IVLP Gold Stars – Ms. Geraldine Mlynarz of Chile

IVLP Gold Star Alumna Geraldine Mlynarz speaking at a Global Ties U.S. "Diplomacy Begins Here" Regional Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico

In July of 2017, Meridian welcomed Gold Star alumna Ms. Geraldine Mlynarz of Chile for a two week program that followed up with their first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in 2012, "WeAmericas - Women's Entrepreneurship Program for Latin America and the Caribbean." Since the conclusion of her program Geraldine, Founder and General Manager of the biotechnology firm ActivaQ, launched a regional organization called "Mujer Apoya Mujer" (Women Helping Women). With the aid of fellow WeAmericas IVLP alumni, the network connects female entrepreneurs to mentors and provides career training workshops. Her Chile based association has also partnered with Houston's Angel Network to train Latin American entrepreneurs in securing investor funding. Having returned to the U.S. as a Gold Star alumna, Geraldine began new relationships with resources in Washington, DC; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Seattle, Washington.

While in Washington, Ms. Mlynarz met with representatives from the Hot Mommas Project at The George Washington University School of Business; staff from the Center for International Private Enterprise; and a representative from Vital Voices Global Partnership, a non-governmental organization that identifies, trains, and empowers emerging women and social entrepreneurs around the globe. Before traveling to Albuquerque, Geraldine had an opportunity to speak about the impact of her first IVLP on her career alongside fellow IVLP Gold Star Alumna Ms. Chigozie Udemezue of Nigeria.

In Albuquerque, both Geraldine and Gozie were welcomed at the Global Ties U.S. sponsored Diplomacy Begins Here Summit. The Summit's theme, "Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Along El Camino Real and Beyond," fit well with Geraldine's background and history with the IVLP. There the alumni spoke again about their experiences as participants and how they managed to implement the lessons that they had learned in building their own networks and organizations. Geraldine also had the opportunity to meet with the New Mexico Small Business Economic Development Center, a small non-profit organization that provides business consulting, workshops, and training for new start-ups before travelling on to her next stop in Seattle.

Geraldine's final city stop in Seattle was well organized by the Global Ties U.S. community based member (CBM), the World Affairs Council of Seattle. The CBM organized appointments with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH); and the CoMotion Incubator at the University of Washington. She was also able to engage with Ventures, a non-profit that builds business by equipping low-income entrepreneurs with access to capital; The Riveter,  a full-service co-working space marketed specifically to women in business; and the SCORE Association, a non-profit association that educates entrepreneurs and helps small businesses grow. After the conclusion of these appointments, Geraldine returned to Chile to continue to build progress with WeAmericas and ActivaQ.

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Project summary

IVLP Gold Stars – Ms. Geraldine Mlynarz of Chile | August 2017
Number of Visitors: 1
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: Chile
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector