May 2018 Switzerland Chapter Event

May 3rd became yet another milestone in the history of the LEAD Network – we launched our Switzerland Chapter.

The visionary LEAD Switzerland Chapter Chair, Caroline Basyn with Mondelez, along with her eight passionate and dedicated committee members – Marie Dousova with Nestlé, Sophie Even with P&G, Biliana Kostov with PepsiCo, Sandra Kottenauer with Manor, Florence Boulenger with Deloitte, Anne-Valerie Guidollet, Chief Marketing Officer, Damien LeMoal with SC Johnson, and Karolina Cardoso with EY – met for the first time only five months ago. Since then, they have been an unstoppable force, formulating a comprehensive and inspirational strategy and launching the largest inaugural event (200 participants!) in the history of the LEAD Network and outdoing its first three European conferences!

The event kicked-off with cocktails and networking – female and male participants’ excitement and organizers’ pride was beyond palpable. Anne-Valerie Guidollet, the driving force behind the buzz and delivery of a complex event, opened up with agenda setting. Mick Broekhof, cofounder of LEAD Network & Managing Partner of Kalypso, conveyed his pride and joy to witness this milestone. Our beloved Sharon Jeske, Executive Director of the LEAD Network, kicked off, laying out the genesis, mission and history of the LEAD Network. Peter Beets, with P&G and Chair LEAD Network Membership Committee, made a highly memorable case for the LEAD Network and gender parity through powerful personal experiences as a father and a professional. Caroline Basyn followed with an inspirational and engaging introduction, laying out the pertinent need for the LEAD Network in a country like Switzerland which lags behind most European peers with respect to D&I metrics. Caroline then unveiled a simple, yet incredibly powerful, 3-pillar strategy for the LEAD Switzerland Chapter:

  • The Manager – How to build a friendly ecosystem for enabling the advancement of women in their companies
  • My Career – How to help women build confidence in themselves and own their careers
  • The Industry – How to build and leverage a network for career opportunities across the industry

The event then moved on to a panel discussion moderated by Sandra Ondraschek-Norris from Catalyst. The powerhouse panel was comprised of Anne Edwards, SVP Public Policy/Government Affairs/ Communications with PepsiCo, Antonio Maturo, Partner with Spencer Stuart, Beatrice Dupuy, VP Global Sales/ GM Israel with P&G, Marcel Stalder, CEO EY, and Valerie Robert, Chief HR Officer with Galderma, Nestlé. The panel topics prompted extraordinary engagement from the audience: What does it mean to champion the D&I cause? How have you gone about engaging men in this conversation? How do you move men from supporters to advocates? What behaviors of male leaders help women progress?

Some of our favourite quotes from the panel:

  • “Kill the hidden barriers”
  • “Maternity leave is just a question of how to handle the logistics”
  • “Do we really need a business case for gender parity or it is an obvious ‘universal truth’?
  • “Statistics show that we will need 100 years to get the gender parity in the economic and political arenas in Switzerland” (call for action!!)
  • “What I learned today was how to set-up a Women Development Strategy”

The formal part of the evening was followed by cocktails and more networking. Organizers had set up booths for each of the 3 strategy pillars with informational posters and representatives to enable dialogue and feedback.

Here is a small sample of reactions from participants to give you a sense for the energy at the event: “Congratulations on a great event last night to launch the LEAD Switzerland LEAD Chapter.” “I loved the authenticity of the panelists and speakers… The atmosphere of the event was very warm and friendly so people can discuss easily and transparently.” “The thing that resonates most powerfully is how gender diversity has touched each of us individually, listening to stories makes us more aware – so we can strive to make a difference in where it matters most!”

Needless to say, the event finished way past its formally allocated time.

This was one truly memorable milestone in the LEAD Network’s history. One all LEAD members should take pride in.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank all new LEAD Network members for making history and for validating and enhancing the LEAD Network’s ‘raison d’être’. This event certainly set a great stage for LEAD Network’s theme this year – ‘Doing, not trying’.

We look forward to seeing a lot more from our new Switzerland Chapter.

Sandra Ondraschek-Norris; Béatrice Dupuy; Anne Edwards; Antonio Maturo; Valérie Robert; Marcel Stalder

LEAD Switzerland Chapter Networking Event participants