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WeQual Awards Recognises Eight Women Leaders for Their Contributions to Business

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Eight talented businesswomen, holding prominent executive roles in leading companies listed across the Asia-Pacific region, have been named winners in the WeQual Awards.

The WeQual Awards were created to accelerate gender parity at the top of the largest companies in the world. More than 35% of WeQual Awards winners are now at global executive committee level, and more than 50% of the category winners of our first awards have made it to the top – including one chief executive.

The 8 category winners of the WeQual Awards, Asia-Pacific, 2022, are:

Finance: Rajani Kesari, Chief Financial Officer – Ambuja Cements Ltd., Holcim
Product: Sarala Menon, Executive Vice President – Manufacturing & Product Supply Chain – India & South Asia, Colgate-Palmolive
Marketing: Paula Pinto, Global Head – Business & Marketing Excellence, UPL
Strategy: Mehrnavaz Avari, Area Director UK & General Manager, St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites & Residences, London, Indian Hotels Company Ltd
People: Sarah Southwell, General Manager, Human Resources, GrainCorp
Communication: Frances van Reyk, Head of Investor Relations, Ampol Limited
Operations: Kavita Jain, Vice President Supply Chain & Operations, South Asia, Hindustan Unilever
Innovation: Deborah Peach, Executive General Manager – Health, Safety & Environment, Cleanaway

All entries for the WeQual Awards are anonymously assessed, meaning that our assessors see neither their name nor the company for which they work. After the assessment, the 24 finalists are appraised by one of our executive interviewers before eight category winners are chosen.

WeQual’s Executive Interviewers include:

  • Dame Inga Beale, Chair of Mediclinic and Former CEO of Lloyd’s of London, Mediclinic
  • Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, Dole Sunshine Company
  • Shumit Kapoor, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Kellogg Company
  • Umang Vohra, Managing Director & Global Chief Executive Officer, Cipla
  • Tamara Box, Managing Partner – Europe & Middle East, Reed Smith
  • Tulsi Naidu, Chief Executive Officer APAC & Group Executive, Zurich Insurance
  • Sanjiv Mehta, President, South Asia, Chair and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited
  • Zoran Bogdanovic, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola HBC

There are now more than 160 major companies worldwide that can boast a WeQual Award finalist – known as WeQual Alumni – among their senior leadership.

Katie Litchfield, Founder of WeQual, said: “WeQual’s mission is to achieve corporate gender parity. The WeQual Awards are designed to identify, celebrate and encourage talented women who are ready and willing to take the next step to Group Executive Committee level.”

WeQual Global
To help accelerate gender parity, WeQual recently launched the online platform “WeQual Global”. Members benefit from regular events, ‘Think Tanks’, peer-to-peer coaching and instant access to a global directory of WeQual women, creating the perfect conditions to collaborate with thought leaders at some of the largest companies in the world.

Contacts
Founder, Katie Litchfield
Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bateman
awards@wequal.com

Finalists Announced – WeQual Awards, Asia-Pacific 2022

Finalists - WeQual Awards, Asia-Pacific 2022

Congratulations to the 24 women who have reached the final of the WeQual Awards, Asia-Pacific 2022.

The winners will be announced on 15 September 2022. The finalists are:

Finance category:

  • Cynthia C. Castro, Vice President, Head of Finance, Philippines & Jollibee Philippines, Jollibee Group Philippines
  • Mukti Hariharan, Chief Financial Officer, Homecare – South Asia, Hindustan Unilever Limited
  • Rajani Kesari, Chief Financial Officer – Holcim India & Ambuja Cements Ltd., Holcim

Product category:

  • Cathy Simone, Vice President Systems Development, Cochlear Limited
  • Sarala Menon, Executive Vice President – Manufacturing & Product Supply Chain – India & South Asia, Colgate-Palmolive India & S. Asia
  • Sunanda Sharma, Lead Financial & Digital Inclusion, AU Small Finance Bank

Marketing category:

  • Paula Pinto, Global Head – Business & Marketing Excellence, UPL
  • Veetika Deoras, Vice President – Brands & Marketing, Indian Hotels Company Limited
  • Wendy Mak, Chief Marketing Officer, Link Group

Strategy category:

  • Mehrnavaz Avari, Area Director UK & General Manager, Indian Hotels Company Ltd
  • Umang Agarwal, Senior Vice President, HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited
  • Aparna Mantha, Vertical Head – Financial Sector, Wholesale Credit, HDFC Bank

People category:

  • Anandi Shankar, Head HR, Beauty & Wellbeing & Personal Care, South Asia, Hindustan Unilever Limited
  • Sarah Southwell, General Manager, Human Resources, GrainCorp
  • Sonal Vaidya, Global Head – Organization Development & Effectiveness, Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Limited

Communication category:

  • Bianca Ghose, Chief Storyteller & Head of CEO Communications, Wipro Limited
  • Divya Anand, General Manager | Marketing | Asia-Pacific, Tata Communications
  • Frances van Reyk, Head of Investor Relations, Ampol Limited

Operations category:

  • Danielle Handley, Executive General Manager, Customer Experience, Insurance Australia Group
  • Kavita Jain, Vice President Supply Chain & Operations, South Asia, Hindustan Unilever Limited
  • Sabrina Rey, Director – Global Sell-Side Practice Lead, CRISIL

Innovation category:

  • Deborah Peach, Vice President – Australia Operations Business & Technical Support, Woodside Energy Limited
  • Deepa Ranjeet, Vice President & Head of Digital, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
  • Alaa Aziz, Vice President of Technology, Aristocrat Leisure

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM GENDER GAP REPORT 2022

Gender Gap Report 2022 - Progress is Stalling

What we suspected was the case post pandemic has been confirmed by the World Economic Forum: the progress towards gender parity is stalling.

The new figures out this month, which come from research in 146 countries worldwide, show that at the current rate it will take 132 years to reach full gender parity. In 2020, we were on course to close the gender gap in 100 years.

The share of women hired into leadership roles has seen a steady increase from 33.3% in 2016 to 36.9% in 2022. 

But only select industries have levels near gender parity in leadership, such as Education (46%), and Personal Services and Wellbeing (45%). 

At the other end of the range, Energy (20%), Manufacturing (19%), and Infrastructure (16%) continue to have consistently low gender parity. 

And, while the share of women in leadership has been increasing over time, women have not been hired at equal rates across industries, the report reveals. On average, more women are being hired into leadership roles in industries where women are already highly represented.

“Sadly, these figures confirm what we have suspected from the hundreds of conversations we have been having with major companies across the world since the pandemic,” said Katie Litchfield, WeQual Founder. “But there is hope, as we are seeing more and more senior leaders, particularly women, engaging and really pushing the agenda to accelerate the change which companies now know needs to happen.”

You can download the report on the World Economic Forum website

If you’d like to speak to one of the WeQual team about how you can better support your women in senior leadership, contact us.

Eight Exceptional Women Recognised in WeQual Awards, EMEA 2022

Congratulations to the eight executive businesswomen who were announced to the world on 26 January as the winners of the WeQual Awards, EMEA 2022.

All eight winners hold prominent executive roles in leading companies listed on the major EMEA indices. Each woman showed an extraordinary level of leadership and successful track records in setting and reaching high standards within their organisations. They now join WeQual Global as Alumni members. 

