Expert to Lead Workshops for Women

U.S. expert on women’s entrepreneurship, Samira Cook Gaines will give women entrepreneurs the insight and skills they need to get ahead in business during her August 9-14 visit to Port Moresby and Lae. After Lae, she will travel to Solomon Islands and Va

During her visit to Papua New Guinea, Gaines will highlight the importance of women’s entrepreneurship to the economic development and growth of Papua New Guinea.  In both Port Moresby and Lae, she will lead motivational and practical workshops on basic business and financial literacy skills to female small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs.  These workshops will build on the outreach she did on her inaugural visit to Papua New Guinea in August 2013. 


n Port Moresby (August 10-11 and August 13), she will lead seminars with the National Council of Women and the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry on organizational and financial management and will lead workshops at the American Corner at the National Library in Waigani on “Innovating for Success:  How to Create Demand and Build Your Business” and “Overcoming Obstacles in Business.”  In Lae (August 12-13), Gaines will meet with leading female entrepreneurs and hold workshops on “Turning Your Passion into a Business;” “How to Start and Grow Your Business;” “Overcoming Obstacles in Business;” and “Innovating for Success:  How to Create Demand and Build Your Business.”  In both cities, she will hold one-on-one mentoring sessions with women entrepreneurs to help them address and overcome challenges to running their businesses. 


These workshops are free, but space is limited.  Interested individuals are asked to RSVP to Agatha Pio by August 5 at or 7091-5851 to reserve a spot for each workshop.  The full schedule of workshops is available on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page ( or by request via email.


This visit is part of the U.S. Embassy’s Women’s Empowerment Speaker Series, which brings U.S. experts to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu to providing skill-building and professional development opportunities for women.  The U.S. Embassy’s next speakers under this program will visit Papua New Guinea in March 2016 for the PNG Women’s Forum, for which the public nomination process has just begun (see the U.S. Embassy’s website for details on this exciting and free opportunity: 


Gaines serves as the Chief of Civil Rights and Economic Empowerment for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) where she provides strategic, programmatic leadership and direction in the areas of wealth creation and asset building for NCRC’s Housing Counseling Network, the National Neighbors Civil Rights program, and four small business development centers located in Washington, DC and New York City.


She was the Founding Director of the Washington, DC Women’s Business Center (DC WBC), which supports women entrepreneurs through training, individual consultation, mentoring, and business growth through government procurement opportunities and exporting. Under Samira's direction, the DC WBC assisted over 1000 women in achieving their business goals. In honor of her work with small businesses, Samira was selected as a White House Champion for Change in the area of entrepreneurship mentoring.

Throughout her public service career, Gaines has leveraged her knowledge and experience to support policies and initiatives that insure fair and equitable access to wealth creation and community economic development through homeownership and business development across the country. Her women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship work has also taken her to several countries as a Speaker Specialist for the US State Department in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. Gaines has also served the residents of the District of Columbia as Assistant Director for Training and Education for the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and her Master of Public Administration degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  She is an active member of her Fort Lincoln neighborhood and volunteers on the Board of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and the Association of Women’s Business Centers. Gaines is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.


Press Release