Connecting, inspiring and empowering women to lead the way
On 23rd March, Marina Niforos, WIL Board Member and Affiliate Professor at HEC Business School in Paris (Future of Work), delivered the first in a series of workshops for the 49 Talents of the 6th edition of WIL's Women Talent Pool (WTP) leadership programme, entitled "Developing Your Leadership Potential". Marina was supported by two Talents who have been nominated as Sherpas for this promotion and will act as the link between her and the Talents throughout the year: Paola Brucker-Dhont, Government Relations and Policy Director France at VMware, who moderated the Q&A session, and Tolulope Ayeni, Lead Product Manager at WIL WTP Partner, Rexel, who wrapped up the workshop.
Video edited by Nadège Serrero
On the 1st of March, WIL Europe launched the 6th edition of the Women Talent Pool (WTP) leadership programme, with a special Opening Ceremony for our 49 new Talents, as well as our Members, Partners and Alumni. There were introductory remarks from WIL President, Thaima Samman, and WIL Board Member, Nathalie Wright, followed by an inspiring exchange between WTP Programme Patron and WIL Member, Petra De Sutter, and WIL Member, Milena Harito. In part two of the event, former WTP participant, Chloe Jones, recounted her experience as a talent in the WTP4. This was followed by an icebreaker networking session between our new Talents.
On the 10th of December, WIL Europe welcomed the participants of the 5th Women Talent Pool Programme (WTP) for an interactive Closing Ceremony to mark the end of their collective 12-month long journey together.
This special event welcomed the participation of WIL members, Catherine Ladousse, President of Cercle InterElles and former Executive Director of Communications EMEA, Lenovo, who gave her tips on building a personal brand and communicating with confidence; and Myriam el Ouni, Group Head of Sales for Financial Services Institutions of Europ Assistance, who talked about the impact that participating in the WTP programme in 2012 had on her career.
The two sessions were moderated by our talents Eva Sinkovic, Policy Officer/Team Leader at the European Commission and Marie-Louise Weeda, Attorney at Osborne Clarke.
This event provided the participants with important new insights and perspectives to enrich their professional journeys as they came to the end of their time on the WTP programme.
On the occasion of the visit of our US-based partner GlobalWIN, on the 18th of February 2020, our members, talents, and friends met in Berlin for a gathering, kindly hosted at the offices of Osborne Clarke.
Our event began with a self-awareness and career development workshop led by Korn Ferry, followed by a networking session and roundtable discussion on “Taking Risks for Career Growth” moderated by our President, Thaima Samman, and joined by a distinguished panel of thought leaders and professionals!
We rounded off the day with a networking reception with the GlobalWIN delegation joined by more than 100 participants!
We started on Thursday evening with a Welcome Afterwork at the office of Osborne Clarke and we continued on Friday with high-level discussions and networking sessions at the headquarters of Grifols S.A. We rounded off the day with a visit and cocktail at the Grifols Museum.
During this event, we also kicked-off the 5th edition of our Women Talent Pool program and were extremely happy to welcome the 39 new participants!
Following the Welcome Remarks, Dorota Krasnodebska-Wnorowska, Innovation Trainer, Certified Strengths Coach & Strategic Consultant began her training for the participants of our Women Talent Pool programme and talents of Orange. Through a presentation and various exercises, the training allowed for a time to reflect on the participants’ strengths and how they may better exploit their assets and potential.
WTP participants during the training session
“The future of Europe is digital, and women cannot be left out” were among the words of Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, who joined us for the launch of the 4th Edition of our Women Talent Pool (WTP) programme and met with nearly 90 WIL members and guests. Among them were the 46 selected talents that she will accompany as Godmother of this edition throughout the 18-month programme.
Group photo of WTP participants
To read the Commissioner's speech, click here.
Following WIL Breakfast Debate at the European Parliament with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit, some of the participants and alumni of our Women Talent Pool programme* joined WIL Board members at the occasion of a lunch meeting to discuss about career development issues and future developments of our Women Talent Pool program.
