Bio

Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity. Ms. Iskenderian leads the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York, in providing innovative product development, leadership training and strategic support to a network of financial institutions focused on the needs of women. Women’s World Banking’s network includes commercial banks and microfinance institutions serving over 14 million women clients in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. By working with these partners, Women’s World Banking is able to serve more women than ever before with an expanded suite of financial products, including savings, insurance and mobile banking solutions. Ms. Iskenderian joined Women’s World Banking in 2006 and has continued to strengthen the organization’s position as the authoritative resource for the knowledge, innovation and tools needed for the expansion of women’s financial access around the world. She also serves as a member of the Investment Committee of its $50 million impact investment fund. Under Ms. Iskenderian’s leadership, Women’s World Banking continues to show the value of investing in women, both as a market and as talent.

Ms. Iskenderian has more than 20 years of experience in building global financial systems throughout the developing world. She is a strong advocate for providing low-income women with a full suite of financial products and services and a proponent for the role of responsible investment in the microfinance sector. Ms. Iskenderian has spoken widely on financial inclusion and the economic empowerment of women at Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Wharton and at numerous industry and banking forums including the annual conference of Le Cercle des Economistes, the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Economic Forum Africa, the IDB Foromic and the Microcredit Summit. She has been published in Forbes magazine and the Wall Street Journal; is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review blog; and is frequently quoted in the media, including the Financial Times, Newsweek, Time, BBC News and the Atlantic.

Ms. Iskenderian is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Women’s Forum of New York.  She serves as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, is a judge for the annual Financial Times/International Finance Corporation Sustainable Banking Awards and sits on the Board of Directors of Fair Trade USA. Ms. Iskenderian is a past recipient of NYU Stern’s Distinguished Citi Fellowship in Leadership and Ethics, the Isabel Benham Award from the Women’s Bond Club, and the companion Women’s Finance Award given by the Institute of Financial Services at Lucerne University, Switzerland.

Ms. Iskenderian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.