W2W AMERICA 2017
BOSTON, MA
JULY 23 – AUGUST 1

W2W Speakers

The 2017 Women2Women program is currently under development. Below is an initial list of some speakers from Women2Women 2016.

Rick Rendon
Founder, Empower Peace

Mr. Rendon is the founder of Empower Peace and Senior Partner of The Rendon Group, a Boston-based communications firm that specializes in public affairs campaigns. Empower Peace was founded on the premise that young people, through communication and the promotion of cultural understanding, could help pave the way for peace. Mr. Rendon holds strong to the belief that our future generation has the ability to create change and that they hold the key to breaking down the cultural barriers that threaten to divide the Western, Muslim and Arab worlds.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rendon has taken great pride in creating and developing innovative community-based initiatives and social campaigns. Working with community leaders and activists, Mr. Rendon helped create and organize the world’s largest school-based racial harmony campaign. For seven years “TEAM HARMONY” brought together over 15,000 middle and high school students from throughout New England to discuss the issues of hatred and prejudice and to develop programs to promote diversity and harmony in schools and communities region wide. Team Harmony’s keynote speakers have included former United States President Bill Clinton, United States Senator and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, former United States Attorney General Janet Reno, and the Reverend Bernice King (daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Mr. Rendon was also the creator and co-founder of the school-based program, “UNITED WE STAND FOR AMERICA”. This program was developed post 9/11 to provide youth with an opportunity to express their emotions and feelings in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Students from throughout Massachusetts were recruited to create individual messages of peace, hope, and patriotism on six-inch tiles of red, white and blue fabric. This fabric was then assembled to create a giant quilt of an American flag (nearly half the size of a football field). Over 700 schools and 50,000 students participated in this program.

Mr. Rendon, working with the Islamic Society of Boston, the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, and the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes, developed the “OUTNUMBER THE HATE” campaign. This Massachusetts school-based campaign encouraged students to rally against hate, prejudice and intolerance experienced by Muslim and Arabs in the United States post-9/11. In response to the 1,700 hate crimes reported against Muslims and Arabs living in America, Massachusetts’ students responded by creating OVER 1,700 messages of respect, diversity and tolerance.

In addition to over thirty years of experience as a senior communications consultant, Mr. Rendon served previously as a Public Information Officer for the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as a member of United States President Jimmy Carter’s national political staff.


Victoria BudsonVictoria Budson
Executive Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Victoria A. Budson is the founding Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. WAPPP’s mission is to increase gender equality and improve the lives of women and men across the world by creating and sharing knowledge that helps close gender gaps in economic participation, political opportunity, health and education.

Currently Budson serves on the Department of State steering committee of the Women in Public Service Project initially begun under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and continued under Secretary Kerry. In addition she advises the Obama White House Administration on policies to close gender gaps at the national level. As a political appointee of Governor Deval Patrick, Budson chairs the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
Budson has also served on numerous Boards of Directors including the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), iVillage Cares, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Massachusetts National Abortion Rights Action League, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Legislative Network and Alliance, Massachusetts Coalition of Democratic Women, and the Steering Committee for the Massachusetts State Treasury’s Women and Money conference. She also served as an advisor for the development of the United Nations’ University for Peace Masters degree program in International Peace Studies with specialization in Gender and Peace Building.

Budson speaks on current topics that relate to closing gender gaps such as gender and public policy, electoral politics and political action. She is also a frequent commentator for news publications, television, and radio programs including CNN International, Fox News Live, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Boston Globe, New York Times Magazine, New England Cable News, Talk of the Nation, Radio Boston and The Connection on National Public Radio in addition to having reviewed and edited the childbirth chapter for the 2005 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Before coming to Harvard, Budson was the Political and Community Affairs Director for Steve Grossman at AIPAC and has worked with EMILY’s List, an organization that supports pro-choice, democratic women candidates.

Awards Budson has received include: the Empower Peace Women2Women Leadership Award, the “Rising Star” award for her outstanding work to advance the political education of women from the Network for Women in Politics and Government at UMASS Boston, the Carol Moseley Braun Award from Mass Choice, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence at the Kennedy School. Budson graduated Magna Cum Laude and with Departmental Honors from Wellesley College with a joint degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies. As a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration Program, she received the Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for her distinction in academics at the Kennedy School, her contribution to the Kennedy School and the greater Harvard community, and her potential for continuing leadership excellence.


Susan HackleySusan Hackley
Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School is a world-renowned interdisciplinary research center dedicated to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. As Managing Director, Susan Hackley oversees all of PON's activities, which include research projects, conferences, special events, and educational programs. She also manages the publication of a variety of books and teaching materials, including the monthly Negotiation newsletter and the quarterly Negotiation Journal. Susan has taught negotiation seminars in China, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. Before joining PON, she worked in politics as a policy analyst and served as communications director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. As a writer/photographer, she has had work published in National Geographic Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and many other publications. She also co-founded an Internet company, an e-philanthropy site dedicated to helping people connect to causes they care about. Susan has a Masters Degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School and served three years as chair of the board of directors of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.


Karen A. McLaughlin, Conference Co-Chair
Human Trafficking and Victim Rights Expert

Karen McLaughlin is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in victim assistance and violence prevention. In the United States, Ms. McLaughlin has pioneered the development of victim service programs within the criminal justice system and community agencies at the state and national level.

