Goodwill Ambassador

UNCDF Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality in Access to Finance

Sonia Gardner

Sonia Gardner was appointed by the Secretary General in October 2020 as UNCDF’s first Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality in Access to Finance.

A pioneer in the field of alternative investments, Ms. Gardner is one of the most successful women in asset management and has been a leader of the international hedge fund industry for over two decades. She is the President, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Avenue Capital Group, a global alternative investment manager founded in 1995 that has over $10 billion in assets under management. Avenue’s core strategies focus on distressed and undervalued debt and equity opportunities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Headquartered in New York City, Avenue has ten offices across the globe.

In this role, Ms. Garner will join esteemed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador colleagues including American television personality Padma Lakshmi, Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, American musician Bob Weir, Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, American actress Connie Britton, Japanese actress Misako Konno, and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas; Spanish chefs the Roca Brothers; football players Iker Casillas and Didier Drogba; and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway.

Ms. Gardner is a recognized leader in both finance and philanthropy, with multiple recognitions for her professional and philanthropic work.

As a female leader in the male-dominated finance industry, Ms. Gardner will help advocate for the importance of gender equality in access to finance, both in terms of increasing the numbers of female decision-makers in the finance industry and in improving the ability of female entrepreneurs, business owners and consumers to access the finance they need in Least Developed Countries.

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