ShEquity: A Refugee’s Path to Empowering Women & Their Businesses

Sponsored By: The International Leadership Association







Featured Guest:

Pauline Koelbl


Surviving life as a refugee is one thing.  To turn that life into a mission to empower other women is quite another.

That’s exactly what Pauline Koelbl did.  Escaping the war in Rwanda, she found herself a homeless refugee.  Eventually, Pauline found a home in Tucson, Arizona.  More importantly, she found mentoring and support there – and now “pays it forward” as the founder and managing director of ShEquity, and investment firm providing capital and other resources to women-led and -owned businesses in Africa.  Women are the key to unlocking economic success on the continent; they operate over 40% of small and medium sized enterprises.  What’s more, they reinvest about 90% of their revenue in sectors and activities that benefit their families and communities – men only reinvest 40%.  That’s one of many reasons the McKinsey Global Institute estimates the global GDP would increase by $28 trillion if we simply closed the business gender gap!

Pauline shares her compelling story of refugee-turned-entrepreneur focused on female empowerment with host Maureen Metcalf.


Here’s what Pauline and Maureen cover:

  • How closing the gender gap in the workforce potentially adds $28 trillion to the global GDP;
  • Why, despite the stereotypes, refugees bring with them vast amounts of intellectual capital host countries tend to waste; and
  • Why women are the key to African (and other) nations fully realizing their economic potential.


Pauline Koelbl

Listen On:



International Leadership Association, New Economy, Women in Leadership


ShEquity, Investment firm, Women-led businesses, Women-owned businesses, Africa, Economic success, McKinsey Global Institute, Female empowerment