Past Events 

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  • 22 Mar 2018 16:04 | Anonymous

    Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digitial Economy and Society with the participants 
    of the 4th edition of our Women Talent Pool programme

    To access the full report click here. 
    The pictures of the event are available here.
    To read the full speech of Commissioner Gabriel, click here.

    The future of Europe is digital, and women cannot be left outwere among the words of Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, who joined us for the launch of the 4th Edition of our Women Talent Pool (WTP) programme and met with nearly 90 WIL members and guests. Among them were the 46 selected talents that she will accompany as Godmother of this edition throughout the 18-month programme.

    The kick-off event began with the welcoming remarks of WIL’s President, Thaima Samman, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs and Line Pélissier, Group Diversity Director at Orange, followed by the testimonies of our WTP Alumni Beata Dobrowolska, Racha Abu El Ata and Cristina Hoffmann Muñoz-Seca, delivered during a lively panel session moderated by WIL Board Member Marina Niforos, President and CEO of Logos Global Advisor.

    From Left to Right: Christine Albanel, Thaima Samman, and Bénédicte Javelot

    The Commissioner was warmly welcomed by Christine Albanel, Former French Minister for Culture and Communication, Senior Executive Vice-President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity, Partnerships & Philanthropy at Orange and Bénédicte Javelot, Chief Strategy Officer at Orange, who both took this opportunity to underline Orange’s positive initiatives in the promotion of women in the digital sector.   

    During her Keynote speech, Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, introduced the initiatives of the European Commission with regards to the digitalisation of Europe and the promotion of women in the digital sector

    Women’s empowerment is not only one of my priorities, but also, and more importantly it is a matter that touches to the progress and prosperity of our modern societies.

    I am honoured to have been named Godmother of the Women Talent Pool programme. This initiative has the power to get talented women professionals together and give them the tools to step in the highest responsibilities.  


    Putting words into action, the WTP participants were then divided into small groups were divided into small groups and had the opportunity to meet and network with 13 WIL senior level members: Béatrice Delmas-Linel, Emanuela Palazzani, Catherine Ladousse, Sylviane Toporkoff, Enrica Acuto Jacobacci, Wassila Zitoune-Dumontet, Serena La Torre, Claire Bouchenard, Viktorija Smatko-Abaza, Milena Harito, Jennifer Schenker, Christine Marlet and Anne Houtman.

    From Left to Right: Axele Lofficial, Marina Niforos, Laurent Derivery

    During the day, the participants were also offered three engaging trainings, the first on Emotional Intelligence, held by Axele Lofficial, Executive Coach and Manager of the Key Account Development Team at BPI Group, the second on the importance of networking for leaders held by Marina Niforos, President and CEO at Logos Global Advisors, and the third on decision biases and stereotypes held by Laurent Derivery, President at Valeurs & Development.

    Thank you to all participants and partners! We are looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!

  • 15 Feb 2018 12:47 | Anonymous

    More than 25 WIL members and guests were given the opportunity to meet and exchange over a one-day event, organised with Softlab, and particularly rich in cultural discoveries and insightful discussions on the topic of women leadership.

    Following the success of a first meeting held in November 2016 at the Italian Senate's Committee on Foreign Affairs, WIL Europe organised a second encounter with its Vice-Chairman Paolo Corsini, who shared some insights on the representation of women in the public and private sectors and on the role of gender equality in ensuring economic growth. 

    Softlab's President Sargis Ghazaryan stressed the importance for Softlab to experiment and implement gender inclusive best practices, while WIL Board Member Emanuela Palazzani reminded the audience of WIL Europe's role in promoting the advancement of women across Europe: 

    WIL Europe's "W" stands for "Women" but also for "Winners". 
    Winners never quit and quitters never win (Vince Lombardi) and we are ready to take up the challenge of women's leadership.

