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Conference LiveBlog: Reeta Roy Accepts the 2011 International Women’s Leadership Award on Behalf of The Mastercard Foundation

By Opportunity International

Today, Betsy Perdue, co-chair of the Women’s Opportunity Network (WON), presented Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The Mastercard Foundation, with WON’s 2011 International Women’s Leadership Award. Roy accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation, honored for its role in supporting and inspiring global women entrepreneurs. By increasing access to microfinance and youth education in developing countries, the Foundation helps women realize their potential and lift themselves out of poverty. Through our partnership with the Foundation, Opportunity International is leveraging technology and innovation to enable rural women and farmer families in Sub-Saharan Africa to access life-changing financial tools.

Reeta Roy Accepting the Award on Behalf of the Foundation

Co-chair of the Women's Opportunity Network (WON) (left) honors Reeta Roy, on behalf of the MasterCard Foundation, with the 2011 International Women's Leadership Award.It is a great honor to accept the International Women’s Leadership Award from the Women’s Opportunity Network. We are proud of our partnership with Opportunity International and commitment to empower women in developing countries with the financial tools they need to become financial decision-makers within their families and to contribute to their communities. Women truly do hold up half the sky.

We are passionate about the work Opportunity International does around the world. I think that word Opportunity says everything. At Mastercard, we’re motivated by the belief that we can change lives through opportunity. We work to extend financial access to people and expanding education to young people around the world. Those are the two building blocks of our work.

Africa is home to seven of the next 10 emerging communities, according to The Economist and we want to be there to help facilitate that growth. Opportunity is already delivering access to savings, the number one need andrequest, and doing it in a way that expands from mobile phones to kiosks to ATMs. And what gets us especially excited is how this innovation will help farmers.

For those of you who have the opportunity to travel with Opportunity on an Insight Trip, I encourage you to do so. I was traveling to Ghana with Opportunity’s senior agricultural advisor John Magnay and a team from the Half the Sky Movement. In Bonasa, Ghana we met farmers who felt hopeful and encouraged by the services they were receiving.

The success of microfinance is not to be measured by ATMs but by the possibilities it affords to people to feed their children and create better lives. I’m thrilled to be a part of your conversation today and I’m thrilled to see so many people who have a passion for this work. This is change that is not only possible but is happening through the people in this room. Thank you."

A bit about Reeta Roy

Reeta Roy is president and CEO of The Mastercard Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada with assets over $3 billion. Under her leadership the Foundation has created more than 35 partnerships to advance effective and innovative programs in the areas of microfinance and youth education. Prior to joining the foundation, Reeta was divisional VP of Global Citizenship and Policy at Abbott and VP of the Abbott Fund, a corporate foundation. Previously, Reeta held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company from 1991 to 2002, working on global health issues and private-public partnerships, including a three-year assignment in Shanghai, China. Prior to joining the private sector, she worked at the United Nations. Reeta is on the board of the Global Health Council, which is dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world.

This session was streamed live at opportunity.org/live. Visit opportunity.org/live throughout the conference to watch the sessions live.

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