WIL Events reports

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  • 23 May 2017 17:07 | Anonymous
    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 

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    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.

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     Networking time - AVIVA's Office - May 15th 

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    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.

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     Breakfast Debate at the Palace of Westminster - London  

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    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 www.healthdigitaltransformation.com


    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 http://www.slate.fr/story/98803/dig-rush-traitement-amblyopie

    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. 


  • 05 Dec 2016 12:28 | Anonymous

    On the afternoon of Monday, December 5th, 2016, WIL Europe was honored to be welcomed at the French Representation to the EU in Brussels, for a very high quality networking cocktail with Ann Mettler, Head of European Political Strategy Centre at European Commission.

    As the discussion was meant to be informal and warm, in order to foster shares of experiences and exchanges between Ann Mettler and a restricted number of 30 WIL members and WTP Alumni.

    François Riégert, Minister-Counsellor, Head of the economic service at the French Representation to the EU in Brussels, opened the evening networking cocktail with few words welcoming to the guests and the talents. He expressed his satisfaction to witness major changes in terms of gender parity in EU institutions in the recent years.

    Pinuccia Contino, Head of the Unit “Communication and Strategic Planning” of DG Justice and Consumers and Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Member of Cabinet of J. C. Juncker, as WIL Board Members, introduced the keynote speaker of the evening Ann Mettler to the guests, and emphasized her resilience through the tortuous path toward leadership.

    Ann Mettler then took the stage to reflect with the audience on her inspiring path through the European Institutions, entrepreneurship and think tank. Sharing her successes, but also her doubts and difficulties on her way to leadership, she gave a wonderful testimonial of resilience, and a tremendous example that authenticity, passion and hardwork can overcome any barriers. She acknowledged that the path toward leadership is not always easy, but “find a job you’re keen about, and it will worth it”. Either way, she advised women to dare: to dare having great ambitions, and to dare to pursue them. Stepping out of their comfort zone is also risking failure, but that shall not prevent them from trying again, and succeed. “I have not always succeeded, I had major failure too. But I’ve always tried, as hard as I could. And that I can be proud of.”

    As a manager, she strongly believes in meritocracy, and values soft skills (human qualities, motivation and eagerness to learn) as equally important than competencies in her employees. It is then up to the manager to bring out the best of people.

    Talking about her experience in entrepreneurship (as the co-founder of The Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based knowledge economy think tank and innovation policy network) she encouraged any woman, and especially working moms, to try this experience. Being her own boss not only makes you the sole responsible of your success, it also gives more flexibility to adjust working hours with family life requirements.

    Ann Mettler closed the session by giving precious pieces of advices to the Talents : Being authentic : be yourself and do not try to be a man, make yourself indispensable to your boss, and bring passion to everything you achieve.




  • 08 Nov 2016 10:32 | Anonymous

    On November 8th, WIL Europe was thrilled to be hosted by the French Ministry for Families, Children, and Women’s Rights, for a powerful yet intimate dinner with the French Minister Laurence Rossignol in Paris. The dinner gathered 16 top-notch women business executives, members of the European Institutions, representatives of non-governmental organizations and academics, to discuss the theme: “How to promote women in leadership roles in Europe / Accèlerer l’accès des femmes aux postes de responsabilité en Europe.” The participants shared with the French Minister Laurence Rossignol insights, best practices, and fostered a common reflection on women’s empowerment at the European level. 

    The discussion was structured into 3 sub-themes: Promouvoir les femmes dans des postes de direction / Promoting women in leadership positions; La gestion des talents féminins / Managing women's talents; Les politiques européennes en matière de promotion des femmes, à l'échelle nationale et européenne /European policies to promote women in Europe, and the European countries.


