Cartier Women’s Initiative Celebrates Its 15th Year Anniversary
Courtesy of Brand

In honor of the 15th anniversary, Cartier Women’s Initiative (CWI) invited its global community of changemakers to Dubai to celebrate the program and recognize all of their remarkable achievements. Since originally being launched in 2006, CWI has supported 262 women changemakers from 62 countries and has awarded a total of $6,440,000 in prize money to support their businesses, which are all driven by a common purpose: solving the most pressing global challenges.

“Women’s empowerment is strongly ingrained in Cartier’s DNA,” Mercedes Abramo, President and CEO of Cartier North America, tells ESSENCE. “Our first Creative Director, Jeanne Toussaint, was appointed in 1933. She’s remembered not only as a visionary with impeccable taste and personal style but as a leader of distinguished character.”

“As the first female President and CEO of Cartier North America, elevating more women to leadership positions is a personal priority for me,” Abramo stated. “And in support of this historic legacy, I’m so proud of what we have done to not only support women internally through professional development programs, but also externally through the CWI.”

The Cartier Women’s Initiative World Reunion kicked off on March 6th with a formal ceremony and continued through March 8th with a series of workshops and networking sessions. In the theme of empowering all women, every moment of the reunion was led by a woman in charge. Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of the Cru, was the host of the ceremony, and the celebration was kicked off with a performance by the Italian-Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes.

Following the concert, an introductory speech was delivered by the President and CEO of Cartier International, Cyrille Vigneron. And right after, Guo Jingjing and Yara Shahidi, both shared their visions on gender equality and women’s empowerment and highlighted the social and environmental impact the new generation seeks to have on the world. 

“The Cartier Women’s Initiative is a program that’s very close to my heart,” said Abramo. “As ambitious, hard-working women, we face many challenges in blazing our own trails in industries often dominated by men. I have been with Cartier since 2008, and over the past 14 years, I have had the honor of watching this program evolve – in scale and scope – over time and seeing the firsthand impact made by our incredible women impact-entrepreneurs. As a woman in a leadership role, I understand a lot of the challenges that our fellows have faced in building their businesses while fighting for a seat at the table. Each of the CWI fellows are such an inspiration to me, so it was a true honor to help celebrate this milestone anniversary by looking back at what’s been achieved.”

This year, Cartier decided to honor 9 former fellows of CWI with its Impact Awards. “In celebration of 15 years of CWI, we did not accept new applications for 2022,” said Abramo. “We wanted, instead, to honor the achievements of past fellows and recognize how their businesses have grown and how their impact is both immense and consistent. With that in mind, CWI devised an award of recognition, honoring nine former CWI fellows whose businesses have achieved significant impact.”

The Impact Awards covers three categories: Improving Lives, Preserving the Planet, and Creating Opportunities, which are based on the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. The first prize awardees received $100,000 in prize money, while the second and third runners-up received $60,000 and $30,000, respectively. Additionally, each of the nine awardees will receive human capital support valued at $10,000. This years honorees were Temie Giwa Tubosun, Charlotte Wang, Fariel Salahuddin, Nneka Mobisson, Joanne Howarth, Carmina Bayombong, Rasha Rady, Lorna Rutto, and Carol Chyau.

“It was important for us to take a moment to recharge, look back, and reflect on the incredible accomplishments of our fellow women,” Abramo expressed. “I actually walked away feeling uplifted, reenergized, and hopeful. The CWI and its community of fellows, jurors, mentors and ecosystem partners is more than just a platform for supporting and empowering women. Its ripple effect has all of humanity in mind.”