Honoree Bios

Celebrating Women® Award Honoree
Rachel Lloyd, Founder & CEO of Girls Education Mentoring Services (GEMS)

Rachel HeadshotReebok Human Rights Award and Ashoka Fellowship winner Rachel Lloyd is a leading advocate for commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women.  In 1998, with only a computer and $30, Lloyd established GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services to support girls and young women victimized by the commercial sex industry.

Since its inception as a one-woman outreach program, GEMS has grown steadily, building its services and programs and garnering increased visibility and recognition under Lloyd’s leadership. GEMS is now the nation’s largest organization offering direct services to domestic victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. GEMS serves over 350 girls each year through its clinical recovery, housing and youth leadership programs, and 1,000 youth through education and outreach. As a survivor-led organization, GEMS is well-known for its empowering approach to youth leadership and activism.

As the Executive Director of GEMS, Lloyd has been a leading advocate for survivor leadership and spearheaded the first US Summit of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth, the first youth survivor-led Congressional briefing in DC, the first youth survivor-led legislative briefing in Albany, NY and the first youth survivor produced short documentary “Breaking the Silence” about commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Lloyd is a nationally recognized expert on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children and domestic trafficking in America, and played a key role in the successful passage of New York State’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor Act for Sexually Exploited Youth, the first law in the country to end the prosecution of child victims of trafficking. Her trailblazing advocacy is the subject of the critically-acclaimed Showtime documentary “Very Young Girls” for which she was also the Co-Executive Producer. The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, has been seen by over 3 million people and has been a powerful tool in changing public perception. Rachel is also the author of the memoir “Girls Like Us” published in April of 2011 by Harper Collins. About the book, filmmaker Mira Nair said, “The truth and power of her writing takes us to a place where common humanity becomes the ultimate healer.”

Rachel Lloyd received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Marymount Manhattan College and her Master’s in Applied Urban Anthropology from the City College of New York.

The Vision Award Honoree
Tina Brown, Founder and Editor in Chief, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company

Tina Brown photo 2Tina Brown, founder and editor in chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, is one of the highest-profile, most talked-about editors in the world. From a young writer for Punch magazine and the Sunday Times, she quickly rose through the ranks of the magazine industry on both sides of the Atlantic to become editor in chief of Talker, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, publisher of Talk magazine and most recently, editor in chief of Newsweek & The Daily Beast.

In 2011, The Daily Beast merged with Newsweek magazine. The web site was awarded the 2012 Webby award for best news site, and hit a traffic high of 18.2 million unique visitors. Newsweek’s tablet edition has seen a download increase of 410% since the app was relaunched under Tina’s direction in early 2012.

As Vanity Fair’s editor in chief, Brown pioneered celebrity journalism and increased its circulation from 250,000 to 1.2 million. Following her success at Vanity Fair, Brown went to the venerable literary magazine, The New Yorker, where she became the first woman ever to serve as the editor. Brown hosted a well-received television program, Topic A with Tina Brown, on CNBC and in 2007 her biography, The Diana Chronicles spent several weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

In March 2010, Tina launched the annual Women in the World summit, and following its globally recognized success recently founded the Women in the World Foundation, which will serve as a resource to all who seek to learn about and engage on issues of importance to women and girls.

Brown and her husband, Sir Harold Evans live in New York and have two children.

The Century Award Honoree
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian Peace Activist

Leymah Gbowee2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. She is Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, founded the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In addition, Gbowee is the Newsweek Daily Beast’s Africa columnist. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. She holds a M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA), and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa from Rhodes University in South Africa and University of Alberta in Canada. Leymah was honored as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She is based in Monrovia, Liberia and has six children.