WIL Event in London - 15/16 May 2017 : 2 days of discussions and networking

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.

© European Network for Women in Leadership 2017

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