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ANNpower Seeks to Close the Women's Leadership Gap

NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative—a partnership between ANN INC., the parent Company of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey, and Vital Voices Global Partnership—has launched its fifth annual search in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada for the next generation of women leaders. Through leadership training and mentorship, the ANNpower Vital Voices leadership curriculum arms young women with the skills they need to affect global progress, impact social change in their communities, and begin their journey as the leaders of tomorrow.

"We are empowering the next generation of women leaders to start making an impact in their communities and around the world," said Gary Muto, President and CEO of ANN INC. "If trends remain unchanged, few young women will take on leadership roles in the future. Through the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, we are committed to investing in girls who will help change these odds. Please join us in inviting girls who want to change the world to apply to become an ANNpower Fellow."

Now through March 8, 2016, girls who are high school sophomores and juniors can apply to become an ANNpower Fellow at Selected fellows will participate in the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum in New York City from June 14-17, 2016. At the Forum, the Fellows will meet and learn from prominent women leaders in business, politics, and media, as well as women from the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network and executives from ANN INC.

Following the Forum, the Fellows will have the opportunity to put their training into action by developing projects that address societal issues and apply for ANNpower Grants to make their ideas a reality. To date, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative has trained 200 girls and positively impacted more than 45,000 people in 15 countries around the world.

"Perhaps more than ever before, young women are the ones who will drive local and global change," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. "In 2016 and beyond, they will be instrumental in ensuring human rights, economic equality, and global progress. The ANNpower Fellows begin the program with remarkable passion and vision; they emerge from it with the leadership skills to bring their dreams to life."

The ANNpower Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in global leadership events. This past year, ten ANNpower Fellows traveled to London to participate in the 2015 Trust Women Conference, where leading advocates from across the globe convened to find real solutions to empower women and ensure women's rights.

"Being an ANNpower Fellow has provided me with the tools and the opportunity to create the change I wish to see in the world. I will never forget the time I spent learning from some of the most inspiring women leaders at the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum, and the friendships I've made with other girls who share my passions and interests will last a lifetime," said Amanda, a 2015 ANNpower Fellow and Grantee whose project, One Pen One Page (OPOP), promotes youth literacy and leadership in Los Angeles by teaching kids to combine writing and social change.

For more information about the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative or to apply to become a 2016 ANNpower Fellow, visit

About the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative
The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative is a groundbreaking partnership between ANN INC. and Vital Voices Global Partnership to empower young women from across the U.S. with the leadership skills they need to affect global progress, invest in their communities and begin their journeys as the next generation of leaders. The ANNpower Initiative aims to provide leadership skills and mentorship to 50 ANNpower Fellows annually and is designed to positively impact more than 5,500 people in their collective communities and around the world each year. Visit for more information.

About ANN INC.
ANN INC. is a subsidiary of ascena retail group, inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), and the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey. As of October 24, 2015, the Company operated 1,049 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT, LOFT Outlet and Lou & Grey stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our brands are also available online in more than 100 countries worldwide at,, or at our LOFT franchise stores in Mexico.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who improve the world. Founded by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, we have partnered with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Our programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change at scale. Through our global platform, women leaders expand their connections and visibility, accelerating shared progress for all. Visit to learn more. Follow @VitalVoices on Twitter.


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