Leading GODIVA as Global CEO continues to be the honor of a lifetime. I am proud that, year over year, it remains a fundamental part of this company’s DNA that GODIVA is an organization where women thrive. Across our regions, 60% of GODIVA’s manager and director level positions continue to be held by women, making us an industry leader according to industry benchmarks.

Beyond just GODIVA as an organization, our global business continues to make strides as a responsible steward of women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment through The Lady GODIVA Initiative.

Nearly 1,000 years ago, Lady Godiva embarked on her legendary mission and led the way to empower the people of her community. In doing so, she paved a path that GODIVA continues to walk today – a path that leads to a world where we are all appreciated and valued for our inherent worth.

To honor this beautiful legacy, and to further our commitment to empowering women around the world, we launched The Lady GODIVA Initiative, which recognizes and rewards organizations that are doing innovative and meaningful work in their communities to create gender equality. This year we were proud to expand the impact of this program to support a nonprofit in Accra, Ghana – a country vital to both our cocoa value chain and the global chocolate industry at large.

AFAWI works to narrow gender gaps and create opportunity and prosperity to support women and children in Ghana. We couldn’t be prouder to partner with a grassroots organization that reflects our mission as a corporate citizen and the larger mission established by both the Yıldız Holding Women’s Platform and Mr. Sabri Ülker’s dream to create a world where every person has the right to a happy and healthy childhood.

We are incredibly proud of the work all our partner nonprofits -- from Africa to Eurasia to North America -- are doing to uplift female entrepreneurs and drive gender equality. This is in direct alignment with Yıldız Holding’s Women’s Platform, which has already realized important achievements to encourage and uplift women leaders and entrepreneurs across our family of brands and businesses. GODIVA is proud to continue as a standard-bearer for the Yildiz Holding Women’s Platform to uplift women in leadership globally, while expanding our presence to countries vital to our continued sustainability as a global family of companies.

We must not forget that everyone at Yıldız Holding has a responsibility to help build a truly equitable workforce. Although there is still much work to do, I am proud of what we have achieved to date and all that we will accomplish together as a community of worldwide businesses. And of course, we will continue our success in making GODIVA the culmination of the dream of our namesake Lady Godiva, in preserving the spirit of a brand that has women to thank for its many triumphs, both past and future.