    (left picture, form left to right : President Sargis Ghazaryan, WIL Board Member Emanuela Palazzani, Senator Paolo Corsini)

    The meeting was preceded by a networking lunch and a visit of the exhibition "Trajan. Building the Empire, Creating Europe" presented, for WIL members and guests, by the Curator of the exhibition and Softlab technological Partner.


    The exhibition, hosted in the famous Mercati di Traiano at the heart of the ancient city, allowed the participants to reflect on the relationship between the Roman Empire and current Europe but also stressed the strong power of women surrounding the Emperor, seen as forerunners of U.S. First Ladies. 



    It was also a great example of the role of technology in delivering inspiring experiences, as the participants discovered the many interactive and visual experiences developed by Softlabtechnological Partner of the exhibition.

    For more pictures, see our gallery here. 

  • 11 Jan 2018 12:16 | Anonymous

    WIL President Thaima Samman speaking about the importance of women’s networks and role models at a dinner organized in Paris by the association ‘Femmes et Diplomatie’ (Women and Diplomacy) representing women in the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.  

    Modern diplomacy and international relations can only gain from including the views and perspectives of women and the WIL is proud to have had the opportunity to share its expertise and best practices.

    A very inspiring moment for all the attendees ! 

  • 13 Dec 2017 16:21 | Anonymous

    On December 5th, WIL Board Members had the pleasure to meet with the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, who will do us the great honor of becoming the Patron of the 4th edition of our Woman Talent Pool programme

    Our Board members discussed future cooperation with the EU Commissioner on how to tap into female talent pool and promote gender equality and female leadership in the digital world. 

    Keep an eye out for more information coming soon !

  • 08 Dec 2017 15:18 | Anonymous

    To access the full report click here. 
    The pictures of the event are available here.

    Executive Summary

    “There are amazing women everywhere – those that can’t see them need to get better glasses!”, were among the words of the EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, at EU Breakfast Debate that took place at the European Parliament,  on Tuesday 5 December.  The event was organized by European Network for Women in Leadership (WIL Europe), and moderated by Thaima Samman, WIL President. 

    Proving that the Commissioner is right, the European Network for Women in Leadership gathered more than 60 leading professional women to this event, where they had the chance to learn firsthand about EU competition policies and to discuss, in an intimate and friendly atmosphere, with one of the most influential female leaders.

    The event began with warm welcome delivered by Thaima Samman, WIL’s president and was followed by introductory words of Laura Batchelor, Director of Fipra, sponsor of the event and by Pervenche Berès, MEP and the hostess of our debate.

    From left to right: Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition ; Thaima Samman, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs & WIL President ; Laura Batchelor, Director of Fipra International

    Commissioner Vestager then delivered a powerful and inspiring speeh both on "Women Leadership" and on "Fair Competition" and also took the time to discuss with the participants in person. 

    “I am not powerful, I exercise power.” 

    "We need to change the system to build the path in leadership for the next generations, rather than for individual successful women only."

    “Everyone, however rich or powerful, has to play by the rules.” 

    Those words were among the key messages shared by the Commissioner to the participants, who left ready to “exercise power” at every level ! 

  • 02 Oct 2017 18:44 | Anonymous

    Following WIL Breakfast Debate at the European Parliament with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit, some of the participants and alumni of our Women Talent Pool programme* joined WIL Board members at the occasion of a lunch meeting to discuss about career development issues and future developments of our Women Talent Pool program.

    * WIL Women Talent Pool programme is a unique cross-sectoral leadership programme that aims to train and promote a new generation of women leaders in Europe.

