Visit to Schneider Electric

On March 18 2011, Women in Leadership club members had the pleasure to visit Schneider Electric HQ at Rueil-Malmaison to have an interactive exchange of ideas between Schneider Electric employees and HEC women .

The event was organized by Anéta Kowalska, Corporate HR and the speakers for the day were:

Frederic Beuvry, Senior VP Industrial Design & Ergonomics

Paula, Project Manager Industrial Design & Ergonomics

Marie Vezy , SVP Talent Strategy & Organisation Development

Cecile Tuil, VP Influence Strategy

Celeste Messina, VP Senior Executive Programs

The day started with a company presentation by Paula introducing us to the history and journey of Schneider and how the company is adapting to the changing business environment on a continuous basis. This was followed by a very interesting presentation by Frederic on Industrial Design and the importance of coherent product designs for all business units at Schneider. Right after this, we were joined by Marie, Cecile and Celeste. We soon started our panel discussion on “Defining Women Leadership” with an introduction from each of the ladies and also the career paths they followed. This was followed by an interactive session on topics such as gender diversity and its importance, work life balance, different leadership styles between men and women etc. The Schneider women shared with us personal examples to illustrate their learning and thoughts on these topics.

Participants then shared lunch with the speakers and interacted personally. The day ended for us by a very special present from Schneider, a book titled “How Women Mean Business” by Avivah Wirrenberg-Cox.

We would like to thank all the speakers at Schneider Electric for taking time off their busy schedules and sharing their experiences. Special thanks to Anéta for inviting us and organizing the whole event for us!

HEC Women at Schneider Electric

“Thanks for the warm welcome by Schneider. It’s a great and successful trek. It makes us (all women participants) desire to work with Schneider. I appreciate that so many women senior managers shared their experiences on career development and how to be a successful women leader. I look forward to participating more events like this one.” HSU, Yi-Fen

“It was a rare experience to see an industrial company taking diversity seriously at the board and senior management level. Schneider Electric is a great example of a company adapting to a changing environment in so many ways from design to brand management to diverse and international workforce to solution and services based culture. It was truly inspiring to meet accomplished women sharing their experience and dispensing straight, honest advice in a relaxed atmosphere. Thanks to the Schneider Electric team for welcoming us and for a very fruitful day.” JAIN, Sonali

“It’s a very interesting trek, I really appreciate the chance to communicate with those successful females in a large multinational corporate like Schneider, their stories about their balanced career and family life really inspired me, and set good examples for young people like us who has both great career family aspirations.” ZHANG, Juan

“Thanks to Schneider Electric for inviting us and especially for providing us the opportunity of personal interaction with very successful Schneider women. The interactive session on women leadership helped me a lot in identifying some myths and many practical ways of developing my career and move up to senior ranks. Frederic’s presentation was another aspect of Schneider business which was rather new to us and that also showed how focussed the company is to stay ahead of its competitors.” Garima Mathur

“For me the trek to SE was a “myth-breaking experience”. I learnt from Mr Frederic’s presentation the importance of design for Schneider Electric and was introduced to a very new definition of Design – “Design must change existing situations and transform them into preferable situations”, this was contrary to my previous belief that design is not a thing of industrial workshops! The conversation with Marie, Cecile, Aneta and Celeste were candid and very interactive, I realized that what I thought was being nice in a woman’s world was being unassertive and gullible in the business environment. Thank you Schneider Electric for this unique opportunity to interact and learn from the unique experiences of women and men at SE” SAYAL, Ankita

“It was a great trek that enabled us to know more about the company as well as to hear insightful ideas regarding leadership and career. Frederic’s presentation impressed me and I learned a lot about how companies can align their product design with their strategy, especially in Schneider’s type of business. I also really appreciated all senior leaders who shared with us their career paths, giving us concrete examples on how they succeeded.” Priscila Marques

Special Thanks to the organizers for putting the event together.

Ankita SAYAL, President

Priscila Marques, Corporate Relations Director

Garima Mathur, Vice-President


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Lunch @ Janssen-Cilag – Johnson & Johnson

On March 25th, the Women in Leadership club had the pleasure to be welcomed at Johnson&Johnson Headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux for a panel discussion on challenges and issues related to gender balance and work/life balance in leadership positions.

