Convention 2022

Program Speakers

Meet our speakers that will be taking the stage at the 2022 Zonta International Convention in Hamburg, Germany.


Marissa Conway

Feminist activist, foreign policy analyst, and CEO of United Nations Association UK

Marissa Conway is a feminist activist, foreign policy analyst, and CEO of United Nations Association UK. Previously, she was the Co-Founder and UK Executive Director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy. Her work and insight have been featured in outlets like the BBC, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Marie Claire. She has received numerous accolades for her work and in 2019 was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. 

Originally from Silicon Valley in California, Marissa began her advocacy career in human trafficking prevention. She has a BA in Political Science and a BA in Music from Chapman University in California, as well as an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS University of London. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @marissakconway and learn more about her work at

Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru

Environmental Justice Warrior, Rhodes Scholar & Founder of Black Girl Environmentalist

Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru is an environmental justice advocate, writer and current graduate student at the University of Oxford. She is a first generation American of Kenyan descent and the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman and Udall Scholarships.

The founder of the organization Black Girl Environmentalist, Wawa is motivated to uplift the voices of those most adversely impacted by environmental inequities through changing conservation conversations. For her work in collaboration with other activists and thought leaders, Wawa has been recognized as a 2020 Young Futurist by The Root, a 2020 Grist 50 FIXER, a 2020 Glamour College Woman of the Year and has spoken on her work across the country.

Nankali Maksud

Senior Advisor focusing on prevention of harmful practices (female genital mutilation and child marriage) for UNICEF Headquarters, Programme Division.

Nankali Maksud has over 20 years of experience in managing child protection programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa with UNICEF. As a child rights advocate, she has been involved in advocacy that led to improved protection of children affected by HIV and AIDS and other vulnerable children.

Nankali has played a leading role in coordinating UNICEF’s engagement with governments and other partners in the development of programmes for the protection and care of vulnerable children in countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

She is a national of Tanzania and holds a Master of Arts in International Law from the United Kingdom.

VIRTUAL KEYNOTE: Carmen Ortiz-McGhee

Trail-blazing Executive. Authentic Leader. Unwavering Advocate

Trail-blazing Executive. Authentic Leader. Unwavering Advocate. These are just a few of the descriptions that come to mind when describing the emergent and compelling voice of Carmen Ortiz-McGhee. A passionate champion of women, Carmen is a powerful and authentic voice on the subject of uplifting them, gleaned from years of advocating for and empowering women. From Giving Yourself Grace, to Battling Imposter Syndrome, From Straightening Your Crown to Finding Your Tribe, Carmen takes audiences through a compelling journey of lessons learned and skills honed to elevating all of the women around them.

Now, as Chief Operating Officer of the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC), the trade association for diverse and women-owned private equity firms and hedge funds, Carmen leads all NAIC programs, initiatives, corporate partnerships and key industry alliances.

Educational Speakers

Stefanie Düssler

2021 Amelia Earhart Fellow 

Ms. Düssler is pursuing a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering at Imperial College London. Her research focuses on aeroelastic simulations to explore new potential gust load alleviation (GLA) strategies for future commercial aircraft. GLA systems intend to directly alleviate loads that are induced by gust encounters during flight on the aircraft structure. By directly reducing these loads, the aircraft structure must withstand smaller loads, enabling structural weight savings. These weight savings offer the potential to significantly improve the overall efficiency of the aircraft, thus meeting the goals that anthropogenic climate change has brought to commercial aviation. Ms. Düssler’s research work aligns with her future career goal to contribute to a greener future.

Before her Ph.D., Ms. Düssler studied aerospace engineering at Technical University Braunschweig in Germany and spent an exchange year at Purdue University in the United States. She received the Amelia Earhart Club Award 2020 from the Zonta Club of Braunschweig for her master thesis, in which she designed a Coanda-type flow actuator for faster and safer GLA systems and evaluated its performance with wind tunnel measurements.

Ms. Düssler enjoys playing guitar and participating in various sports such as kickboxing, cycling, kitesurfing and climbing. She won the German Girls’ Youth Championship (2013) in chess. For eight years, she has been playing in the German Women’s League and promoted female chess players through her coaching activities.

Laura Ufer

2021 Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholar

Laura Ufer has always been interested in starting her own venture—from selling vegetables around her neighborhood as a child to producing short films for international retailers in high school. She is now in her first year of pursuing her master’s degree in entrepreneurship. During her time in the program, she hopes to improve on three core competencies as a female founder: knowledge in the areas of international business and software development; deeper insights into the funding process of venture capital firms; and developing a close network of like-minded business students.

While in her undergraduate studies at TH Cologne and Harvard University, where she studied abroad for a semester, Laura became particularly interested in the fast-paced, innovative environment of e-commerce. She immersed herself in several direct-to-customer online stores and earned internships in the e-commerce field at OTTO and Hive Technologies. From these experiences, Laura realized that she wants to build her own company at the cross-sections of media and online retail, with a focus on sustainable business practices.

After graduation, Laura wants to not only develop a successful startup but also mentor women entering underrepresented fields like entrepreneurship. Laura plans to eventually become a business professor and play a part in realizing Jane M. Klausman’s goal to overcome gender barriers from the classroom to the boardroom.

Emma Lehbib

2020 Young Women in Public Affairs Awardee 

With a desire to initiate a project at her school that would also affect the world outside school, Emma Lehbib, with the group HBG Against Slavery, initiated several campaigns that drew attention to the inhumane treatments of refugees in Libya and raised €1,000 (approximately US$1,173) for the International Organization for Migration. The next year, Emma helped take the lead of the group, which they renamed to HBG for Human Rights. They organized a charity run and raised more than €5,000 (approximately US$5,867) for an orphanage in South Africa. The money allowed the orphanage to finish building an educational establishment and still have a budget for future projects or the ability to care for more children. 

Emma learned important skills as a leader in political simulations such as the Model European Parliament (MEP) and Elephant Model United Nations (ELMUN). She helped to organize a conference for 130 students as part of her role with MEP; and, as secretary general of ELMUN, an international summit of 200 students, Emma guided the General Secretariat and the staff team. For both conferences, she was partially responsible for finding sponsorships and accommodations, coordinating applications and training the chair team. She was also part of her school’s student council. 

Currently, Emma studies International and European Law at the University of Groningen. She works for an NGO and is part of the Sahrawi Diaspora in Germany. Together with her colleagues, she is organizing demonstrations, moderates events and plans campaigns to liberate Western Sahara from the Moroccan occupying power. In the future, she wants to pursue a career in academia and politics.