The winners of the WeQual Awards, EMEA 2022 are:

  • Cecile Bartenieff, Chief Executive Officer for Asia Pacific, Societe Generale – Technology category
  • Christiane Lindenschmidt, Chief Digital and Data Officer, Markets and Securities Services, HSBC – Transformation category
  • Anne O’Leary, CEO – Vodafone Ireland, Vodafone Group – Commercial category
  • Arancha Cordero, SVP, Chief Growth Officer – Danone Waters, Danone – Business Development category
  • Jessica Nordlinder, Chief Procurement Officer, Vice President – Global Sourcing, Essity – Procurement and Supply Chain category
  • Tina Kao Mylon, Senior Vice President – Talent and Diversity, Schneider Electric – People and Culture category
  • Noémie Ellezam, Group Chief Digital Strategy Officer – Group Innovation Division, Societe Generale – Brand category
  • Anna Dimitrova, CFO and Strategy and Corporate Development Director, Vodafone Germany, Vodafone Group – Finance category

All applications to the WeQual Awards are assessed anonymously, with none of their personal details revealed to our assessors. The 8 winners are selected from a shortlist of 24 finalists interviewed by one of our executive interviewers. The executive interviewers were:

  • Steve Cahillane, Chairman, President and CEO of Kellogg Company
  • Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American
  • Dame Inga Beale, Chair of Mediclinic and former CEO of Lloyd’s Register’s
  • Shelley O’Connor, Vice Chair and Head of External Affairs at Morgan Stanley
  • Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC
  • Ralph Findlay, former CEO of Marston’s PLC
  • Douglas Peterson, President and CEO of S&P Global

The WeQual Awards are designed to suport WeQual’s mission to create a better business world by increasing gender equality and diversity at the top of the world’s largest companies. We identify and champion successful senior women to help tackle the slow progress in appointing women to executive roles. More than 35% of the winners of previous WeQual Awards have been promoted to the leadership teams of major global companies.

World-class women executives shortlisted in awards for potential C-suite leaders

London, 8 November 2021– Twenty-four women executives have been recognised by the WeQual Awards for their outstanding contribution to business from some of the biggest companies in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. WeQual’s mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing women to executive positions.

Since its creation, more than 35% of the winners of previous WeQual Awards in the UK, EMEA, APAC and The Americas have already been promoted to the executive committees of major global companies. 

The 24 finalists, all one level below Group ExCo or Group C-Suite leader, automatically become members of the WeQual Club. They join the 144 senior female executives already enrolled. The winners in each category will be announced in January 2022.

Click here to download the list of WeQual EMEA Members 2021

The 24 WeQual Finalists for EMEA 2021:

Technology Category

-Cecile Bartenieff, COO of Global Banking & Investors Solutions and Global Head of Technology & Operations, Societe Generale.

-Patricia Beau, Chief Technology Officer Lead / Partner For Consumer Healthcare, Sanofi.

-Miruna Senciuc, CEO, Romanian Branch, BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

 

 Brand Category

-Mia Claselius, Vice President, Head of Communications, ABB Electrification, ABB Ltd.

-Noémie Ellezam, Group Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Société Générale.

-Anjana Srinivasan, Chief Operating Officer – HSBC Global Marketing, HSBC Holdings plc.

 

Transformation Category

-Naina Bhattacharya, Chief Information Security Officer, Danone.

-Christiane Lindenschmidt, Chief Digital and Data Officer, Markets and Securities Services, HSBC Holdings Plc.

-Chafika Chettaoui, Group Chief Data Officer, Suez.

 

Commercial Category

-Anne O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Ireland, Vodafone Group Plc.

-Filipa Martins, Managing Director | CEO, Portugal, Edenred.

-Mieke  De Schepper, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Amadeus IT Group.

 

Finance Category

-Anna Dimitrova, Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Director of Vodafone Germany

-Daria Dodonova, Chief Financial Officer, Magyar Telekom, Deutsche Telekom.

-Camila Japur, CFO Emerging Businesses, Ericsson.

 

Business Development Category

-Arancha Cordero, Chief Growth Officer Waters, Danone.

-Susan Uthayakumar, President, Sustainability Business Division, Schneider Electric.

-Bettina Möckel, Vice President Corporate Business Development, QIAGEN

 

Procurement & Supply Chain Category

-Sigrid Brendel, Head of Global Procurement, CPO, Campari Group.

-Jessica Nordlinder, Chief Procurement Officer, Essity.

-Francesca Gamboni, Senior Vice President Global Supply Chain Groupe Stellantis,  Stellantis.

 

People & Culture Category

-Audra Jenkins, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Randstad North America

-Cecilia Hallengren, Senior Vice President, People and Culture, Volvo Group Trucks Technology, Volvo Group.

-Tina Mylon, SVP, Talent and Diversity, Schneider Electric.

Eight exceptional women executives honoured in Asia-Pacific Awards

Eight businesswomen holding prominent executive roles in leading companies in the Asia-Pacific region have been named as winners in the WeQual Awards

London, 7 September 2021– Eight businesswomen holding prominent executive roles in leading companies listed in the Asia-Pacific region have been named as winners in the WeQual Awards.

The WeQual Awards identify and recognise world-class women executives, one level below the group C-suite, and WeQual works with the largest companies in the world to promote diversity, equality and inclusion within group executive committees.

The winners were selected from a shortlist of 24 finalists. 

Founder of WeQual, Katie Litchfield, says: “The glass ceiling has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below Group C-suite level. That’s why it is vital we champion gender equality at the top.”

The winners of the APAC WeQual Awards 2021 are:

  • Manjaree Chowdhary, Executive Director and GC, Maruti SuzukiBusiness Security category

  • Kendra Vant, Executive General Manager – Data, XeroBusiness Transformation

  • Srimathi Shivashankar, Corporate Vice President, HCL TechnologiesBusiness Turnaround 

  • Jo Egan, General Manager Product and Portfolio, AGL EnergyCommercial Innovation 

  • Anita Bhat-Zutshi, VP Commercial Experience, Unilever Operations, Unilever, Finance 

  • Wan Norashikin (Nonie) Mohd Nasir, VP, Global Risk Management & Business Continuity Management, Indorama VenturesLeadership Excellence 

  • Farrah Losper, Senior Director: Head HIV, Tender & Government Affairs, Cipla – Operational Performance 

  • Nadene Serman, Group Head of IT Transformation, The a2 Milk CompanyTechnological Impact 

The 24 finalists were assessed against specific criteria and neither their name or the name of their company was shared with the assessors. The eight winners were chosen after being interviewed by one of our executive judges. The judges were:

  • Shelley O’Connor, Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley Private Bank
  • Tulsi Naidu, CEO APAC, Zurich Insurance Company
  • Ashu Suyash, CEO, CRISL
  • Dame Inga Beale, Chair, Mediclinic
  • Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, Dole Sunshine Company 
  • Ron Kalifa OBE, Chairman, Network International
  • Tamara Box, Managing Partner EMEA, Reed Smith
  • Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO, Coca-Cola HBC 

More than a quarter of WeQual Award winners (UK and US) have been promoted to executive level in FTSE and Fortune 500 companies. There are now 144 women members of WeQual globally. 

ABOUT WEQUAL 

WeQual makes businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives to address the gender imbalance across the world’s group executive committees.

CONTACT DETAILS

Katie Litchfield at katie@wequal.com

Mobile: + 44 7796 147466 | Office:  +44 20 3290 3389

The Water Cooler Revolution

When Activision Blizzard – the company behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, two of the biggest game franchises ever – was sued last week by California State for breaking workplace protection laws, it went on the attack.

It accused California’s action as “disgraceful and unprofessional” and labelled the state’s legislature “unaccountable state bureaucrats”.

The accusations against Activision Blizzard – a Fortune 500 company – were not inconsequential: male staff were accused of drunken harassment of female employees; there was a culture of ignoring complaints and retaliation against women who made them; and widespread discrimination against women in areas such as equal pay and promotion opportunity.

