The Caspian Week Conference And Why Women Are The Leaders Of Our Future

I had a chance to attend the Caspian Week Conference 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, where a panel of experts came together to discuss the empowerment of women in business.

This high level panel was composed of outstanding women leaders from three key market areas: Emerging markets (India), markets in transition (Turkey), and the world’s two largest developed markets (USA and EU).

Each panelist is actively engaged, in a highly creative way, in fostering women’s social inclusiveness, with the common goals to:

  1. Educate girls in order to prepare them for equal career opportunities
  2. Train women in financial literacy for independent decision making.
  3. Elevate women to full and effective participation at all levels of political, economic, and public life.
  4. Shape the policies and legislation that promote gender equality at all levels.

All participants are leading shapers in moving towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Some highlights of the panel commentary included:

Kim Azzerelli, coauthor of “Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose” and Founder of Seneca Women, USA

“Today we are going to talk about what is driving economic progress around the world. In our collective view women are key to driving both economic and social progress.”


Ozlem Denizmen, Head of Strategy at Turkish Conglomerate at Dogus Holding

“Networking is extremely important, we need more platforms for women.”

Simona Scarpaleggia, Country Manager, IKEA Switzerland

“There are so many good reasons… that would address the one way to go, and that is to empower women economically, the data that supports this is totally true.”


Afsin Yurdakul, TV Anchor for Haberturk TV in Turkey

“Access to education is the #1 priority, it is so important, women have to feel empowered.”


Preeti Sinha, YES Bank Senior President, India

“Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you food. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She will multiply and enlarge whatever you give her.”

It was great to see such a diverse group of women get behind a single idea: The need to empower women worldwide.

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Neelam Brar

Neelam is an accomplished female entrepreneur, financier, and start-up adviser. She is the founder and CEO of District CoWork, one of the hottest hub for innovation in NYC and Empress, an empowerment platform designed to mentor and support women. Neelam founded Empress to unite the strongest stakeholders behind the economy: Women. Empress is the nexus of content, community and capital. With a dual MBA from Columbia Business School and London Business School and experience raising capital and advising growth companies throughout the US, Canada, Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong, she has tremendous first hand insights on several topics relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation. Neelam did investment banking and private equity for over a decade raising billions of dollars of capital and advising on high profile M&A transactions in the domestic and international markets across industries. She is a veteran deal maker and growth advisor with proven entrepreneurial experience and a firm commitment to support the progress of women.