Women’s Hemispheric Network highlights the importance of mentoring and building relationships
New York, June 13, 2013—On a global scale, only 21 of all Fortune 500 companies are headed by women. As far as board representation goes, women hold roughly 16 percent of board positions in the United States and just 7.2 percent in emerging markets. In Latin America, the statistics are stark: in the region’s 100 largest companies, women account for only 5.6 percent of board positions. Women make up more than half of all undergraduates and graduates, and 50 percent of all doctoral graduates, yet educational equality has not translated to better positions in the corporate world, or in higher percentages of high-paying jobs.
For these reasons, Americas Society/Council of the Americas has spearheaded the Women’s Hemispheric Network, an initiative launched in New York in October 2012 with the objective of encouraging young, talented women from throughout the region to remain in the workforce and reach leadership positions.
Now AS/COA Women’s Hemispheric Network begins its activities in Latin America with a roundtable discussion in Bogota, “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Colombia: Lessons from the Top”—an event organized in collaboration with Colombia’s leading business daily Portafolio. The private, by-invitation-only meeting took place on June 12, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Bogota. It was the first of several events of its kind to be held in various cities throughout Latin America.
AS/COA Women’s Hemispheric Network initiated as a workshop on economic empowerment and leadership in New York, bringing together more than a hundred women at different stages of their professional careers, including entrepreneurs, and hemispheric leaders from the public and private sectors. This workshop was the first step in building a regional initiative that seeks to increase the levels of participation and influence of decision-making women.
"Women should promote themselves and proactively find mentors willing to support them within and outside of their organizations," explains Susan Segal, President and CEO of Americas Society/Council of the Americas. "Women should also connect with other executives more effectively to promote their goals and ideas. And, of course, they should not be convinced that…they cannot also be wonderful mothers and great professionals at the same time."
AS/COA Women’s Hemispheric Network is based on two fundamental pillars. The first is mentoring, with a focus on role models and professional support, while the second is the importance of making and maintaining connections. As such, the participants in the roundtable “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Colombia: Lessons from the Top” included top-level executives from Colombia and throughout the region who reflected on their experiences and offered lessons to an audience of young professional women (ages 25 to 35) with advancing careers in local and multinational companies.
The list of speakers and panelists who participated at the “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Colombia: Lessons from the Top” included: Margarita Zavala, the former First Lady of Mexico and former Federal Deputy; María Emma Mejía, President of the Board of Directors, Fundación Pies Descalzos and former Chancellor of Colombia; Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas; María Consuelo Araujo, President, Gran Colombia Gold; Sylvia Escovar, President, Organización Terpel; Luz Mary Guerrero, President and Cofounder, Servientrega; Luz María Jaramillo, Colombia Managing Partner, Ernst & Young; María Elvira Arango, Journalist, Caracol Televisión; Adele Gulfo, Regional President, Latin America Emerging Markets Unit, Pfizer; Patricia Menéndez Cambó, Chair, Global Practice, Greenberg Traurig LLP; and Pilar Calderón, Director, Revista Dinero.
Upcoming Events: Americas Society/Council of the Americas will present the Women’s Hemispheric Network in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at an August 23 roundtable to be held in collaboration with Endeavor Argentina. The second interactive workshop on economic empowerment and leadership will take place in New York on October 11, 2013. Upcoming dates for events in Mexico City and São Paulo will be announced as well.
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