One woman, the allegation claimed, committed suicide because of the treatment she received.

While the gaming company felt justified in going on the attack, in little over a week they have made a complete volte-face – but only after 2,000 of their 9,500 workforce signed a petition calling the company’s response to the lawsuit “abhorrent and insulting”.

And then the workforce backed their petition up by organising a walk out. And then the shares dropped almost 10 per cent in trading.

It was only then that the chief executive Bobby Katick began dialling back the company’s original aggressive response. “Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf,” the CEO said in an open letter to company staff. “I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.”

As the fallout continued the company continued to reverse ferret: it has promised a leadership review and to sack any management found to have been involved in toxic behaviour. 

While the pressure on the share price may have been a factor, it is the power exerted by a workforce to stand up for themselves that has made such a difference so quickly here. And the staff’s bravery in standing up for themselves has had a snowball effect: 500 staff at rival Ubisoft have banded together to sign an open letter in solidarity and to call out their management.

Last summer, Ubisoft – the Paris-listed software company – was hit by a number of allegations of sexual misconduct by senior executives. In their open letter to the CEO Yves Guillemot they say that “it should no longer be a surprise to anyone” that these “heinous acts are going on”. 

“It is time to stop being shocked. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.”

At the time, when individuals at Ubisoft made their accusations, mostly on Twitter, little was done. It appears that the very act of staff coming together to go public is more likely to shine a light on the lack of diversity, equality and inclusiveness in some of these companies.  

While the wrongdoing is often permeated in the ranks, it is the attitude of the people at the top – or the simple act of turning a blind eye – that creates the toxic culture. 

At BrewDog, for example, hundreds of former staff were very clear that the alleged toxic culture of bullying and harassment prevalent at the brewer was as a direct result of the actions of James Watt and Martin Dickie, the company’s founders.

“You spent years claiming you wanted to be the best employer in the world, presumably to help you to recruit top talent, but ask former staff what they think of those claims, and you’ll most likely be laughed at,” the letter from former BrewDog staff claimed in June. “Being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog.”

Companies take their lead from the top – and so those leading need to step up. Or get out of the way of the change that is coming, whether they like it or not.

Another reason why an open letter is so effective is because it’s there forever – even the search engine’s can’t hide it from those searching. 

The letter of more than 2,000 staff at Google’s holding company, Alphabet, is still easily found by a simple Google search. Their open letter pleaded with the tech giant to stop protecting workers accused of sexual harassment. For the same reason, 20,000 walked out last year – though a lot of people have already forgotten that.

“This is a long pattern where Alphabet protects the harasser instead of protecting the person harmed by the harassment,” the letter said. “The person who reports harassment is forced to bear the burden, usually leaving Alphabet while their harasser stays or is rewarded for their behavior (sic).”

Employees taking a stance against toxic leadership behaviours is welcomed by us at WeQual. Our mission is to build a better business world, with more diverse and equitable companies. We know that the only way we will see change we all desire is if the companies themselves want it.

Activision Blizzard staff protest the company's reaction to California State's legislation against them

If it is the staff that accelerate that change – we will celebrate and support them.

It looks like waiting for investors may prove too long. All of the companies are publicly listed or, in BrewDog’s case, crowdfunded by up to 180,000 shareholders. But in the absence of any significant pressure on internal wrongdoing at these companies, it has taken those who know these companies best – the staff that go to battle for their CEO every day – to stand up and risk their livelihoods to see the change that we all want to see.

But with such big risk, it would appear, comes big reward. And faster results, too, if the above examples are anything to go by. So, when there is no appetite at the top for change and a lack of pressure externally, don’t be surprised to see more Watercooler Revolutions over the coming months and years.

Society has already turned. Society wants to see a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society. Companies have to change. Those at the top can do it themselves, or they can be hounded out from within by the people who count the most. Their staff.

Podcast: Dame Inga Beale speaks exclusively to WeQual Unfiltered

In the latest edition of the WeQual Unfiltered podcast, which is published today, Katie Litchfield talks to Dame Inga Beale.

In what is a fascinating interview for CEOs Uncut, a series of exclusive interviews with present (and former) CEOs, Dame Inga, talks frankly about a career in which she has been chief executive several times – including the first female chief of Lloyd’s of London.

In the podcast she adds her weight to a number of subjects, including the decision-making process within a diverse leadership team.

“It can take a bit more time, and as a manager it is more challenging,” she tells Katie during the podcast. “If all you’ve got is people who think like you – boy, isn’t that easy: you just go ahead with your decision because they are all going to agree with you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right decision, that you get the best decision, or you get the right outcome.”

A long-time friend of WeQual, Dame Inga is a doyenne of the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion world: she is currently a member of Stonewall’s Development Council and most recently she chaired the HIV Commission.

“So often we see wonderful marketing campaigns, we see Pride flags hanging up,” she says. “They talk a good talk. But are they actually doing something about it?

“My test is to look at who is on the Executive Committee. If I don’t see true diversity there then I know that these organisations are not taking it seriously enough.”

Listen to Episode Three of CEOs Uncut on the WeQual website using the media player below.

Spotify  |  Apple iTunes  |  Deezer  |  Amazon Music  |  Audible

Ep 3 – Dame Inga Beale, former CEO, Lloyd’s of London
Ep 1 – Steve Cahillane, Chairman and CEO, Kelloggs

G7 manifesto for gender equality

Actions always speak louder than words? Sometimes. Though it can often depend who the messenger is. Take the fine words of the Gender Equality Action Committee – an independent group of experts assembled by the UK Government to champion freedom, opportunity, individual humanity and dignity for women and girls around the world.

Their big moment was the G7 summit earlier this month – but the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson fluffed the moment and the GEAC’s really vital road map to gender equality post lockdown was lost.

Their words, though, are worth repeating. And liking. And sharing. And reposting.

Here is what the GEAC wants to see:
  • An acknowledgement of the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on women and girls, globally, and increased funding for, and dedicated action towards gender-transformative development programming, sexual and reproductive health services, and addressing the ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

  • A pandemic response and recovery that takes account of the needs of women and girls, and tracks the effect of recovery initiatives on men and women, taking into account factors such as age, income, disability and ethnicity.

  • At least 12 years of gender-transformative education for all, building on G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ commitments on girls’ education and, domestically, supporting schools to implement gender-responsive policies to benefit girls’ physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Strengthened domestic and international social care infrastructure, and access to affordable quality care, including childcare, through increased public investment to address gender imbalances in care work, both paid and unpaid.

  • Equal access to capital and labour markets, through removing barriers and creating opportunities for jobs and funding for women to thrive in the modern economy, and tailoring policies to support women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

  • Recognition of the impact that global trade has on women as traders, workers and consumers, with G7 Leaders building trading relationships that benefit women and girls around the world.

  • A gender-responsive approach to climate financing, investment and policies, including at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), and for G7 Leaders to target investment in girls’ education, re-skilling of women, and lifelong learning to ensure that women and girls can benefit from the ‘green revolution’.

  • Acknowledgement of the risk to global prosperity and women’s economic empowerment caused by a gender imbalance in STEM education and careers, and commitment to prioritising progress towards gender parity through concrete action.

  • Action to address the digital gender divide by supporting initiatives that provide women and girls in all areas with affordable, reliable and safe internet and mobile services; and to counteract algorithm bias which puts women, girls and marginalised groups at a disadvantage.

  • An end to the stereotyping and unequal treatment of women in the media, including by endorsing the Generation Equality Forum Charter of Commitments for Cultural and Creative Industries.

