End of September 2018, I was able to be part of the Brigitte Symposium in Essen, Germany. The event was already sold out at an early stage and was a unique platform to get new input, to exchange with each other and to network.
The intention for Brigitte for this event was to:
- give women an overview and an orientation for their professional and private life
- transfer knowledge with like-minded people
- be confident to take initiative
SAP was awarded as leading employer for women in 2018. KPIs that led to this award were family-friendly and flexible working hours, supporting women up to the board level, support during the career entry, careers at top management, flexibility of work and balancing family and work commitments. In two sessions, Cawa Younosi, Vice President/Head of HR (SAP SE & SAP Deutschland) told his very personal career story and discussed future leadership challenges with the mostly female audience.
Here are my key take-aways from this inspiring event:
Women should be aware of their opportunities in the digital age and should continue to focus on the following attitudes:
- Courage to do things (no matter if male or female)
- Looking ahead, not behind
- Looking for mentors that you can trust
- Making a career: To be able and to want to: Live your dreams and do not think too much about it
- Who can support you: Do not always meet the same people – get out of your comfort zone
- No need to know everything
I personally had the impression that all young women who held a presentation at this event about their career story do not care about a special women’s promotion. They just do their jobs with passion and are very successful because of the excitement and their courage. So maybe, for companies that want to promote women, a special focus should be on women aged 50 and older and graduates that just finished university or their vocal training. Special trainings for women at that age or special tandem models can identify talented women. Potential programs could be tandem leadership teams, where graduates and experienced staff learn from each other. Reverse Mentoring is a great option, since it requires an innovation culture of each company that sees itself as an open and learning organization. Young coaches Old – you can name it like that. When it comes to social Media, trends in the internet, consumer behavior or modern working conditions, Digital Natives are the right employees to talk to.
It would be exciting to see SAP adopting some of these ideas and continuous to move into this direction.