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INSEAD Announces 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award Winners

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In May, INSEAD, along with Cartier and McKinsey & Company, announced the seven laureates for the 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. The winners were recognized at an annual awards ceremony in San Francisco. This year’s theme was titled, “The Ripple Effect” and focused on highlighting entrepreneurs who have served as “catalysts for change and growth within their communities and the broader society.”

The Ceremony

The ceremony was held at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture and began with a “Meet & Learn” round table session. Led by a range of speakers, including Mélanie Laurent, the session focused on topics such as empowering women, economic transformation, and exchanging ideas with actionable tips and insights.

There was also a curated TED session, which was led by Helen Walters, the head of curation at TED. It featured talks by:

  • Karen Lloyd, microbiologist
  • Kotchakorn Voraakhom, urban landscape architect
  • Ashweetha Shetty, rural social worker and founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation
  • Climbing PoeTree, an artistic duo

This was followed by two, panel conversations talking about women’s empowerment, gender equality, women’s entrepreneurship, and women in the workforce. Panelists included: Lupita Nyong’o, Maria Schriver, Cyrille Vigneron (CEO of Cartier International), Oulimata Sarr (acting regional director of UN Women for West and Central Africa), Kelsey Robinson (partner at McKinsey & Company), and Ilian Mihov (dean of INSEAD).

Finally, after the TED session, Hillary Kerr, co-founder and content editor of Clique, hosted the awards ceremony, and Cyrille Vigneron announced the seven 2019 laureates.

The winners, chosen by region and awarded $100,000 in prize money, were selected from nearly 2,900 applications in 142 countries.

7 Laureates

Ilian Mihov, INSEAD Dean (left); Cyrille Vigneron, Cartier CEO (centre); and Kelsey Robinson, McKinsey (far right) with the seven laureates.


Yeon Jeong Cho of South Korea, founder of SAY Global, an online language service that trains retired seniors in Korea and connects them to Korean language learners worldwide.


Carmina Bayombong of the Philippines, founder of InvestEd, an investment platform providing student loans to underserved youth using a proprietary credit rating algorithm.


Zineb Agoumi of France, founder of EzyGain, an affordable space-saving and connected gait rehabilitation device that secures patients at the pelvis and monitors their progress.


Liza Velarde of Mexico, founder of Delee, a blood test that detects the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in cancer patients, enabling physicians to better monitor the progress of the disease.


Hibah Shata of the United Arab Emirates, founder of Maharat Learning Center, a learning center offering behavioral therapy and educational support to children and young adults with special needs.


Ran Ma of the United States, founder of Siren, smart socks for diabetics made of Neurofabric, a proprietary technology fitted with microsensors to monitor foot temperature and guard against foot ulcers.


Manka Angwafo of Cameroon, founder of Grassland Cameroon Ltd., services to enhance African food supply chains through affordable asset-based financing to smallholder farmers.

Read the full announcement here.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.