  • Global action to end violence against women and girls through increased investment in prevention and response; the ratification of relevant conventions, including the Istanbul Convention; and enhanced support for eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM).

  • Action to tackle online harassment and abuse of women and girls, through the introduction of legislation that establishes a duty of care on technology companies to improve the safety of users online, including appropriate controls for online pornography sites.

  • Condemnation of sexual violence used as a weapon of war as an international red line, by developing an International Convention to denounce it, in line with other prohibited weapons in war such as landmines and chemical weapons.

  • Continued action to drive monitoring of progress on gender equality, and accountability on commitments, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, through the establishment of a G7 GEAC observatory mechanism to measure and report on G7 progress.

WeQual’s mission is gender equality in the executive committees and board rooms of the world’s biggest companies. While we deal specifically in the corporate world, our experience has taught us that the gender imbalance at the top of companies is systemic – the issues women in business face often mirror those they face outside work.

Which is why we think the words of the GEAC are worth reading and repeating. Over and over again.

World-class women executives shortlisted in Asia-Pacific Awards for potential C-suite leaders

London, 14 June 2021 – Twenty-four female executives of some of the biggest companies in the Asia-Pacific region have been identified as having the leadership qualities for top-level executive management positions. The WeQual Awards (wequal.com/awards) recognise outstanding women in senior roles. WeQual’s mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing women to executive positions.

Click here to download the list of WeQual APAC Members 2021

Since its creation, more than 35% of the winners of previous WeQual Awards in the UK, EMEA and The Americas have already been promoted to the executive committees of major global companies.

“We run the WeQual Awards all over the world, and while the result we are aiming for is the same everywhere – 50/50 gender equality in the Executive Committees of the world’s biggest companies – we are finding that the hurdles women have to overcome vary from region to region,” said Katie Litchfield, founder of WeQual.

“In the Asia-Pacific region, women striving to get to the top of business have to overcome many of the same issues that women globally have to deal with, but also more localised implicit bias. But their fight to reach their full potential underlines the exceptional nature of the talent that we have found in the APAC region – and this year’s finalists are right up there with the best in the world,” Katie added.

The APAC finalists come from a wide range of sectors and companies. The finalists’ companies are: Maruti Suzuki, ANZ, CSL, Bank of China (Hong Kong), Fletcher Building, Xero, Mineral Resources Limited, HCL Technologies, Rio Tinto, The Heineken Company, AGL, News Corp Australia, Unilever, Wipro, Transurban, Indorama Ventures, Reliance Industries Ltd, AMP, Cipla, Cochlear, Auckland Airport, Contact Energy, The Star Entertainment Group and The a2 Milk Company Limited.

The 24 finalists in eight categories were assessed against specific criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Drive & Resilience, Integrity, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development, Approach to Equality, and Knowledge of the Business. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.

Eight executive judges will hold 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in their category before choosing a winner. The categories are: Business Security, Business Transformation, Business Turnaround, Commercial Innovation, Finance, Leadership Excellence, Operational Performance, Technological Impact.

The winners will be announced in September 2021.

Among supporters of the awards are: Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard and Global Chair of the gender equality campaign group ‘30% Club’; Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays; Dame Inga Beale of Mediclinic; and Ron Kalifa OBE, of Network International.

Ann Cairns says: “WeQual promotes the equality of women in the business world by recognising outstanding professional achievements and impact. While many consider that this should be a normal thing, in reality we need sound initiatives like WeQual to act like catalysts in creating a more fair and equal society.”

This senior group of 24 executives will become members of the WeQual Club and join the existing 120 senior female executives who are one below – or already on – the Executive Committee.

Assessment Methodology:

The eight assessment questions were developed from a research-based meta-analysis of the factors and characteristics that mark leaders as different from non-leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). They were designed to help the women best describe how they deliver on leadership characteristics and how they are seen by others as a leader, and indeed engage people who see them as fit to lead.

About WeQual:

WeQual’s mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world’s Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, Founder of WeQual, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they are deserving to be appointed to the Executive Committee.

Podcast: Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East talks exclusively to WeQual Unfiltered

Today we publish the second in our CEOs Uncut podcast series – with an exclusive interview with Rolls-Royce’s Chief Executive, Warren East.

Founder of WeQual, Katie Litchfield, spoke to Warren about how the company is overcoming the huge difficulties it has experienced in hiring women executives.

In our exclusive interview, the CEO of Rolls-Royce also spoke honestly about the personal challenges over the last year. In addition, he offers candid advice on how to get promoted to the Executive Committee.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it where you listen to podcasts.

Spotify  |  Apple iTunes  |  Deezer  |  Amazon Music  |  Audible

Ep 1 – Steve Cahillane, Chairman and CEO, Kelloggs
Ep 3 – Dame Inga Beale, former CEO, Lloyd’s of London

WeQual Club Members speak out in media conference on future of brands

WeQual believes that to make a difference you have to get involved in the conversation. We need to share valuable information to enhance the business world around us by engaging with others.

Club members share experiences with each other within the WeQual network, but it is always worthy of note when they make a splash outside the WeQual World. 

Two WeQual finalists – Monique Elliott, Senior Vice-President of Industrial Automation Global Marketing at Schneider Electric, and Isabella Panizza, Head of Communications for Global Customer Operations at Enel group, were both contributing at Media360, a flagship event hosted by Campaign – the magazine for the advertising and media industry. This was hosted by Anna Foot and Dana Whitaker, SVP of international media sales and UK sales director of The Wall Street Journal respectively.

Talking about the importance of building on the community spirit post-pandemic, Monique told the symposium the story of Schneider Electric Exchange, an open business platform designed to bring Schneider’s partners and customers together. She explained that recently, two customers – engineering companies from Canada and India – connected over the digital platform and decided to collaborate to meet a customer need. “Normally they wouldn’t have found each other and perhaps, before, they might have been competitors. But in this new environment, and with a digital community to connect them, they worked together profitably,” Monique said.

Isabella, meanwhile, sharpened an engaging discussion about the link between a brand’s purpose and its ability to build an authentic and engaging sense of community. 

“Purpose is central to any content and community strategy,” she told Media360. “Clear purpose makes content more effective. Our commitment to sustainability helps us find a new global audience.”

You can read Campaign’s report on Media 360 here

Two WeQual Club Members appointed to the executive committee

Two WeQual Club Members have been appointed to the Executive Committee of Direct Line Group, it has been announced.

Aurore Lecanon, who was a WeQual Awards finalist in 2020, will take on the role as Chief Risk Officer later this year. She is currently Chief Risk & Compliance Officer at Prudential International. Aurore succeeds Jose Vazquez who will be retiring.

Jessie Burrows, a WeQual finalist in 2020, has taken on an extended role as Managing Director, Customer Sales, Service & Claims and will join the Executive Committee immediately. Jessie joined Direct Line in 2016 as group financial controller and is currently Managing Director of Claims.

The appointment of Jessie, along with Jazz Gakhal who has been made a permanent member of the ExCo as Chief Strategy Officer, means that when Aurore Lecanon takes up her position, Direct Line Group’s Executive Committee will have

The company’s Board of Directors has 33% female representation. Direct Line Group is one of only a handful of FTSE 250 companies that has a woman as its CEO, Penny James, and a woman as Chair of its Board of Directors, Danuta Gray.

Penny James, chief executive of Direct Line Group, said:

 ”I’m delighted to welcome Jessie, Jazz and Aurore to the Executive Committee, whose experience, drive and leadership will help us to forge ahead with our strategy to drive benefits and growth out of the investments we have already made.”