We were happy to welcome to the lunch:
- Anne Houtman, Lecturer at Sciences Po, former senior civil servant at the European Commission
- Sarah de Carvalho, CEO at Happy Child International Foundation
- Thaima Samman, Partner, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs
The objective of the session was to discuss the ways and means to successfully manage career changes in a constantly evolving world. 16 female talents from WIL’s Women Talent Pool program participated in the workshop, moderated by Anne Houtman.
From left to right: Thaima Samman, Sarah de Carvalho, Anne Houtman
Insisting on the importance of transmission, Thaima Samman, WIL President, reminded the audience that the WTP program is for its member the opportunity not only to networkwith peers and senior women but also to provide them with a broad picture of various careers. This way, they are encouraged to open their horizons on how to transform career changes into an opportunity.
Anne Houtman, Lecturer at Sciences Po and former senior civil servant at the European Commission, Thaima Samman, Partner, SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs and WIL President and Sarah de Carvalho, CEO at Happy Child International Foundation shared their own testimonials with great transparency and modesty. They also gave some useful advice on how to manage both expected and unavoidable career changes.
According to Anne, we need to be opened and see where are the opportunities, while keeping in mind that anything offered to us is the chance to have another experience that will enlarge our skills and make us more capable for the future. Not only diversity of our experience is an asset for our career by enabling to build the skills needed to be a leader, but it also brings freedom “to innovate, be yourself, create, think out of the box”. Anne went further saying that she was very lucky to fail many times since it brought her to places she would never have gone otherwise. Adding to that, she quoted Pasteur: “chance favors the prepared minds”. Indeed, you need not only to be prepared to be successful, unlike a lot of people who miss career opportunities because they think they don’t have the adequate skills, but also to be prepared to failures since we don’t have control over everything but still we can always rebound. While she was a mathematics statistics assistant in Louvain, she had to teach statistics and realized the importance of pedagogy, a key skill in a career according to her, both in the private and public sector. Indeed, it is important to “know how to motivate your people” because it gives meaning to work.
Like Anne, Thaima emphasized on the importance “to be open to opportunities” and the fact that each experience will provide you with valuable skills for your career. For example, she was chosen by Claude Bartolone to be his assistant although she did not have the adequate diploma nor was part of his political spectrum. Another piece of advice she gave to the audience is the necessity “to move out of your comfort zone to progress”: for example, when she entered the corporate world to be a business lawyer, she was identified for skills she totally ignored and had no guarantee that she was doing the right thing. However, her past experiences enabled her “to think differently and to bring a fresh perspective” to her new employers. Like Anne, Thaima occupied different positions in both the public and private sector: each of those experiences gave her knowledge and soft skills useful for what she is doing today. Breaking choices such as when she left Microsoft where she had a well-established position, to create her law firm, were not moments of pleasure. But they were necessary and were the cost for what she is today, the successful leader of a recognized public affairs and law firm. She concluded asserting that “Weaknesses can be your strengths once you identify them” and that the key for success in life is finding “a balance between being opened to opportunities but also having the right to make choices”.
Sarah explained the incredible work she carried out with her charity that rescued over 11000 children, and the lessons learnt from being a leader in both the corporate and the third sector. She first exposed her motivation for changing her career and working in the charity sector: having seen what it is like on the ground for children in Brazil is what motivated her to try to make a change. She made a parallel between her leadership experience in the third sector and in the private sector: “it is all about service delivery”. As head of an NGO, Sarah is still a leader across geographical and cultural boundaries but this time the service delivery is targeted for vulnerable children and communities. The challenges of a CEO in a charity are the same as the ones in the public and private sector. She defines herself as a social entrepreneur. Leading her charity was challenging at first, but thanks to her MBA and experience in communication she gained confidence to go through. Digital disruption had a positive impact for her charity, by making a global impact possible: the campaign itsapenalty.com has so far delivered its key messages to over 519 million people worldwide. She gave the audience useful advice for career development: “Advancing in your career is about creating and forging relationships.” Mentors, role models, feedback providers and coaches can help us connect, gain support, develop and excel in our careers.
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