BE A WARRIOR FOR YOUR DREAMS
WE FIGHT FOR WHAT IS CLOSEST TO OUR HEARTS
Lili Fournier is a renaissance woman whose powerful personal success programming has brought her recognition as a leading pioneer in advancing the human potential movement. The award-winning Quest blazed a trail on PBS stations, airing for over a decade. Her leading-edge work helped open the airwaves across North America to spiritual programming.
Lili has been a dreamer and a fighter all her life.
The dream of Women’s Day Live is very much alive in 2023! Lili’s Epic Quest to fight for freedom and democracy and to help realize an equal future for the world’s women and girls is now legendary. 9/11 forever changed the trajectory of her life.
Lili has learned a thing or two about risk and adversity and what it takes to achieve big goals, spending decades setting and achieving one major break-through after another and rising to the top of her field in several careers including Television, Film, Investment and Residential Real Estate, as a Lifestyle Columnist and a Real-Estate columnist as well as in her retail enterprises, which included Toronto’s finest gourmet shop modeled after Dean & DeLuca in N.Y.
As a child she experienced man’s inhumanity to man firsthand, when her parents fled a communist regime where she faced a daily diet of fear and oppression. She was the wrong gender, nationality and religion and often experienced hate and intolerance. The American Dream and the promise of Freedom burned bright in her heart as a child. She was always told ‘you can’t, you’re a girl. She always answered “Yes, I can”. She’d often be beaten for the best in her. English was her fifth language by the time she was ten. She learned early about how painful it is to bear the brunt of prejudice, to not belong, and committed herself to fight for justice and equality when she grew up.
After a couple of decades of a successful career as a cog in the wheel of making television and films, first blazing a trail as Canada’s first female Assistant Director (with Ilona Herzberg) she went on to work as a Script Supervisor on TV series, movies and feature films for ABC, Universal, Showtime, Paramount, Global, CFTO, et al, and as an Associate Director, from live concert specials to major multiple-camera dramas.
Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion with Peter O’Toole, for 20th Century Fox and Astral – was her all -time favorite drama and favorite star. He was as wild as she was. They got on like a house on fire.
In 1992 she pulled off an impossible feat, having just learned about the By My Spirit Concert and Global spiritual gathering in Toledo, Spain. She ended up producing the Television event, actually saving it. She invested her own funds to secure a 9-camera mobile unit and the best crew in Spain. Two global events including the Olympics made equipment scarce. Funding came through. Placido Domingo and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta in the presence of Queen Sofia of Spain enthralled the world.
She also had a Canadian crew filming “Expulsion & Memory”, a tribute to Jewish survival and the meaning of Jewish identity.
Right before the Reconciliation ceremony at the synagogue in Madrid, with room for only 300 dignitaries from around the world, as the King of Spain and the President of Israel were ushered in, and as the doors were closing, the Chairman held out his hand to Lili who was filming on the red carpet with her crew, and said “Mrs. Fournier, won’t you join us”. Such a moment of respect, she will never forget. This was a historic 500 -year commemoration of the Jews Expulsion from Spain and a tribute to peace and co-existence lead by Nobel Peace Laureate, Eli Wiesel. Everything she cared about. Years later she did a profoundly moving interview with him before he died.
Media Visionary. Plays a Pioneering role in the Human Potential Movement.
After she got knocked off a flight to India that was blown up by Terrorists, she made a VOW in gratitude for getting to raise her children that she would make “Television that matters” and she set off to make her own shows, and started the Quest. Always ahead of her times, she was rejected endlessly. Her life-changing programs were eventually seen by millions of viewers. She started with 12 markets and worked full out for years to expand syndication to reach 90 million households across the U.S. She actually sat with programmers one at a time at the Annual Broadcast meetings, and assured them that the Quest and Deepak were not keeping people away from Jesus. It was Ron Santora, the head of WNED, Western New York who stood up before 200 programmers and said they have a Church on every corner in Buffalo, and they never received one complaint about the Quest. In fact it was a Pledge Hit and a People’s Choice Favorite. This one courageous man who stood up for me opened the country to the Quest. The Quest also aired on 6 Canadian networks, in Europe and Israel. She was passionately committed to using the power of media to help people achieve their dreams for a better life. This clearly would foster positive social change.
Critically acclaimed as the best of its genre for its in-depth approach to contemporary life issues, the Quest featured some of the world’s most influential spiritual and business leaders and best-selling authors on how to achieve success with significance.
