Global Women in PR launches Empower – an international leadership & mentoring programme

Published 2nd Nov 2021

GWPR – the global networking organisation for women in senior roles in PR and communications – has developed an exclusive programme for a carefully selected group of 25 mid-career women, which will be a combination of cross-border mentoring, learning and profile building.

The new programme will run throughout 2022 and 25 of the most successful global female leaders in PR and Communications have signed up to be mentors (see below).

Earlier this year GWPR organised a 24hour global speed mentoring initiative involving 300 women on International Women’s Day, which has been the springboard for this programme. Many GWPR national groups already run their own mentoring programmes for PR women in their own countries, but until now there was no opportunity to be mentored cross-border.

The monthly mentoring sessions will be virtual and involve women from 20 countries around the world from New York to Singapore, London to Moscow and Mexico to Mumbai. 

Mid-career PR women from all around the world are being invited to apply to be mentees using this form. All mentoring sessions will be run virtually in English and will be cross-border. Once accepted onto the programme by a selection committee the 25 mentees will be carefully matched with an international mentor.

The learning element of the EMPOWER programme will involve regular masterclasses given by industry experts on topics such as leadership skills, managing a business and career planning.

GWPR will also provide opportunities for the mentees to participate in panel discussions, a thought leadership project and international networking.

Regular virtual networking meet-ups for mentees and active social media engagement will help create a sense of community.

Industry background

GWPR research in 2020 revealed that the global PR industry is two-thirds female, but men still hold 64 per cent of seats in the boardroom. There are only a handful of women CEOs leading global agencies and the vast majority of corporate communications heads are male. 

The majority of PR professionals also acknowledge that more needs to be done to ensure there are more women in leadership positions. 

Women still experience a lot of bias in the workplace. Functional knowledge is gained through experience, but there is still not much opportunity to acquire the business skills required to lead and run a business.

PR careers are often just a series of job/role changes in response to a current situation rather than a planned process. Female careers are often disrupted due to family responsibilities.

Respondents to the 2020 GWPR Annual Index survey believed the most important initiative for helping break down barriers to the boardroom was to have more senior women as role models.

GWPR comment

GWPR Joint-President, Angela Oakes, comments: “Ultimately the new EMPOWER programme will make a real impact on the careers of our 25 mentees and start to address the gender imbalance in the boardroom.

By creating this unique international leadership and mentoring programme GWPR is aiming to inspire and support the next generation of PR women and encourage them to become the leaders of the future.

Our goal is for the programme to build in coming years and create a talent pool of sought-after and empowered global women leaders.”

Media partnership

GWPR has partnered with PRovoke Media, the PR industry’s leading source of news, trends, events, career information & intelligence. This programme partnership will help both GWPR and PRovoke Media in further championing the cause of a more balanced leadership in the area of PR & Communications.

Further information

Angela Oakes, Co-founder and Joint President:  

Cornelia Kunze, Chair, GWPR International Board:

Ipshita Sen, President, GWPR India & EMPOWER Programme Lead:


Full list of mentors taking part:

  1. Ana Timis
    Comms & Public Affairs Manager, Romania & Eastern Europe
    Ford Motor Company
  2. Angie Moxham
    Founder & CEO
    The Fourth Angel
  3. Anke Schmidt
    Vice President Corporate Communications & Government Relations
    Beiersdorf AG
  4. Cornelia Kunze
  5. Cristina Riscotti
    Senior Business Advisor, Head of Corporate, Financial & Professional Services
  6. Denise Kaufmann
    Partner Director Client Leadership North America
  7. Emily Poon
    Ogilvy, Asia
  8. Gabriela Lungu
    Global Creative Director
    VLMY&R Commerce
  9. Germana Barba
    Public Affairs & Policy Expert
    Independent Consultant
  10. Gifty Bingley
    Senior Comms Officer
    African Union
  11. Jag Mistry
    Senior Director, Head of Corp Comms, MENA
  12. Jennifer Attias
    Senior Director Global Brand Strategy
  13. Julia Hutton Potts
    Director International Communications
    Alibaba Group
  1. Lavanya Wadgaonkar
    Head of Global Strategic and International Comms
    Nissan Motor Corporation
  2. Liz Kaplow
    Founder & CEO
  3. Margaret Key
    Chief Executive Officer – Asia, Middle East and Africa
    South Korea
  4. Michelle Hutton
    CEO Australia and Vice Chair, Asia Pacific
  5. Molly Morgan
    Head of Communications
    Google, Canada
  6. Nancy Ruscheinsky
  7. Nandita Lakshmanan
    Founder & Chairperson
    The PRactice
  8. Olga Podoinitsyna
    Member of the Board
    VTB Capital
  9. Rachana Panda
    VP & Country Group Head Comms
  10. Susanne Marell
    Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  11. Vanessa Ho
    Chief Client & Growth Officer, Asia Pacific
    Weber Shandwick
  12. Yasmin Ramle
    Senior Vice President and Head of Community & Employee Engagement
    GIC (Sovereign Wealth Fund)