A series of interviews
I’m Global Manager Diversity & Retention at Lidl. I believe in the power of diversity. For me, diversity means being surrounded by people with a variety of mindsets, attitudes, motives, interests and abilities.
I’ve always been a firm believer in gender equality. To me it just seems like common sense. I was once lucky enough to work in a team where I was the only man and witnessed some of the micro aggressions and unequal treatment my female colleagues experienced.
HEBA EL MAHDY
I am the Country Director for Egypt & Horn of Africa at Johnson & Johnson Consumer. I am responsible for all commercial operations with full P&L responsibility and I lead a very diverse and multicultural team.
My role is Manager, Supply Chain Configuration and Planning, and I am responsible for the day-to-day operational leadership of central forecasting, capacity management and order scheduling. I joined Waitrose & Partners in 1996, and over the years I have worked in a number of management roles within Supply Chain.
I am a proud Amsterdam-er born in Moldova (officially Soviet Union at the time – it’s not that often one gets to be older than their own country). I’ve always been curious about the world, so I travelled a lot for my education and studies. After having studied in Italy and Switzerland, I landed in Amsterdam to complete my higher education. Ever since then I fell in love with Amsterdam and discovered a 2nd family at Kalypso.
As a female the motivation is pretty obvious: the statistics on women in the C-suite are poor, and we can and should do better. I think we can make the workplace better for everyone. The more we strive to be an attractive workplace for females, the more we attract talented employees of all genders. I think D&I is a really important topic, spreading far beyond gender diversity, and LEAD is really able to capture that, yet still keep a gender parity target at the forefront.
A formative memory of my childhood takes place in the kitchen of my grandparents. Here we talked about dreams for the future, and my grandparents told me that I could achieve anything if I committed myself with purpose, determination, and passion. That has always inspired me.
I joined Nielsen fifteen years ago. During those fifteen years, I held a variety of leadership roles in Marketing & Communications for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and also for MENAP when I was based in Dubai. For the last three years, I worked in global roles and in my current role I’m working as Global Marketing Director.
Julia Hager, Digital Marketing & Operations Manager EMEA at CHEP Germany and member of the LEAD Network Marketing Committee, published her first article “Diversity & Inclusion in real life- Where to start” in her blog for Business women like me – mind, spirit & body.
I am a Senior Consultant at Kalypso; a global consulting firm focused on innovation, product development, in a digital world. I support Product Lifecycle Management implementations in the CPG industry. Before Kalypso, I worked for the retailer Hunkemöller as a marketing specialist for Germany and Austria.
I’m General Manager Iberia at GSK Consumer Healthcare and member of the LEAD Network Spain Chapter Committee. I hold a BSc degree in Agribusiness Management & Food Marketing. Since leaving university I have worked predominantly in FMCG companies.
My career at Costco Wholesale started 11 years ago. I spent many years in finance before transitioning to IT. I am currently responsible for managing IT for Spain and France. Utilising my degree in International Business and Spanish has always been a focus in my career path.
I originally come from Antwerp, Belgium, where I studied Economics & Finance. I joined Procter & Gamble 20 years ago. During those years I worked in a variety of finance roles in Belgium, The Netherlands, UK and Switzerland.
“If you can dream it, you can do it” – this is my motto since forever. I am a very curious person, eager to understand why things are happening in a certain way, and then changing, reinventing or accelerating them.”
As a male member of the Network, I want to play my role in attracting more men in the cause. For me gender diversity is not only about empowering women at work but also encouraging men to take an equal and important role at home and in personal spheres via shared responsibilities.
Through my career I had to “reinvent” myself a couple of times. The one that impacted me the most was when the team that I was leading was completely outsourced.
My background is in biochemistry. Upon joining the workforce, I did not want to work in research, so looked for other opportunities to apply my love and knowledge of science.