    Opening the discussion on the first theme, « Promoting women in leadership positions » Brigitte Dumont, VP Group Corporate Responsibility (CSR) at Orange, stressed out the importance of the CEO’s commitment and of both women and men managers to break the glass ceiling that prevent women from accessing top level positions. An opinion shared by Kristin Schreiber, Director of the COSME Program and SME Policies at the European Commission, who thinks that a collective effort towards gender equality is required from both the public and private sectors. In this line, Maria Pernas Senior Vice-President, and Group Deputy General Counsel ATOS, announced her company’s objective to recruit up to 50% of women in leadership positions in the following years. This commitment is supported by a recent study lead by ATOS, proving that diversity enhances performance and well-being in companies. This point was reinforced later by Claudine Schmuck, President of Global Contact, who spoke about “Diversity marketing” to explain that promoting diversity is a marketing asset for companies, as it gives an image of modernity and performance. Nevertheless, Nathalie Wright, General Manager Enterprise & Partner Group at Microsoft, pointed out the issue of diversity management: to be effective, diversity management should be inclusive, and address all specific needs of women. Providing some examples, Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Member of Cabinet, and Economic Advisor to President Juncker, European Commission, spoke about informal practices which are detrimental to women’s family responsibilities, i.e. setting decision making meetings after 7pm, or late nights of work which however tend to be prolific by providing networking opportunities.  


    The second theme “Managing women’s talents” was introduced by Béatrice Delmas-Linel, Managing Partner of the French office of Osborne Clarke who is taking very seriously her managing role by helping inside her firm women talents develop their skills and find their leadership styles. Under her management, Osborne Clarke France has become one of the most performant law firm of the Group. Katherin Corich, who started her own company Sysdoc at the age of 25, has built her success on a simple yet disrupting management style: Trusting women to be equally qualified as men, hiring them, and strongly supporting them: “We are a team, everyone is watching each other’s backs.” An assertion strongly supported by Isabella Lenarduzzi, President of JUMP, who claimed “Mutual support is essential. There is no market share in feminism!”


    Addressing the issue of recruiting women’s talents in the STI sector, Bénédicte Javelot, Chief Strategic Officer at Orange, regretted that science and technology are still unattractive to young women. The percentage of women studying science remains very low (around 25%) and women lack of role models in scientific and technological sectors. Christine Petit, Human Resources Director at Orange, shared her analysis by focusing on Orange’s programs dedicated to Talents’ development, which include mentoring programs. Marina Niforos, founder and president of Logos Global Advisors asserted that Digital has been disrupting business models for a few years now, and is becoming the major challenge of the coming decades. It is crucial for young girls not to turn their backs on the digital and learn how to code early.


    Moving on the third theme, “European policies to promote women in Europe”, Pinuccia Contino, Head of Unit at the DG Justice and Consumers at the European Commission provided her insights on the European Commission’s initiatives for gender equality. In her opinion, women cannot fully contribute to the economy and the society if they continue to face gender disparities at home. To fight discriminations in every aspect of women’s life, the European Commission is launching a campaign on November 25th to fight against gender based violence. Anne Houtman, as principle advisor to the European Commission, reminded the motto of the European Union: “United in Diversity”. Diversity, in the broad sense, is a European value which should always search to achieve equality while respecting differences.


    After hearing from the participants’ interventions, Laurence Rossignol, French Minister for Families, Children, and Women’s Rights, concluded the discussion with several remarks about the situation of women in France and Europe. She would like to understand why, regardless the numerous campaigns launched on the subject, the percentage of women in science still remains so low? She denounced the political timidity to name rape culture and to recognize its influence in gender based discriminations: “la pudeur à nommer les inégalités hommes / femmes est une timidité à agir” (“Modesty to name gender inequalities is a timidity to act up on”). Therefore, the Ministry has initiated a series of initiatives to fight systemic discriminations. Among those, she launched a 6 months’ campaign on social media with the hashtag #SexismePasNotreGenre, to fight daily sexism. 


