The Women's World Banking Team

Mary Ellen Iskenderian

President and CEO


Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving low-income women in the developing world access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity. She joined Women’s World Banking in 2006 and leads the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York, and also serves as a member of the Investment Committee of its two impact investment funds.

Mary Ellen is a passionate advocate for women’s economic empowerment through greater access to finance and is a leading voice for women’s leadership in financial services. She is a leading voice for the world’s one billion women not actively engaged with the financial sector, urging the banking industry to view this community as a powerful new market of small business owners, heads of households, and consumers of financial products and services.

Prior to Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen worked for 17 years at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. She had previously worked for the investment bank Lehman Brothers. Mary Ellen is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Women’s Forum of New York. She serves as a Director on the Board of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

A 2017 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellow, Mary Ellen holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Most recently, she was recognized in the Forbes 50 over 50: Investment list, which highlights female investors and financial leaders. Her first book, There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women: Making Finance Work for Women, was published by MIT Press in April 2022.

To inquire about speaking engagements please reach out to or visit her page.