#womenASCOA: Building Better Tables

Panelists explained how managers and businesses can create workplaces that support women's empowerment.


  • Gaby Gallardo, General Manager Public Sector, Microsoft Latin America
  • Ricardo Mora, Co-Head of Latin America and Head of Americas Global Currencies and Emerging Markets Sales, Goldman Sachs
  • Maria Moret, Vice President Southern Latin America, Medtronic
  • Ragnhild Melzi, Vice President, Public Policy Programs and Corporate Relations, AS/COA (moderator)

“Women have a unique contribution and create unique opportunities in the business world. The companies that have more diversity are 20 percent more innovative,” said Maria Moret of Medtronic, to kick off the panel "Building Better Tables – How to Include More Women in Traditionally Male Spaces" during the 10th Annual AS/COA Women's Hemispheric Network Conference. We know the benefits of gender diversity in the workplace, but how can businesses promote women’s inclusion in the workplace?

"It's important that women feel empowered and they have a visible path to leadership," said Ricardo Mora of Goldman Sachs. He cited sponsorship and mentorship, as well as male allyship, as pillars of this work. In light of the pandemic, Gaby Gallardo of Microsoft Latin America also stressed how companies can provide safe and supportive environments for women. “It is not bad to hear a dog barking or a kid crying during a meeting,” she noted, though she emphasized that managers must ensure that workers continue to stay motivated.

The panelists provided advice to young women entering the workforce, agreeing that they should make their voice heard in the office, communicate their work clearly with their supervisors, and be clear with their aspirations. And, in recounting the women who have had the greatest influence on their careers, the panelists agreed that being a supportive, vulnerable, and understanding manager is critical. “You want people to remember you not just as a boss but as a leader,” concluded Moret.