A Jewel in Our Midst: Wendy Diamond, Founder WED

December 5, 2016
Wendy Diamond

Wendy Diamond’s short bio describes her as a social entrepreneur, humanitarian, founder of Animal Fair Media and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient. But that barely touches the surface. In truth, this is a woman with a captivating spirit and soul that lights up a room like, well, the brightest diamond. Her passion for animal welfare and humankind in general is visionary. Forever giving – no strings attached – she unites women, and men, on a global platform to make the world a better place for all. And people are taking notice.

Diamond first launched Animal Fair after learning that 12 million animals were euthanized every year. That number is down to four million. She introduced celebrities and pop culture to the animal rescue cause with outstanding results. Diamond now incorporates a similar strategy in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) movement; reaching out to four billion women across the globe to be catalysts of change, and to uplift the 250 million girls living in poverty. WED is committed to amplifying that message and expanding the opportunities for women in business around the world.

The data speaks for itself: women perform 66% of the world’s work, yet only earn 10% of the world’s income. At the same time, women account for 85% of consumer purchases and control $20 trillion in worldwide spending. Recognizing the need for action, Diamond set out to create a simplified movement to empower women in business around the world. An effort to balance the slate.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) was formed in 2014, after Diamond’s first-hand experience volunteering with the Adelante Foundation – a self-sustaining microfinance institution and non-profit organization headquartered in La Ceiba, Honduras. The Foundation works with impoverished women in rural Honduras, providing them with short-term loans to invest in small businesses. With access to funds, the clients become confident and self-sustaining; creating solutions to lessen poverty in their communities.

“Of course,” said Diamond, “even before my experience in Honduras, I understood that women worldwide have historically been underpaid, undervalued, underrepresented, underfunded, and underestimated…and still are. I knew I had to play a role in trying to improve this situation. Just a single $100 startup loan – provided by one woman to help another – could make the difference for a mother who wants to send her children to school. Every woman and girl across the globe should be given the chance to follow their dreams. Letting female entrepreneurs help one another is an important step in making that a reality.”

Three years ago, Wendy Diamond saw and embraced the potential of highlighting the Honduran initiative on a global scale. “Based on what I learned at the Adelante Foundation, I decided to focus my efforts on empowering women entrepreneurs around the globe by bringing them together for an educational event: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. The first event convened on November 19th, 2014 at the United Nations in New York City. The panel discussions and program elements were streamed to 114 countries globally, and a powerful movement to inspire, empower, celebrate, and support female entrepreneurs was launched.”

Today, the WED event is celebrated in 144 countries, and this year included the launch of www.ChooseWomen.org , an online portal that allows consumers to shop from more than 70 top fashion retailers. A percentage of each purchase helps fund microloans for women living in poverty around the globe.

Diamond speaks from the heart when saying, “You shop, she thrives. This gives us another platform to continue our mission of investing in women’s futures by empowering them financially.”

Welcome to Executive View – a refreshing new addition to Business View Magazine. Each month, we present original content, written in-house by BVM staff, on topics specially chosen to engage, enlighten, and inspire you.

This feature was written by our Business View Associate Editor and Social Media Director, Lorie Steiner.

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