    We were happy to welcome to the lunch :

    -          Raluca Anghel, Head of Office, European Parliament (WTP)
    -          Virginie Battu-Henriksson, Press Officer, Foreign Affairs and Security & Defense, Council of the European Union (Alumni, 2nd edition)
    -          Debbie Marks, General Counsel, Orange (WTP)
    -          Rita Motta, Counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP (Alumni, 2nd edition)
    -          Audrey Scozzaro, Senior Manager, Government Manager Europe, Qualcomm (WTP)
    -          Sigrid Windmolders, Corporate External Legal Affairs Attorney Microsoft Belgium & Luxembourg (WTP)

         From left to right: Brigitte Dumont, Senta Marenz, Marion Ducasse, Debbie Marks, Sigrid Windmolders, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, Thaima Samman, Emanuela Palazzani, Audrey Scozzaro

    To start with, Thaima Samman emphasized the great role of WIL in connecting senior level members with less experienced emerging talents, while our Board members provided valuable insights based on their own professional and life experiences, in particular on the topic of work-life balance.

    “You bring to us as much as we bring to you”,
    Thaima Samman, 
    Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs & WIL President.

    “Never feel guilty,
    always invest your energy in something else”

    Béatrice Delmas-Linel, Managing Partner, Osborne Clarke France

    From left to right: Audrey Scozzaro, Béatrice Delmas-Linel, Katherine Corich, Marina Niforos

    In turn, the participants of our WTP programme shared some feedbacks about their experience of the WTP program. In particular, they valued the skills they are able to  develop during WIL training and workshop sessions and the opportunity they are given to attend events involving high-level speakers and attendees, and not only addressing women issues but all leadership related issue too.

    From left to right: Sigrid Windmolders, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, Thaima Samman

    “WIL is about having big debates,
    we do not only discuss women issues and I really appreciate it.”, 
    Virginie Battu-Henriksson, Press Officer, Foreign Affairs and Security & Defense, Council of the European Union

    “The network is so absolutely fantastically connected
    to so many talented individuals.”,

    Sigrid Windmolders, Corporate External Legal Affairs Attorney Microsoft Belgium & Luxembourg

    For more pictures of the event, please click here

  • 02 Oct 2017 12:55 | Anonymous

    While the fourth cycle of the Brexit negotiations just started, following intensive discussions between its main protagonists, around 60 WIL members and guests were privileged to meet and discuss with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit.

    To access the full report click here.
    The pictures of the event are available here.

    Executive Summary : 

                           Speech by Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit - European Parliament, Brussels

    The future of Europe is more important than Brexit, Michel Barnier

    The meeting, who took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on the 26th of September 2017, gave rise to an exceptional exchange of views, as Mr. Barnier shared insights on Brexit negotiations and its latest developments, while WIL members and guests coming from across Europe and representing various organizations, showcased how Brexit may potentially influence the sectors for which they are responsible.

    In particular, Michel Barnier stressed the importance of conducting negotiations on an objective and legal basis, without harming EU citizens and the single market. He also presented his views about the future of Europe: “the negotiations should be the opportunity to explain why we are together, and how being part of the EU allows us to be respected, to defend our cultural and social model, our identity while preserving our national identities."

    Intervention by Anne Houtman, Lecturer at Sciences Po Paris, 
    former Director for General Policy at DG Energy of the European Commission (second on the right)

    Following the debate with Mr. Barnier, the discussion on Brexit and its impacts on Europe continued with Anne Houtman, Lecturer at Sciences Po Paris, former Director for General Policy at DG Energy of the European Commission, who remarked that there was a lot of confusion, deliberately or not, around the notions of ‘sovereignty’ and of 'diversity', which deserved a better debate. The expression 'shared sovereignty' suggesting a loss of it was wrong, e.g. the decisions of the United Kingdom to join the EU, to delegate some competences to the EU or to leave it were fully sovereign decisions. The gains from exchanging - goods or ideas - within the EU are all the more important due to the diversity of its Member States, and the UK is different. In addition, Anne Houtman called for better communication with those EU citizens who are far away from 'the center' and more debates with Eurosceptics.

    Several other interesting positions and exchange of views took place among our participants, which you will find in the longer version of the report. To access, please click here. 

    Interventions by Katherine Corich (on the left), Founder and Chair of Sysdoc
    Isabella Lenarduzzi (on the right), Owner of JUMP

    Following the debate, the participants continued the discussions over a breakfast buffet, which was also a great opportunity to network and meet new WIL members and guests.