Ms. McLaughlin served for five years from 2005-2010 as the director of the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.  In that role, she coordinated over 50 federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecution and non-governmental partner agencies in their efforts to rescue victims, investigate and prosecute cases of those who engage in the growing domestic and international slave trade. She is a co-drafter of the pending Massachusetts state legislation that provides comprehensive rights and services to victims, mandates stringent criminal penalties for traffickers and requires initiatives related to stemming demand for sex and labor trafficking.

Presently, Ms. McLaughlin continues to serve the interests of crime victims by working to strengthen global efforts to combat human trafficking under a grant funded by the United States Department of State. This initiative is addressing the labor, organ and sex trafficking trade in China. In the domestic arena, she coauthored “Developing a National Campaign for Eliminating Sex Trafficking” as a consultant for Abt Associates, Inc. In her current role, she is a consultant for a groundbreaking national initiative to end demand for human trafficking sponsored by the Hunt Alternatives Fund.

In the international arena, Ms. McLaughlin was elected in 2008 to the International Scientific Professional and Advisory Council (ISPAC) of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. ISPAC’s international experts are charged with advising the United Nations on matters of worldwide crime policy. She currently chairs ISPAC’s Victim Assistance and Victimization Prevention Committee.

In other matters related to the United Nations, Ms. McLaughlin has been a long-standing member of the World Society of Victimology’s United Nations Liaison Committee. She assisted in the drafting of the United Nations Handbook on Justice for Victims and the United Nations Guide on Victims of Crime for Policymakers. Most recently, she was an active participant in an expert group that was convened to research, conceptualize and draft the United Nations Convention on Justice and Support for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. This initiative launched a global strategy for this proposed international instrument. For nearly a decade, much of Ms. McLaughlin’s work has focused on victims of transnational crime. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist strike, Ms. McLaughlin directed a national terrorism project which addressed the impact of the attack on thousands of victims and their families and evaluated the country’s response, recovery and preparedness in the aftermath of this national tragedy. Additionally, the United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch sought her expertise as a result of her work in responding to the families of the victims of the Pan Am 103 terrorist attack over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In 1997, in recognition of her accomplishments at the state, national and international levels, she was presented with the National Crime Victim Service Award, the highest federal honor for service to victims. Bestowed by President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno, this prestigious acknowledgement was a tribute to Ms McLaughlin’s tireless efforts on behalf of underserved victim populations.

From 1989-1991, Ms. McLaughlin was president of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). She was instrumental in establishing the first state and national victim assistance crisis response teams to respond in the immediate aftermath of mass catastrophes, both in the U.S. and abroad. Her volunteer service to victims of crime and mass causalities has taken her to numerous countries consulting with governments and non-governmental organizations.

In her former capacity working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1992-2002, Ms. McLaughlin created several national model curricula and protocols for law enforcement, prosecutors and victim services and educators. For nearly a decade in the 1990s she directed the Justice Department’s National Center for Hate Crime Prevention, where she created the country’s first curriculum to respond to and prevent bias crime. She co-authored, “Healing the Hate,” the first national curriculum that dealt with hate crime prevention. She trained thousands of professionals to address crimes resulting from prejudice. Her groundbreaking work on bystanders, cooperative learning and peer education has won numerous awards from civil rights and human rights groups. Her teaching tools were disseminated to over 15,000 educational institutions in the U.S. as well as thousands of youth programs throughout the nation and internationally.

Since the mid-1970s, Ms. McLaughlin has fought to establish rights and services for crime victims at the state and national level. In 1980, as the principal architect for the Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights, she directed the lobbying effort to ensure the passage of this victim rights reform initiative. She served as the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance from 1984-1991, the first independent state victim assistance agency in the United States.


Mason WestMason West
Director of Community Learning, Randolph School

Mason West III earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. He later earned his Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning and Community Development from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.  Currently he is pursuing his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee.

For fifteen years Mr. West served as an instructor and administrator. He has educated youth in Georgia, Alabama and Bermuda as an exceptional Religion and Social Studies instructor. Mr. West also served as an associate pastor at the West End Church in Atlanta Georgia and the Madison Mission Church in Madison, Alabama.

Currently, Mr. West serves others in several capacities. He is the Director of Community Learning at the Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama. He is the Director of Ministry for the Buckhead Community Fellowship Ministry in Atlanta, Georgia. He is  the founder and CEO of the Mason West Group (MWG), a youth leadership consulting company. His company specializes in the creation of youth leadership programs. MWG’s clients have included schools, local governments, the federal government, and corporations.

In 2003 Mr. West started his Talented Tenth Leadership Program. The purpose of the program is to teach youth how to influence their peers, their government and their economy. The program is a vehicle used to help youth under his tutelage become agents of social change.

Youth are trained in a curriculum that exposes them to different levels of economics, civics and the rational planning process. These youth then prepare economic development plans for low-income communities and crisis intervention plans for a conflict somewhere on the globe. They travel to Washington D.C. where they present these plans to those who actually work in these fields.

Mr. West’s students have presented before local government officials, officers at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Justice Department, World Bank, State Department and congressional offices. They have debated before municipal judges and celebrated legal scholars. They have become agents of social change.

Mr. West is also the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for Engage Youth Empowerment Services, a youth advocacy company based in Wolverhampton, England. This company, which engages youth on the fringes of society has become one of the premier youth services organizations in the city of Wolverhampton, England.

Mr. West has helped those who have the ability, but not necessarily the opportunity to stand in prestigious places and discover that they can change the world if just given the chance.