June 30, 2016; No. CCXLIV

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No. CCXLIV; June 30, 2016

Male CEOs Share Strategies for Building Equitable Workplace

Among the 1,000 participants from 74 countries at the 2016 Global Summit of Women in Warsaw, Poland on June 9-11 were several male CEOs of top companies from different parts of the world.  They came together at a discussion forum on “Defining an Equitable Workplace” to share market-based factors that underlie gender equity initiatives, and to present policies and programs that have been successful in creating a more level playing field for women in the corporate arena.   Moderated by Lisa Kassenaar, Editor, Global Diversity for Bloomberg News, panelists included  Daimler’s Chair of the Board Manfred Bischoff (Germany); Metlife’s President for EMEA Michel Khalaf (UAE);  Deloitte’s CEO for Central Europe Alastair Teare (UK);  Technip’s President of the EMIA Region Marco Villa (Italy); and Citi Handlowy CEO Slawomir Sikora (Poland).


Each of the CEOs offered advice on how real change can happen in corporations. Sikora emphasized that there must be an awareness of unconscious bias and that managers need to be trained to understand how it affects recruitment and promotion in order to have a more inclusive management. Bischoff advised that women should have more courage and to be less modest about their abilities and aspirations, while male managers also need to have more courage in promoting women. Khalaf said that change will happen only when there is both commitment from the top and from ground floor management and that leadership must be held accountable for gender diversity throughout the company.Villa urged women to take on more challenging assignments. Teare stressed that male leaders need to give more space for women to become leaders, not just managers, and that CEOs must have in place people who truly believe that gender diversity is a social and business imperative.

Against the backdrop of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for President of the United States,the panel also addressed the question of whether women in political leadership make a difference. Click here to listen to Daimler’s Management Board Chair Manfred Bischof’s response to the question.

Women Entrepreneurs Building New Businesses from “Old” Needs

The 2016 Summit’s Women Entrepreneurs Forum featured women business owners from five industries across three continents.  In a featured luncheon program moderated by IBM’s Vice President for Women and Diversity Marketing Denise Evans, the entrepreneurs discussed how they were building their businesses from “old” needs.


Sharing their success and how they were growing their businesses through technology were Paula Marshall, CEO of U.S.-based food production company The Bama Companies; Noriko Nakamura, CEO of Poppins, Inc., a chain of day care centers in Japan; Maan Hontiveros, Chair of the airline Air Asia Philippines;  Solange Olszewska, CEO of Solaris Bus and Coach in Poland; and Olga Malinkiewicz, Founder and CEO of Saule Technologies .

While all commented on what it took to build their respective businesses despite the many challenges they faced over the years, it was clear that all were proud of what they have accomplished and to a person conveyed the hard-nosed persistence needed to grow a large enterprise.  At the other end of the spectrum was a young Polish tech entrepreneur, Olga Malinkiewicz, whose invention of a thin foil that could make solar energy more affordable and accessible globally, conveyed the excitement of an enterprise on its way up to a great market future. To hear Malinkiewicz describe her business and the dream she has for it, click here.

Gender Pay Gap and Women Consumers

One of the many active breakout sessions at the Summit centered on “Equalizing the Pay Gap.”  The session which featured Patricia Milligan, Senior Partner at Mercer in the US and Ursula Schwarzenbart, Head of Talent Development and Global Diversity Management for Daimler, based in Germany, offered best practices for companies who conduct rigorous internal audits in their quest to provide pay equity between their male and female employees.


A U.S. company took a different step to highlight the issue.  Anheuser Busch InBev produced a TV ad for its Bud Light beer with two well-known actors lamenting that women get paid less than men but are charged more for cars, dry cleaning, and shampoo. Given the currency of the pay gap issue, The Washington Post looked closely at Anheuser Busch InBev’s own internal record of women in leadership roles to find only two women in its 14-member board, only one woman in its 17-person executive team, and only 17% women full-time workers.  Moreover, it was sued in 2009 by its highest ranking woman who discovered that her pay was 57% of what was paid to her male peers. (The Washington Post, “Bud Light’s Latest Ad Has a Big Problem,” June 29, 2016)

Marie Lalleman, Managing Director, Global Retailers, for Nielsen, in her presentation at the Summit plenary session in “Global and Regional Megatrends” mentioned that woman will soon be a $20 Trillion market.  Well, the Bud Light experience shows that if companies want to tap into that market, they will need to do more than produce an ad on this issue .

2017 Global Summit of Women: Tokyo, Japan

Summit President Natividad was delighted to announce that the 2017 Global Summit of Women will take place in Tokyo, Japan on May 11-13, 2017.  At the Summit’s Closing Ceremony, the 61-member Japanese delegation sang “Sakura, Sakura” and Japanese Member of Parliament and former Minister of Women’s Empowerment Masako Mori invited all delegates to come to Tokyo for the 2017 Summit.  Host Committee Chair Noriko Nakamura promised to help produce one of the best Summits ever!


More information on registration and hotel accommodations for the 2017 Summit will be available in October 2016 on the Summit’s website at https://www.globewomen.org/globalsummit/.

Summit Event at 2017 World Expo in Kazakhstan

The Global Summit of Women was also pleased to announce at the Closing Ceremony of the 2016 Summit that it will hold a women’s forum at the 2017 World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan.  State Secretary of Kazakhstan Gulshara Abdykalikova invited Summit delegates to join the event on August 30 to September 1 and Deputy Mayor of Astana Malika Bekturova presented more information on opportunities in Kazakhstan’s capital city for women in business.


Click here to see more photos of the 2016 Global Summit of Women

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