Women Everywhere – Maria Andrews, WiM Director, on purpose-driven marketing

As members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, my first encounter with Ade Onilude was hearing about the Women in Marketing network, then, a special interest group.

At the time, I was Marketing Communications Director for Women for Women International, an NGO that supports women survivors of war to rebuild their lives. It was vital to collaborate with an organisation that reached and connected with people who had the drive as well as compassion in using their skills as marketers to raise awareness of the charity and encourage support.

Ade gave me that platform in 2011, where I was able to introduce the charity to a group of dynamic individuals and the following year the Women in Marketing Awards 2012 supported Women for Women International.

The journey for my career in working in the not-for-profit sector and my drive to use my marketing knowledge and skills to make a difference for social good, has lead me to work for charities who core mission is to improve lives and give people the opportunities to become self-sufficient and create a better future for themselves and their communities.

Entering a new decade, brings the realisation that we still have a long way to go to improve lives and live in a more equal society. Particularly given the five-year milestone in measuring our progress against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030, it becomes more obvious that eradicating poverty, achieving zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality – the top 5 SDGs – is still an ongoing process. I am also afraid to say that key performance indicators of economically prosperous countries and many charities are not nearly on track as we would like them to be.

Yet, we can all play our part and make sure that the SDGs are progressing positively, because more of us care and are raising our voices to bring organisations, governments and people of influence to account.

This March sees the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 2020 is therefore a pivotal year for the accelerated realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere.

Everyday, I am inspired by how people can change their lives for the better. At Book Aid International, where I am Head of Development, we send brand new books to libraries, schools, universities, refugee camps and hospitals in Africa to enable people to read, access knowledge and improve their own lives. Our programmes focus on encouraging young women to explore subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by creating STEM Study Hubs in libraries. A special space where the next generation can learn, read and gain an education that gives them an opportunity to start a career of the future.

Women everywhere have the ability and the skills to become philanthropists, in the time you make to support another person or the actions you take in joining together to make a change. Being able to use my skills for social good keeps me motivated and energised to keep trying every day.

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