    Networking time - European Parliament, Brussels
    September 26th, 2017

    For more photos from the event, please click here.

    The WIL would like to thank you for your proactive participation and is already looking forward to seeing you at our next EU Breakfast Debate with the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager on 5 December 2017 (to register, please click here).

  • 23 May 2017 17:07 | Deleted user
    On the 15th and 16th of May 2017, WIL Europe organized in London a two-day gathering for its members and the young women of its talent pool program. More than 60 "happy few" had the opportunity to participate to this event, thus enriching the discussions with diverse perspectives and experiences. 

    To access the full report click here.
    The pictures of the event are available here.

    Executive Summary

    On the first day, all the participants met in the offices of AVIVA for a discussion dedicated to the topic of “Diversity in the Workplace”.
    The keynote speech was given by Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer at AVIVA, introduced by Katherine Corich, Founder and Chair of Sysdoc and Associate Fellow-University of Oxford.

    Keynote speech by Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer at AVIVA – London, May 15th 

    The morning after, they were invited to the Palace of Westminster for a breakfast debate on “Digital Transition”, followed by a workshop on “Career development”, specifically designed for the young women of WIL’s Women Talent Pool program.
    Helene Martin Gee, Chief Adviser, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship and President of Pink Shoe club introduced the event, before giving the floor to Fiona Capstick, Executive Director at EY Advisory, for the welcome remarks.

    Welcome Remarks by Fiona Capstick,  Executive Director at EY Advisory -  London, May 16th 


    May 15th - Session on Diversity in the workplace

    From left to right : K. Corich, S. Morris, C. Arney, L. Pélissier, P. Dejmek-Hack

    Moderator : 

    • Katherine Corich, Founder and Chair at Sysdoc, Associate Fellow-University of Oxford

    Speakers : 

    • Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer at AVIVA
    • Claudia Arney, Non-Executive Director (including AVIVA, Derwent London plc, Halfords Group plc...)
    • Line Pélissier, Diversity Director at Orange
    • Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Member of Cabinet, Economic Advisor for the President of the European Commission, J-C. Juncker

    Wrap-up of the discussion by Sigrid Windmolders, Corporate External Legal Affairs Attorney Microsoft Belgium & Luxembourg :

    During this panel discussion, our prestigious speakers discussed about the importance of gender diversity in business, sharing their experiences and advice. The idea was reinforced that diversity can be achieved through many ways, for example through quotas or dedicated programs. The speakers mentioned some already existing coaching and mentoring programs, and the need for companies to be inclusive from entry level position to senior level positions. The four speakers also highlighted the importance of the education system and dedicated programs to promote women in digital sector, since it is a both a huge challenge and a potential tool that could empower women and favor diversity.


     Networking time - AVIVA's Office - May 15th 


    May 16 - Session on Digital transition

    From left to right : A. Pau, E. Loisel, T. Samman, A. Rayner, K. Schreiber

    Moderator : 

    • Thaima Samman, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs & WIL President

    Speakers : 

    • Emma Loisel, Chief Operations Officer at The Exchange Lab
    • Amit Pau, Venture Partner & Executive Director- advisor to corporations at Ariadne Capital
    •  Kristin Schreiber, Director for COSME Programme and SME Policy, European Commission
    • Alison Rayner, UK Digital’s Risk and Compliance Director at AVIVA

    Wrap-up of the discussion by Kirsten Perzi, Midmarket Leader Central Region (DACH) at Lenovo :

    The speakers raised key points on the topic of digital transition and the way for various stakeholders to cope with the tremendous impact it has on business models. In this regard, speed, agility and innovation are required. Digital transformation impacts all companies, including SMEs, in all sectors.
    The pace of innovation is very fast; as recorded by Amit pau, “if you blink you miss”. Speakers thus insisted on the importance for organizations to overcome their fear of technology, in order to quickly grasp the new opportunities offered by digital transition. They gave the audience concrete examples in various sectors: the media (E. Loisel), the insurance (A. Rayner) and the agricultural (A. Pau) sectors. Kristin Schreiber also insisted on the importance of supporting the digital transformation of SMEs.


