About Us

The Circle is run by a group of dedicated staff and implementation partners, whose combined passion for helping the world’s disadvantaged girls, builds a solution for sustainable development on the ground.

All of our partners have gender missions and pipelines to at-risk girls from all corners of the countries where they operate. They work with us and leverage the proven processes, programs, content, resources and networks that are effective in transforming at-risk girls into empowered women.

One morning you wake up and decide it is time to give back. It was as simple as that. And, you learn from girlfriends that they too are having the same feelings.

A few years ago, I was wondering what I could do to give back. I had a charmed life…living in Paris and working as a director for a company which leads large organizations through cultural transformation processes. But, with responsibilities that covered Europe, Middle East, and Africa, my social life revolved around airports, hotels, and CNN.

It was 2005 and I was watching Larry King Live in a hotel room in Istanbul and I saw President Clinton speak about the first Clinton Global Initiative Meeting. I was so fascinated by his mission to connect people with good ideas with people wanting to support good ideas. Anybody could do it-the only requirement was that you commit to do something, something with real and measurable actions.

I kept his message in my head for a few months and in January of 2006 I went on my traditional pilgrimage ‘sale time’ shopping spree to Florence and I bought too many pairs of shoes; far too many pairs of shoes for one person. I sat in my hotel room, looking at the designer boxes, and reflected on what I learned on my last business trip to Africa; that after high school graduation, a poor girl hands in her uniform and big black shoes and walks back into the circle of poverty.

As a private citizen, I decided I could do something, something to make certain a disadvantaged girl, with the will and desire to succeed, is able to keep on walking in her shoes.

In 2006, I founded the Global Give Back Circle and leveraged my international assignments in Africa to travel throughout Kenya and find the right partners for what was then a big hairy audacious goal. I began with a team of nine girlfriends from four countries and have since grown to almost 1,000 girlfriends in twenty-nine countries.

Because we had very limited financial resources, we had to be creative in our approach and rely on our commercial skills in business development, financial planning, communications, learning & development, marketing, sales, etc. to mobilize a change process that leverages existing resources, institutions and infrastructures.

After a year of research (visiting children’s homes, schools, foundations, etc.), we identified a niche where we could make a difference. We would implement a mentoring program for disadvantaged girls; girls who against all odds made it into special high schools established to educate them. Thus, the Circle was to become a movement to empower disadvantaged girls, economically and socially. As a group, our collective range of commercial skills played a significant role in enabling us to design a process, not just a program.

Our strategy was to harness the time and talent of women globally to help transition disadvantaged girls out of the circle of poverty and into a circle of societal participation, contribution, fulfillment and independence. Whereby, sustainability would be realized through the institutionalization of a ‘give back ethos’ that links ‘giving back, from one generation to the next. The idea was to turn beneficiaries into benefactors, to put into practice the ‘Butterfly Effect’ and show the girls’ impact with one simple flap of a wing.

In many ways, Kenya has been our proving ground, our conceptual hothouse whereby we tested, measured and validated implementation models and methodologies. We learned a lot over the past eight years and made modifications and adjustments too. In 2013, the ‘Circle’ launched in China, in 2014 we launched in South Africa and in 2015 we launched in India.

USAID and PEPFAR’s support and belief in a holistic transformation approach to education and employment-readiness has made the Global Give Back Circle the largest gender-based tertiary education program for at-risk girls in Kenya.  Today, 1,000 girls are in the program in Kenya of which 800 are in college/university. In addition, 400 girls are in the program in the other countries of operation. Over the next five years, the program is projecting to reach 4,000 girls globally.

Our Team

The Global Give Back Circle is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed from New York City. The Board of Directors oversees the organization’s activities and matters of governance, best practices, policies, finances and strategic and legal issues pertaining to the Circle.


our Partners

The Global Give Back Circle is a registered Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, dedicated to helping hundreds of girls continue their education, find employment and live independent lives. A special thanks to all of our financial and private sector partners who have helped make this a reality.


THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Check out stories, mentoring tips and updates from the Global Give Back Circle team, our partners and supporters.


Advancing a Future That is For Everyone

Mentoring a girl brings the world another amazing woman! Microsoft shared this 1 min. video with the world. It is a tribute to the 250+ women at Microsoft who mentor girls in the Global Give Back Back Circle, and it

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Mentor Stories: 10 Years of Mentoring ‘HER’

CEO of Shiraz Partners, Conny Dorrestijn; Talent Leader at Microsoft US, Holly Perreault; CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, Reeta Roy; and CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon SA/NV, Laura Ahto share their mentor story.

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