Athens 2012 Some key messages of the Global Summit of Women

The Spanish executives who attended the GSW in Athens have returned home with valuable lessons learned. The GSW is not only about networking and closing business deals. Best business practices and solutions to common problems are also shared .

 Some entrepreneurs shared their secrets of success. Norma Rosenheim, CEO of Creata , a Hong Kong company which exports to over 120 countries , recommended making every day, a day of networking, be positive and inspire others to do things they never thought they could do. Regarding best practices , Rachel Cheeks – Givan Pepsico explained her ” One Simple Thing” program and stressed the importance of a particular practice on family reconciliation been included in the annual goals of each person. She also expressed that this takes a certain time before the employees understand that it is good not to be in the office … At Sodexo , Rohini Anand explained how work lunches are replaced by breakfasts , and by 6pm the lights of the building are being turned off.

 The session on mentoring versus sponsorship was very interesting. To put it otherwise, directors, as Ursula Schwarzenbart Daimler Mercedes- Benz said, are “over- mentorized ” but “infra – US-sponsored ” . They lack the proactivity of their mentor to support their career progression . It is advised to have more than one mentor to help open doors , to find a real feedback and to help create a personal brand . Nia Joynson – Romanzina of SwissRe said that all these mentoring programs are not transforming into promotions. The mentor must actively promote the rise of his mentee . Gloria Lorenzo, from Oracle explained a cross-mentoring program between different companies , and how it is bringing useful results . The “reverse mentoring ” is also considered a very useful (and cheap, said a Norwegian manager ) : a young executive is mentored by a supervisor , helping them broaden their vision and be a better manager .

 It is essential to involve men in diversity programs so that these programs succeed . Diversity is “business intelligence” for the major companies present: include men in committees dealing with these issues . Shumeet Bardaji , CEO of Booz & Cia said the future is diverse and explained that himself in his company applies this statement already. But the problem is that discrimination that formerly was before is now implicit: it is the way the system is structured and that prevents progress . In his consulting business, he applies three points : Equal treatment , change the old model of consulting firms , which is inconsistent with sustainability, and to coach managers. The two men present at the panel agreed on the need of contributions to ” reset ” the minds , and the direct involvement of senior management . Also companies should be obliged to always present selection candidates of both sexes. The CEO of a Nigerian bank told that they have programs for husbands, and also advised to align the selection of husband with onself’s professional aspirations!

 Halter Jeffery insisted that this issue is a matter of business, a business case, which has to do with talent (more than 50 % of university graduates are women ) , revenues (80% of expense decision depend on women) and commitment (women tend to be 70% more committed to their work than men) . Therefore advises business leaders to approach this issue as an economic issue, not as a social topic; obsessively manage talent in your organization , your people require real commitment to goals , quotas … and give importance to gestures and systemic changes: becoming a champion for the cause. He claims that the effects will be perceived in the revenues statement!

 The Spanish delegation received numerous compliments on the high quality of the participation of their lecturers.