President's Editorial


  • 21 Dec 2012 02:26 | Armelle Loghmanian

    Word from the President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Special Anniversary Edition


    Dear PWI members and readers,

    I am delighted to present you this special edition of our magazine, or let's call it the special follow-up page about our 21st anniversary.
     
    Yes, 21 years! We are a young association but we have already entered our mature phase.
    To celebrate our coming out of age, we wanted to mix fun and seriousness. It was a warm and enriching experience to see the support from our members, past board members, guests but also the endorsement from Mrs Reding through the video she made especially for our anniversary.


     
    Our speakers: from left to right: Jennifer Rademaker, Armelle Loghmanian, Christine Van Rijsseghem, Elke Vergaeren, Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea

    First the more serious part of the evening, with a good mix of speakers focusing on the next trendy topic: Gender Balance in the Talent Pipeline: Christine Van Rijsseghem, Senior General Manager Group Finance, within KBC Group, Jennifer Rademaker, Group Head, Core Products, MasterCard Europe, , Elke Vergaeren Sociologist, Senior researcher from SEIN institute, Hasselt University, Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director for Equality, Directorate-General for Justice, European Commission.

    Armelle Loghmanian, Professional Women International (PWI) president introduced the theme of the evening by stressing the slow progress towards gender balance in the talent pipeline and explored elements on how ‘to get pass the bottleneck’ at middle management level. The figures talk for themselves. With a worldwide average of more than 50% at the entry level, women represent only 21% at the senior level with no progress since 2004. The EU with its 24% is behind new economies like South East Asia (ASEAN) with 32%, and far from the leading countries like Russia (46%), followed by Botswana, the Philippines and Thailand (all 39%).

    Women and men should have the same opportunities to take leadership positions in the economy. “There are plenty of good economic reasons for a stronger female presence in corporate leadership positions. It is an economic and business imperative and not a feminist issue only.” says Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director for Equality, Directorate-General for Justice, European Commission.

    “60% of new university graduates are female. We have a lot of untapped potential, as our societies are investing considerable public funds in the preparation of such graduates. Therefore, one would expect women to prevail as the most qualified candidates. However, the opposite is true. Prejudices still stand in the way.” he continues. A cultural change is needed and can be achieved by a close cooperation between all stakeholders: the states, the companies and the women.

    ‘Embedding diversity within corporate cultures is a complex process that requires not only gender balance on boards but an increase in gender balance throughout the talent pipeline within organisations’, says Christine Van Rijsseghem, Senior General Manager within KBC. ‘If having more women in senior positions is the goal, effort to identify those with high potential is crucial’.

    The Norwegian example shows that the spill-over effect resulting from the efforts produced by increasing the number of Women on Boards, by binding measures if necessary, is not automatic.
    Despite a certain progress, there is still a horizontal segregation between female and male sectors and also a vertical one. Lots of scientific studies are not talking about the glass ceiling anymore but about the “leaky pipeline”, but according to Elke Vergaeren from SEIN institute, Hasselt University, researches show that “There is no blue print for rapid change, only organization-specific solutions”.

    We were lucky enough to have two top companies (KBC and MasterCard) represented at our Anniversary who demonstrated for us two different approaches, one led by the management of the company and the other led by the employees.
    KBC group decided to set a target of at least 25% of women in senior management by 2016 and followed it up with affirmative actions. Progress is measurable moving from 9% in 2006 to 15% today. The percentage of women in the talent pipeline increased also from 20% in 2007 to around 30% now.
    Jennifer Rademaker, Group Head, Core Products, MasterCard Europe, presented us with an initiative started at the employees’ level with the creation in 2007 of the “MasterCard Women Leadership Network” by herself and some other top female executives to build a supportive environment for Women’s advancement in their companies. They benchmarked their progress by participating in the McKinsey’s 2012 gender pipeline study: “Unlocking the Full Potential of Women at Work”.
    In her own group “Core Products”, Jennifer achieved a 26% lift in female employees, from 38% of women when she took office in March 2011 to 48% in October 2012. This was done with an organic growth and by just challenging diversity: ‘9 times out of 10 I asked my team: Are you hiring the best person for the job, or are you hiring yourself?’ she says.

    Jennifer ended her presentation with a personal thought: ‘I really believe quite strongly that we have a responsibility to pay it forward, helping other women that are hitting the wall, to go up to the next level’ which is also the goal of PWI.



