Pooja Chandra Pama, ACE Health Foundation’s President and Founder, is an entrepreneur, humanitarian and an active AWIU member. Through her organization, she partners with the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs program (AWE), the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, by funding programming and seeding AWE graduates’ entrepreneurial projects. ACE Health Foundation is committed to creating and implementing educational and practical opportunities for women globally.
AWE, U.S. Mission Uganda and ACE Health Foundation participated in the virtual graduation of their 2022 cohort, and proudly celebrated and honored the accomplished group consisting of almost 300 Ugandan women entrepreneurs, through the business program provided by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.
On behalf of Pooja Chandra Pama, ACE Health Foundation’s ambassador-at-large, the Hon. Tatiana Gfoeller, graciously shared with the graduating cohort her global wisdom and provided a motivating message drawn from her wealth of experience in diplomacy. Gfoeller said “I couldn’t talk about creating businesses…for 33 years I ran embassies, but I didn’t own them”. A veteran U.S. diplomat, Gfoeller’s impressive resume includes the recent past presidency of AWIU and membership on the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of a new book, Simple Love.
An acclaimed storyteller, Gfoeller tailored her comments to suit her background, emphasizing the importance of leadership in the world of diplomacy and what it takes to be a strong leader. She highlighted the stark societal norms around male and female leadership: “A man, for example, raises his voice, shouts and gets angry. That’s fine. He’s being a leader. A woman raises her voice and shouts, she’s labeled hysterical.”
The diplomat discussed her career and various postings, ranging from Warsaw, Poland to Saudi Arabia. Her speech was peppered with anecdotes, such as her designation while in Saudi Arabia, during the month of Ramadan, as an “honorary man,” a role driven by her need to balance an observance of faith and her diplomatic mission.
“Now, when it comes to starting, developing and scaling businesses, they’re going to have to invite Pooja back to speak,” said Gfoeller. “However, I do think it’s good for the entrepreneurs to learn about the world of diplomacy and the leadership qualities and strategies called upon in professional sectors that aren’t mentioned in their curricula.”
Pama said she is immensely appreciative that her friend and colleague was willing “to take an enormous leap to participate in this event. I’m fortunate to know some of the finest diplomats in the world, thanks to living in D.C. and my membership in AWIU. I can’t thank her enough.”
By Sophie McNally, AWIU Passport to the Future