Women in Leadership

November 15, 2013 2 mins read
Women in Leadership

I was very honoured to be invited to attend the Women in Leadership forum as a moderator on 26 & 27 September.

The panelists on my session included Eric Zheng, CEO AIG China, Kimberly Cole, Head of Sales Specialists, Thomson Reuters and Susanne Moore, Founder, The Female Investor Network. Our session was, Diversity & Inclusion showcase: Investing in diversity & inclusion as a business performance strategy.

As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. D&I is no longer a topic for HR, nor is it more political correctness than business concern. Companies with a higher proportion of women on boards and in leadership positions exhibit a higher degree of organisation, above-average operating margins and higher valuations. However, attracting and retaining more women who meet the challenges of labour markets' change, engaging men in diversity implementation and calculating economic growth are considered major challenges D&I from succeeding.

We had a very candid discussion around some statistics which shows the financial impact of D&I on business performance as well as discuss some contentious issues in this area such as company support, relocation, mentors vs sponsors and others. Our distinguished panelists also shared about how AIG and Thomson Reuters are engaging and developing women leaders.

A common observation that the panelist shared was how women tend to shy away from taking credit and not going after opportunities. A common observation that the panelist shared was how women tend to shy away from taking credit and not going after opportunities. Men would often put up their hands for new opportunities despite not having relevant prior experience whereas women has the tendency to evaluate their backgrounds and feel inadequate for the role due to a lack of related experience.

Some advice which our distinguished panelists have shared are for women to stand up and be more visible in their companies. This include putting their hands up for new opportunities, speaking up and sharing their ideas, taking credit where it is due.

Engaging women in leadership is still in its infancy, especially here in Asia. Many companies do not realise the financial benefits of having more women on boards or in senior leadership roles. Until the day comes where organisations are embracing this, women need to learn how to stand out and not fade away.

Morgan McKinley