Powering Change: GIPC Celebrates Women in Innovation and Creativity

Women are a key part of the innovation community across every sector. Women are scientists and researchers; musicians, authors, artists, and filmmakers; entrepreneurs and manufacturers; designers and engineers.

At GIPC, women are changemakers. GIPC’s women inform, advocate, and lead collaborative conversations on the latest policy decisions facing governments around the world. This World IP Day, GIPC’s women are seizing the opportunity to speak out on the importance of women in IP.


Ashley M. Kennedy, Director, International Policy:

“Today is a day to celebrate not just the myriads of women inventors and creators, but the innovations that have advanced human progress and make our lives better. Medical advancements have helped sharply declined maternal and child deaths worldwide while also giving women a fighting chance at survival due to earlier and earlier detection of heart disease and breast cancer. And as Beyoncé showed us at Coachella this past weekend, girls continue to run the world creatively- with women charting the course in merging creativity and technology to push the boundaries of all forms of art. But the innovation I’m most thankful for today shows the importance of making products for women by women: thank you, SPANX.”

Ashley is a director for international policy at GIPC, where she leads on IP policy in multilateral organizations and in Europe. She is a graduate of The George Washington University and is currently studying towards her masters in global policy at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.


Courtney Paul, Manager, Communications:

“The latest data shows that just 30.5% of the international patent applications filed with WIPO included a woman inventor. Often, women innovators find the odds stacked against them. But things are changing. Compare today’s 30.5% figure with the amount of female-authored patents in 1995: 17%. I’m excited to see more women driving progress across sectors and tackling challenges only innovation can solve.”

Courtney is the manager of communications for GIPC. Before joining GIPC, Courtney worked with the digital media team at Monumental Sports and Entertainment. Previously, she interned for Congressman Mike Coffman. Courtney is an active member of the Junior League of Washington, serves as an advisor for the Sigma Mu chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority, and enjoys spending time with her fellow tigers in the D.C./Baltimore Clemson Club.


Ellen Szymanski, Executive Director, International Policy:

“With diverse participation in our innovation ecosystem comes a diverse range of ideas. And when women and men are able to equally access and use the global IP system to protect their ideas, we all benefit. I’m proud to recognize the women who have harnessed IP to deliver life-changing innovation and better themselves and their communities.”

Ellen Szymanski is executive director of international policy for the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the Chamber, Szymanski worked for eight years in the Office of China and Mongolia at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she managed U.S.-China trade policy development, negotiation, and implementation. Szymanski earned a law degree and master’s of Asian studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia with their three sons.


Hemal Shah, Director, International Policy:

“Today, I’m celebrating the bustling community of women who harness creativity to cross disciplines and break boundaries. In a design industry that is nearly 78% male, millions of fearless females work hard to make their art look easy. For instance, take Paula Scher: she took her first job as a layout artist for children’s books, worked her way into album cover design, and went on to win four Grammy nominations for her iconic creations. Now, she’s the first female principal at Pentagram. Women like Paula show us the power – and the potential – of women in innovation.”

Hemal Shah is a director of international policy at GIPC, where she leads GIPC’s advocacy efforts in strategic markets, including India, Brazil, and South Africa. Previously, she led the U.S. Chamber U.S.-India Business Council’s advocacy efforts in transportation and logistics, trade facilitation, supply chain infrastructure, and smart cities policies. Prior to her work with the U.S. Chamber, Hemal served as research associate for India and South Asia with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), managed the Legatum Institute’s economic transitions program in London, was a scholar with the Takshashila Institution in Bangalore, and was a research intern with the United Nations Environment Program in Geneva.


Kasie Brill, Senior Director, Brand Protection:

“The National Women’s Business Council notes that women start over 1,140 businesses each day. A trademark, the distinctive brand of a business, is one of the most important assets to a company. At one time, women held less than 17% of registered trademarks. Now, women own more than 33% of registered trademarks.[1] Trademark owners understand the importance of a brand, the need to captivate consumers and develop an instant connection—an iconic bond that creates a lasting impression. As many more women entrepreneurs develop an idea from the back of a napkin to an incubator, to a flourishing company, the business’s trademark will remain a critical focus.”

Kasie Brill is the senior director of brand protection at GIPC and the executive director of the Global Brand Council. Kasie advocates for the protection of IP rights both online and in physical markets with a special focus on designing public policy solutions to combat counterfeit goods. Prior to joining GIPC, Kasie served as an advisor to private sector clients fighting illegal online pharmacies. Kasie is a graduate of both Michigan State University and the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Kasie is a young leader on the Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter and participates as a member of the Junior League of Washington.


Kelly Anderson, Director, International Policy:

“Research has shown us that men are three times more likely than women to reach senior level positions in research; this underrepresentation threatens balanced decision making and priority setting in R&D circles. The IP community has a role to play in harnessing the full potential of all qualified people – men and women – to enhance the quality of our work. As we celebrate women in innovation this World IP Day, I hope more women feel better supported to enter STEM fields and other IP-intensive industries. Women can and will deliver tomorrow’s top technologies, treatments, and cures.”

Kelly Anderson serves as director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). Kelly is primarily responsible for the production and marketing of the U.S. Chamber’s International IP Index. Prior to joining the Chamber, Kelly handled congressional affairs at the Embassy of Gabon in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, Kelly worked at the lobbying firm American Continental Group after previously interning on the Hill. Kelly earned her B.A. in political science from Drew University in New Jersey, where she played on the field hockey team and served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.


GIPC is committed to further supporting women and girls in IP-intensive industries. Are you?  Use #WorldIPDay to join the conversation about the women in IP driving change and shaping a more innovative world.

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