When entrepreneur and philanthropist, Michael Littenberg (CEO and Co-Founder of GWEN), met singer Lynn Fanelli, and shared the lyrics to his song “A Call to the Women,” they both were filled with such a deep sense of purpose they knew the song had to be produced. The passionate message of “A Call to the Women” inspired Fanelli to pull together music talent from around the globe to perform the song. With Fanelli leading vocals, “A Call to the Women” is a bold call to humanity to take action and stop the violent atrocities plaguing women and children worldwide.
Once they produced the song, Littenberg and Fanelli sought to get the “call” out to the women of the world. Their vision came into focus when they met Tess Cacciatore, a veteran producer, social entrepreneur and non-profit consultant with 20 years’ global experience. She joined the team and GWEN was born.
Founded in 2012, the Global Women’s Empowerment Network (GWEN) is a nonprofit and for-profit organization that creates multimedia programming and product lines to raise awareness and funds to support programs that heal women and children who have suffered abuse.
Michael Feintech Littenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Michael Feintech Littenberg is a successful entrepreneur with a passion for creative expression and a commitment to civil rights and social justice. For three decades Littenberg was active in real estate, but more recently has focused on his creative talents – writing and composing music.
Littenberg’s love for music and composing, combined with his dedication to social good, inspired him to collaborate with his friend and musician, Sterling Smith, to write the song “A Call to the Women” — a passionate and powerful call to action to stop the violent atrocities plaguing women worldwide. The song forms the foundation of GWEN’s mission to inspire women to speak out against violence.
Through his years in business, Littenberg learned that success in business takes more than just a good idea. It requires a great team and platform to make it a reality. Littenberg is intent on demonstrating that a corporation can be financially successful while simultaneously improving the lives of women.
Littenberg maintains his long-term family ties to Cedars-Sinai and with the success of GWEN, looks to continue his family’s legacy of philanthropy.
Tess Cacciatore, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Prior to co-founding Global Women’s Empowerment Network, Cacciatore was the founder and executive director of the World Trust Foundation, an organization that mentors youth to become future leaders working for a sustainable world. Throughout the past decade Cacciatore has traveled the globe connecting youth-focused non-profit organizations, inspiring youth to learn, think and take action for positive change in their lives, in their local communities and in the global community. Cacciatore has spoken regularly at the United Nations (Geneva and New York) and other international platforms on behalf of children and the important use of media and technology to bridge the cultures of the world. She has addressed thousands of people through numerous conferences, workshops and festivals, and millions through radio and TV appearances. Media appearances include: The Today Show, Prime Time with John Stossel, Waking Up in America, The Lisa Garr Show and several cable talk shows. She has also appeared in such publications such as: Family Circle, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Des Moines Register, and Parenting Magazine.
Cacciatore hosted a weekly radio show called Live Feed to raise awareness of the FEED 333 program under the World Trust umbrella that spanned each holiday season from 2005-2008. She recently appeared in three feature films about her work (“The Millionaire Mind,” “The Peace Project,” and “Voices of Women”).
Cacciatore’s career as a producer in the entertainment and technology industries has spanned more than twenty years, and drives the global productions through GWEN. Productions and events include: Earth Day LA, Human Rights Symposiums for Youth, live-streamed broadcasts connecting world leaders at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and fundraising programs that have served the homeless and needy globally. Cacciatore was an instrumental part of raising funds to feed 1.3 million children in 33 days through social networking and build 38 homes in Sri Lanka in answer to the 2005 tsunami. She has traveled the United States and abroad to conduct empowerment camps, workshops and mentorship curriculum, to name a few.
Cacciatore has sat on many boards over the years including Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) where she held the position of vice president and interim president of the Los Angeles Chapter. She also served on the board of Offbeat Prodigies (an organization that mentors gifted children with special needs). She is also a founding member of the Women’s Speakers Association.
In 2003 Tess was awarded the Fete d’ Excellence within the Sub-Commission for Human Rights at the United Nations (Geneva, Switzerland) for her work in educational entertainment.
Here are a few videos to represent a piece of Cacciatore’s archives from her global travels. She filmed, wrote, produced, edited these pieces: documentary shorts, photographs and videos.
A Voice from the Congo – documentary short to provide information on the atrocities of Eastern Congo and the sexual genocide occurring still.
This video launched the YOUR VOICE – YOUR CHOICE global contest for Young Leaders.
Cacciatore’s work and passion for Ghana and Africa still continues today. Ghana’s youth were the global winners for the contest.
Cacciatore’s travels took her to Cambodia to work inside a local orphanage.
Here the children put on a cultural dance – where they also got to meet American Young Leader Derek (pop-lock dancer)
Other places for her global travels that express her passion for women and children issues:
Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Bali, Congo, Ghana, Angola, El Salvador, Guatemala, Japan, all over United States and Europe.
Tess’s passion to photograph the plight of the human spirit and her photography of women and children span the world.
Here is a music video highlighting some of her archives, played to an original song “When the Children Cry”
Sterling Smith, Vice-President – Creative
Sterling Smith is a professional musician. He majored in harpsichord at Ohio State University, but was equally interested in rock and, in particular, “progressive” rock. He was a partner in Owl Recording Studios Inc. in Columbus Ohio in the early 70s, recording two albums with “The Load” band. These albums were re-released as compact discs in the ’90s on the Laser’s Edge label. The Studio moved to California in 1977.
Smith’s recording and performing credits include: The Load; The Beach Boys 1977 – 79;Terry Reid 1978; Lisa Hartman 1979-80; Randy Meisner (from The Eagles) 1980- 83; Baron Stewart (MCA) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (collaborated on material and performed on the album “Requiem”), 1983;Spittin’ Image (MCA) 1983; Bob Dylan; Barry Manilow; Kris Kristofferson; Jan & Dean; Steve Perry (of Journey); Bonnie Tyler; Karla DeVito; Robby Benson; musical director and onstage pianist for Twyla Tharp and Mikhail Baryhsnikov’s1993-94 “Cutting Up” tour.
MOVIE & TV Soundtrack credits include:
“Wild at Heart,” “Footloose” (original version), “Old School,” “Smart House,” “Powwow Highway,” “Flashback,” “Silver Spoons,” “Buck James” and numerous TV shows and movies that few saw.