Breaking the Last Glass Ceiling

Author – Bob Fesmire, ABB

Houston, 2018. ABB’s Oil, Gas and Chemicals (OGC) business is looking to build its position with EPC (engineer-procure-construct) firms and taps Group Strategic Projects Manager Heather Cykoski to lead the effort.

A 13-year veteran of ABB at this point, Heather has recently managed some high profile OGC projects and is ready for a new challenge. She accepts the new role and dives in.

Meanwhile, in London, the Financial Times’ (FT) Katie Litchfield has had it. After years of working with top executives of the UK’s largest firms, she’s heard the same excuse too many times for the lack of women leaders: ‘If we could find the talent, we’d hire them.’

She quits her job to start a new venture focused on elevating women into senior positions by providing executive coaching and profiling alongside carefully curated talent accelerator programs, speaker bureaus and awards.

Cut to 2020 and Katie’s company, WeQual, has created a 200-strong network of outstanding female executives ready for C-suite leadership. In 2021, Heather wins a WeQual award in the Leadership category for the Americas.

The paths that these women took to reach this moment are different, but both arrived at a similar place. Each saw that there was a steep drop-off in the percentage of women in executive committee roles, even compared to just one level down in the organization. But rather than curse the male-dominated darkness, they each decided to take action that has since become a defining element in their careers and their lives.

First impressions
Breaking the Last Glass Ceiling wequal
Heather Cykoski

I first met Heather in 2010 at the Houston Marathon, which ABB was sponsoring. I had just handed off one of our senior managers to a media interview when I walked into the ABB hospitality tent and met one of the account managers in the O&G business. Heather’s direct manner and welcoming personality made a longstanding impression and likely helped her subsequent rise in the organization.

Following that first encounter, I had one or two opportunities to work with Heather on case studies with O&G customers, but that was it. As is often the case in large firms, you just don’t run into people if your roles don’t bring you together. Still, it came as no surprise to me when I learned that she’d been recognized with a WeQual award.

Breaking the Last Glass Ceiling wequal
Katie Litchfield

When I meet Katie Litchfield for the first time, she too makes a strong first impression. She starts our Teams call by asking me if I am going to turn on my camera, as she had done with hers. She says it in that particularly British way, implying no offense. Her warm, no-nonsense approach makes me want to turn my camera on.

Katie tells me she worked at the FT for more than 20 years, most recently organizing executive forums that brought her in regular contact with the elite of British industry. It was rewarding work, but the gender equity issue kept coming up.

“I reached a point where I just couldn’t hear one more CEO tell me there were no women to hire for executive committee positions,” she recalls. “I decided then and there to do something that would make it impossible for anyone to use that excuse again.”

Walking, not talking

Heather’s ABB resume reads like an over-achiever’s list of ambitions. Starting in 2005 as an account manager working with BP and Shell, she became ABB’s first female Global Account Manager (serving Dow) just two years later, successfully executing chemical plant projects and new investments in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

By 2012, Heather was managing Group Strategic Projects, helming ABB’s participation in East Africa’s liquid natural gas development and North America’s gulf coast chemical and liquified natural gas investments. Then came the call in 2018.

“I was asked to create a global sales team, recruiting from country, division and business unit teams. Working with a group of three, I scoped the opportunity in full and defined profiles for each sales leader,” she explains.

Heather believes in the value of a diverse team, but building one from scratch came with some risks, like hiring a 30-year-old female with no engineering qualifications to lead the effort in China. After closing three big orders and positioning ABB for “one belt one road” projects, it was clear that Heather had made the right pick.

“With the new team in place, we developed a playbook detailing our offering and key opportunities,” Heather recalls. “We went customer by customer, in oil and gas where our efforts had been to date, but also in new sectors like food and beverage, water, and data centers. I think we’ve had a strong impact commercially and culturally.”

That’s one way to put it. In fact, Heather’s 24-person team racked up some truly remarkable results:

  • Exceeded targets for cost-cutting by 10 percent without losing a single headcount
  • Posted 21 percent growth against a forecast of 12 percent and stretch target of 19 percent
  • Increased sales from $476m in 2018 to $1.013b in 2019

That’s an 82 percent rise in sales for those of you keeping score at home. For every dollar of cost, the team generated more than $42 in revenue. Not surprisingly, Heather has been asked to share the success factors behind such an effective group. She emphasizes diversity, but also has some simple advice.

“I tried to stay open to opinion from the team, customers, advisers and other stakeholders,” she says. “And if you’ve chosen your team well and you look after them, they’ll deliver – especially when we remind and encourage each other to focus on our long-term goal.”

“If you’ve chosen your team well and you look after them, they’ll deliver.”

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic put that philosophy to the test, disrupting workflows and introducing enormous health and safety challenges. Heather’s team faced a 20 percent cost reduction mandate while a Group-wide restructuring consumed up to a quarter of her time. She also faced a very specific challenge just as the pandemic was taking hold.

In January 2020, McDermott International filed for bankruptcy. The firm was an important customer, accounting for 15 percent of the team’s annual revenue. Heather believed they could come through the situation and suggested ABB continue working on nine projects, each representing $2b to $8b in capex, without being paid.

“We established a direct connection between the ABB and McDermott CFOs,” Heather explains, “and by adapting hardline rules, we helped our engineers give their best.”

By July, McDermott was out of Chapter 11, and by year end ABB had received all of the $30m McDermott owed on the various projects. ABB’s relationship with them is now stronger than ever.

McDermott CEO David Dickson said at the time, “Heather is like a dog that will not drop her bone and she does it with grace.”

She displays that same grace in explaining her reasoning.

“As a leader, I believe my team includes not just our salespeople and their families, but our customers and their families too. I find that a family ethos – nurturing long-term relationships, avoiding hardline rules, focusing on curiosity and kindness – is as effective in business as it is with children.”

The last glass ceiling

Women have made tremendous gains in corporate management since the days of typing pools. However, as Katie observed again and again, there was one glass ceiling that remained stubbornly in place: the one just below the C-suite.

She tells me about a 2018 report published by Hampton-Alexander Review. It showed in the firms making up the FTSE 100, only 27 percent of executive committee (EC) positions and their direct reports were filled by women. The FTSE 250 fared even worse, coming in at 24.9 percent.

Katie formed WeQual to address this disparity by focusing on the cohort of female executives poised for EC positions or jobs reporting to an EC member. The company offers training for female execs and organizations, and operates a speaker’s bureau, but WeQual is perhaps best known for their awards, which launched in London in 2019 and expanded to New York in 2020.

Key to the awards’ success was winning support from an exceptional range of talented executives. Katie leveraged her contacts and as a result the jury list for WeQual awards reads like a who’s who of global business: judges include CEOs from S&P Global, Kellogg’s, CocaCola HBC, JP Morgan, Rolls Royce, Verizon and more.

Despite being just three years old, the WeQual community has become a powerful engine for change and the awards are now global.

Critically, WeQual is also a community.

“Award winners become part of a tribe,” Katie explains, and they are expected to become mentors to other women. They keep in touch. They share successes and failures and draw on each other for support.

“Recognizing that there’s a pipeline of women leaders ready for the C-suite shows us that change is possible and can benefit all of us, Heather adds. She also points out that elevating qualified women need not come at the expense of men.

“This is not a zero-sum game,” she says. “More women leaders means more opportunities for men to define success beyond work. I know so many male leaders who’d like to make more time for their family or other interests, but the dominant culture is not supportive.”

What’s next

For Katie, her focus remains locked on the road ahead and moving the needle on women’s participation at the highest levels of management.

