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Q&A with Tony Gambino, former Interim CEO

Board member and program committee chair Tony Gambino served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of Women for Women International from April - November 2014. He has many years of experience working across the developing world, including serving as USAID Mission Director to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and brought first-hand knowledge overseeing development programs in conflict-affected regions to this role.

Tony Gambino

Question: You are a man supporting a women’'s organization. Is this new?

Men have been enthusiastically involved with Women for Women International from its beginning 21 years ago. Co-founders Zainab Salbi and her former husband Amjad Atallah worked together as a team to build awareness, recruit sponsors, and raise funds to open country offices and enroll women into our life-changing programs. Last fall, Amjad shared a powerful story of a husband who carried his wife to participate in the Bosnian program in the aftermath of war.

The role of men becomes particularly important when we focus on sustaining the changes we seek; this truly requires the engagement of both women and men. We can'’t secure long-term political access, economic opportunities, and social inclusion for women without the support of men. For over a decade we have worked to strengthen Men’'s Engagement (see article), which was sparked by insightful feedback from women in our program.

Question: What makes our work different?

I joined the board of Women for Women International because I believe in our commitment to working with the most marginalized women. As every woman enrolled acquires new skills, she knows with confidence that she has the support of her sisters and sponsor. Our monitoring and evaluation studies underscore the long-lasting impact of our programs. I have spent many years working to advocate and support stability and development in conflict regions across Africa and have seen the effects of extreme poverty. The women we choose to work with are earning on average only $0.30 per day. This is not only humbling; it is a stark reminder of the urgency of our work.

Question: What is your goal?

During this transition, I am committed to helping us do the best job we can to serve the women in our program. This organization and the people who support it have chosen to embrace an exciting vision: that the most marginalized women, and their families can engage fully as empowered participants in vibrant communities. One of the key things I can do is support our amazing talent across the globe: 550 staff working to provide education and training, foster support networks, and connect women with job opportunities to earn an income in 8 conflict-affected countries.