     Breakfast Debate at the Palace of Westminster - London  


    May 16 - WTP Workshop on Career Development

    From left to right : T. Samman, S. Carvalho, A. Houtman

    Moderator : 

    • Anne Houtman, Lecturer at Sciences Po, former Director for General Policy in DG Energy of the European Commission  

    Speakers :

    • Sarah de Carvalho, CEO at Happy Child International Foundation
    • Thaima Samman, Partner, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs

    The objective of the session was to provide the WTP members with the opportunity with a broad picture of various careers to make them better leaders.
    The speakers shared their own testimonials with great transparency and modesty. They also gave some useful advice to the audience and explained the motivations that drove them to shift from one field to another and the lessons they could learn from it. The key words and advice were the following: being prepared to failure as much as to success, being ready to move out of one’s comfort zone and to take every new experience, whether it is a positive or a negative one, as a means to develop new skills.

  • 07 Mar 2017 17:21 | Anonymous

    Raluca Anghel, Head of Office, European Parliament and WTP 3rd Edition Emerging Leader has accepted to do her own wrap-up remarks for the “Women in Leadership” Session, highlighting the critical points of the panellists and adding her personal touch to finish the event:

    “To start with, one of the key ideas that we repeated by most of the speakers, and introduced first by Laurent Derivery, is that diversity is about talent management. The reason why this is so important is because, a diversity strategy that in fact is integrated in all talent managements strategies means that it is quantifiable and can be easily implemented and monitored: to ensure diversity in their teams, as well as fight against gender gap, organizations have to make sure that talent management processes are very well implemented. Companies also have to jump over the “gender-related positions” and the fact that women are appointed in certain so-called “female positions”. I also believe that companies should change the way they evaluate leadership, and that efficient talent management is the first step towards true and successful, if we may put it this way, leadership.

    Avinash reinforced this idea and assessed that diversity is the key success factor for all organizations. But for diversity to happen, we need to have both diverse teams and women leading those teams, Organizations that are very fast at changing and innovating do not necessarily accept group way of thinking, but promote people with a more disruptive way of thinking. People who think differently come from different backgrounds, so what they can bring to every organization matters. Added to that, Avinash also highlighted that our society will be empowered and shaped by digital transformation. It will be a huge issue if women do not have a role in this digitalization, or if they do not take part in STEM studies and STEM-related jobs. This might be a great as threat for the future.

    Moving on to Diana, I thank her for bringing her experience to the table, it was very inspirational. “Never accept the glass ceiling” is a strong statement that everybody should keep in mind. The glass ceiling is not necessarily something others impose on us, but also something we impose on ourselves, so we have to keep working to fight it. From Diana’s intervention, I’ll keep in mind to: have no fear, disrupt, and that the best gift we can give to the younger generation is encouragement.

    Patricia pointed out that finding our own voice is key in our journey to finding our leadership style and our voice. Staying true to ourselves in our work environment is both very courageous and very inspirational. Added to that, having role models and “female champions” is crucial. I think a lot of women have mentors, but not many women have supporters that support them in their career development. Not many women dare to take that step and ask some of their key peers to become their supporters.  

    As for Helle, as a Danish moving to France, and as a woman in a male dominated company, I think it is phenomenal that she encourages us to dare to be ourselves. Being a leader is also about finding the right balance between adjusting to your environment, and being yourself. We definitely need more women leaders, and is becoming a business case argument as STEM is challenging our assumption on business and management:  we need every men and women talents to innovate and adapt.  We should make sure that we are raising the next generation of leaders alongside as partners.”

