Zoë Dean- Smith
Vital Voices (Non-Profit)
Vice President Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship
With a background of experience in the for-profit, non-profit, corporate and social enterprise sectors, Zoë is responsible for driving the organization’s global approach to Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, to advance the organization’s mission. She provides vision and leadership for the organization’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship focused programs, including the including the Global Ambassadors Program, the VVGROW fellowship, the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and the WEEmpower UN SDG Challenge.
Between 2007 and 2011, based in Swaziland, Zoë served as Senior Director of Vital Voices’ Global Entrepreneurs in Handcrafts Program. During this time, she also worked with TechnoServe, developing Swaziland’s handcraft sector and with the International Finance Corporation’s Grassroots Business Initiatives across Africa and SE Asia.
In 2011/2012, Zoë project-managed The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s
programs across Africa. Prior to 2007,
she was Managing Director of Gone Rural, working with 700+ women artisans in
Swaziland and launched Gone Rural BoMake, a community development non-profit
organization serving the Gone Rural communities.
Zoë received a 2011 World of Difference Award from The International
Alliance of Women and a 2005 Pan African Business-Woman Award for Capacity
Building. She has been a featured speaker internationally in her role as a
social entrepreneur as well as addressing issues concerning Swaziland such as
HIV/AIDS, women’s rights and basic community needs.
Zoë serves on the Boards of the Good Shepherd International Foundation
(Italy), the Grassroots Business Fund (USA), on the International Advisory
Council of Days for Girls (USA) and has served on the Jury of the Cartier
Women’s Initiative Awards. In 2008, Zoë initiated a Young Women’s Mentorship
Program in Swaziland. She has served as a mentor in the Cherie Blair Mentoring
Women in Business program and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for
Young African Leaders.
Outside of the business environment, Zoe is a group fitness instructor
and teaches Indoor Cycling classes at a number of Washington Sports Club gyms.