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Dr. Terza Lima-Neves Shines in International Women’s Forum Fellows Program

International Women’s Forum Fellows Program group photo

Dr. Terza Lima-Neves, chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences and associate professor of Political Science, took a shot at applying for the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Fellows Program in 2020-21.

Little did she know, the rigorous application process would label her a top woman leader, and she would enter a program with women around the world who lead global companies.

“I was excited, elated and at the same time terrified when I found out I was selected to be part of the IWF Fellows Program,” said Lima-Neves. “After all, one of the first members of the IWF was former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! I read the other fellows' bios and couldn't believe I was among CEOs and CFOs of global companies. Once I got to know them I realized that I had skills they wanted to learn from and vice versa. We all learned so much from each other and became a tight group of ‘sisters.’”

After a rigorous application and interview process, and a special letter of recommendation from President Clarence D. Armbrister, Lima-Neves was one of 28 women accepted into the program’s 2020-21 cohort. 

Due to the risks associated with the pandemic, however, she and her cohort were unable to complete hallmark experiences of their program until this year.

The program usually convenes nearly 35 fellows for 20 days at three separate sessions: Harvard Business School, INSEAD (France) and a conference in Las Vegas.

In May, Lima-Neves and her cohort were invited to attend a joint session at Harvard Business School with the 2021-22 cohort in May 2022.

“My favorite part of the week at Harvard was hanging out with my cohort, exchanging with women leaders from all over the world and being in a classroom with the world's most brilliant minds,” she said. 

Not only did Lima-Neves have the opportunity to network and learn, but she found solace in her ability to also teach while at Harvard. 

“Professors at Harvard found value and wanted to know more about my analysis of intersectional gender politics as a Black woman – something that is not discussed enough in predominantly white spaces,” she said. “These in-depth conversations led to lessons learned for all of us. Having been educated and as a professor at an HBCU, I have the confidence and audacity to make sure women who look like me are seen and centered in any room that I enter.”

Lima-Neves will travel to Las Vegas in November to see her cohort in person, and meet more than 7,000 leaders including heads of state, filmmakers, astronauts and global thought-leaders.

Her biggest takeaway from being a part of the 2020-21 IWF Fellows Program is to value her work and her worth, and to always remember she’s bonded with 27 other women leaders who have her back and are ready to support her goals and help her chase her ambitions.

In fact, she’s already connected with a few in her cohort who she is scheduling to speak in her classes on contemporary African society and politics and intro to political science. 

Tapping into the knowledge and expertise of her cohort and continuing to connect with them personally and professionally is exciting to Lima-Neves.

“It’s essential to connect with other women leaders because we get to exchange innovative ideas and best practices, encourage each other and be inspired to continue to develop ourselves,” she said. “As leaders, we must never become complacent with our styles of leadership. We should always continue to seek new ways to evolve and inspire the communities we lead.”

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