The event was well supported by Muriel MALBEZIN, President Medical Affairs Janssen France, who is currently leading an initiative to promote diversity within J&J.She gathered an impressive panel of speakers to share their insight as well as their rich and various personal experiences as managers.


Cyril TITEUX, President Janssen France

Muriel MALBEZIN, Vice-President Medical Affairs Janssen France

Sandra FOURNIER, Haematology Franchise Director Janssen France

Geneviève d’ORSAY, Medical Affairs Director, Johnson&Johnson Medical Device France

Maryline MARQUET, Project Management Officer & Sustainability Leader

Marie-Hélène DOUMET, Project Management Officer

MurielMalbezin started the session with a quick introduction ofJohnson&Johnson,its different core divisions,its corporate value towards diversity and itspolicy set up to promote and ensure diversity and equal opportunities within the organization.

Participants then shared lunch with the speakers in a very casual atmosphere which encouraged lively interaction. The variety of backgrounds, positions and career path provided a unique occasion to discuss and exchange on multiple topics and also to have a better understanding of J&J’s corporate culture and opportunities in terms of career for MBA graduates.

The event has been greatly appreciated. Thanks for the warm welcome by J&J and the time dedicated by speakers to ensure an interaction of quality:

HEC MBA Participants on J&J Trek

HEC MBA Participants at J&J office in Paris

“The is the best track I have ever joined! Thank you all for kindly sharing and your insights about career in health care sector as well as all the work-life balance difficulties you confronted as women in your career. I know there is still a long journey ahead for me, and thinking of this inspiring afternoon, I will never give up working hard when troubles come to me.

Thank you again! Wish you all the best.” (Shu-Chin TSENG)

“Both sexes have the same agonies in their professional life, face the same challenges and have the same expectations. The world is changing becoming aware of the needs of a family to stay healthy, and this thanks to the rise of women in the corporate chain of command. As a man I can only say it was about time to ask for and realize rights I wouldn’t dare to ask and would not be able to see.” (Nikolaos GEORGARAKOS)

“Corporate culture in Janssen was very welcoming to the visitors during the whole visit from the time while we were waiting at the reception until the lunch time. The whole atmosphere was so open that I naturally brought up my ideas without hesitation. During the talks with people from Janssen, I could feel that diversity is already embedded in the whole organization, and they are still very keen on driving this culture as their top priority. My key learning from the day was that we should stay open to the changing world to keep the diversity.” (Jiyeong KIM)

“This was a terrific company visit. Not only was the J&J team very welcoming, but it was open, honest and relaxed. We really had the time and intimacy to get to the real questions. Many thanks!” (Chase BRISBIN)

“It was a very exciting experience for me that I could meet women leaders actively performing in different areas of the company. It was good because I could feel passion which actually could have led them be there after all those difficult realities that they might have gone through because they are women. I really appreciate them sharing their experiences and giving us advices. Thanks to WIL for providing this opportunity.”(Yu-Jeong KO)

Special Thanks to the organizers for putting the event together.

Ankita SAYAL, President

Tommy MERCIER- Director, Gender Diversity

Yi-Fen HS- Director, University Relations

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Interactive Panel Discussion on “Diversity as a Lever for Growth and Innovation in Consulting”


Ms. Anne Bioulac: Principal, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

Ms. Pascale Guasp: Partner, CVA Consulting

Ms Sophie Comoy: Senior Manager, Bearing Point

Ms. Mandy Schreuder: Project Manager, Mercer Consulting

MODERATOR Ms. Nathalie Dupuis-Hepner: Former Knowledge Officer, Ernst & Young

The Panel

Ms. Nathalie Dupuis-Hepner, who acted as moderator of the panel, welcomed all participants celebrated the diversity of background, age, experience and career path of the different speakers and invited them to share briefly their personal story  and initial ideas on the topic “Diversity as a lever for growth and innovation in consulting”

Ms Pascale Guasp explained how she joined CVA when it was still HEC undergraduate.  At this time was barely a start-up but with a true diversity drive, opening offices in London, Paris in Boston. Her career bloomed within CVA where she progressively took new responsibilities in her way to partner.  CVA celebrates diversity, however in terms of gender diversity CVA is struggling to promote and retain women, only 3 women partners.