  • 03 Nov 2016 10:20 | Anonymous

    On the morning of November 3rd, Global Contact and WIL Europe collaborated to organize an intimate and high-level roundtable to discuss the results of the study Gender Scan, led by Global Contact. The study provides an overview of the place of women in Sciences, Technology and Innovation (STI) and suggests best practices to promote diversity and reduce inequalities between men and women. The presentation was moderated by Claudine Schmuck, WIL Board member and founder of Global Contact, an advisory group focused on result oriented developments using NTIC, online services, and benchmarking reports.


    The panel of speakers included distinguished names such as:

    •   Pierre Gattaz, President of MEDEF
    •  Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Innovation, Marketing & Technologies Executive VP
    • Stéphane Pallez, CEO of La Française des Jeux
    • Laurence Rossignol, French Minister for Families, Children, and Women’s Rights
    • Stéphane Treppoz, CEO of Sarenza

     All the speakers reacted to the Gender Scan study’s key figures and shared best practices to promote and manage gender diversity in organisations.

    Pierre Gattaz, president of MEDEF, an organization created by the main French Employers' Union, asserted that gender diversity is “the major challenge in modern management”. Diversity is a driver of creativity and innovation in the highly competitive corporate world. As Stéphane Pallez underlined, business models have been facing major challenges in the recent decades and “we will need all talents, both men and women, to address digital disruption”.  Yet, less than 20% of women are seating on boards and executive committees. This figure calls for change towards gender parity in the corporate world: the GenderScan study identified three pillars companies must work on to create an women-friendly work environment: First, organizations should be more flexible to fit with women’s multiple responsibilities. Second, career management tools dedicated to women should be created and finally, companies should pay more attention to the life-work balance.

    Sarenza, represented by Stéphane Treppoz embodied this commitment for change by offering special programs to support the career advancement of women, such as women’s mentoring, coaching, women-specific trainings, and the early development of women’s talents.

    For the French Minister Laurence Rossignol, both the corporate world and the public administration should take a step further than merely recognizing the value women provide in corporate governance. It requires “more than just exemplarity and good will”. Therefore, she announced that " from January 1st, 2017, the French law will require a quota of at least 40% of women in CA listed companies”.

    Closing the session, Maria Pernas, WIL Board Member and Senior Vice-President and Group Deputy General Counsel, ATOS reminded to the audience that, although progresses have been made, women remain underrepresented at every level of the corporate pipeline due to lack of sustained and continuous effort from the organisations. To address this crucial issue, she advised private and public sectors to work together to close the gender gap and realize the benefits of gender equality. 



  • 28 Jun 2016 13:27 | Deleted user

    On the morning of June 28th, 2016, members of WIL, Commission representatives, Members of the European Parliament and friends gathered at the European Parliament for a WIL Breakfast Debate, where was discussed the pertinent topic of the future of Public Services in the European Union.

    Opening the discussion on the opportunities and challenges faced by the administrations to deliver an efficient and user-friendly Service at a time of digital communication, Thaima Samman introduced our experts: Elisabeth Werner, Head of Cabinet of Vice President for Budget and Human Resources of the European Commission Kristalina Georgieva; Dr. Milena Harito, Albanian Minister of Innovation and Public Administration; Nathalie Loiseau, Director of the French famous school ENA and Denis Basque, Economist, Partner at Tera Consultants.

    Taking the floor, the economist Denis Basque focused on the complexity of the definition: In the European Union, Public Services are described as services of general interest and services of economic general interest. Although the distinction between the two is diluted, services of economic general interests are much more regulated within the framework of the European single market because of its economic nature. Yet, subsidized by the State, those services are delivered at a lower price than those delivered by the private sector, resulting in a distortion of competition. The 21st century is highly competitive, which makes it crucial for the European Institutions to deliver public services of economic general interest that will on one hand maximize the general interest and on the other respect the rules of competition of the single market.