     
    Some of the PWI’s volunteers team from left to right: Melanie Barker, Mentoring Director; Elizabeth Hammer-Kjellberg, past PWI president; Monica Marinas Maté, Treasurer; Sonia Busselen, PR; Corina Ciechanow, VP Women & Technology; Karianne Boer; Gaelle Flammang-Dorie, Marketing Director
    So the evening was a great success! Not only our enthusiastic and supportive members had a great occasion to celebrate, network and enjoy a glass of champagne, but as I wandered around I heard some fascinating and positive discussions about how gender balances could be promoted in the different workplaces which were represented. Also our team work managed to impress everyone and I would like to thank the dedicated team of volunteers who worked hard to make it happen! And my special thanks to our special-event director Marie Terese Letorney who pulled it off and the “cerise sur le gateau” topped the evening with a rendering of Gershwin’s Summertime to the accompaniment of our jazz trio and also to the team of volunteers who made it happened!


                        
    From left to right: Adriana Paun, VP Women on Boards-EPWN Federation, Marie Terese :Letorney, Director Special Events-PWI, Armelle Loghmanian, PWI president

    I think everyone enjoyed the evening immensely and left feeling energized and determined to do even more to overcome the problems of gender inequality in their workplace. To this end PWI will be encouraging people to join our forthcoming Mentoring programme (here is your opportunity to pass on your experience by mentoring someone younger or less experienced than yourself). PWI is also continuing our work with the Women on Board Team, following their successful launch in September of the Female Board Pool. And of course we are continuing our own series of very successful workshops and Networking events, which will be advertised on the Events page of our website. We encourage everyone to participate, and if you were thinking of becoming a member of PWI – what better time than now?


    As you could see, there is still a long way to go and more work needs to be done to achieve gender equality in corporate leadership. Of course, most of the time the discrimination is not  intentional , but it can  be an unconscious and unintentional bias. 

    I strongly believe that an organisation like PWI can not only provide support and a plateform for women to exchange, but can also play a role in building the awareness and spreading the message to the political world as well as the corporate one. I would like to aknowledge the role of my predecessors in the construction and development of this organization, especially Cristina Vicini, president of PWI from 2006 to 2011 and Elizabeth Hammer-Kjellberg, president of PWI from 2002 to 2005. 


    I also want to use this opportunity to thank all our volunteers that have helped Marie Terese Letorney in making a real success of this event.
    And of course our board members, Alessandra, Corina and Monica, and all our executive comittee members, Beverley, Gaelle, Julia, Marie Terese, Melanie, Monique and Sonia, for the tremendous work they are doing every day for this association. 

    If you want to join me in thanking them, I think the best gift you can do to all of us is to join us, even for a few hours per month, and help us in our mission.

     
    Executive committee and board members:
    Melanie Barker, Alessandra Zocca, Sonia Busselen, Sonia Neefs, Armelle Loghmanian, Corina Ciechanow, 
    Marie Terese Letorney, Gaelle Flammang-Dorie, Monique Buergin
    Absentees: Monica Marinas Maté, Julia Mikerova,  Beverley Sinton


    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Special anniversary Edition ”
    If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be


    Enjoy the reading!

    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Special Anniversary edition


  • 12 Oct 2012 02:25 | Armelle Loghmanian

    President's Welcome

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q3 2012


    Dear PWI members and readers,

    During the last quarter, including beginning of October we have organized 7 events. 
     
    In July we had a presentation by Jeanine Crombé of the Emotional Freedom Techniques(EFT). Immediately after, the demand was so high for a follow up from all of us that could not attend but also from the participants that we have decided to organize a full day work shop on Saturday October 27th. You can read about it and register here.  Discover also the interview of Jeanine in this magazine here.

    September was centered on the launch of our Women On Board programme: the Female Board Pool. The event was a great success and you will learn more about it in our next edition.

    Now let focus on the near future! 

    First on October 18th, to celebrate our 21 years of commitment in serving women in the professional world, PWI is hosting an exceptional event in Brussels with speakers among the top successful female executives in Belgium and diplomatic members of the European Union followed by a champagne walking dinner. 
    After this exceptional event titled “Gender Balance in the talent pipeline”, we will concentrate more on your career. First on November 13th, the new wave of mentoring will be launched. Potential mentors and mentees, it is time for you to fill the forms! More information here.

    Then on November 20th, you will learn how attitude, motivation and Emotional Intelligence matter in the workplace?

    To finish the year, we will invite you and your family to join us for a Gospel concert  by Likeng Didier followed by a dinner  with the singers on December 16th.  . More information will be published soon on our event page. 

