Second Annual ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum Inspires and Empowers the Next Generation of Women Leaders Award-winning Actress Kate Hudson and ANN INC. President and CEO Kay Krill Among Participating Mentors

NEW YORK, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN), the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are proud to share the success of the second annual ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum held this week in Washington, D.C. from April 1-4. During the Forum, the ANNpower Fellows – 50 young women in their sophomore and junior years of high school – participated in a comprehensive leadership training and mentoring program. Fellows met with international women leaders of today, including Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who met the young women at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130405/NY89270-a )  
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130405/NY89270-b )

This year's ANNpower Fellows were selected for their leadership potential and commitment to creating positive social change. Together with mentors from the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network, as well as executives from ANN INC., the girls participated in a three-day training program designed to expose them to new perspectives and equip them with the skills to catalyze their own leadership to transform their own local communities and beyond. Activities included leadership and communications trainings, presentations on real-world solutions for social change, and unique mentorship opportunities. Role models and speakers included: award-winning actress, the face of Ann Taylor's Spring/Summer 2013 campaign, and ANNpower Advisory Council member, Kate Hudson; ANN INC. president and CEO Kay Krill; Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson; as well as other prominent women leaders from all over the world.

"We are continually amazed at the power of bringing together our extraordinary Fellows with generations of influential female leaders," said Kay Krill. "Mentoring the Fellows and sharing my own path to leadership is an incredibly rewarding experience. I feel great knowing that the future of our communities will be in the hands of these very women someday – I believe they can and will create lasting change."

Kate Hudson, an ANNpower Advisory Council Member, made a surprise visit during the Forum and met with the young women to share her experiences as a female role model. Hudson said, "In all my years of advocating for empowering young women, I have rarely seen as much talent, passion and potential as what I witnessed at this year's ANNpower Forum. I cannot wait to see what these astounding young girls can do."

In addition to the three-day, intensive training, the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum also connects the Fellows to a longer-term support network that will support their leadership development and extend their impact for years to come. "In our global work to train, mentor, and connect women who lead progress in their communities, we've seen firsthand the power of networks to inspire and sustain movements for positive change. I'm deeply impressed by our 2013 Fellows and I'm so pleased to partner with ANN INC. as we collectively leverage our networks and expertise to invest in these remarkable young leaders," said Alyse Nelson.

Upon completion of the Forum, the Fellows are charged with developing projects to implement innovative solutions to social issues that impact their respective communities. The goal is to create a ripple effect that will benefit 5,000 or more people across the country in the next year. The young women will be eligible to receive ANNpower Project Grants of up to $2,500 to put their ideas into action.

Amidst all of their hard work, the Fellows were also able to celebrate and participate in surprise activities at the Forum – they each received a $100 shopping spree at LOFT to find the perfect outfit for future success and a special ANNpower Discount Card that provides them with a 20% discount for the next two years at any Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory, and LOFT Outlet store. Additionally, the girls received styling tips on how to put your best self forward from our resident LOFT stylist; learned skin and makeup tips; and received professional headshots.  During the three-day program, Fellows also attended the 12th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, took part of a Roundtable Discussion with Women Senior Staff in the White House, and met with Dr. Carol Lancaster, Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

For more information about the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, visit ANNpower.org.

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.  ANN INC. has committed to invest more than $1.3 million over a four-year period in the ANNpower Initiative through its ANN Cares charitable platform. The ANNpower Initiative aims to provide leadership skills and mentorship to 50 ANNpower Fellows annually and is designed to positively impact more than 5,000 members of their collective communities throughout the country each year.

As part of the Initiative, the ANNpower Advisory Council was announced at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative as a "Commitment to Action" and is comprised of influential women in media, business, and entertainment who have displayed exceptional leadership. Members of the Council review, score, and recommend outstanding grant proposals as well as serve as mentors to the Fellows and ambassadors of the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative to the public. The Council continues to be developed and currently includes award-winning actress Kate Hudson, actress Jennifer Morrison ("Once Upon a Time," "House"), Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC., and Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. Visit ANNpower.org for more information.

About ANN INC.
ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women's specialty retail fashion brands in North America.  The Company operates 984 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada as of February 2, 2013.  Our Ann Taylor and LOFT brands are available in more than 100 countries worldwide online at AnnTaylor.com  and LOFT.com.  Visit ANNINC.com for more information (NYSE: ANN).

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 14,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit vitalvoices.org to learn more.

SOURCE ANN INC.



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