I have 19 years of cross functional experience in a global FMCG Company – Unilever. I joined Unilever Turkey in 1999 and have taken responsibilities in finance, supply chain and sales departments since then.
The LEAD Network actively stirs up discussion on the topic, calls companies to action and gives leaders the tools to do it. I believe this is necessary to make businesses work better and have an equal playing field for men and women alike.
Diversity brings fresh ideas. LEAD is something that in 5, 10, 20 years’ time, will bring positive change using the best tools there are – constructive debate and collaboration.
I joined Mondelēz International (“MDLZ”) as Senior Vice President, Mondelēz International Business Services (“MBS”). Since then, I’ve built the foundation of a new global business service organization from scratch.
I believe one of the most defining aspects of my life has been the multicultural background. I was born in Germany, raised in Mexico City, mother Mexican, father German and later I married a French man.
I am a North German and had the wonderful opportunity to work in various business functions and countries in the recent years. Eleven years ago, I started my career at Unilever where I held different roles in Customer Development, Marketing, General Management in Germany and Switzerland.
I’ve been working in business for nearly 25 years after a brief career in Science. As I was very good in math, I studied mathematics and physics, graduated from Charles University in Prague and started my career in Science, enjoying PhD studies in Biotechnology.
I have a degree in Business Administration and Marketing and studied in the US. In 2001 I applied for a Marketing role in Mars and was offered a role in Procurement I quickly fell in love with the function and spent 7 years in different buying roles for both services and raw materials.
I have a colourful career history. I worked in many different sectors such as tourism, real estate, exhibition and show business which enabled me to travel the world and work with different nationalities.
“I believe that we each have a personal responsibility to help develop and unlock the full potential of ALL of our associates. Diversity is essential to drive innovative thinking and innovation and thus long term, sustainable growth and performance.”
“I believe gender equality is not about women fighting for their right to be equal, it’s about women AND men finally understanding that our world today does not distinguish by gender and that we all have to forget this categorization even exists and work together to make the most of our lives.”
“LEAD’s mission is especially important to me as I believe that in order for organisations to be successful long term, they need to develop all of their talent and in CPG companies, we need to have talent in our organisations that represent all of the end-users who use our products to ensure we have a strong offering that appeals across those various end-use customers.”
“I believe diversity is a critical requirement for both professional and personal success. I am keen to drive the diversity agenda to communicate and promote the benefits of diversity as I believe we all have a personal responsibility to leave the right legacy for future generations.”
“I think that LEAD should continue to champion diversity by creating leaders within the organizations that can truly “LEAD”, “CHAMPION” and more importantly “SUSTAIN” its mission.”
“I have always fought for diversity in the workplace and was lucky to be part of projects with presence of many different nationalities which brought a lot to my professional and personal development and I can ensure you can reach the best results when you promote a diverse team with diverse ideas.”
JANET LUNG STANDIG
“I benefited from the support and encouragement from the other LEAD members on my journey. One year on, I am proud to say it was the definitely the right decision. There are many things to celebrate.”
“I want to serve as a role model for young leaders and be someone that is open to discuss, or even just listen, as a mentor, coach, colleague and friend.”
“We will continue to build the organization in order to inspire, educate and support – and it’s important for the LEAD network to expand our ‘product’ so that everyone benefits.”
“I firmly believe and have experienced that diversity in teams , not just on gender but on a wide range of aspects, leads to inspiration, new insights, a balanced perspective and better results.”
“I believe the best thing we can achieve with LEAD is that our children cannot imagine why there would be any reason for existence of such a foundation…”
“Personally the LEAD Network has always has been a very helpful source of external inspiration. My absolute highlights have been the Networking events with great speakers and opportunity to meet other leaders from our industry.”
“LEAD – This is a well structured business organisation and is attracting real powerhouses from within the industry and it just happens that they are women.”
“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.”
“I counted the number of executive women I had in my network and came to 13. I contacted them and sent a book I recommend to everyone, THE NEW WOMAN RULES.”