Ms Mandy Schreuder completed her studies in the Netherlands, where she started her career as consultant, to later move to Mercer where she specialized in M&A.  Mercer is a international HR consulting firm embracing diversity, it is member of the European Women Professional Network which holds a mentoring programme for women.

Ms. Anne Bioulac is a principal at Rolan Berger, she works in the Paris office which has around 50% female employees, however the percentage is not maintained throughout the hierarchy; it is a genuine concern how to retain women in responsibility positions.

Ms Sophie Comoy started her career in the commodities business to later move to KPMG Consulting before arriving to Bearing Point where she has specialized in Finance function efficiency. When she started her career her belief was that the diversity at workplace was an issue of the past, a constraint of past generation and she was shock to see that it is still present in many work environments.

The first question that the moderator put on the table was how the gender diversity affects the engagement and clients relation in the Consulting industry.

The participants explained that gender predominance at team level or with the customer has not been an issue in their experience. Teams are measured by their performance, which are determined by the teams´ skills diversity rather than gender diversity. At corporate level there is a responsibility to ensure that teams include the right mix of skills and not setting gender quotas.

It was also noted that for customer relations, gender might be important, in the sense that customers renew contracts with people rather than with firms. Consultants must develop durable relationships with their customers,connecting at more personal level through common interest, and the way this relationships are formed and sustained might bedifferent depending on gender.

The second topic of the workshop was about the role of the Consulting Firms in organizing and facilitating women´s careers, as unfortunately diversity indicators for consulting industry are alarmingly low.

It was agreed among the panelist that most firms tailor a career management plan according to each individual´s needs. In many cases the firms have developed women-promotion programs that was later extended to all employees to develop flexibility, mentoring, and coaching, which are essential for developing woman role model. In many cases sponsoring is a requirement to access the higher levels of management, gender can be an extra burden to find a sponsor, as there are only few women and men, while would do it naturally for other men, might have some doubts when sponsoring a woman.

To the question of barriers for women who want to climb in the corporate hierarchy, the panel agreed that a global policy at firm level would indeed help but is ultimately to the relation of each individual with her manager. The main problem is the expectations, in most cases true, about the job requirements: long hours, frequent travelling, lack of private life, that will refrain many women from pursuing a career in consulting.

The third topic of the conference was about the particularities of women´s leadership, and what are the main traits that can be expected from a female leader.  The discussion revolved around values, and the importance of being aligned with the company´s as well as customer´s values for an effective leadership, but this is not gender-specific. While it was agreed that some men are uncomfortable being managed by women, this is, luckily, not that common and the skills required to be a manager are more or less universal and widely accepted, so being a woman or not should not play a role.

To close the workshop, the panelists were asked for their recommendations to the MBA participants considering a career in consulting. One of the main recommendations included setting priorities and organize your life around them ensuring proper balance among them. It is possible to have a family and a career in consulting, but one needs to be firm in her priorities and self-disciplined with time management. Consulting is a dynamic industry, staffed with very intelligent, engaged professionals, were flexibility is required to continue learning throughout your career. One must be flexible and willing to adapt, fitting with this spirit is the most essential part to succeed in consulting.

Special Thanks to the organizers for puttting this event together

Ankita SAYAL, President

Sonali JAIN, Director, Events

Kirti SHARMA, Director, Alumni Relations

Yulia TURKOVA, Director, Communications


The audience

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HEC WiL at London Business School Conference

As a part of The WiBC initiative, HEC MBA participants were invited to the LBS conference held at the LBS campus at Regent’s Park. WiL Board members – Ankita Sayal, Bianca Roatis and Priscila Marques attended the conference which was opened by Dame Mary, an LBS Alumna and Founding Director of the Clore Social Leadership Program. Clore shared her path as a leader and the lessons she has learned so far. This was followed by an insightful Panel discussion on Female Leadership. Women in senior leadership positions in companies such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and BCG shared their view on leadership styles of men and women and also gave practical tips to budding leaders in the audience on the do’s and dont’s which they learned in business leadership. Things got interesting when the entire hall full of women listened to A Man’s perspective during an interview with Richard Boath, Co-head of Global Finance EMEA of Barclays Capital.

