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WASHINGTON — Retailers and designers are working together with Vital Voices and the State Department to build brands while empowering women worldwide.
Showing up at this year’s Vital Voices awards ceremony in an arm cast fresh from a weekend skiing accident, Diane von Furstenberg introduced Hillary Rodham Clinton in her first official appearance since resigning as secretary of state. Von Furstenberg started partnering with Vital Voices in 2008 to donate 10 percent of her online and store sales to raise money to inspire women leaders overseas. For the last three years, von Furstenberg has celebrated Vital Voices leaders. On Friday at the United Nations, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation will again give two DVF Awards of the organization’s five $50,000 grants to Vital Voices awardees.
Wal-Mart is also in the mix, donating to Vital Voices partnerships in Latin America and the Caribbean. The retailer partners with the State Department in the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) program, and with ExxonMobil, Federal Express and CH2M Hill to fund the Latin American and Caribbean Businesswomen’s Network.
Ann Inc. chief executive officer Kay Krill, in D.C. to launch ANNpower celebrating high school girls for leadership and community initiatives, isn’t shy about her own company’s growing global focus.
The company’s foray into Canada begun last fall, she said, “far exceeded our expectations, and we’re opening more stores this year. And we just launched international shipping three weeks ago. That to me is really going to point to where the demand is for the brand. Early reads are the U.K., for sure, Canada, Mexico and Australia. We’re in the early days to see where the demand is for our products.’’