Virtual events for women in leadership during March
This International Women’s Day (IWD), Monday March 8, and throughout the month of March, institutions and organisations are both celebrating women leaders and addressing the issues that hold women back from getting to the top.
IWD’s theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge, a call-to-action to challenge the status quo by raising awareness against bias, celebrating women’s achievement, and taking action for equality. While this year’s UN Women Official theme is Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in COVID-19 world.
Discover these top four virtual webinars, summits and conferences being held both on March 8 and throughout March which address these issues with a focus on women across the North America region.
Women in Tech Day
Monday, March 8
A round-the-clock virtual event, so check in at any time wherever you are in the world, this conference sponsored by big businesses like Bumble, Netflix, Microsoft Azure, Shopify, GoogleCloud, JPMorgan, is also free. It will showcase women in tech and their craft, through a variety of talks (from coding to cloud, devops to data science, AI to IoT, backend to blockchain), as well as career, personal development, startups, business, strategy, and inspirational talks. Workshops and discussions will be led by women and/or allies. From software engineers, data scientists and frontend developers to digital business analysts, creative technologists and tech firm founders, and including top tech leaders at Microsoft, BBC, Deloitte, Google, Samsung, Airbus, Shopify, Amazon, JPMorgan and Netflix.
Bloomberg Equality Summit: From Words to Action
March 16-18, 9am-2pm ET
At the fourth annual Bloomberg Equality Summit, leaders at the front lines of industry and policy convene to showcase topics surrounding women and other minority groups in the workplace, as well as the steps they're taking to move forward. The preeminent forum for corporate executives, thought leaders and advocates working tirelessly to create a more just business climate for all, speakers include everyone from dignitaries to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies with notable equality challengers including Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; and Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other speakers include Shaheen Akram, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at ING; Oren Frank, CEO of Talkspace; Alfred Kelly, CEO of Visa; Bo Young Lee, Chief D&I Officer of Uber; Antonio Neri, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Anne Oxrider, Senior VP of Bank of America; and Maxine Williams, Chief D&I Officer of Facebook.
Target Gender Equality Live
UN Global Compact
March 16, 2021, 5am
This live event organised by the UN will convene leaders from business, government, civil society and academia to discuss and demonstrate how the private sector can help bring down barriers to gender equality by respecting and supporting the rights of women and girls. Brought together during the 65th Commission on the Status of Women, this interactive and global event seeks to inspire and engage business and other stakeholders to take concrete action to advance gender equality.
Building on the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit and Uniting Business LIVE virtual event forums, which attracted thousands of attendees from every corner of the world, Target Gender Equality LIVE will be a completely virtual and innovative event experience. It will showcase the work of Global Compact Local Networks and partner organizations, featuring a dynamic mix of live plenaries, on-demand programming, global networking and practical tools and resources. Among sessions is a panel discussion entitled Women’s Empowerment Principles: Foundations for Equality in Practice, which will include panelist Michel Khalaf, MetLIfe’s President & CEO.
Industry-leading platform and community iConnections, which connects investment managers and allocators, will host a week-long virtual conference on its platform from March 8 to mark International Women’s Day. The Forum, which builds on this year’s IWD theme #ChooseToChallenge will bring together leading changemakers in investment, tech, law, and non-profits to discuss how barriers to gender equality and inclusion can be overcome through organisations, information and ambition and discover a way forward for women to expand their footprint in the industry.
Throughout the event, there will be coffee chats in which members can virtually meet to discuss the issues raised during the Forum with the event’s speakers, as well as firms such as Cambridge Associates, Millennium Management, UBS Wealth Management, BMO Family Office and Wetherby Asset Management. Among speakers are Kim Lew, CEO of Columbia University; Sandra Robertson, CIO of Oxford University; Haiyan Zhang, Chief of Staff at Xbox, Microsoft; Amy Chen, CIO at Smithsonian Institution; Barbara Turner, CEO of Marcho Partners; and Dr Tara Swart, neuroscientist and author.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.