It’s great to be #1. A trusted leader in personal development. In its vanguard study on Mega Trends in America, the leading Ad Agency of the time, Chiat Day (Apple’s Think Different Campaign) cited SPIRITUAITY and chose the Quest, published by Simon & Schuster as the best product in the U.S. marketplace. The Quest also became the best-selling video off the air on broadcast television in Canada and was a Pledge success for PBS’s Fundraising efforts.
WOMEN OF WISDOM AND POWER - After Lili’s award-winning 3 hour WOWP specials plus a 2 hour live pledge show from the WLIW studios in New York, aired on PBS, she was flooded with stories from women across the U.S. They said the women in the shows, like Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Alanis Morissette, Shirley MacLaine, lit a fire under them and gave them the courage to go for their dreams.
Realizing the immensity of what this meant, Lili felt a passionate sense of urgency to re-ignite the feminist agenda. Convinced of the huge power media had to make social change, she dedicated her life to helping women and girls achieve equal opportunity. Funding was vastly inadequate for women and girls. She decided to do something about it.
She wanted to get to the heart and soul of why women have no power. She proposed a new model for sustainable revenue instead of squeezing in to compete for the same dollar. Some of her ideas have taken nearly 20 years to be adopted. Collaboration is key. Working together is the only real hope for the future.
International Women's Day was not well known in North America at the time. She decided to put it on the map. The TV broadcast said, “women are gathering in every city worldwide on this day, their voices growing stronger every year.” (She had bought footage of the women marching worldwide for the broadcast). If it wasn’t quite true, she felt it would become so the more women heard it. The message was flowing across the airwaves prime time in 28 of the top 30 markets across the U.S.
This began due to a sense of outrage. The World March of Women marched in over 170 countries on March 8, 2000, and it barely made the news. When they did it again in 2005 Lili invested a great deal of time and in getting up and down planes to make sure the networks knew. She was shocked that something so significant for women would not make it to air at all. It’s as if it never happened.
It was time to dedicate herself to her bold vision for women’s global economic empowerment. And thus started the journey of a million miles to capture the airwaves of the world with Women’s Day Live, for an epic International Women’s Day Celebration, for the biggest global gathering of women in history. As Gutteres said, the world is hungering for international co-operation. Together we have the power to move mountains. Let’s get ourselves in the driver’s seat.
The Secret of Lili Fournier’s Success. When asked, she said it was her “incredible perseverance, her willingness to take risks and her courage to keep trying over and over again”.
After one success after another, it was still extremely challenging for her to get access to capital for her next documentary. Why is investment capital for women such a huge issue. Why? She decided to do something about it.
Lili first made the Vow that she would produce Women’s Day Live, a live global Benefit Concert, on an empty Washington Mall, when she flew to Washington on the first fight allowed after 9/11. This was a sacred oath to protect democracy at all costs.
The ‘us and them’ signs of divide and conquer after 9/11 made the future that was going to unfold evidently clear. It was propaganda 101.
Lili prophesied this Global Hunger crisis, the rise of fascism, this assault on democracy and women’s freedom and wanted to be ready to respond. She thought educated empowered women were the solution to the most critical issues facing humanity.
“I have given my heart and soul to this mission. Viola Davis’s words in the Woman King, ‘somethings are worth fighting for’ really struck a chord. I made this lifelong commitment to produce Women’s Day Live because I saw this dystopian future and it terrified me. I determined I had to do whatever it takes to save the future pillars of democracy which I saw was going to be under attack.
I have been fearful and fearless all my life. I knew this would be the fight of a lifetime that must be won. “I have gone the distance. We all have to stand up to this tyranny sweeping the world. That’s why I could never give up on this dream because the stakes were too high”.
Lili shared her mission with President Clinton who invited her to make it a Clinton Global Initiative commitment. (CGI) She was able to secure a promise of funding right out of the gate at CGI but could not take it. That was in 2006. Over the years that followed, she came close five times to achieving this dream for the world’s women and girls.
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. What a joy and call for celebration. At the historic launch of UN Women, she met with the President of the UN assembly who supported her vision for Women’s Day Live and agreed to invite world leaders to celebrate their nation’s women on International Women’s Day to tie in with the Women’s Day Live global broadcast. Michelle Bachelet, the founding Executive Director agreed that WDL was a bold idea and suggested her team collaborate.
As asked, Lili convened a meeting of all her strategic partners, which included many of the leaders of women’s global organizations, the Global Fund for Women, the Women’s Funding Network, the General Secretary of the World YWCA, et al. Her team including Ogilvy made a stellar presentation in a majestic Boardroom on Madison Avenue. UN Women wanted a guarantee on how much money WDL would raise. Jason Mogus, the only man in the room, (amalgamated millions of supporters for the historic Copenhagen Climate Change Summit) stood up and said “You are either getting on a bus together and heading to the same destination or you’re not. The biggest risk you are taking is not taking one.”