    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Q3 2012”
    We hope you will be inspired by this issue of our magazine. It is full of great interviews of very inspiring people. If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be


    Enjoy the reading!

    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q3 2012


  • 01 Jul 2012 15:15 | Armelle Loghmanian

    President's Welcome

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q2 2012


    Dear PWI members and readers,

    During the last quarter, I had the pleasure to present the 2011 results at our General Assembly, an event always important to the life of our association. Thanks again to all the members who attended. On this occasion, two new people were elected to the board: Corina Ciechanow and Monica Mate Marinas as Treasurer. The executive team has also expanded with Marie Terese Letorney’s participation as special events director. If you didn’t have the opportunity to meet us yet, you can discover the team here.

    We have organized 7 events with very diverse themes from improving your productivity by redecorating your office to a presentation hosted by IBM where Christel Verschaeren from IBM and Alessandra Perrazzelli from Intesa San Paolo shared with us their view on the importance of women’s network.
    The presentation on the transformative progress of a grieving process, a difficult subject, has been a very interesting, intense and sharing experience.
    As usual, summer is more quiet, we will have two networking drinks in a unique garden at the VIPOFFICES, and a presentation by Jeanine Crombé of the Emotional Freedom Techniques(EFT)! On July 18th. A unique experience, come and join us!

    Our activities will peak up in September again and a lot is coming in the fall. Visit our event web page regularly to stay tuned!
    For our women on Board programme we have decided to join the creation and launch of the Female Board Pool in Belgium as a founding partner. You can read about it here  and find more detailed information here on the web site.

    We are also building our events calendar till the end of the year. We hope to welcome you at our upcoming events and get you connected with your fellow Brussels members and those across Europe.

    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Q2 2012”. We hope you will be inspired by this issue of our magazine. It is full of great interviews of very inspiring people. If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be


    Enjoy the reading!

    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q2 2012

  • 21 Mar 2012 21:27 | Armelle Loghmanian

    President's Welcome

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q1 2012


    Dear PWI members and readers,
    We’ve been busy since the last Magazine as always! 
    Firstly, the Presidents across the EuropeanPWN Federation countries met in Milan in late February to review our overall strategy.  We are pleased to welcome two new city networks: Warsaw and Bucharest. More news from EPWN in the article AGM in Milan

    Here in Brussels we organized 3 large events and two networking drinks. If you missed the events you can hear about them on the blog. I am taking this opportunity to ask all participants to comment and send feedback on the events. Photos will be published on our Facebook page. 

    We have decided to give more time to our mentors/mentees and postpone the next session of the mentoring programme until after the summer holidays. In the next magazine edition, we will give you more information about the programme and some feedback from mentors and mentees.  Mentoring can be of benefit to everyone. It helps the mentees to develop and advance through their career and the mentors can gain extra skills and understanding too.  Click here to find all information about it.

    It has been a busy quarter and continues to be as we develop our events for the rest of the year. Please visit  our Events page  for further information.

    As a Board we try to pursue two parallel and complementary goals :
                   • supporting our members in their professional and personal growth through networking and mentoring opportunities as well as inspiring speakers and events
                 • contributing to European  and local initiatives that impact the life of working women and help them reach rewarding and powerful positions. Read more here


    Given the fact that we are all volunteers and our willingness to make an impact implies a lot of time and energy, we would like to take the opportunity to launch a call to action: put yourself forward for a board position and/or as external support to our board. The  PWI AGM is coming soon,  May 23. We will keep you posted on the procedure but if you are interested feel free to contact me at president@pwi.be.
    Many hands mage lightwork so a wider active support for the Board would allow PWI Brussels to provide more initiatives and opportunities!

    We hope to meet you in the next months at our events and we wish you a successful and interesting Spring.

    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Q1 edition”. I will like to thank Alessandra and Beverley for their dedication and the absolutely great job they did on this issue again. We hope you will be inspired by this issue of our newsletter. If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be



    Enjoy the reading!


    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Q1 2012

  • 13 Dec 2011 15:48 | Armelle Loghmanian

    President's Welcome

    Back to PWI Magazine - Autumn 2011


    Dear PWI members and readers,

    Since the last magazine, the team has been extremely busy organizing events for you and launching our new Mentoring’s programme. We are pleased to let you know that our first mentor/mentee’s pairs are starting their journey. We will keep you posted on the programme. Mentoring is really something that can benefit to everyone. It helps the mentees to develop and advance through their career. The mentors can gain extra skills and understanding too. We will start a new session in April 2012, be ready for it!.

