Highlights from the EY Women in Leadership Summit

5 ways a mentor can help you overcome hurdles
How do I get pitch-ready?

Group photo - 1

Guests and speakers mingle during the Women in Leadership Summit at the Hotel Hermitage.

On 2 June, 2015, we held the inaugural Women in Leadership Summit in conjunction with the official start of the 2015 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ event in Monaco. An exclusive, invitation-only event, The Women in Leadership Summit was attended by the world’s most influential, powerful and respected women business leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials. Participants heard from our world-class speakers, including Martha Stewart and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, on issues such as the importance of VC funding for women entrepreneurs and Switzerland’s draft proposal to ensure women make up a certain percentage of senior managers.

Here are some highlights from the event.

Women. Fast forward – Panel discussion

A fact: we know we need more women CEOs, CFOs and board members.

So where are they? They were at the Women in Leadership Summit discussing ways to get more women in positions of power. Some of the world’s most respected and powerful entrepreneurs, members of royalty and successful business leaders talked about ways to push others forward.

Maria Pinelli, EY Global Vice Chair – Strategic Growth Markets, opened with, “We need to accelerate the global gender parity clock. We need more women in this room with us!” At the current rate of progress, it will take until 2095 to achieve gender equality in the workplace. We can’t wait 80 years! We need to speed up the clock now to create real change.”

Some recommendations from the panel:

Talk up the male professions. “I have two daughters: both in engineering school. Today just 20% of engineering students are women, but that is five times the number of 30 years ago. If you tell young women there are only 20% in engineering or science, they’ll say, ‘that’s not for me’. Instead, tell them there are five times more, and then they’ll say, ‘I need to be on that bus’.” – Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation

Give women exposure to the boardroom. “We don’t mentor our women, we train them. We offer them associate directorships. They don’t have responsibility, but they sit at the board table and they go from the factory floor to the boardroom in just three years.” – Diane Foreman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Emerald Group Ltd.

Don’t dial into preconceptions. “Someone calls me bossy — well, I am the boss! I am there to do a job, I am capable and I am confident.” – Linda Hasenfratz

Leadership is not about you. Leadership is about others. “Transformative leadership helps women own their lives, own their families, own their communities.” – Dr. Jennifer Nkuene Riria, Group CEO of Kenya Women Holding

Know your stuff and work hard. “I was a former beauty queen, but I am also a trained accountant and came top of my class. I was never taken as seriously as my male colleagues, but I had to fight, work three times as hard.” – Johanna Mukoki, Group CEO of Travel with Flair.

And one overall piece of advice to support women in the workplace: watch out for the sharp elbows, keep the ladder down and make sure you lend a supporting hand while you bring other women up.

Women in the boardroom by rule or random

The Women. Fast Forward panel discussion at the Women in Leadership Summit.

>> Watch the full panel discussion moderated by Nina dos Santos, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN with:

  • Johanna Mukoki, Founder and CEO, Travel with Flair, Entrepreneur Of The Year Country Winner 2013  South Africa.
  • Jennifer Riria, Founder and CEO, Kenya Women, Entrepreneur Of The Year Country Winner 2014 Kenya.
  • Diane Foreman, Founder and CEO, Emerald Group, World Entrepreneur Of The Year Judge 2005.
  • Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar Corporation, Entrepreneur Of The Year Country Winner 2014 Canada.
Women in the boardroom: by rule or random?

At least five countries have laws requiring a certain number of women members on boards. Norway led the way with a 40% quota in 2003; France, the Netherlands, and Spain followed suit. Germany just passed a law requiring that some of Europe’s biggest companies give 30% of their board seats to women beginning in 2016. Japan’s prime minister is campaigning for more women to enter and stay in the workforce – as a way to boost economic growth. And Switzerland has a new draft proposal that would require 30% of senior corporate managers to be women. With such efforts in place to improve gender balance, what are the ramifications for the corporate world?

Women. Fast forward – Panel discussion

A panel discussion on women in the boardroom at the Women in Leadership Summit.

>> Watch the full panel discussion moderated by Nina dos Santos, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN with:

  • Hiroko Kawamoto, Executive Vice President and Board Member, All Nippon Airways (opening remarks).
  • Rebecca MacDonald, Founder and Executive Chairwoman of the Board, Just Energy Group.
  • Doris Albisser, Executive Chairman, Evaluglobe AG, Co-Founder of CLS Communication AG and Board Member, Switzerland Global EnterpriseM.
  • Gloria Serobe, CEO, Wipcapital. Founding member and Executive Director, Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited.
Secrets of successful leadership: learn from the best

The buzz of the 100 delegates at the Women in Leadership Summit rose audibly as each table was invited to share three top tips, capturing the wisdom and insights of the day.

Secrets of successful leadership learn from the best 1

A delegate participating in Q&A at the Women in Leadership Summit.

>> Watch this video to find out their secrets of successful leadership

>> Watch highlights from the 2015 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ awards

>> Find out more about EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Australia


© 2015 Ernst & Young, Australia. All Rights Reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

5 ways a mentor can help you overcome hurdles
How do I get pitch-ready?

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