More than 50 women leaders from national, regional, and multinational companies and organizations attended the “Empower. Invest. Accelerate: Women’s Advancement to leadership positions” event, which took place on Wednesday April 8 at the Gefinor Rotana Hotel, Beirut.
“Research has shown that companies with higher percentages of women leaders financially outperformed companies with the lowest percentages of women leaders by significant margins,”
said Rana Salhab, Regional Talent and Communications partner at Deloitte Middle East.
Commenting on the effects of the global financial crisis, she added: “Protecting intellectual capital is integral to the strategic role of HR in any organization. In these challenging economic times, companies should refresh their talent strategy including women advancement programs to play offense rather than defense.
This will be by aligning HR programs with business needs from managing cost, to preserving key talent, protecting employer brand, and planning strategically rather than only for the short term to emerge well positioned and to take advantage of the inevitable recovery”.
Nada Maalouf, partner, and Pascale Abou Saab Lucas, principal, both of Deloitte in Lebanon, facilitated discussions around how the workplace has changed for women in the world, and women’s advancement in Lebanon. The group discussed the challenges surrounding the advancement of women to leadership positions in business in Lebanon notwithstanding the fact that women in Lebanon are a very active part of the workforce.
“Women have to take care of their work and take care of their family but most importantly they should take care of themselves through their own empowerment”, said Nada Maalouf. “Through empowerment, women can step out of traditional stereotypical roles and take responsibility for securing success in their field, whatever that may be.”
A global webcast hosted by Deloitte, was presented during the event, featuring a panel of leading women executives from multinational companies and institutions. These were Sharon Allen, chairman of the Deloitte US board, and member of the board of directors of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu; Hutham Olayan, president and CEO, Olayan America Corporation, director, The Olayan Group; Kaori Sasaki, president and CEO, eWoman Inc., and president, UNICUL International Inc.; and Mirella C.B. Visser, President, European Professional Women’s Network.
The panel discussion explored best practices around gender diversity programs, insights into how the workplace for women is changing around the world, and how the current state of the world economy is a challenge as well as an opportunity for women and organizations. On women’s advancement in the Arab World, the panel presented that women’s employment has a direct impact on GDP growth, with the Arab world being no exception.
Best practices were exchanged during the meeting, with focus on recommendations for women to make themselves relevant in every aspect of their work, and to build networks and act as role models of gender diversity internally in their organization as well as externally.
The participants discussed talent management policies and strategies to support equal opportunity for advancement in organizations in the Arab World. They also shared tips to women in business, one of which underlined the importance for women to better communicate their career aspirations as well as their achievements to leaders and decision makers in the organization.
Deloitte is committed to the recruitment and advancement of women through initiatives such as its Council for the Global Retention of Women (GROW) and Deloitte in the Middle East’s DRAW (Deloitte Retention and Advancement of Women) programs.
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