girls and women and in the first 20-month period gained 800,000 pledges to mentor at least 20 hours a year. Most states are engaged as are 67 women’s and girls’ organizations and major companies and higher education as well as an Entrepreneurship Initiative.

STEMconnector® is a consortium of over 160 companies, associations, academic institutions and government entities actively engaged with STEM education and careers and with the future of human capital. With several products and services, STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link “all things STEM.” STEMconnector’s® network includes organizations at the global, national, state and local levels. STEMconnector® focuses on the STEM workforce and jobs as we focus on STEM 2.0 with skills to jobs, partnerships and place a particular emphasis on diversity and women.

Edie is a strong leader, champion and engager of others to build initiatives where employers and stakeholders find value. STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors® programs use metrics to show outreach and impact out to millions and practice strategic engagement of business, government, education and non-profits to work to engage to gain access to good jobs. Edie is known as a strong leader, champion of diversity, and entrepreneur. Edie first entered the world of entrepreneurship as Founder and CEO of Public Affairs Group where she worked with more than 250 Fortune companies and government agencies, advancing best practice programs on women and diversity leadership.

Edie founded Diversity Best Practices and the Business Women’s Network. She has also written and published multiple books and articles around diversity best practices. Edie is author of Do Your Giving While You’re Living and Advancing a Jobs Driven Economy and now Women’s Quick Facts.

Over her extensive career, Edie has received 52 awards for her work in leadership, innovation, diversity, women, entrepreneurship, and communications. She has also appeared on the cover of multiple magazines. In 2015, Edie was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame for her life’s work in advancing women in the workplace and a recipient of the Diversity Woman Mosaic Award.

Edie graduated with Honors from Duke University. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband of 36 years, Joe L. Oppenheimer.


Maria Cavalcanti

Maria Cavalcanti is President and CEO of Pro Mujer, and an internationally recognized speaker on impact investing, women’s empowerment and financial inclusion.  With over 25 years of professional experience advancing women, Maria leads Pro Mujer in sustainable growth, developing an extended, large-scale platform to empower women throughout Latin America.

Prior to joining Pro Mujer in 2016, Maria worked with a wide range of business and non-profit organizations across Latin America, U.S.A., Western Europe, and India. Maria co-founded and became managing partner of FIRST Impact Investing, a private equity fund in Brazil.  Prior to FIRST, she served as Chief Strategy Officer for Fundación Avina, where she spearheaded strategy and operational initiatives across the organization, spanning 15 countries. Earlier in her career, Maria worked at Dell Inc. where she was closely involved in the company’s expansion into Latin America.  She previously served as a management consultant with A. T. Kearney and TPI.

In addition to speaking at leading events, including the Women Deliver, Fortune Conferences, and the World Economic Forum, Maria has authored multiple trade and academic articles.  In 2019, she was named among Apolitical’s Gender Equality Top 100: The Most Influential People in Global Policy.  She has served on international boards, including the Equality Fund, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, PYME Capital Fund, and FUNDES.  Maria currently serves as Board member on Equality Fund, a consortium of Canadian and international organizations, and since 2017, Maria has served as Co-chair of Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion

Maria holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas in Austin, a Master of Science in Information Science from Columbia University in New York, and a Bachelor of Arts from Universidade Federal do Ceará in Brazil.  She is based in New York City.


Karen O’Connor

Karen O’Connor is the Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science at American University, where she previously served as Chair of the Department of Government. She is an expert on American politics, the courts, women and politics, and interest group politics. Along with Larry J. Sabato, she is the author of the best-selling American Politics textbook in the U.S., now in preparation for its 14th edition. Named in 2010 – 2016 by the Irish Times as one of America’s top 100 Irish lawyers (along with Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy), O’Connor twice headed the American Political Science Association’s Organized Research Section on Law and Courts. She has also testified before both the House and Senate judiciary committee subcommittees on the Constitution on the issue of reproductive rights, an area in which she has published extensively. She has also briefed various members of Congress on women’s issues including Title IX. She is currently working on a study of presidential electors based on original survey data provided electors in the 2004 – 2016 presidential elections.

She is the founder and former director of the American University’s Women & Politics Institute, which she headed for eleven years, while also serving six years as editor of Women & Politics and as president of the APSA’s Organized Research section on Women and Politics. Additionally, O’Connor served as president of the national and southern Women’s Caucus for Political Science. O’Connor is the coauthor of the leading textbook on women and politics, now in its 5th edition. She’s been the editor of several books on women and politics, most recently, the two-volume Sage Handbook on Gender and Leadership, which contains more than 100 commissioned chapters on a range of women’s leadership issues from international relations, comparative politics, and American politics. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Politics and Women, Politics and Policy.

O’Connor is past president of the National Capital Area Political Science Association and the Southern Political Science Association. She has served on convention programs committee for the SPSA, APSA, and NCAPSA several times including chairing the SPSA’s 2000 annual meeting. At Emory University, where she taught from 1977 to 1995, she was the first woman in its history to receive the university-wide teaching award. She has published multiple times with more than 20 former students, who include a member of Congress, several judges, law professors, congressional chiefs of staff, and well-respected political scientists. She was AU’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year in 2002. She has been honored by several associations as most outstanding woman in political science and public administration as well as by the Southern Political Science Association for her contributions to the discipline. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo, where she received a JD and PhD, she was honored in 2010 as the Department of Political Science’s Most Outstanding Graduate, the first graduate student to receive that award.