Recognizing organizations and individuals who are mentoring Women Forward

The Bpeace Women Forward Awards are the first and only cross-industry initiative to celebrate the trailblazers who are leading change and providing the mentorship to enable women to thrive in the workplace.

In March 2020, Bpeace (the Business Council for Peace) will announce the nominees for our annual Women Forward Awards Celebration. Nominations are open now and close on February 28, 2020.

When a woman’s potential is championed, a whole society moves forward. The Bpeace Women Forward Awards spotlight innovative companies and inspiring individuals who are seeding the future by mentoring women business leaders.

Winners will be announced in April 2020, will have their stories published in the “Mentoring Women Forward 2020 Playbook,” and will gather on June 4, 2020, at the Yale Club in New York City at an Awards Breakfast to celebrate mentoring excellence. Proceeds from the breakfast will support Bpeace’s international mentoring and advisory programs for businesswomen in conflict-affected communities.


Outstanding Workplace

Nominate an organization with a formal mentoring program for women that required systemic change to achieve success.

Next Generation Workplace

Nominate an organization that was founded in 2012 or later with a culture of equal opportunity that is baked into the way the organization operates.

Industry Leadership

Nominate an industry association with a track record of delivering programs and platforms focused on advancing women industry leaders.

Financial Catalyst

Nominate an individual or organization that invests in women-led companies, or businesses that promote gender equity or benefit women.

Business Cultural Transformation

Nominate an organization that has made a clear turnaround to be more inclusive in their business strategy or workplace, noting what the impetus was and success measures from that point.

Mentors of Distinction

Nominate a woman or a man who is an inspiration and a champion, who challenged the status quo and prevailing norms to advance women.

Lifetime Impact

Nominate a woman or a man with evidence spanning decades who has mentored multiple women who have risen to leadership roles in their careers.

Meet the 2020 Judges

Ji Son Choi

Ji Son Choi

Partner Solutions Director


Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper



April N. Gozza

April N. Gozza

Executive Director

Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill

Dr. Rebecca Mark

Dr. Rebecca Mark


Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership

Kathryn Reed

Kathryn Reed

Chair of the Board of Directors

Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill

Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Senior Managing Director


Karen Vander Linde

Karen Vander Linde

Executive Mentor

Merryck & Co.

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Recognizes someone who has actively moved women forward in their careers through mentoring.
Recognizes organizations that have created positive working environments for women and/or support active mentoring programs that benefit women.
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2020 Winners Will Be Published in the Updated "Mentoring Women Forward" Playbook

Meet the organizations and individuals seeding the future by mentoring women forward. Stories and first-person accounts from AllianceBernstein, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Financial Times, Skillshare, ZS Associates, Omnicom and executives from Madison Avenue, Wall Street, banking, executive search, food services and professional women’s networks describe how organizations and their people have realigned business strategy, changed corporate culture or simply followed personal instincts.

This playbook is straight from the front lines of how to do the right thing and the smart thing. It covers not only what people can and should do to open more doors for women and girls, but what people are doing and the results. The book was compiled from interviews with the winners of the 2019 Bpeace Women Forward Awards, a nationwide competition sponsored by the 5-star nonprofit, the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace).

Purchase Here

Meet Last Year's Bpeace Women Forward Winners


Evelyn Isaia

Evelyn Isaia founded Ratatouille and Company, a Connecticut-based sophisticated catering company, with a social purpose. She employs, trains and mentors women immigrants from Syria, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia and El Salvador and will consider training any woman facing challenges, immigrant or not.

Isaia’s goal is provide these women with the skills they need to become successful in the culinary arts. It’s working. One of Ratatouille’s trainees has done so well, she has become garde manger (pantry chef) at one of Jean-Georges’ restaurants.

Kristy Wallace

Kristy Wallace has developed three key mentoring programs as the CEO of the Ellevate Network, and drives the overall strategy and vision of an organization redefining how women network in the digital age.

Ellevate’s mission is to change the culture of business from the inside out by providing professional women with the community they need to take the next step in their careers.

Fran Pastore

Fran Pastore launched the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) in Connecticut in 1997. Today WBDC has moved 14,000+ women toward economic equity by providing them with tools, mentoring and services in entrepreneurial training, financial education and access to working capital.

Pastore is widely regarded as a champion for women, families and communities throughout Connecticut and internationally as well. She is now a sought-after expert who can testify to the positive outcomes of building ecosystems to support women entrepreneurs.

Kenneth Roman

When Ken Roman joined advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in 1963, there were no women in the client-facing account group, none in the research department and a handful in the media department. By the time he became CEO 22 years later, the agency had hired and promoted so many women that the issue was moot. Women were part of the culture.

Roman didn’t set out to push women forward, or even to change Ogilvey’s historically male culture. He was simply in search of the right talent for clients like General Foods and Gillette. And when it came to the best talent to grow the business, Roman was simply gender blind.