    The European Union competition rules were enforced to defend the EU citizen’s best interests. This objective is at the heart of the European Commission’s mission, as highlighted by Elisabeth Werner: to restore trust between citizens and the European public administration, public services delivery, in the 21st century, must be open, transparent, cost efficient and reliable. To do so, ICTs need to be placed at the center of the process, in order to restructure the system, procedures, and habits to enable citizens, companies and organizations to access public services more easily, more quickly and at lower cost. These changes will be executed by high-level professional civil servants, who will better represent the population and implement the reforms.

    Building upon Ms. Werner’s point on citizen-centered public services, Nathalie Loiseau called for a bottom-up approach: Citizens are not customers, they have legitimate expectations and requirements that need to be heard and addressed by the public decision makers. To address these challenges, the public administration must re-invent itself from the inside, starting from learning from their previous mistakes and importing best practices from other countries. In Nathalie Loiseau’s words, “Complexity requires diversity”: To implement public policies that can really address the variety of their citizens’ needs, the public administration must fight against unconscious recruitment biases which, too often, prevent gender, social, ethnical diversity at top level positions.

    Finally, Dr. Milena Harito gave the audience an interesting insight on the implementation of public administration reforms in Albania, a country that is not yet in The European Union. As the current Albanian Minister of Innovation and Public Administration, and former Head of Department at Orange France, Dr. Harito is reforming the Albanian public services by using the model of “customer care principles” applied in digital companies such as Orange. Thus, she created an agency entirely dedicated to deliver public services more efficiently, based on clear systems and procedures. The goal is to have non-corrupted, accountable and transparent public services in the country.

    To sum up, the common thread to all these lively perspectives and valuable insights is: The citizens’ interest. In the 21st century, in a highly connected, digitalized, and complex world, the citizens are expecting much more from their administration, which should reform itself to better reflect the diversity of its population and needs. Gender diversity in the public administration must be achieved to implement suitable, efficient and effective public reforms.

    WIL Europe Breakfast Debate EP
  • 27 Jun 2016 12:16 | Anonymous

    On the afternoon of June 27th, WIL members and Emerging Leaders gathered in Brussels for the second in-person meeting of the Women Talent Pool 3rd edition, which was held at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center.  

    Prior to beginning the session, the audience received a copy of Dr. Carol Dweck bestseller, Mindset: changing the way you think to fulfill your potential”. The book was introduced by Elena Bonfiglioli, WIL Board Member and Senior Director Health Industry EMEA at Microsoft, who drawn attention on the power of the mindset to succeed the attitude you adopt profoundly affects the way you lead your life. Elena encouraged the talents to train their minds in order to adopt a growth approach instead of a fixed one to fulfill their potential in their professional and personal life. 

    After these words of wisdom, Elena Bonfiglioli opened the floor to the Talents, who were invited to give their feedback on the first months of the WTP program. A vast majority is appreciating that the program is giving them the opportunity to share experiences, hopes and doubts with their peers and senior women managers from various backgrounds and sectors. Additionally, they particularly enjoyed the London speed dating session with senior role modelswhich helped them realize that these outstanding women experimented the same issues and obstacles they are facing themselves in their careerGenerally speaking, emerging Leaders feel more empowered, encouraged to think “out the box” and to dare more taking some risks 

    Afterwards, the Talents were invited to a demo tour of the Executive Briefing Center to discover the latest technologies produced by Microsoft. It was a cheerful moment of discovery and amusement as they had a unique opportunity to test leading edge technologies. 

    The second part of the session was dedicated to Sigrid Marz eye opening presentation: “Ready for the future: what are the competencies that you will want to keep learning to stay relevant in times of fast organizational and societal changes.” As Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry, Sigrid shared with the talents the key competencies needed to help them develop their leadership style. Because of the various barriers women are facing, externally and internallythey tend to get stuck at lower management positions. Sigrid suggested the emerging leaders to act more, dare “taking the ball from somebody else”, identify and proactively remove their headwinds. She highlighted the fact that leadership is a journey, during which you must develop your entire person, meaning who you are (i.e. competencies and experiences) and what you do. Even though competencies matter in this journey towards leadership, they are not sufficient: to reach the next stage in management, emerging leaders should also work on their motivation (drivers), leadership traits, be aware of their strengths and areas of improvement, learn from their past experiences, develop their learning agility (curiosity to explore new paths of leadership) and capacity. In a few words, you have to step out of your comfort zone and push your potential to its maximum.  

