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Bank of America and Vital Voices Empower Women to Reach Their Full Economic Potential Across Southeast Asia

  Bank of America and Vital Voices Empower Women to Reach Their Full Economic
  Potential Across Southeast Asia

    Global Ambassadors Program Will Focus on Leading Women From Poverty to
                           Prosperity to Prominence

Business Wire

SINGAPORE -- May 07, 2013

Bank of America and Vital Voices have convened a mentoring forum in Singapore,
which brings together several influential women from the public and private
sector who are committed to strengthening women’s economic empowerment across
developing nations in Southeast Asia. The Global Ambassadors Program, a Vital
Voices and Bank of America partnership, mobilizes accomplished professionals
as mentors for emerging women leaders in developing countries and brings
leaders from the private and public sector together to share and discuss the
skills and resources necessary to help women achieve their full economic
potential.

The United Nations estimates that the Asia Pacific economy would grow by an
additional $89 billion annually if women were able to achieve their full
economic potential. There are nearly six million women-owned businesses in
East Asia, with an increasing rate of women entrepreneurs in Indonesia,
Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Despite this trend, challenges hinder the
progress of working women across the region. Social norms often lead women to
exit the workforce after marriage or motherhood, and the macroeconomic,
institutional, and legal structures of many countries often result in more
women living and remaining in poverty. The Global Ambassadors Program will
address the barriers women face to enter and advance in the workforce, and
explore opportunities to help companies support the rise of women to senior
levels of management and enhance government initiatives supporting
entrepreneurship.

The week-long forum, taking place May 6 to 10, brings together seven Global
Ambassadors (mentors) and seven mentees, representing a diverse set of
industries and countries in the region to move women’s empowerment forward
across Southeast Asia. Centered on the theme of “Women in Southeast Asia: From
Poverty to Prosperity to Prominence,” the forum will include one-on-one
mentoring sessions and a public forum at which social and business leaders
from the region will discuss the role of women in advancing social and
economic growth.

The seven mentors participating in the program are:

  *Nancy Brennan, managing director, head of marketing, Global Banking and
    Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
  *Michelle Garnaut, founder, M. Restaurant Group.
  *Kate James, chief communications officer, Bill and Melinda Gates
    Foundation.
  *Virginia Littlejohn, president, CEO and co-founder, Quantum Leaps Inc.
  *Susan McPherson, senior vice president/director of global marketing,
    Fenton Communications.
  *Burnet Tucker, senior human resources executive, Bank of America.
  *Susan Roos, employment attorney; wife of U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

“We are thrilled to kick off the second year of the Global Ambassadors Program
with a mentoring forum in Singapore, in a region in which women have so much
potential to drive economic growth,” said Candace Browning, head of global
research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a Global Ambassador. “Connecting
women leaders to the expertise and perspective of mentors is one way that we
are helping advance women’s economic empowerment, creating stronger
communities and ultimately strengthening our global economy.”

The Singapore mentoring forum is the first Global Ambassadors Program
gathering this year. When the program launched in 2012, ambassadors visited
Haiti, South Africa and India where they worked with mentees and a growing
international network to create platforms that enable emerging women leaders
to achieve economic, political and social change in their country and
globally.

The Global Ambassadors Program is part of Bank of America’s and Vital Voices’
ongoing commitment to investing in leadership development, a goal guided by
the belief that strong leaders are vital to healthy, vibrant communities and
help advance economic growth. Over time, mentors help their mentees build
critical communications, advocacy and business skills and develop strategies
to advance their work. Since the forums in Haiti, South Africa and India,
mentees have continued to advance on a path of leadership through government
appointments, participation in high-level policy meetings, and planning their
own events focused on inspiring future leaders.

“What we’ve seen in recent years is a recognition that women are a leadership
force with a measurable impact as drivers of business and economic growth,”
said Alyse Nelson, president and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership. “We’re
proud to partner on this innovative global program to leverage the strengths
of the public and private sectors and together build a community of leaders
who are committed to strengthening women’s economic empowerment in Southeast
Asia.”

The next Global Ambassadors Program mentoring forums are set to take place
later this year in Brazil and Turkey.

For more information on the Global Ambassadors Program, visit
www.bankofamerica.com/globalambassadors.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving
individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large
corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and
other financial and risk management products and services. We serve
approximately 52 million consumer and small business relationships with
approximately 5,400 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs and
award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is
among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader
in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset
classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals
around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to
approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative,
easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through
operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE:
BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the
New York Stock Exchange.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

Vital Voices
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization
that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women
around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives
and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by former
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and
mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic
development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global
Leadership Network includes more than 14,000 leaders representing 144
countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in
their communities. Visit www.vitalvoices.org to learn more.

                            www.bankofamerica.com

Contact:

Reporters May Contact:
T.J. Crawford, Bank of America, 1.646.855.3301
tj.crawford@bankofamerica.com
APAC contact:
Mark Tsang, Bank of America, +852.2536.3366
mark.tsang@baml.com