    The team is working hard on two other programs. We want to launch in the course of 2012: one program for the young generation and another to help companies to work on their retention programs to keep a gender balanced talent pipeline.  Everyone is focusing on the Women on Board but it is time to move the lights to the talent pipeline. WOB is necessary but I always was a strong believer that this may be a good example of not seeing the forest for the trees. Listening to Mari Teigen, a Norway’s researcher at the annual meeting of gender equality bodies last month has strengthened my belief. Even if Norwegian women's representation on the boards of listed companies jumps from 3% in 1993, to 42% now, most of those board women have non-executive jobs, there was no significant increase in female managers. Read more about it under “topic of the edition.

    We are also building our events calendar for 2012.  We will send you very soon a survey to understand your needs to serve them better. If you have an idea for an event, a need, a speaker you know or even yourself… please send all your ideas and suggestions to events@pwi.be. We will also be able to organize webinars next year. Those webinars are accessible to all EPWN members. It is a good opportunity to promote yourself! If you think you have best practices to share with our european members, contact me. We hope to welcome you at our upcoming events and get you connected with your fellow Brussels members and those across Europe.

    As we told you last time we wanted to keep the new editions of our magazine lighter with only featured articles. To separate the time related issue, we will published our sessions: “Feedback from our past events” and “Spotted by” on a blog and also on twitter and Facebook. You can discover our presence in the social media here.

    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Autumn edition”. I will like to thanks Alessandra and Beverley for their dedication and the absolute great job they did on this issue again. We hope you will be inspired by this issue of our newsletter. If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be


    Enjoy the reading!

    I wish you all happy holidays seasons and best wishes for 2012!

    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Autumn 2011

  • 26 Aug 2011 23:58 | Armelle Loghmanian

    President's Welcome

    Back to PWI Magazine - Summer 2011


    Dear PWI members and readers,

    The last 3 months since the election of the new board have been extremely busy for all of us getting the new board and the new executive team up and running. If you didn’t have the opportunity to meet us yet, you can discover the team here
    I want to take this opportunity to thank Odile Flament. She has been elected as our new treasurer last May. Her start-up is picking up, she needs to spend every single minute on it. Unfortunately for us she had to step back from her role. We wish her a lot of success in her new adventure.

    The new team is working hard to help you in your career development and also help  the companies to work on their retention programs to keep a gender balanced talent pipeline.  Each company have a different approach. Danone’s example (read here) on diversity management is a very enlightening case study showing that, with an individual talent management strategy it is possible to change the rules; nevertheless, the road ahead of us is still long. To get a better understanding about what you are expecting from PWI, we will conduct soon two surveys, one on the content, the « what », and another one more on « logistics », the « when ». It won’t take long to answer them, but it is key that we get a lot of answers.

    During the summer, we have started developing some new programs for you. Mentoring will be the first one to be launched in September. Mentoring really is something that can benefit everyone. It helps the mentees develop and advance through their career and the mentors can gain extra skills and understanding too. Read more about it under “topic of the edition.
    We are also building our events calendar till the end of the year. We hope to welcome you at our upcoming events and get you connected with your fellow Brussels members and those across Europe.

    We want to keep the next editions of our magazine lighter with only featured articles. To separate the time related issue, we will published our sessions: “Feedback from our past events” and “Spotted by” on a blog and also on twitter and Facebook.
    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Summer edition”.  We hope you will be inspired by this issue of our newsletter. If you’d like to comment on it, or contribute to the next issue, please get in touch by emailing Alessandra Zocca at editor@pwi.be


    Enjoy the reading!

    Armelle Loghmanian
    PWI President

    Back to PWI Magazine - Summer 2011

  • 03 May 2011 01:55 | admin newsletter (Administrator)

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

     

    President's Welcome

     
    Dear members and friends of PWI,

    Today, after almost 6 years, I have the great pleasure of handing over the association to a newly elected PWI president and board.

    Since its creation in 1991, Professional Women International Brussels has been quite unique in its effort to promote talent and sharing among senior and high potential business women, in a culture of openness, true diversity and inclusiveness for ladies of all origins.

    Leading such a vibrating and dynamic network has been a truly energizing and rewarding experience.
    It’s no wonder then that PWI could steadily deliver such high paced and intense program through the years. Or is it?

    Between January 2006 and today, PWI welcomed more than 50 Belgian and international male and female speakers – among whom Margot Wallström, former European Commission’s Vice-President and Annemie Neyts, MEP – and hosted more than 70 events and workshops in Brussels.