    Following Sigrid’s vivid presentation, Roberta CoccoNational Plans Development Director at Microsoft Western Europe took the stage to talk about #Makewhatsnext, an inspiring project initiated  

    by Microsoft to close gender gap in the fields of STEM. The European #MakeWhatsNext campaign runs 55 events and organize trainings in 28 countries, to inspire and provide the tools for girls to dispel the stereotypes that surround STEM and take opportunities in the ICT industry. To do so, #MakeWhatsNext has built partnerships with public and private actors, including the United Nation Women, which was represented during the session by Caroline Petit, Deputy Director at UNRIC, United Nations communications office for Europe. On May 26th and 27th Microsoft invited girls from across Europe to attend the flagship event in Venice, Italy, which brought together a set of international speakers, cutting edge researchers and technology start-up, to discuss how girls can innovate and achieve more in the STEM fields.  

    The WTP afternoon session closed with remarks from senior professionals Elena Bonfiglioli, Emanuela Palazzani and Roberta Cocco, who stressed out the importance of role models and mentors in professional careers. They advised the Talents to find themselves different role models from various backgrounds, in order to broaden their horizons as much as possible.  

    The Emerging Leaders were then invited to enjoy a Cocktail to close the WTP Brussels session on a pleasant note. It provided opportunities to discuss furthermore with the role models and network with their peers. 

  • 23 Jun 2016 14:03 | Deleted user

    In the context of Salesforce Worldwide Tour, hosted in Paris on June 23rd, The European network for women in leadership (WIL) was happy to partner with “Women network” of SalesForce to organize a 40 minutes’ roundtable focused on the theme “Femmes des années 2020: les femmes dans le business, on aurait tort de s’en passer!” (“Women in the 2020’s: we need more women in business!”).

    Stephanie Finck, Senior Director, EMEA Government Affairs at SalesForce, introduced the session with few words of welcome for the audience and the panel speakers. She draws audience’s attention on SalesForce commitment for gender equality, which is based on three principles: equal pay, equal advancement (increase access to advancement opportunities for all) and equal opportunity (build a more diverse pipeline and recruit a more diverse workforce). Stephanie then left the floor to the moderator of the debate, Thaima Samman, President of The European network for women in leadership (WIL), who introduced the distinctive panel speakers: Laurent Depond, VP Diversity and Inclusion at Orange, Dunya Bouhacene, CEO Women Equity Partner, Véronique di Benedetto, Managing Director France at Econocom and President of the Program ‘Femmes et Numerique’ from Syntec Numerique, and Marion Meresse, Principal Sales Engineer and representative of Women Network at SalesForce.

    As speakers all assessed, women may have made great strides in the workplace, but inequality persists, and is even more important when they reached leadership positions. They are particularly underrepresented in the digital sector, and Veronique Di Benedetto pointed out that they are only 27% of women in the IT sector. The reason lays in gender stereotyping: Tech has a reputation for being a male-dominated space and girls often decide against ICT as a post-secondary academic track. For Veronique, it is a loss for women, but also for the ICT industry, which lose a huge talent pool.

    Dunya brought to the discussion few figures and data from a study conducted by Women Equity for Growth which prove Veronique’s point. In 2015, Women Equity for Growth awarded the top 50 most successful women-led SMES, selected among a panel of 32 500 SMES which generate an annual sale of 4 to 100 million euros. They found out that SMES owned by women are globally more performant than their male counterparts, and succeed better in establishing an international presence (56% of the SME awarded by Women Equity were developed internationally). The 50 awarded SME generate a sales revenue of 1,3 billion € overall, with an average turnover of 26,5 million € (as compared to 15 million € for the rest of the panel). In 2014, their annual growth rate was higher than the average growth rate of the panel, especially in the industrial sector.

