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This year’s Rise to the Challenge Awards recognize trailblazers
among innovative women-owned businesses worldwide.

 

“Our sector finalists showed true determination in their individual stories of overcoming challenges in access to markets,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO & Co-Founder. “They are an impressive and inspiring group, showing the world how capable women-owned businesses in the STEM fields can be incredibly creative and successful. We were excited to have featured them this year at WEConnect International Day 2021.”

 

PLANET PROTECTOR PACKAGING FROM AUSTRALIA WINS THE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS & ENERGY AWARD AND THE 2021 RISE TO THE CHALLENGE GLOBAL AWARD

“Planet Protector Packaging wins in this category with a direct customer solution and the potential to scale across different applications, markets, and industries. The company has demonstrated their unrivaled commitment to R&D and innovation,” said Nusra Chankaew, Cluster Procurement Director SEAT & ANZ at Unilever. Founder and CEO Joanne Howarth shares they are an impact-driven enterprise based in Oceania on a mission to eliminate polystyrene in the world, a big vision. To date, Planet Protector Packaging has replaced 7.5 million polystyrene boxes in supply chains.

FOREST FAIRIES SWEET COMPANY IN SOUTH AFRICA WINS THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR AWARD

“She wants to nourish the world in a safe and responsible way,” said Natalie McGrady, Director of Supplier Diversity for Cargill. Founded by Thejesui Khan, Forest Fairies Sweet Company manufactures gourmet sweets and chocolate in South Africa. They bring innovative sugar-free products to the market.

LONADEK GLOBAL SERVICES IN NIGERIA WINS THE ENGINEERING SECTOR AWARD

“The applicants remind me of a lot of the values and challenges we take on at Logitech,” said Tiffany Beers, Head of Gaming. The winner had significant growth in 2020, employs 40% women on its staff, and had a deliberate culture of learning to adapt to the pandemic issues, especially those impacting women.” Dr. Ibilola Amao, principal consultant of Lonadek Global Services in Nigeria notes that in the past 30 years Lonadek has impacted over 15,000 engineers, 100,000 in STEM talent and they are upskilling over 10,000 in tech talent through their innovative tech learning solutions to empower women in STEM.

URBANE LUXURY SERVICES IN CANADA WINS THE FACILITIES MANAGEMENT SECTOR AWARD

“As part of our review we considered the business’s efforts to promote sustainability and social impact, as well as the well-being of its associates,” said Stacy Cohen, Vice President of Facilities at Marriott International. Founder and President Sunandita Das of Urbane Luxury Services in Canada has worked in luxury hotels for 18 years around the world and saw an opportunity to own her own cleaning company. She believes in mentoring minority communities and advocates for the health and wellness of all.

CHIMERA TECHNOLOGIES IN SINGAPORE WINS THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SECTOR AWARD

“With great pride and admiration, we present this award to Chimera Technologies. The reason they win this award is because of their persistent effort to deliver IT solutions across multiple continents and various countries delivering a great customer experience,” said Adarsh Katta, AVP Corporate Site Services with JP Morgan Chase. CEO Padma Duraiswamy of Chimera Technologies in Singapore, thanks her team and customers as pillars of their growth. These are challenging times where she is proud to have extended insurance and paid leave, as well as helped with food distribution to help overcome the implications of the pandemic.

F.P. AROMATICS IN SINGAPORE WINS THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR AWARD

“My favorite part of your success story was when you pivoted during the pandemic to produce commercial-grade sanitizer. That was a great demonstration of flexibility and adaptation,” said Joshua King, Procurement Category Manager at ExxonMobil. Accepting for F.P. Aromatics based in Singapore is Rithika Gupta. Their story is about Ollie, a retail brand, where they create plant-based personal and home care products. In a recent product launch they used 100% recycled custom-made plastic bottles to keep plastic from going into landfills and oceans.

JONES HEALTHCARE GROUP IN CANADA WINS THE SUPPLY CHAIN – HEALTHCARE SECTOR AWARD

“This global women-owned business has thrived in the STEM field with a clearly differentiated strategy, enabling significant growth across manufacturing sites in three countries, with the consumer and patient at the heart of all that it does,” said Heidi Landry, CPO Supply Chain Management with Johnson & Johnson. Co-Founder Christine Jones Harris of Jones Healthcare Group reset their business during the pandemic to ensure that none of their clients were ever left without the packaging they needed during a distressing year.

PM RELOCATIONS IN INDIA WINS THE TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS SECTOR AWARD

“The winner shared an amazing story of her ability to leverage the relationships that she nurtured through the years within the WEConnect International network to not only keep her business open, but growing,” said Latasha Griffin, Supplier Diversity Manager. CEO Aakanksha Bhargava of PM Relocations in India has helped NGOs, corporations, and medical companies move equipment to meet their needs during the pandemic.

SPONSORED SECTORS

Manufacturing/Manufactura

Engineering/Ingeniería

JP Morgan Chase & Co

UPS

Cargill

Marriott International

Johnson & Johnson

Unilever

DiversityComm, Inc.