Women were the key focus at Karine Ohana’s fourth annual “Success for Progress” luncheon.
Held recently at the United Nations, the event spotlighted humanitarian work done globally by entrepreneurs, as well as corporate social responsibility. Ohana, who is managing partner of Ohana & Co., holds the yearly event to raise awareness about global philanthropies, particularly those relating to women.
Topics included inclusive business practices in the luxury sector, with an emphasis on creative sustainable models that include the poor in the business process as producers or consumers; natural beauty, namely the new cosmetics trends toward natural and healthy ingredients; the role of fashion and luxury in women’s empowerment and children’s education, and the importance of empathy even in competitive environments.
Ohana stressed the “importance of involving the luxury sector with the U.N.,” said Lisa Lovatt-Smith, founder of OrphanAid Africa, which reunites children in orphanages with their biological parents. “I walk out of my little African village and I save lives,” she said. Her panel, called “Is Empathy the Driving Force Behind Social Enterprise and Philanthropy?” also included conservationist Susan Rockefeller, who observed that “small ripples make great waves.” Corinne Evens, cofounder and honorary president of the Evens Foundation and Evens Group; Abigail Katzman, board member of Larger Than Life; Renee Harbers Liddell, founder and chief executive officer of The Harbers Family Foundation; Mary Gordon, founder and president of Roots of Empathy, and moderator Sade Baderinwa, an anchor for WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News” rounded out the group.
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Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, announced the U.N.’s new “He for She” campaign for men to stand up for the rights of women. “Equality for women is progress for all,” she said during her talk, dubbed “Partnerships: The Essential Role of the Fashion and Beauty Industries to Empower Women and Girls Globally.”
The “Advancing Global Development” panel featured Emily Hwang, vice president of the Asian Couture Federation; Jeannette Chang, senior vice president and international publishing director of Hearst Magazines International; Renata Black, founder of Seven Bar Foundation; Bisila Bokoko, founder and chairperson of the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project, and Paul van Zyl, ceo of Maiyet. The panel was also moderated by Baderinwa.
“Working Girl” star Melanie Griffith expressed feeling out of place on a roster of such socially conscious individuals and said she was there to support Liz Edlich, cofounder of Radical Skin Care, whose wide-ranging career ultimately brought her to the beauty business and product development. Then Griffith invoked her days as a Revlon model with a degree of candor. “I was paid a lot of money by Revlon, and I must say I did not use Revlon — [Ronald] Perelman is going to kill me for saying that.” Edlich and Griffith were joined on the “Beauty, Wellness and Consumer Sustainability” panel by Lan Vu, founder and ceo of Beautystreams; Juhi Singh of Ayurvedic Specialist Nutrition and Yoga Therapy, and moderator Ruma Bose, principal, Ohana Capital.
Closing remarks, comprising conclusions of impact investing, inclusive business models and public-private partnerships, were delivered by Ariel Ohana, cofounder of Ohana & Co; Annette Richardson, senior advisor and acting chief of office, United Nations Office for Partnerships, and Lawrence Benenson, partner, the Benenson Capital Company.
Also at the event: Ron Frasch, former Saks Fifth Avenue president; Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas; Lana Todorovich of LF USA; Greg Kwiat of Fred Leighton and Kwiat Enterprises, and former Warnaco executive Michelle Spiro.