Making it possible for women to dream bigger
As Vice President for Partnerships and Cooperation with Philip Morris,
I am really proud that our company has recently been awarded the global EQUAL-SALARY Certification.
But I’m also very well aware that most women around the world do not make the same as their male counterparts
and they still need to get to the corner offices.
I’d like to invite you as top leaders, first of all to embrace your triumphs.
And I would like to hear some personal stories on how you specifically contributed to your company’s success.
So, maybe we can start with you, Diane.
I’ve been with the NBA now for six years.
I was in investment banking before.
And so, I’ve been focused on strategic partnerships primarily within our international business.
Our Africa League is the first time we’re doing something outside the United States.
And leading that cross-functional team is something that I’m extremely proud of.
I’m not sure that there’s that much difference between being a female leader and being a male leader,
in terms of you want everyone to be the best performer they could be.
You also want them to find peace of mind.
I mean, I think it’s really important that people are in jobs where they feel satisfied
and they feel appreciated, and they feel challenged.
You need to have gender diversity in the management ranks,
but you’ve got to have gender diversity in the boardroom, too.
When there are multiple women on a corporate board,
a company does not rush helter-skelter into doing a risky takeover
because the women say, wait a minute,
we need to think about what the consequences are here
and weigh the pros and cons.
Some of the impact can really be felt through accountability
and women who go back into their organizations
and say, you know, I have this greater awareness.
I’m now empowered to look at reverse mentoring
and what can I learn from more junior generations that will help me as a leader
and help me help them.
You know, they are the talent of tomorrow.
Joann, maybe you can share some of your insights on what a large organization can actually do to redress this gap.
If the CEO, in particular, is not making the compensation packages for his or her direct reports
linked to how well they’re doing on diversity,
nothing is going to change.
There’s institutional sexism in large organizations
that just have to do with how the pyramid works.
And I think the only way to change that is to do a better job at the recruitment, hiring, training, retaining,
but also giving women dreams.
And we need to make it possible for them to dream bigger.
It is often said that it’s lonely at the top,
but it seems that it’s lonelier if you’re a woman.
For many of these women that I interviewed for the book,
it was a lack of role models.
There wasn’t anyone who they could look to, to say, how did you get here?
How did you do it?
But they did then try to make it easier for the women who are younger and less senior than they were,
to educate them, to make it clear that, you know, there is solidarity in numbers
and there is some benefit to sharing experiences,
which, at the end of the day, I think women are really good at.
I cannot tell you how many women leaders will say to me,
you know, I’m just a this point in my career where I just feel really lucky,
I’ve had success, I like my colleagues,
and now I just want to give back.
What an incredible sentiment, right?
And I truly believe that’s something that women lean more towards, too.
I’d like to ask each of you to share the very best piece of advice that you’ve ever received.
Don’t ever get too comfortable.
If you’re in a job, or you’ve been someplace so long that it starts to feel like an old shoe,
it’s time to go shoe shopping.
I do regularly check myself around, am I learning?
So, to your point about being too comfortable,
I think even when you love your work environment or whether you hate it,
it’s a good gut check, right?
Because sometimes when you’re too comfortable and happy,
you’re not learning anymore.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Sometimes you’re always thinking about what the next step is, right?
Is there a better company out there?
Are there better opportunities out there?
What’s next for me?
And I think that’s normal to feel that way and always question.
But then I think you also need to take a moment and appreciate where you’re at.
The best career advice I ever got kind of came quite late in my career
because it came from meeting all these women.
And I think these women, at the end of the day, got to be successful senior executives
because they were true to their true selves.
You have to be true to you, and you have to believe in you.
Find out more about diversity, equity and inclusion at Philip Morris International: