This month’s Member Spotlight

Sharon Jeske

March 2016

Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role? Why is diversity important for you?
The curiosity seed was planted early when I had the opportunity to be exposed to different peoples and cultures. My parents sent me overseas to study and I realised that the world was much bigger than the village where I grew up. Diversity creates curiosity. Curiosity opens the window to enriching experiences. This is the case in life, business and society. During my many years working in the retail and CPG sector, I’ve noticed very few women around the table. I’m now dedicating all my energy to develop the LEAD Network and to bring our mission to life.

What is your perspective on LEAD and what advice would you have for us?
LEAD is truly unique, thanks to its focus on advancing women in the retail and consumer goods sector in Europe. LEAD is your network, your organisation, by the members, for the members. You’ll get as much out of it as you put in.

Tell us something about innovation in relation to diversity?
Innovation and creative thinking finds its source in diversity. Fresh ideas and different perspectives mean better problem solving. This year’s LEAD Conference will be dedicated precisely to this theme, “Diversity Drives Innovation”, on 6th & 7th October in Düsseldorf, where our members will gather to exchanges experiences.

How important is diversity within your organisation?
With the changing consumer, in today’s disruptive and fiercely competitive market, those companies that focus on diversity and harness the differences will outperform. Gender diversity is at the heart of everything we do at the LEAD Network.

Do you have metrics in place to measure diversity?
This topic is on the radar screen of LEAD’s Advisory Board. LEAD is developing a Gender Diversity Scorecard, the first of its kind, to measure and benchmark the progress of the advancement of women in senior executive positions in our sector in Europe. We will look at metrics such as percentage of women on Boards, in leadership positions, being hired, retained and promoted.

What is your biggest achievement?
People are the most important asset of any business, and this goes non-profit organisations as well. One of the biggest achievements has been creating the solid foundation and strong governance of LEAD. Bringing 50 believers, influencers and doers around the table. LEAD’s Advisory Board & Committees are our strongest asset.