Lili’s been all in since 2010. The Chairman of AOL, who funded Live AID said WDL was brilliant, and agreed to fund it. Then AOL went. Her team met with all the heads of global beauty brands for P&G, who loved it, resoundingly. Then they divested beauty brands to Coty.
Lili presented the mission to the Women’s Council at the White House thanks to Valerie Jarret. She and her team also presented WDL to the heads of the State Department, who were convened at the invitation of Gloria Cabe. They thought it was a powerful plan for women’s global empowerment and proposed a partnership with WDL. Women’s Affairs declined. Gloria Cabe said she could never understand why. So, Lili kept dusting herself off and getting back up on her proverbial horse.
As an inveterate adventurer Lili has travelled to over 80 countries and circled the globe a few times in her Quest to build alliances and raise funds to realize the Women's Day Live mission. She flew to India to meet with Indu Jain, the Chairman of the Times Group who agreed to be a media and production partner for Women's Day Live India! Tata Trusts said they would disburse funds raised. Now, the Times Group just confirmed that they can produce a Women's Day Live Benefit Concert and Bollywood Telethon in India for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day in June 2023, given funding to spring into production now.
Imagine how exciting it would be to produce a spectacular Hollywood and Bollywood Concert and Telethon to magnetize the world with the healing power of music.
She flew to Rio at the invitation of her Mentor’s Hanne and Maurice Strong when he was honored at the UN’s Rio Earth + 20 Summit. He was one of the world’s greats, who was known as the father of the modern environmental movement. No stranger to implementing big bold ideas he convened 100 world leaders for the Rio Earth Summit. The Mayor of Rio agreed to give Lili Copacabana Beach for 2 million celebrants. TV Globo agreed to produce 3 stages across the country and 2 in Rio. Viva Rio was going to be the beneficiary.
Many years earlier, Lili first called Hanne and Maurice crying that she couldn’t sleep or eat for months as the women were being stoned in Afghanistan and the world was not speaking up. It was happening on her watch, and she wasn’t doing anything about it. They were just flying into Toronto and met up for lunch. The encouraged her to go for her big dream to produce Women's Day Live. The world abandoned the women in Afghanistan then and they are doing it again now.
“Just a few highlights of my tumultuous life. Then there was the partnership with Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the Soviet Union. They planned to take the Women of the World Awards Show global. At her invitation they brought it from Europe to N.Y. A story for another day."
It often felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, knowing what was coming. Such hubris to think I could save the world, but I really felt strongly that we are the generation that must make the change for future generations.
I hope my children will forgive me for giving away their inheritance, but I could not stop this mission. I have given “my one precious life” to it. My biggest regret is the time I didn’t spend with my Mother. She was born on International Women’s Day. She always said she understood but I know she was lonely. I’ll never get a chance to make it up to her. She came out of Auschwitz alone as a young girl of 16. Was an immigrant several times and raised two daughters as a single Mom. She had incredible courage, strength and a zest for life like few others. A woman of real valor. You could not set your bar of integrity higher than hers. I learned to sacrifice ‘things’ for what’s truly important in life from her.
Everything I’ve done is in tribute to the life and survival of this great woman, and in honor of my ancestors.
When we filmed Sir John Templeton for my Quest shows, (He had sent me a couple of notes to say how much my Quest was appreciated) he turned to my husband and said “Lili’s a missionary! Watch her.” I guess I am. LOL! I often said I was so committed that I ought to be committed. Living on the edge is not a comfortable way to live, but it’s the only way I know how.“
Fast forward to 2018. Lili met with Katie Telford, the Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who supported her bold vision for women’s global economic empowerment. Prime Minister Trudeau had just made a historic investment in women when he hosted the G7 Summit in 2018 inviting leaders to also put women at the heart of International Development AID. Billions of dollars were pledged.
“We had the Air Canada Center, Live Nation to produce and UN Women as a strategic partner to help with the funding. With potential satellite events in India and Brazil. The plan was to harness the power of celebrity and media to mobilize a global campaign to call on world leaders to put women at the heart of International Development. This meant billions in the hands of women’s grassroots funds where it is proven to have the greatest impact. Melinda Gates was hosting the Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative for Trudeau. Trump derailed the Summit. The funding did not come through.”