Laura Barger

In her role at global retained executive search firm Raines International, Laura Barger mentors the young women she hires so that they have the best opportunities to succeed. Barger’s own mentoring path began while she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, where she volunteered for a community program that taught supplemental health education to fifth-grade girls.

Today she is on the Young Leadership Board for America Needs You, a nonprofit that fights for the economic mobility of low-income first-generation college students, and serves as one of its mentor-coaches.

Lori Silva

Lori Silva realized she had an obligation to mentor the women on her team and throughout the organization because she had benefited early on in her 20+ year career from strong women leaders and mentors.

As a result, in 2017 she was appointed global lead for gender diversity at Informa Markets. In this role she has developed and rolled out effective mentoring initiatives that support the goals of the senior management team, incorporating the best practices across multiple industries and that reflect her own experience of mentoring and being mentored.

Liz Smith

Liz Smith started her career as a schoolteacher. Today, as the Senior Managing Director at global asset management firm AllianceBernstein, Smith is recognized as one of the most senior and accomplished women in the financial services industry, not only for her professional accomplishments but also her tireless support of women in finance.

Smith makes sure that the women around her at all career levels have a front-row seat to her carefully curated network. She demonstrates the way to advance women through her own leadership example of bringing groups of dynamic women together to share knowledge and foster growth, as well as providing individual mentorship and arranging diversity conferences to raise her clients’ awareness of the issue.

Mary Stutts

Mary Stutts has personally mentored and advocated for women in her role as communications leader at some of the largest companies in the U.S., including Genentech, Kaiser, Comcast and Stanford Health Care—where she currently serves as the Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Health Equity Officer.

Stutts published the book, “The Missing Mentor: Women Advising Women on Power, Progress and Priorities,” to share the hard-learned techniques and lessons from her own mentors and career path with those women who need a surrogate mentor.

Melissa Hartzell

Melissa Hartzell started her career in 1995 as a receptionist. Today she is Vice President, Senior Credit Officer, at Investors Bank. As she worked her way up the corporate ladder without a mentor of her own, she found she was not only advocating for herself but became a role model for other women. She began to informally mentor some of them on how to champion for themselves, negotiate promotions and raises, and make their voices heard. Some of those women are now managers, assistant vice presidents and vice presidents.

Two years ago, Hartzell and the Executive Vice President of Human Resources, launched the Mentorship Pilot Program, which today has 27 mentor-mentee teams at Investors Bank.



Anheuser Busch (AB) InBev, the world’s largest brewer, took significant steps to align its business strategy with better representation of women both inside and outside the company.

AB InBev first addressed the gender imbalance as an opportunity to grow its consumer base with advertising and marketing shifts. This was led by internal champions who innovated with an integrated and global effort for inclusivity at all levels of the business and across the value chain. Today nearly half of AB InBev’s U.S. breweries are led by female brewmasters, and three of the company’s top brands are helmed by women.

Financial Times

The Financial Times (FT) is one of the world’s leading business news and information organizations, and one of the few media outlets to find success with its paywall model. Research indicated that further growth could be achieved by attracting and engaging women.

The FT chose to review how its journalism was presented and received by more diverse readers to learn ways it could improve. At the same time it was adapting hiring, promotion and retention policies. This was a true outside-inside alignment that helped the 130+ year-old publication cross the million-subscriber threshold.


I-tri fosters self-respect, empowerment, positive body image and healthy lifestyle choices for adolescent girls through the vehicle of training for triathlons. Founded by Theresa Roden, it is based on her own personal transformation after training for and completing the first of many triathlons.

The program started as a pilot in Roden’s daughters’ school on Long Island, NY. They selected 10 girls who were not in any athletic program and prepared them for a youth triathlon, providing the training, mentoring and emotional support necessary to complete the event. Ten years, 10 schools and 700 girls later, this grassroots organization is poised to begin a national expansion.


Omnicom Group is an inter-connected global network of leading marketing communications companies. Janet Riccio, Executive Vice President of Omnicom Group, founded Omniwomen in 2014 to be a catalyst to increase the influence and numbers of senior women at Omnicom.

In only five years, Omniwomen has become a proven spark to increase the influence and number of senior women leaders, with three global agencies headed by women and 15 chapters in markets around the world, including China.


Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, technology and more. Its goal is to make the new economy an open meritocracy, where the skills and expertise needed to succeed are available for anyone willing to learn them.

Mirroring that flexibility, and in order to find and retain the best people, the company instituted a variety of benefits and policies to level the playing field. Its no-negotiation wage policy is perhaps the most disruptive. Salary is assigned according to job type and skill level, not based on negotiating skills, resulting in true gender wage parity at the company.

ZS Associates

ZS Associates is a global consulting firm with a work culture often described as a caring meritocracy. ZS was founded on three core values: treat people right, get it right and do the right thing.

ZS’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) encourages all ZS people to "bring your whole self to work," a mantra that serves as a guiding principle and encourages women to be direct and transparent about what they want for their own journeys. The WLI is the catalyst behind the company's ambitious vision of achieving 50-50 representation of women across the firm.