Women’s Empowerment: Thinking and Leading Globally
Award-winning journalist ISHA SESAY has been covering global events for over a decade with a focus on stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls. Drawing on her work as the Founder and President of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit in her native country of Sierra Leone working to empower Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders, as well as her role with the UN’s Population Fund, Sesay brings a global perspective to conversations about women’s empowerment, motivating audiences of all kinds to consider their role as advocates and leaders in this impactful talk.
Author Talk: ‘Beneath the Tamarind Tree’
Inspired by her heartbreaking and hopeful first book, Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram, celebrated journalist ISHA SESAY shares insights about her work leading the award-winning CNN team that covered the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school in Chibok in 2014. As the only journalist on the ground who traveled home with a number of the girls, Sesay’s reporting and powerful storytelling offers analysis of the regional and global political forces at play, the role of media, and centers on the importance of elevating the stories of the girls themselves to lead the international conversation.
International Current Events: What’s at Stake
Award-winning journalist and author ISHA SESAY has been covering major global events and breaking news for over a decade, offering incomparable analysis of the forces at play as well as the impact of race and gender in media coverage and storytelling. With a unique focus on stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls, Sesay’s sought-after commentary has elevated conversations and panels with her incisive insights and commitment to centering marginalized voices.
The Role of Race & Gender in Media, and What That Means
Celebrated and award-winning journalist ISHA SESAY spent over a decade covering breaking global news stories for CNN International, and now serves as the CEO of OkayMedia. Sesay has offered nuanced and insightful analysis in her reporting, including powerful interviews with changemakers, heads of state, and more, bringing a focus to stories of injustice and their impact on women and girls. Drawing on her own experience as a Black woman on a major network, as well as her in-depth reporting of complex global crises, Sesay speaks to the role of race and gender in media storytelling and the impact representation has on politics, communities, and society in this enlightening talk.
Seasoned and award-winning journalist Isha Sesay, who spent 13 years at CNN International as an anchor and reporter, is the new CEO of OkayMedia, a media company dedicated to Black culture and uplifting Black voices. Sesay has also been appointed to the OkayMedia board of directors. Sesay is also the Founder, and President of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization working in her native country of Sierra Leone, to nurture and empower teenage girls to become Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders.
In 2005, she joined CNN International as an anchor and correspondent. Sesay has covered global events and major breaking news of the past decade, with a focus on stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls. As part of her anchoring and reporting duties, Sesay’s impressive roster of interviews include numerous global leaders - the Prime Ministers of Kenya and Australia, as well as the Presidents of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, and a host of newsmakers including Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, Matt Damon, Michelle Obama, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates - Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, Leymeh Gbowee, and Denis Mukwege.
Reporting from Nigeria in 2014, Sesay led the CNN team that covered the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. CNN’s in-depth reporting was recognized with a Peabody Award. Sesay was awarded a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor for her coverage of this story, in addition to other accolades during her tenure at CNN.
Sesay’s definitive account and first book, Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram (Dey Street Books) published in July 2019. The paperback edition of the book was released in April of 2020. She lives in Los Angeles.
Of Sierra Leonean descent, Sesay grew up in Britain and holds a B.A. honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University.