In 2019 Lili had a strong premonition that the Global Humanitarian Crisis she had been expecting was imminent and would hit by March. She worked 24/7 and did everything in her power to make WDL happen for International Women’s Day in 2020. WDL would have been the last live concert before the Covid shutdown. She was working with the incomparable Riley O’Connor, the chairman of Live Nation Canada to pull this off as well as produce the Centennial Concert she had proposed for August, 2020.
It was critical to produce the Women's Day Live Centennial Celebration. Given it was a 100 years since women won the vote, it offered a powerful platform to ignite the women’s vote. She collaborated with the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission and State commissions, to co-ordinate all the state celebrations to happen on one day, on Equality Day. Five cities were to have satellite Concert events.
In December it looked like support did not coalesce. She got gravely ill as she anticipated the Humanitarian crisis, she knew was imminent. She recovered her health as the world shut down. She renewed her passionate commitment to save the future for women and girls and began again.
BOLD ACTION IS NEEDED NOW. LET US CALL TO THE HEART OF WORLD.
I have fought a lifetime for this mission. It’s taken outrageous courage to keep believing in this dream. In meeting every disappointment and challenge, it has led me to be ready now for this most consequential moment in world history. Now is the time for all people of good will and conscience to step up with everything they’ve got.
Our time is now. Our rights, our future, and the future of democracy depend on it. Help make this bold and ambitious global effort a reality.
As world leaders focus on priorities for the Future Economic Order, it is imperative they put women and children at the heart and center of global economic recovery plans or they will be set back by generations. We cannot allow this to happen. Not on our watch. We cannot turn a blind eye.. We simply must do right by the world’s women, girls and children. For us not to lending a helping hand to our suffering family now would be too heart-breaking.
This is the most consequential moment in history. We are at a critical crossroads as a human family. Over 345 Million people are experiencing hunger or starvation. Will you step up and help? The question now is who are we as a human family and who do we aspire to be. The future is in our hands. We are calling on your visionary leadership to help lead the revolution in innovation with a new vision of hope for the future.
We are poised to produce Women's Day Live, (WDL) a Global Multi-Country Benefit Concert and Music Festival for an epic worldwide celebration of women on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2024. We have a world class Emmy Award winning team ready to fly. The legendary Louis J. Horvitz will direct (Live Aid, Academy Awards, Grammy’s, The Golden Globes). Mark Poncher is the Executive Producer (Ceremonies at the World Cup in Qatar). I have answered the call. Will you join us?
This is our moment of truth as a human family.
We invite the World’s Talent, leading digital Music Players, Corporate Leaders, Technology, Media and Entertainment companies and NGOs to help lead a united global effort to respond to this catastrophic Global Hunger Crisis. We cannot do this without you.
Let’s turn bold action into impact.
The Cause of Women and Girls is the Moral Imperative of the 21st Century
I BELIEVE IN WOMEN'S DAY LIVE
“The future of global women’s rights is at stake. This moment calls for energizing new efforts to achieve lasting gains. I do not know any other person in the world with the kind of determination and commitment you have. I respect you for your unfailing hope in Women’s Day Live and I believe it will happen one day”.
Musimbi KANYORO - Former CEO, Global Fund for Women, Former Co-Chair of Women’s Day Live
"Lili Fournier's passionate and courageous commitment to the cause of women's global empowerment despite the challenges over the years with launching such a bold and ambitious vision like WOMEN'S DAY LIVE is simply unbelievable and a real inspiration. She just simply will not give up until it happens".
Canada’s investment in women is a Game-Changer!
“Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, placing women and girls at the heart of the International Development agenda is historic. It is a game-changer. Women's Day Live offers a unique opportunity to take the lead on a bold initiative that can be very effective in mobilizing resources and impacting national and global policy.”
Right Honorable Kim CAMPBELL - Former Prime Minister of Canada, Women's Day Live Honorary Co-Chair
REAL CHANGE WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE ARE UNITED
“I invite cities and countries around the world to join Women’s Day Live next year for an epic International Women’s Day Celebration.
When we are united in the fight for progress, and women come together as a critical mass at the table—that’s when the real change will happen”.
Kathleen WYNNE - Former Premiere of Ontario
P.S.: Premiere Wynne was a great supporter of Women’s Day Live, recording a video inviting world leaders to join the celebration and the mission.
Together we have Enormous Collective Power to Ignite Systemic Change
"We must stand up for the rights of the World’s Women and Girls at this critical tipping point in history. We have to choose courage over comfort and be willing to do what it takes. Women are the great defenders of democracy. The stakes could not be higher". - Lili Fournier
The very future of humanity depends on what we do now.