Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar

Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar


Women’s labor force participation and entrepreneurship are increasingly salient factors in the economic growth and societal transformation of the Asia Pacific. Numerous studies demonstrate that economic empowerment of women positively affects economic growth. Studies also indicate that when women acquire and control monetary and capital assets, women tend to reinvest in food, healthcare, and education for both themselves and their children, all of which has a multiplier effect on job creation and economic growth. In addition to positively affecting economic growth, the financial empowerment of women often translates into greater bargaining power in their homes. Societal benefits also accrue when women work outside the home, bringing them into contact with new people and ideas and providing avenues for greater participation in public life, including community activism.[1]

Unfortunately, in every country across the Asia Pacific region, a gender gap exists with respect to labor participation as well as new venture creation and business ownership. A 2011 study by the International Labor Office and the Asian Development Bank determined that, in terms of labor force participation rates—a measure of the proportion of a country’s working age population actively engaged in the labor market either by working or looking for work—women in the Asia & Pacific region (defined by the study to include Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Oceania) average 25.2 percentage points lower than men in terms of labor force participation.[2] Another report estimates that only 1% of all women workers in the Asia Pacific region are running their own businesses with paid employees.[3]

Research suggests that poor access to training, networks, role models, and information limits the ability of Asia Pacific women entrepreneurs both to create businesses and to grow their businesses from sole proprietorships to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). One report concluded that women lack the opportunity to access specific entrepreneurship and leadership training such as business planning, marketing, finance, negotiation, communication, and other acquired competencies, which would increase the likelihood of entrepreneurial success.[4] Since most Asia Pacific women entrepreneurs operate on a small scale and are not members of professional organizations or other formal business networks, they typically lack the contacts and social capital necessary to access information and advice regarding financial, labor, customer, and supplier resources.[5] A lack of social capital also deprives women of awareness and exposure to female role models, which may help to normalize entrepreneurial behavior or mitigate social pressures and family obligations.

To address the challenges confronting working women entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific, including poor access to leadership and entrepreneurial training; insufficient contacts and social capital necessary to access information and advice; a paucity of role models; and a “lack of positive attitudes about their own personal capacities” (Kelley et al., 2011, p. 8), the East-West Center established the Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminar in 2002. This 12-day immersive, leadership and professional development seminar is designed for innovative women entrepreneurs from Asia, the Pacific, and the United States to enhance their leadership skills and entrepreneurial capacity; experientially explore innovative entrepreneurship, leadership, and community examples; build a sense of self-efficacy; and expand national and regional networks. The Changing Faces Seminar seeks to:

Enhance the entrepreneurial capacity and leadership skills of innovative women through facilitated training exercises, workshops, meetings; and community site visits;
Implement a year-long project for the betterment of a participant’s business or community by means of a concrete Action Plan;
Expand the social capital of participants and establish a community of women leaders via networking opportunities and on-going social media contact with speakers, trainers, Changing Faces alumni, the local community, and one another;
Create regional awareness among participants through reciprocal learning and exposure to new ideas and divergent perspectives;
Empower the next generation of women leaders in Hawaii by way of a service project undertaken in partnership with the Sacred Hearts Academy.

To date, 169 women from 33 countries have participated in the Changing Faces Seminar. For a complete list of the Changing Faces alumnae, please click here. To read about how our Changing Faces alumni, Host Mentors, and #galwithLEI attendees are generating jobs, strengthening communities, and creating change, click here.
Be part of building a global community of women leaders by supporting the participation of business and social entrepreneurs in the Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar and extending this opportunity to innovative and inspiring women!


2018 Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar

Theme: Women as Innovators and Entrepreneurs

The 2018 Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminar will focus on the important role that innovation and entrepreneurship play in contributing to economic growth, job creation, and strengthening communities. During this 12-day professional training, dialogue and travel program, participants engage in a series of workshops focused on leadership and entrepreneurship that are facilitated by a noted women’s leadership trainer and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Participants also expand their knowledge of entrepreneurship, economic growth, leadership, and community building through carefully selected field visits and meetings with experts, practitioners, business owners, and policymakers in Hawaii. Participants are individually matched with local women leaders in a Host Mentor program and, in return, Changing Faces participants act as mentors for a select group of high school students in a Next Generation Service Project. The Changing Faces Seminar also provides training and consultative sessions to help participants develop and actualize a concrete Action Plan for the betterment of their business or their community. Finally Changing Faces women serve as panelists, moderators and attendees at the publically ticketed #galswithLEI, a purposeful, collaborative, and dynamic forum.

Dates: May 6 -19, 2018

Study Destinations: Oahu and Maui

Funding: The 2018 Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminar is funded by the East-West Center and individual scholarships made possible by alumni and others. EWC plus individual scholarships will fund six to eight women from the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region, defined as: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Vietnam. EWC and scholarship funding covers lodging and meals on Oahu and Maui, local ground transportation, interisland airfare to Maui, and other programmatic costs. Participants are responsible for their roundtrip airfare to and from Honolulu, visa fees, health insurance and baggage charges. EWC encourages additional participant cost-sharing of programmatic costs and considers cost-sharing in the selection of applicants.

East-West Center and scholarship funding is not available for citizens outside the Asia Pacific region, but qualified women from outside the region are highly encouraged to apply. Applicants not from those countries listed above must pay a seminar fee, of USD $2,675/per participant, to be paid prior to the beginning of the seminar. Self-funded women are also responsible for their flights to and from Honolulu as well as visa fees, health insurance and baggage fees. The seminar fee covers the following programmatic costs:

Contact Information
Liz A. Dorn
Seminars Program Coordinator
East-West Center
1601 East West Road
Honolulu, HI 96848 USA
Phone: 1-808-944-7368
Fax: 1-808-944-7600

If you would like to be on the e-mail list to be notified when the program is announced, please contact: