Penny Abeywardena

Head of Girls & Women and Associate Director of Commitments, Clinton Global Initiative

Penny joined CGI in 2009 to develop strategy highlighting and integrating the gender lens throughout the organization's various platforms. CGI is a non-partisan organization that convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. She has since led the program's evolution into one of CGI's most successful efforts. Penny is responsible for the portfolio of CGI commitments focused on empowering girls & women worldwide, developing year-round programming, and integrating the gender lens throughout the CGI platform. She has notably led the growth of girls & women related commitments; advised multinational corporations, philanthropists, NGOs, and multilateral institutions to increase investments in gender-focused development initiatives; and increased the community of CGI members who are incorporating the gender lens in their work. Prior to CGI, Penny worked in development and programmatic areas for Human Rights Watch, the Funding Exchange and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

Penny has been recognized by United Nation's Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit, as one of 101 Global Innovators for her work to put women's rights on the global political agenda. Most recently Dell selected Penny as a World Changer who #inspires. She frequently advises the development of gender-related programming and is currently the content advisor to the upcoming Club de Madrid conference. She is on numerous advisory boards including the Success Academies Charter Schools, Blue Engine, G(irls)20 Summit, the Global Partnership for Women & Girls, Girls Who Code and the Iraqi Women's Fellowship Foundation. Penny has previously served on the boards of Sakhi for South Asian Women and Resource Generation. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

2013 South Asian Women's Leadership Forum (SAWLF). All Rights Reserved. Congress Images by Seshu Photography. SAWLF Event Images by Mamta Badkar