Leadership roles and professional mentors still eluding women

Only 20% of Women’s Forum Rising Talents believe that women are encouraged as much as men to pursue leadership roles, according to a survey celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Rising Talents initiative.

Women lack confidence while men are over-confident, 2017 Rising Talent Lorena Guillé, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Cinépolis told delegates at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2017. Women have to develop their self-confidence and be prepared to take risks. “We need to start switching from being worriers to being warriors,” she said.

Photo credit: Women’s Forum/Sipa Press

Since the initiative’s inception, 192 Rising Talents have been selected, of whom 42% responded to the survey.

For 71% of Rising Talents, success in their careers is defined in terms of achieving positive social impact. “It is what these times demand of us,” said Jessy Tolkan, Head of Labs and Executive Director of the Purpose Climate Lab and a 2011 Rising Talent. As more women take up leadership roles, businesses will have social impact baked in, she added.

Over the past decade, Rising Talents have embodied the idea of being a citizen of the world and recognize that diversity drives better performance, said Virginie Morgon, Deputy CEO of Eurazeo. “Networking is key to make sure you have a voice,” she said.

But according to the survey results, networking with other women may prove to be a challenge in their careers. Only 25% of Rising Talents believe the most effective mentors for women are other women. The reality is that there are few women in leadership roles, said Gisela Pinheiro, Vice President Functional Materials and Solutions of BASF South America and a 2017 Rising Talent.

Women need to review their networking, be more diverse and to include men. Younger employees should reverse-mentor senior figures, enabling them to promote the views of women and the younger generation at the same time, Pinheiro added.

Thirteen new Rising Talents were introduced at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting. They represent 12 countries and sectors including business, finance, politics and education.

The Rising Talents initiative was established by the Women’s Forum in 2007 to distinguish highly talented young women who are on their way to becoming influential leaders.

This story drawn from sessions at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2017.