    Each year, hundreds of participants have been weaving thousands of connections at all levels: in Brussels, through Europe’s major business cities and throughout the world in a fun, spontaneous and energizing atmosphere. Not bad for a handful of volunteers!

    Today more than ever before, women are gaining access to higher responsibilities and are given the chance to lead and shape the future of their companies and societies.

    I do believe that networks like PWI, EuropeanPWN or TIAW have played their role in the evolution of mentalities, even among women, by offering a dialogue environment where members could exchange experiences, raise influence and awareness and by providing access to mentors, role models and development opportunities while allowing best practices to be spread.

    PWI’s accomplishments have only been possible thanks to the inspired and passionate work of current and past board and team members. It’s been a privilege building this community together through the years.

    So thank you, members and friends of PWI, for the long-standing support and encouragements and join me in welcoming Armelle Loghmanian as the new president of PWI Brussels!

    Time now to discover our brand new “PWI Magazine – Spring edition”, entirely created by PWI’s past editor and new PWI Secretary General: Alessandra Zocca.

    Enjoy the reading!

    Yours sincerely,
    Cristina Vicini
    PWI President (2006- 2011)
     

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

  • 29 Mar 2011 01:51 | admin newsletter (Administrator)

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    2011 TIAW AWARDS – A unique opportunity.
    Nominate the "unsung" heroes that make a difference for women around you!!

     


    A unique opportunity for you to endorse women that “made a difference - How? Submit your nominations for the TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards!

    As a PWI Brussels member you are offered the tremendous opportunity to help raise the profile of women and men who have accomplished extraordinary things for women’s economic power, including well-known women and men as well as “unsung heroines”, who often work with little or no recognition. There are women throughout the world whose actions, efforts and inspiration truly do make a "World of Difference" in supporting the advancement of women.

     

    The opportunity to submit nominations for the “TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards” is offered to PWI members, as PWI Brussels is a voting member within the TIAW (The International Alliance for Women). TIAW serves as the global umbrella organisation that unites, supports and promotes professional women and their networks to work together, share resources and leverage ideas.

    The “TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards” – This year is the third edition of the TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards assigned already to hundreds of women across the globe, mostly in the US, Canada and South America (please see names: here).
    Amongst the European winners we would like to highlight
    Kristin Engvig (Switzerland, Entrepreneurial/Education) and Roz Morris (UK Not for Profit/NGO). Roz Morris was the speaker at the PWI Brussels Networking Lunch on the 18 March this year.

     TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards is a very important way to acknowledge every year up to 100 outstanding achievers, whose efforts have advanced the economic empowerment of women locally, regionally or worldwide.

    Economic empowerment” as defined by TIAW means contributing to the ability of women to earn a living or make an economic impact. Whether it is a small village project in a developing country that has ripple effects throughout the community, or an event or initiative on a global scale, the TIAW World of Difference Award recognises the power within every individual to change the world we live in for the improvement of women.

     

    Award Categories – Candidates can be nominated for 4 different award categories:

    • Nomination for Individual Women (empowerment of women in her local community, in/outside the corporate world, education, entrepreneurial activities, non-profit, through a public/government role; women under 25 years of age)
    • Nomination for Individual Men (how they contributed to the economic empowerment of women)
    • Nomination for Corporate Organisations (how they positively impacted the economic empowerment of women)
    • Nomination for Other (economic empowerment of women in another way, not captured in the criteria above).



    The DEADLINE for nominations is Friday 20 May 2011 We strongly encourage all PWI Brussels Members to nominate your candidates who meet the award requirements.

    For details about how to submit nominations, please access here for the: 2011 Nomination Form 

    Thanks in advance for your contribution and good luck to your nominees!

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

  • 23 Mar 2011 00:46 | admin newsletter (Administrator)

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

     

    Call for Board and Executive Members

     

    As the number of our activities keeps on growing, we are looking for dynamic women to reinforce the PWI team in areas such as Events Organisation, Marketing Communications, PR, Sponsorship Relations, Membership Relations, Administration, etc.


    If you are interested in becoming part of our PWI team and contributing to the success of a dynamic organisation, whilst enhancing your own visibility and career profile, come and join us!


    I encourage you to contact me if you would like to provide any input or contributions, or if you have any questions.


    Looking forward to hearing from you!

     

    Enjoy Spring!

     

    Cristina Vicini

    President Professional Women International
    cristina@pwi.be

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

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