Gala 2017 Honorees and Chair


Yasmeen Hassan headshotYasmeen Hassan became the Global Executive Director of Equality Now in 2011 after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs for three years. Previously, she was with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women where she worked on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Secretary-General’s study on violence against women. Yasmeenclerked on the D.C. Court of Appeals (1994-1995) and practiced corporate law at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and California (1995-2003). In 1999, Yasmeen edited Equality Now’s first report on discriminatory laws. She has served on the Council on Foreign Relations’ Advisory Board on Child Marriage, provided expert guidance to the U.N. Trust to End Violence Against Women, and advocates for the women’s rights through appearances in numerous media outlets, including CNNAl Jazeera, the Huffington Post, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Yasmeen holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School where, among other subjects, she studied Islamic law and women’s rights. She also holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA.

Follow Yasmeen on Twitter: @YasmeenHassan7



reshma saujani black (headshot)Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Programs and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Started in 2012, the organization has grown to reach 40,000 girls in every state by the end of 2016. This year, Girls Who Code will run 78 Summer Immersion Programs and 1500 Clubs. The results speak for themselves: 90 percent of alumnae have declared or intend to declare a major or minor in computer science. Reshma began her career as an attorney and activist. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. During the race, Reshma visited local schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand, which led her to start Girls Who Code. Reshma has also served as Deputy Public Advocate for New York City and ran a spirited campaign for Public Advocate in 2013. Reshma’s TED talk, “Teach girls, bravery not perfection”, has more than three million views and has sparked a national conversation about how we’re raising our girls. She is also the author of the groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don’t Wait In Line. Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She’s been named one of Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders, Fortune’s 40 under 40, a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC’s Next List, Forbes’s Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, Crain’s New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State’s Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.



Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 1.11.53 PM

Dr. Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos is a scholar, professional, businesswoman and volunteer. Mahnaz spent almost 30 years working worldwide in the field of international affairs, including for a decade (1992-2002) as a program executive for American foreign policy grants and deputy director for International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation in New York. She also did pioneering work on women’s rights by funding new networks, NGOs and activists dealing with matters such as forced marriage and honor killings, the application of religious laws, women’s role in peace building and the urgent delivery of aid to women’s human rights defenders. Since 2003, Mahnaz has been an active Trustee of the New York Public Library, the largest public library system in the U.S, serving on the Executive Committee of the Board. She has served New York City as Commissioner on the Public Design Commission. Mahnaz is a Trustee of the American Assembly and a former Trustee of her alma mater, Wellesley College. Dr. Ispahani Bartos has been a Senior Fellow for South Asia, and remains a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University, and at The Woodrow Wilson Center at the Smithsonian. A widely published author, she has been a senior advisor/consultant to the Carnegie Corporation, Luce Foundation and the Open Society Institute, among others. She received her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Wellesley College, and an M.A.L.D and a Ph.D. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. About five years ago, she founded, and is CEO of MAHNAZ COLLECTION, a fine vintage jewelry business which specializes in sustainable, design-focused jewel works crafted in Europe and the Americas, including by Native American peoples, during the 1950s -1980s.

Photo credit: Brittany Ambridge, courtesy of 1stdibs