    Yet, although women are driver of performance for the companies they run, they are still excluded from the top level positions in business. According to Laurent Depond, the business rules have been elaborated by men for men. Women will find their way in this male dominated sector only if men let them in and, more importantly, if they get convinced that they are critical to increase business performance and bring economic growth. Men must be convinced that rules must be changed, not only because it is fair, but also because it will benefit men as much as it will benefit men.

    To take over those changes, a strong commitment of the company is required. Orange is well known for its initiatives for gender equality, diversity and inclusion, but SalesForce has also follow the same path in the recent years, as pointed out by Marion Meresse. “Women network” of SalesForce took decisive actions to inspire girls to dispel the stereotypes that surround STEM and take opportunities in the ICT industry. Marion underscored that there is no need to be an engineer to succeed in the fields of STEM.

    Salesforce Paris Wolrd Tour
  • 17 May 2016 15:39 | Deleted user

    Women Think Next is a worldwide networking event & community for professional women organized and initiated by Microsoft. Last Wednesday, May 17, 2016, this event was hosted by WIL member Nathalie Wright, General Manager Enterprise & Partner Group for Microsoft France for the first time in France.

    From 18:00 to 21:00, the event provided the participants with a full evening of workshops and roundtables focused on the themes of trust and confidence, as a driver of performance, well-being and economic growth.

    Nathalie Wright kicked off the evening with few words of welcoming remarks and introduced the topic,and first panel dicussion. She then left the stage to Thaima Samman, President of the European Network for Women in Leadership, who moderated the first roundtable on the theme of: « La confiance au cœur de l’économie collaborative » (‘Trust: a key element in collaborative economy’). To discuss about the topic, were invited great representatives of big companies such as Mathilde Bluteau, Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft France and Cécile Beliot, Managing Director Danone Waters France and Benelux, alongside speakers from dynamic star-ups such as Sarah Roy, Fredérique Castagnac, Chief Marketing Officer at Azendoo, Elsa Duperray, Head of Communication & Marketing at Wingit, Marie Bleu, Business Developer at TokyWoky.They all agreed to say that trust, proactively built together with customers, is a long-lasting competitive advantage for both traditional business models and new market players. Maintaining a high level of human connectedness between business and customers increase the level of trust in technology-based businesses. Indeed, computer codes and sophisticated technology are not easily understandable by customers and often results in distrust. Participants also highlighted trust as a key element of performance in companies. Indeed, as trust-based company has a culture that bound team members together and increase efficiency and performance.

    Later in the evening, Murielle Le Goff-Riveron, Customer Success Manager at Microsoft, took the stage as the moderator of the second roundtable focused on the subject of confidence, as a driver of performance and well-being at work (« La confiance en entreprise, vecteur de bien être comme d’efficacité »). Great speakers such as Caroline Bloch, Human Resources Director at Microsoft France and Jeremy Lamri, CEO of Monkey tie, gave their insights on the subject, followed by Sophie Vernay and Arielle Belicha Hardy, who presented to the audience key figures and main outcomes of a study they led on Confidence and Growth. Speakers highlighted the existing link between self-esteem, wellbeing in the workplace and performance. Yet, self-esteem and well-being come from a proactive management strategy, built upon openness, flexibility and autonomy. For Jeremy Lamri, self-confidence is built over time as a result of a ‘test and learn’ process: ‘knowing that you will fail, but you will recover and move forward’.

    From 20:00 to 21:00 a networking cocktail concluded the evening, and gave further opportunities to the participants to exchange, share their experiences and extend their network.

    Microsoft event 'Women Think Next' on May 17
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