“Our mission cannot be fulfilled without strong support from the top”, states Mick Broekhof, co-founder of LEAD Network.  This was the rationale for the first CEO Roundtable organised under the guidance and with support from Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, in Amsterdam during the lustrum event in 2017.  Present at that time were executives from Ahold Delhaize, The Center of Workforce Excellence, Alibaba Group, Procter & Gamble, Diversey, DB Schenker, Costco Wholesale, and Mars. The outcome of that CEO roundtable was the CEO Pledge.

During the LEAD event in London this year, a second CEO Roundtable was organised; it built on the pioneering work started by Frans Muller.

The second Roundtable meeting was chaired by Dr Ilham Kadri, President & CEO, Diversey, USA, and Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, Regional President, Mars Petcare Europe, United Kingdom. Participants included Kari Daniels, CEO, Tesco Ireland; Maria Lundberg, CIO, ICA, Sweden; Rainer Kiefer, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Sales, DB Schenker, Germany; Tanya Kopps, CEO, METRO Italy; Olena Neznal, Vice President, Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Kimberly-Clark Professional, United Kingdom; Sabine Müller, CEO, DHL Consulting, Germany; Tamara Rogers, Region Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, GSK Consumer Healthcare, UK; Brian Sharp, Global Commercial Strategy and Executive Leader, Sonoco, USA; and George Young, CEO, Kalypso, USA. The scribe was Mick Broekhof, Founding Father & Secretary of the LEAD Network Executive Committee.

Overcoming challenges and sharing leading practices

Participants shared a personal transformational “aha” moment related to D&I and their action as a result of this “aha” moment. Each shared challenges they encounter and explained best practices how they are advancing gender diversity within their company.

CEO Pledge and progress towards goal

All companies are well underway in the journey to implement D&I practices. All Participants subscribe to the intent of the LEAD Network Pledge as formulated at last year’s CEO roundtable under the leadership of Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize. Language will be added to the Pledge to allow for inclusion of companies who have already signed a pledge.

Key take-aways from the meeting

1.       Progress towards realizing the Pledge is in action mode: doing, not trying

2.       To be successful, executive commitment, endorsement, and engagement is a must

3.       More men need to be engaged in gender diversity to make it sustainable

4.       Understanding and valuing all differences and creating inclusion is key