“The right women are out there,” she says, “and we’re making sure everyone knows it.”

“The right women are out there, and we’re making sure everyone knows it.”

Heather, meanwhile, continues to put diversity at the forefront of her job while building her personal skill set.

“Currently, I need additional P&L experience,” she says. “I’m working closely with global product groups and local business units to get that along with mentoring from other senior leaders.”

She is also being coached on investor relations.

Speaking to these remarkable people, it’s hard not to come away inspired. Both Heather and Katie clearly believe in themselves and in what they’re doing, but it’s their determination to take control of their circumstances, to DO something, that sets them apart.

I’m sure each has endured many episodes of sexist or inappropriate behavior over the course of their career but neither said anything about that in the time I spent with them. It wasn’t relevant to where they are going. They weren’t going to let it hold them back, and they certainly didn’t need anyone’s pity.

Women still have a long way to go, of course. There is still a substantial gender pay gap across all sectors, and women—especially those in lower-skill positions—continue to face harassment on the job. But  there is now a business case for diversity and inclusion. As McKinsey’s 2019 report, Diversity Wins, points out, businesses with more women leaders are 25% more likely to outperform their competitors.

More females in leadership roles can only be a good thing, and if women like Katie and Heather can realize their goals, we’ll all be better off for it.

 

Podcast: Steve Cahillane, CEO of Kellogg’s speaks exclusively to WeQual Unfiltered

WeQual Unfiltered podcast launched with exclusive interview with Kellogg's CEO Steve Cahillane​

We are proud to introduce the launch of WeQual Unfiltered – a series of podcasts where Founder of WeQual, Katie Litchfield, will be interviewing the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world – asking them the questions that need to be asked about gender parity and what they are doing to close that gap.

In the first interview launched today (Sunday 9th May), it was Steve Cahillane’s turn, the CEO of Kellogg’s. Katie quizzed Steve on the lack of women on his leadership team, and left no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of Steve and Kellogg’s thoughts on diversity, equality and inclusion.

Steve was also very open about the women who influence him throughout his life and business career. And our thanks to Kellogg’s for all their help in making our first edition happen.

Alongside his former boss at Nature’s Bounty, and the influence his daughters have over his everyday thinking, Steve talked about his mother’s influence and how she inspired him to become a successful business leader.

A lovely story, and a happy accident that the launch of our episode with Steve’s motherly tribute is on Mothering Sunday in the US.

Listen to WeQual Unfiltered below or follow the link to your favourite podcast provider.

Spotify  |  Apple iTunes  |  Deezer  |  Amazon Music  |  Audible

Ep 1 – Steve Cahillane, Chairman and CEO, Kelloggs
Ep 3 – Dame Inga Beale, former CEO, Lloyd’s of London

World-class women leaders shortlisted in awards for top-level executive positions in leading companies around the Americas

New York, 8 February 2021 – Twenty-four female executives of some of the biggest companies in the Americas have been identified as having the leadership traits for top-level executive management positions. The WeQual Awards (wequal.com/awards) recognise outstanding women in senior roles. WeQual’s mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing women to executive positions.

Click here to download the list of WeQual The Americas Members 2020

 

Since its creation, 35% of the winners of previous WeQual Awards in the UK, EMEA and the Americas have been promoted to the executive committees of major global companies. 

“This is our second year of running the awards in the region and we continue to be impressed by the sheer quality of the women leaders that we are finding in the Americas,” says Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual. “We have to keep our foot on the throttle with gender and incorporate diversity to make sure that all companies are looking at leaders from all backgrounds. Equality is really what WeQual is all about.

The Americas finalists are from a wide range of sectors and companies, including ABB Ltd, Analog Devices, AstraZeneca, BlackRock, Capital One, CGI, CIBC FirstCaribbean, Comcast, Diageo, FIS, HSBC, IBM, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marriott International, Morgan Stanley, Prologis, ServiceNow, SiriusXM, TELUS, Kellogg Company, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

The 24 finalists in eight categories were assessed against specific criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Drive & Resilience, Integrity, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development, Approach to Equality, and Knowledge of the Business. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application. 

Eight executive judges will hold 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in their category before choosing a winner. The categories are: Business Security, Business Transformation, Business Turnaround, Commercial Innovation, Finance, Leadership Excellence, Operational Performance, Technological Impact.

The winners will be announced in March 2021.

Among supporters of the awards are: Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard and Global Chair of the gender equality campaign group ‘30% Club’; Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays; Dame Inga Beale of Mediclinic; and Ron Kalifa OBE of Network International. 

Ann Cairns says: “WeQual promotes the equality of women in the business world by recognising outstanding professional achievements and impact. While many consider that this should be a normal thing, in reality we need sound initiatives like WeQual to act like catalysts in creating a more fair and equal society.” 

This senior group of 24 executives will become members of the WeQual Club and join the existing 96 senior FTSE and Fortune 500 female executives. 

Methodology:

The eight assessment questions were developed from a research-based meta-analysis of the factors and characteristics that mark leaders as different from non-leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). They were designed to help the women best describe how they deliver on leadership characteristics and how they are seen by others as a leader, and indeed engage people who see them as fit to lead.

About WeQual:

WeQual’s mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world’s Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of WeQual Awards, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they are deserving to be appointed to the Executive Committee.

An interview with WeQual Club Member Isabella Panizza, Head of Global Digital Media at Enel

This article is a translation of an interview by Valeria Arnaldi with Isabella Panizza. The article first appeared in the Italian national newspaper, Il Messaggero, on Tuesday January 12 2021. [You can view the original article here]. 

Culture, commitment, constancy. These are the principles on which Isabella Panizza has based her career. Born in Rome in 1973, the Head of Global Digital Media at Enel, the Italian energy giant, was the only Italian finalist at the recent WeQual Awards, an award that aims to promote diversity and gender equality in the collective executive committees of the largest companies in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa).

How did you start out in the world of communication?

I started writing in 1993. In 2004, I moved to London where I was a correspondent for Condé Nast. There were no bloggers and influencers yet, nor social media. Being in London meant having first-hand access to news about things that came to us in Italy as much as two or three years later. In 2008, I became editor-in-chief of the Italian online edition of Wired Magazine.

From journalism you moved on to corporate communications. Is the narrative approach of journalism effective in a corporate setting?

This is the winning approach for a large Group that does not want to talk about itself in a self-referential way, but that decides to do so by trying to anticipate the needs of its main stakeholders, inspiring them. In 2012, I joined Yoox Net-a-Porter, a global leader in luxury e-commerce, dealing with brand communication on its editorial channels. It was an experience of transition from journalism to corporate storytelling that taught me how similar the challenges are. If you are writing for Wired or for a multinational brand: in both cases you have to be able to engage the audience. I joined Enel in 2015. With my team, I had the privilege of giving a digital home to the new brand by managing digital communication at a global level, the websites and social media channels of the Enel Group.

Digital has greatly changed communication

The advent of digital has completely changed the way companies conceive time. Everything has accelerated. Furthermore, social media obliges them to communicate by constantly producing content. Think of Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours. Digital communication allows you to have the data to understand what people like. But there are so many that you need to understand which ones are really important to eliminate the “noise” of others. Everything has to be dynamic, fresh, interactive. Many visuals are used: you have to give experiences.

And how do you do this?

The creativity. We are bombarded with information, advertisements, stories. If an idea isn’t creative, it won’t leave its mark. Not surprisingly today, multinationals show their values before saying how they are organized, which used to be in the foreground.

Did you encounter any difficulties in your career as a woman?

