Meet Verlaine and Jessica!

Feminist leadership (…) comes from a place of compassion, love and humility. (…) In my mind, it’s creating space for everyone to engage (…) It’s about giving space for everyone, whether in your organisation or team, not just have opportunities internally but externally. To be able to raise their voices and make their contributions. It’s also making sure that young people feel confident to broaden that space (…). Jessica

Collaboration, inclusivity, believing in others, breaking the mold, and rising! (…) Feminist leadership is also about having an open door policy – how do we make sure we allow people to come as they are, and to bring their light to the table, so that the light gets bigger and we can overcome the challenges we are facing. Verlaine

Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo is an international strategist and public policy professional serving at UN Women Executive Office on Global/Africa Strategic Priorities. 

She devotes her efforts to building cross-sectorial partnerships and multi-stakeholders strategic engagements. Her efforts are rooted in policy, human rights, women and youth empowerment, inclusion, diversity, equality and social justice. 

Verlaine is the Founding Coordinator of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), a joint African Union-UN Women initiative established to scale up women’s leadership in Africa. 

She is actively involved in advancing young women’s rights and is the founder of the impact initiative “Zahara’s Dream Inc.”, which supports young women from vulnerable and/or low-income communities empowering themselves by tapping into their full potential. Zahara’s Dream Inc. is on a mission to donate 100,000 Power Jackets by 2030 to rising young women as part of professional attire support across the world. 

Verlaine was recognized in 2018 in the Top 100 list of Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in the Politics and Governance Category, and in 2019 in the Top 100 Influencers on Gender Equality and Diversity by Onalytica. She served on the Advisory Panel of “Women in Power” of the 73rd President of the UN General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés.

A graduate of the Sorbonne and Sciences Po and having studied in the United States (Rutgers, NYU, Harvard) Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo holds two master’s degrees in political science, law and economics. 

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Jessica Roland is a Senior Specialist for Inclusive Peace for the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. She also actively volunteers as the North America Engagement Lead at Zahara’s Dream. Prior to joining the Network, she worked for Women Deliver as a Senior Associate for Policy and Advocacy. In this role, her portfolio included a focus on women, peace and security, advancing women’s leadership, engaging men and boys, and gender-based violence. Jessica has also worked for the National Democratic Institute on advancing women’s political participation, and on a U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women Grant focused on services for domestic violence victims with disabilities.

Jessica earned her Master of Arts in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Richmond, the American International University of London.

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