  • 06 Dec 2016 17:32 | Anonymous

    On December 6th, 2016, WIL Europe has organized its last Breakfast Debate of the season at the European Parliament in Brussels, which focused on Innovation in Healthcare, as it is on the brink of massive change by facing unprecedented challenges. To discuss this timely subject, WIL Europe was honored to have a panel of diverse and high-level speakers such as Elena Bonfiglioli, Senior Director Health Industry, Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA) at Microsoft; Karin Kadenbach, Member of the European Parliament; Elinaz Mahdavy, Director of European Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Orange Healthcare and Deborah Papiernik, VP, New Business Development, Technology and Strategic Alliance Ubisoft Entertainment.

    Opening the discussion, Thaima Samman gave a general introduction on the subject, explaining how challenging innovation in healthcare can be while digital disruption is taking place. Health service is one of the least developed one which doesn’t adapt easily to the recent digital challenges. As a public service, Health has high regulation, that goes beyond the one in the economic sectors. The challenge is therefore to find a good balance between innovation and regulation, increasing efficiency while ensuring protection and the privacy of the patients. For Elena Bonfiglioli, this balance must be found in trusted technologies, to capture data in a seamless way and ensure protection. We are at a cross road for the future of health.  Systems of intelligence are the enablers of health digital transformation   in four different ways:

    • new ways to engage with patients. how to empower stronger collaboration and communication amongst healthcare professionals and between professionals and patients, with virtual health solutions.

    • optimizing clinical and operational effectiveness, with the aim of extending the capabilities of health professionals with systems of intelligence and advanced analytics, not replacing them with robots.

    • transform the care continuum.

    For more info on the scenarios and references on how digital transformation is coming to life across these scenarios and across several European countries, you can visit the web demonstrator at

    Karin Kadenbach shared with Elena Bonfiglioli the idea that a transition point has been reached in the health sector. She advocated within the European Institutions to put health issues at the top of the political agenda, as she believes it is a shared competency between EU institutions and member states. In that regard, the Third Health Program named “Health for Growth”, 2014-2020, aims at fostering health in Europe by encouraging cooperation between EU countries to improve the health policies that benefit their citizens and encourage the pooling of resources.

    Elinaz Mahdavy, echoed Karin’s words in terms of encouraging a better cooperation between stakeholders, governments and policy makers, in order to actively support innovative initiatives, reward excellence and achievement, and scale up successful projects. While 37% of the European population is expected to be 60 or more by 2050, in addition to the rise in chronic diseases and in the healthcare expenses and lack of health professionals especially in rural regions; traditional healthcare systems can no longer cope with these issues without a fundamental transformation. Digital revolution should therefore be embraced fully, as part of the solution. Digital health is at the intersection of two universes: the medical world and the IT world to ensure the continuum of care. As an e-Health market is now growing, telecom operators such as Orange promised to be at the heart of the process to transport and host massive collection of health data in a secure way. However, adoption has so far proved to be challenging. It requires, among other things, working on change management to move from a “Cure” to the “Prevention” mode and on the other hand to train doctors and patients to use ICT technologies and payers to be less reluctant and play the game to close the loop. We need to find the right business model for the eHealth solutions, and ensure interoperability of the health systems beyond boundaries. 

    Deborah Papiernik, believes that the videogames industry has also a major role to play in the changes amongst the healthcare industry. Ubisoft has succeeded by immersing gamers into the world they build and engage them in the experiences they create. Implemented in the healthcare system, gamification can improve users and patients’ engagement in medical treatment. Gamification makes medical treatment more intuitive, more educative, and more fun, facilitating patients’ engagement in their health. Through 4 different experiences led by Ubisoft, Deborah illustrated how video games can help:

    Dig Rush

    In a wish to further engage WTP Emerging Leaders and Alumni in the network, WIL has decided to welcome a WTP Talent to the speakers’ table to wrap up the session. Here, Claire Jones, Head of Group Purchasing for McLaren Technology Group and WTP talent shared her personal insight on the subject and summarized the main outcomes of the discussion for the audience. 

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