The biggest obstacle was getting out of the comfort zone. In 2004, I decided to leave Rome, and a permanent post as a journalist in a local publishing house, to go to London. At 33, I decided to go back to studying because the world had changed and so did the rules of communication and marketing. This is why, in 2006, I took a Masters Degree in what is now known as Design Thinking, at Central Saint Martins in London. There too I was the only Italian, like today in the WeQual member list. The difficulties I have encountered in my career are those that a woman encounters in a historically male world. This is a situation that is normalizing thanks to the increase of women who undertake careers once considered only male, from management to sport. As a mother, the difficulties are also linked to trying to make the dual role of manager and mother work better. My three children are called Franco, Costanza and Victoria because if you are a frank and fair man with people, and you have perseverance never giving up, then you will succeed. These are our family values ​​and they are the same ones that I also apply every day at work and with my team. Obviously this is the storytelling I created (in the true sense of the word!) that I care most about! 

The issue of the lack of women in management roles is a “hot” one in Italy

There is still a long way to go, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We need to have a positive attitude and ask ourselves every day what we can do to proactively create value in our organization without feeling discriminated against or disadvantaged. And companies must also do their part, building contexts that reject prejudice, creating equal opportunities and working on women’s empowerment. There are many initiatives in Enel that are helping women to grow and making the company more inclusive. Moreover, even in the world things are changing rapidly. Who would have thought that a female and black Vice-President would arrive at the White House, yet Kamala Harris has exceeded our dreams.

Is there a poor culture of female leadership in our country?

Unfortunately, yes. But after some uphill struggles, thanks to prizes like WeQual, there are some better times ahead. In general, one must believe in human capital. And it is essential to network and encourage the inclusion and growth of women in professions where their presence is still small. In this, the support of all women who have managed to achieve excellence in these professions is fundamental.

Eight Exceptional Women Executives Honoured in WeQual EMEA Diversity Awards

London UK, 15 December 2020 – Eight businesswomen holding prominent executive roles in leading companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been named as winners in the annual WeQual Awards (www.wequal.com/awards).

WeQual identifies and recognises world-class women executives, one level below the group C-suite, and is designed to promote diversity and gender equality within the group executive committees of EMEA’s largest companies.

The eight winners were selected from a shortlist of 24 finalists. The successful award holders are employed in Aryzta, Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, Bureau Veritas, Fresenius Medical Care, Ooredoo Qatar, Sodexo, Standard Chartered Bank and Unilever.

Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of WeQual, says: “WeQual identifies already successful senior women who are qualified to be appointed to the group C-suite. Our mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing diverse women to executive roles and highlight successes where they occur.

“The glass-ceiling concept has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below the group C-suite, so it is important to champion gender equality at the top.”

The awards come at an important time for women in business. The global Covid-19 pandemic is in danger of pushing back opportunities for women to be appointed to the most senior positions. “The fact that we are able to celebrate the achievements of these women in major companies at this time sets a shining example to others,” says Katie Litchfield.

The winners are:
  • Bola Adesola: Senior Vice-Chairman, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria. Head of Region Category.
  • Dr Cora Koppe-Stahrenberg: Executive Vice President, Global Head of Human Resources, Fresenius Medical Care, Germany. People Excellence Category.
  • Munera AL-Dosari: Chief Strategy Officer, Ooredoo Qatar. Strategy Development Category.
  • Patricia Amaro: Digital Hub and E-commerce Director, Unilever, Spain. Digital Impact Category.
  • Patricia Corsi: Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, Switzerland. Brand Innovation Category.
  • Nathalie Pousin: Chief Financial Officer, France, Africa, GSIT, Bureau Veritas, France. Finance Category.
  • Petra Melander: EMEA Account Director, Sodexo, Finland. Commercial Performance Category.
  • Rebeca Navarro: Chief Transformation Officer for Europe and Head of Procurement, Aryzta, Switzerland. Transformational Leadership Category.

The 24 finalists were assessed against seven criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Integrity, Drive and Resilience, Equality, Knowledge of the Business, and Personal Development. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.

To choose the winners, eight executive interviewers held 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in each category before each choosing a category winner. The judges were:

  • Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK
  • Viswas Raghavan, CEO EMEA, J.P. Morgan
  • Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce
  • Dame Inga Beale, Chairperson, Mediclinic
  • Chris O’Shea, CEO, Centrica
  • Ron Kalifa OBE, Chairman, Network International
  • Tamara Box, Managing Partner EME, Reed Smith LLP
  • Tulsi Naidu, CEO, Zurich Insurance Company UK

All the 24 award finalists have been given access to a range of WeQual support services and networks designed to help them make the step up to the group executive level. A quarter of WeQual award winners in the UK and USA have since been promoted to the global executive committees of FTSE and Fortune 500 companies. There are now 96 senior women involved with WeQual globally. 

About WeQual 

WeQual’s mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world’s Group Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual Awards, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they deserve to be appointed to the Group Executive Committee. 

www.wequal.com

Also featured in:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201117005907/en/World-Class-Women-Executives-Shortlisted-in-WeQual-EMEA-Awards-for-Potential-C-Suite-Leaders

World-class women executives shortlisted in EMEA awards for potential C-suite leaders

London, 17 November 2020 – Twenty-four female executives of leading EMEA companies have been identified as having the leadership traits for top level C-suite positions. The WeQual Awards (www.wequal.com/awards) identifyalready successful senior women who are one level below C-suite, and are aimed at tackling the slow progress in appointing women to executive roles.

Click here to download the list of WeQual EMEA Members 2020

 

A quarter of the winners of previous UK and US WeQual Awards have since been promoted to the executive committees of FTSE and Fortune 500 companies.

“The glass-ceiling concept has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below the  C-suite, so I launched WeQual to champion gender equality at the top,” says Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual.

The EMEA finalists are from a wide range of sectors and companies, including Orange, Unilever, Schneider Electric, Bayer Consumer Health, ENGIE, KCB Group, Sodexo, Enel Group, L’Oréal, Mondi Group, Bureau Veritas, Standard Chartered, Veolia Environnement, Ericsson, Fresenius Medical Care, AkzoNobel, Ooredoo Qatar, Danone, Aryzta.

The 24 finalists were assessed against seven criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Integrity, Drive & Resilience, Equality, Knowledge of the Business, and Personal Development. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.

Eight executive interviewers will hold 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in their category before each choosing a category winner: Brand Innovation, Commercial Performance, Digital Impact, Finance, Head of Region, People Excellence, Strategy Development, and Transformational Leadership.

The finalists will be announced in December 2020.

Among supporters of the awards are Ann Cairns, Executive Chair of Mastercard and Global Chair of the gender equality campaign group ‘30% Club’; Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays; Dame Inga Beale; and Ron Kalifa OBE of Network International. They are part of a roster of well-known C-suite executives who will now choose eight category winners.

Sir Ian Cheshire says: “These awards are among the first to target women at this level. We believe building awareness of these talented people, as well as connecting them to each other, is an important step in improving diversity at top levels of business.”

This senior group of 24 executives will become members of the WeQual Club and join the existing 72 senior FTSE and Fortune 500 female executives.

Methodology:

The eight assessment questions were developed from a research-based meta-analysis of the factors and characteristics that mark leaders as different from non-leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). They were designed to help the women best describe how they deliver on leadership characteristics and how they are seen by others as a leader, and indeed engage people who see them as fit to lead.

About WeQual:

WeQual’s mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world’s Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of WeQual Awards, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they are deserving to be appointed to the Executive Committee.

