General Business Meeting followed by: Ladies Night -
Sophia Swire - From Cashmere to Kabul, Adventures in the Hindu Kush
Sophia Swire is an award-winning social entrepreneur, philanthropist and adventurer
who has devoted her life to empowering women and girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan through education and enterprise.
She travelled extensively as a young woman, before working for a merchant banker in the 1980’s,
then giving up her career in the City to focus on development work.
She spent a year in Chitral - a valley in the Hindu Kush on the Afghan-Pakistan border, where she helped the local Deputy Commissioner set up a school.
She trekked into the remote valleys in the region with local people, staying with the Kalash tribal peoples,
and travelled through Waziristan and Balochistan staying with Pashtun tribes with local chieftains to Quetta, regions that are now largely inaccessible.
In 1993, she co-founded and chaired Learning for Life, an NGO that has established over 250 schools for girls in rural Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for
which she was awarded the 2010 Award for Empowering Pakistan.
In 1990, she launched and managed an ethical cashmere fashion business, Sophia Swire London,
that was carried in leading retail outlets and featured in fashion magazines globally.
She worked with artisans in Kathmandu and is widely credited with having launched the international fashion
for pashmina shawls that led to a significant increase in Nepal’s GDP.
In 2008, at the invitation of Rory Stewart and the Prince of Wales’ foundation, Turquoise Mountain,
she was asked to put her fashion business and life in London on hold and return to Afghanistan to establish a
school for jewelers and gem-cutters at Turquoise Mountain.
She developed a US $10m development strategy for the gemstone sector in Afghanistan as Senior Advisor on gemstones to
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Industry funded by the World Bank.
To understand the problems facing the miners, she travelled to the lapis, emerald and ruby mines to conduct research with local artisanal miners.
In 2012, supported by the US Department of Defense, Sophia initiated Future Brilliance, a dynamic, women-led,
Afghan non-profit organization employing innovative educational models to offer quality professional training that leads to jobs and
creates new business opportunities.
Future Brilliance aims to build stability in vulnerable border regions through workforce and enterprise development.
The first project delivered training in jewelry manufacturing, gem cutting and business skills for 37 artisans from all over Afghanistan,
and developed jewelry designs that now sell from Azerbaijan to LA.
Thomas Potase - Journey from Europe to Central Asia
Professor Thomas Potase has traveled in over 84 countries and was an expatriate off and on for 15 years, living in Bangkok, Thailand.
He taught in Thai Universities and was a member of both the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and the American Chamber of Commerce of Thailand.
Using Bangkok as a base he traveled though out Asia studying business practices, cultural issues, and the economies of various countries in Asia.
His specialty course in America was small business importing-exporting with Asia.
Professor Potase holds an MBA degree from USC and a Masters of Computer Engineering degree from UCLA.
He worked his way through USC by programming computers starting in 1968 for the APOLLO Space Program.
He advanced to become a professional Computer Systems Engineer and Information Technology (IT) Systems Designer.
Then became a lead IT consultant for Ernst & Young International Consulting firm.
Later he formed his own IT consulting business.
His clients included Douglas Aviation, IBM, and various aerospace, publishing and media companies.
Professor Potase taught for 27 years in the California College and University System as a Professor of Computer Science and as a Professor of Business.
He was the Director of the International Business Studies Program at Glendale Community College for 15 years.
Ladies Night -
Faith Granger Against All Odds, The Making of Deuce of Spades
A few years ago, Faith Granger fell in love with an old hotrod and suddenly decided to embark on what would turn out to be ‘the adventure of a lifetime‘:
To boldly make a two hour period film bringing back the glorious 50’s hotrod era, without any filmmaking experience, funds nor crew.
A "do-it-yourself" endeavor of epic proportions that would ultimately result in a critically acclaimed, multi award winning cult film.
Join us as the self contained filmmaker shares with us footage from her upcoming anticipated documentary
"AGAINST ALL ODDS, THE MAKING OF DEUCE OF SPADES" and takes us behind the scenes on an exciting journey filled with challenges,
obstacles, determination and faith.