As the day unfurled, students and professionals got a chance to network and get to know each other’s views on life-balance, gender balance in teams and personal branding during lunch and coffee networking sessions.

The second panel discussion was about creativity and innovation in business, moderated by Nuala McGovern from BBC World Service. Entrepreneurs from industries ranging from Fashion, food and beverages to services shared their views on creativity and tips on starting you own business by breaking the shackles of convention and taking the leap.

Participants attended workshops of their choice on topics ranging from Personal Branding to Resilience Leadership. The day closed with a Fashion Show, when home-grown LBS brand theFold, launched its Spring/Summer 2011 Women’s work collection.

Read more about the experiences of HEC alumna – Elizabeth Garrett who also attended the event here ->

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WiL at Insead WiBC workshop “Getting Your Message Across”

On February 15th 2011, WiL club representative Yulia Turkova had a pleasure to participate in the workshop “McKinsey Theatreworks workshop and skill building event – “Getting Your Message Across’’ organized by INSEAD Women in Business Club. The event invitation was shared as a part of the Women in Business Cohort (WiBC) collaboration between HEC and INSEAD.

The workshop was designed by McKinsey & Company to give participants the opportunity to explore how they present themselves and how they affect others. The event was led by Didi Hopkins, a highly experienced coach and educator who has worked 12 years for the National Theatre, devising and delivering work investigating the language of leadership, communication and change for the corporate and business sector.

Using elements of an actor’s training and rehearsal technique, workshop participants were plunged into practical narrative to enable three dimensions of communication skills – intellectual, emotional and physical, – head, heart and body.

Several practical tips were given to the participants in the beginning:

– To get your message across, you should make your message live, which means four basic things: it should be extraordinary instead of ordinary, exceptional instead of usual, surprising instead of common, memorable instead of regular.

– Stay yourself with more communication skill. Don’t pretend to be somebody else, you should stay yourself sending your message to the audience, but work on your communication skills.

– The importance of different sides of live communication is evident from the following statistics – only 7% of information in live communication we perceive through content, 38% we perceive through voice, and 55% – through body language.

– Body-language is not only about how you move, but it is also feeling space which means using all space and not being constraint in one zone, making good eye contact with audience, making impression of self-confidence, feeling passionate about what you say. All these things need a lot of work and time to reflect, practice, and step out of your comfort zone and discover inner resources.

For practicing workshop participants were asked to do several exercises. At first, they wrote a two-sentence speech about a topic of interest and made it as exceptional and live as possible. After that the coach showed several examples of behaving on scene and asked participants to do related exercises. In the end participants presented their speeches and received a feedback from peers.

After the workshop a wonderful cocktail was organized where members of HEC WiL and Insead WiB Clubs met.

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Introduction to WiL Board: January – June 2011

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11th Annual Women in Business Conference

Get inspired, motivated and network to build your future!

As Partner school of the WiBC (The Women in Business Cohort), We are delighted to present to you the 11th Annual Women in Business Conference on March 5, 2011, from 9 am to 6 pm in London. The conference is managed and organized by LBS and the member schools of WiBC are entitled to a special discount.

The theme of this year’s conference is Closing Gaps: The Next Stage in Women’s Leadership.” We will hear from leaders across industries about their path to leadership, and the unique ways women can contribute to business in a rapidly changing environment.

We will hear from speakers from Goldman Sachs, Diageo, Morgan Stanley, Prada Group, Vodafone, the U.K. Home Office, as well as several successful entrepreneurs.

In the afternoon we will hold skills workshops to give you the chance to speak with and learn more from these women leaders.

To finish the day, entrepreneurs from the London Business School MBA class of 2011 will present the Spring/Summer 2011 Women Collection Fashion Show, The Fold, during a cocktail reception and networking.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an amazing day!

Please visit for tickets.

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