 

Also featured in:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201117005907/en/World-Class-Women-Executives-Shortlisted-in-WeQual-EMEA-Awards-for-Potential-C-Suite-Leaders

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-class-women-executives-shortlisted-144200247.html

https://www.onenewspage.com/n/Press+Releases/1zluml0n3k/World-Class-Women-Executives-Shortlisted-in-WeQual-EMEA.htm

https://uk.style.yahoo.com/world-class-women-executives-shortlisted-144200247.html

https://americanonlinenews.net/?s=wequal

https://www.afp.com/en/news/1313/world-class-women-executives-shortlisted-wequal-emea-awards-potential-c-suite-leaders-202011170059071

https://www.lelezard.com/communique-19522684.html

https://www.wallstreet-online.de/nachricht/13172202-weibliche-weltklasse-fuehrungskraefte-wequal-emea-awards-potentielle-vorstandskraefte-engere-auswahl

https://www.newsdeutschland.com/n/Pressemitteilungen/75s9sru63/Weibliche-Weltklasse-Führungskräfte-kommen-bei-den-WeQual-EMEA.htm

https://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2020-11/51268795-wequal-global-world-class-women-executives-shortlisted-in-wequal-emea-awards-for-potential-c-suite-leaders-004.htm

http://www.moneyspecial.de/131/news_news.htn?id=22520822&offset=0&sektion=ticker

https://www.informazione.it/c/831BD937-DF08-449B-BAF1-215CF4145765/Varie-donne-executive-in-aziende-di-primo-piano-nella-regione-EMEA-incluse-nella-rosa-dei-favoriti-a-ricevere-i-riconoscimenti-WeQual-conferiti-a-potenziali-dirigenti-di-massimo-livello

https://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/economia/business_wire/news/2020-11-17_11794899.html

http://iberonews.com/not_det.php?lang=pt&notid=79359

https://www.estrategiasdeinversion.com/actualidad/noticias/otras/ejecutivas-de-clase-mundial-de-empresas-de-la-n-461431

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2104144779161/world-class-women-executives-shortlisted-in-wequal-emea-awards-for-potential-c-suite-leaders

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/World-Class-Women-Executives-Shortlisted-in-WeQual-EMEA-Awards-for-Potential-C-Suite-Leaders–31803463/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/4881583

https://www.leguideboursier.com/communique-des-femmes-cadres-superieurs-de-classe-mondiale-preselectionnees-pour-les-prix-wequal-emea-des-leaders-potentiels-c-suite-2020111720457.php

Yahoo Finance! The HERoes top 100 women role model executives 2020

24 September 2020 – Reports show that while there are more women in the workforce, continued systemic issues still make it difficult for significant numbers of women to progress into senior roles. 

Women’s salaries are impacted as a result and they take on a disproportionate share of unpaid labour.

This is why it’s important to celebrate and elevate women who have not only made it to the top but are also helping others around them.

The 2020 HERoes Women Role Model Executives list celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace.

Two of the top 10, And Cairns at 2 and Penny James at 9, are recognised as WeQual judges…

Verizon – The best in the business: V Team leaders recognized by the WeQual Awards.

18 July 2020 – Over these past weeks and months, we had to reimagine our day-to-day life and the world we want to build. With a growing chorus of voices calling for progress, the one thing that remains absolute is the vital need for great leaders. We need visionaries to help drive lasting change within and beyond our walls.

Thankfully, Verizon has the best leaders in the business, and our latest industry recognition further proves it.

Three Verizon executives were named WeQual Award winners for their outstanding career contributions and potential for future impact.

The Irish Times – Is the Covid-19 crisis taking women back to the 1950s?

17 June 2020 – … Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice-president, Btec and Apprenticeships at Pearson UK, says this period has opened up discussions about women and work in her networks, including WeQual, an executive group, and has enabled managers to “see a more human side of people – they talk about their lives, it allows you to build relationships in a different way”…

Where Women Work – Spirax-Sarco Engineering’s Sarah Peers scoops WeQual Award

13 January 2020 – Sarah Peers, Head of Group Corporate Communications for Spirax-Sarco Engineering, is the winner of the WeQual Award for Corporate Communications.

WeQual’s mission is to empower women in the corporate world to reach their full potential and navigate the ever changing landscape of senior management.

“Success in business, as in any other field of endeavour, requires the overcoming of belief barriers,” said Sarah, following her award success. 

“The WeQual Awards do just that; they are shining a light on women leaders, showcasing their achievements and potential and championing them to further success while, at the same time, providing role models to women who are just starting out in their careers.”

Transition Tradition – WeQual Awards UK 2019 – Report

3 October 2019 – The 2019 WeQual Awards culminated in a celebratory awards dinner, brilliantly hosted by Sandi Toksvig (co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party) and guest speaker, Dame Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyd’s of London. 

Sam Delbaere attended the event at the invitation of Transition Tradition client, EDF Energy. 

“It was a pleasure to spend the evening with a table of inspirational women leaders at different careers stages, supported by members of the EDF Energy Executive team.”

Where Women Work – Diageo Managing Director Hina celebrated at WeQual Awards

1 October 2019 – Diageo Managing Director of African Emerging Markets Hina Nagarajan was honoured at the WeQual Awards, which identifies and recognises world-class female executives and leaders around the world acting as mentors and ambassadors for diversity and inclusion.

“Having women from different backgrounds in leadership roles not only creates the inspiration for the next generation, but also brings true representation of the consumer group any business must address,” she adds. 

“For me, having a diversity of backgrounds and of course, gender balance, will ensure a culture where everyone can do their best and enhance the winning potential of any organisation through powerful ideas and solutions.”

DiversityQ – WeQual Awards aim to identify FTSE women leaders of the future

23 September 2019 – Katie Litchfield is the brains behind a new awards scheme to help aspiring businesswomen to achieve their executive potential. Together with Organisational Psychologist John Amaechi OBE, she talks about the challenges of getting more women in the boardroom.

She was shocked to hear some women say they didn’t feel able to put themselves forward and that they didn’t think they were good enough. That was in stark contrast to the view of the judges who were impressed by the calibre of the entrants. 

So much so that one of the judges and chairman of an FTSE company offered to contact the CEO of a finalist to insist that she be promoted to the executive committee…

Express and Star – Marston’s celebrates its future women leaders

30 July 2019 – Pub group Marstons has seen four of its female senior managers named as finalists in an inaugural awards.

The WeQual Awards recognise the contribution that women make in businesses and are aimed at tackling slow progress in appointing women in FTSE 100 and 250.

The four finalists all work in senior management roles across different areas of the Wolverhampton-based firm, which has pubs across the West Midlands.

They include Nicola Arrow, head of food category management; Sharon Singh, head of operations for Pubs and Bars; Amelia Cree, head of marketing for Pubs and Bars; and Maria Franklin, head of HR business partnering.

DiversityQ – Talented women across the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 recognised at WeQual Awards

27 September 2019 –Eight talented women in business across a variety of FTSE 100 and 250 companies were recognised by the WeQual Awards last night.

More than 250 senior executives – including 18 CEOs – of FTSE 100 and 250 companies attended a glittering ceremony at The Savoy hosted by Sandi Toksvig.

The WeQual Awards have been designed to boost the number of talented women sitting on the executive committees of the UK’s biggest companies.

Financial Times – Decades of advances under threat as women juggle work and childcare, while some employers target them for redundancy

14 June 2019 – The Financial Times interviews a number of WeQual Club members about the effects of the coronavirus on senior executive women.

The award-winning international newspaper reported that the global pandemic has put back longstanding efforts to increase their representation at mid and senior levels. Other reported a rise in senior women  being made redundant during the lockdown…

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