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Women’s leadership day in Milan

  • Posted on July 17, 2015

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Gemma Fiorentino.

Avanade was the proud organizer of the first annual “Women’s Leadership Day,” a unique event that took place on July 7th at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Milan. The support of our sponsors Alpitour World and Mercedes-Benz was crucial in the making of this event. In fact both companies decided to be part of this initiative with Avanade since they share the same values when it comes to diversity & inclusion and equal opportunities for the future.

The main focus of the event was around the sensitive and challenging issues that women leadership face and the need to create equality between men and women, promoting awareness around the opportunities arising from the growth of female talent. Prominent men and women leaders took part in discussion panels to share their thoughts, ideas and personal experiences on the importance of not only investing in women, but also creating a more fair and limitless working environment for female employees, tearing down the gender barriers that many women still have to face today and that often prevent them from professional advancement. Through the voices of these leaders, we aimed to outline a joint action plan encouraging men and women to work together to build stronger connections and a more equal business environment.

After the press conference, the event officially kicked off with a keynote introduction by Avanade CEO Adam Warby, followed by a roundtable of male CEO’s ,a panel discussion of female CIO’s both moderated by Avanade Italy GM Anna Di Silverio and an interview with Claire Williams of Willilams Martini Racing by Stella Goulet.

To expand on the conversation even further around the issues of women leadership, influential women took their place on stage to share their different experiences and their common vision for the power of women leadership:

  • Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Martini Racing, leading one of the most prestigious car racing teams in the F1 world
  • Laurie Adams , Oxfam Women’s Rights Director who shone a light on women conditions across the world
  • Maria Bianca Farina, CEO of Poste Vita e Poste Assicura and Stefania Bariatti  President of Gruppo Autostradale SIAS; two of the most powerful and influential business women in Italy

Leaders of both sexes shared experiences, thoughts and ideas on the steps to take in order to tear down the gender gap and give way to a productive dialogue between men and women. These leaders all came from different backgrounds and had very diverse stories to tell, but all very exciting and highly inspiring. Among these we must mention:

  • Mara Maffei - ICT Director Heineken Italia
  • Dora Baiardo – Director for Technological and Organizational Innovation COOP CNO
  • Debora Guma - CIO Carrefour
  • Marcella Pesce – IT Director Roche Diagnostics Italia
  • Carlo Purassanta - CEO Microsoft Italia
  • Gabriele Burgio - President & GM Alpitour World
  • Fabio Benasso – President & GM Accenture Italia

We’re thrilled that the event was followed so closely on social media via the hashtag #WLday, and watched through the streaming channel available on our website. In fact, it was ranked as a top trending topic in Milan from the beginning of the event to its conclusion.

We’re also proud that Women’s Leadership Day represented a crucial turning point for Avanade and the other companies involved. We strongly believe we inspired other businesses to make a change, investing time and resources to promote female talent and increase the number of women leadership. This event represents yet another milestone for Avanade in the path towards a more gender-balance in business.

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