Women of Distinction Keynote Speaker Announced!

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon will be the keynote speaker as part of the 24th Annual YWCA McLean County Women of Distinction Awards Banquet, May 23, 2013. The banquet will be held at Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom, social hour beginning at 5:30 pm, followed by the 6:30 pm dinner and the awards presentation.

ImageLemmon is the New York Times best-selling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program. She began her career as a journalist, working for nearly ten years covering presidential politics and public affairs as a producer with the ABC News Political Unit and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In 2004, she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in war zones including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her reporting on this topic has been published by the New York Times Global Edition, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, and the Daily Beast (where she is their regular reporter on Afghanistan) as well as The World Bank and Harvard Business School. She also has appeared on National Public Radio, NBC “Nightly News,” MSNBC and ABC News Now as a policy expert on Afghanistan.

Lemmon is currently a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. She also served as an informal advisor on the topic of women’s economic empowerment for Gen. McChrystal’s staff in Afghanistan as well as economic officials at the American Embassy in Kabul.

Lemmon speaks regularly on the topic of women’s economic issues at conferences nationwide, and frequently appears on Washington think tank panels, including the US Institute for Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She has taught a class at Harvard Business School and at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In March 2010, she served as a panelist at Tina Brown’s invitation-only “Women in the World” event and she was a featured speaker at the National Council for Research on Women’s annual meeting in New York and the Center for Strategic and International Studies recent forum on women in Afghanistan. She is a member of the International Center for Research on Women’s New Leaders Circle and Vital Voices’ Los Angeles council. She has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany.

She speaks Spanish, German, and French and is conversant in Dari. Lemmon lives in Los Angeles, California, where she has spent the last several years working at the investment management firm PIMCO while completing her book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.

Serving the community since 1908, the YWCAMcLeanCounty strives to eliminate racism and empower women through our programs and services. For more information about the YWCA Women of Distinction awards event call 662-0461, or go to www.ywcamclean.org/womenofdistinction.



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