On April 29, 2021, the “Perspectives Seminar: Women, Talent and Development 2021”, was held at ITAM, within the framework of the Women’s Initiative. The seminar included a series of panels and talks focused on learning about the progress of women’s participation in various sectors.
Upon welcoming the participants and introducing the seminar, Xiuh Tenorio, president of the Alumni Association, explained that in 2019 ITAM’s Advancement and Institutional Communication Office created the Women’s Initiative, a proposal to encourage women to study and develop a career path. This initiative has three components aimed at women, in which ITAM participates decisively: 1) Activities for high school students, 2) Networking sessions and 3) the Perspectives Seminar on Women, Talent and Development.
Among the topics the seminar addressed were the advances in the participation of women on the boards of directors, testimonies of resilience by women financial leaders, and the presentation of “Radically Human,” a study elaborated by Korn Ferry. Maribel Dos Santos, CEO of Oracle México, gave the conference, “Breaking Paradigms,” and Monica Aspe, currently CEO of AT&T México, presented the keynote address on leaders who inspire.
President Arturo Fernández said that ITAM and its alumni association has continued to organize at least one seminar on women and talent each year. Dr. Fernández said, “At ITAM we have an institutional commitment to the development of women and our liberal spirit encourages us to contribute to full equality of rights and opportunities for women, within the scope of our responsibilities.”
On this occasion, the event was organized jointly by the Business Coordinating Council, leaded by its president, Carlos Salazar, and Félix Todd, president of the Corporate Governance Commission of said business organization.
Carlos Salazar explained that the Corporate Governance Commission of the Business Coordinating Council has promoted the forum on women and talent for many years. “I am glad that spaces for dialogue and exchange of ideas continue to exist so that young audiences enrich and participate in this process of cultural change that Mexico must go through more rapidly.”
Salazar added that at this moment in our society we need women to be able to share and enhance all their talent in different professional fields: finance, economy, human rights, integrity, security, law, social areas, science, math, technology, and whatever else we can think of. Each area must generate the conditions so that they have the possibility to develop and grow, not only professionally, but also personally.
Regarding the private sector, Salazar added, “Have no doubt, we are promoting public policies on gender equality issues that will benefit us all.” The council, he said, is committed to equity: “Today we look at all our projects with a gender perspective and internally we also promote it in concrete actions such as the one indicated in today’s HeForShe agreement signed by the 12 organizations that make up the CCE:
- Women in management positions
- Zero, zero, zero, absolutely zero tolerance for violence in the workplace among others.”
Moreover, Félix Todd reviewed how the CCE has addressed women’s issues. Since 1999, it has made the commitment to elaborate and publish the code of best corporate practices. Subsequently, the Code of Principles and Better Practices of Corporate Governance included in its third version in 2018 a new practice, Practice 15. This practice – in what today is a reality in many countries, especially European ones – is about the incorporation of women in the governing bodies of societies. This makes it possible to take advantage of all the different ideas and points of view in the attention, discussion and analysis of companies, and in this way enrich the diversity of knowledge and experiences between men and women.
“Today in the CCE we realize, however, that this practice number 15 fell short and does not reflect the reality of the latest changes that have taken place and that is why there is a great need on the part of the CCE, and especially of our Commission, to make a greater effort to focus precisely on analyzing and incorporating what are the best practices regarding the participation of women in the councils,” Todd said.
Therefore, the CCE seeks to take advantage of the fourth version of the Code of Principles and Better Practices of Corporate Governance to improve practice number 15 and also to incorporate concepts of inclusion and diversity.
Advances on the Issue of Women’s Participation on Boards of Directors
In the session “The Advances on the Issue of Women’s Participation on Boards of Directors,” Yvette Mucharraz y Cano, director of the Research Center on Women in Senior Management, CIDEM, announced the creation of a Network of Counselors and Experts. This initiative contemplates the following:
- Creation of a database to link women who have high potential and who are interested and ready to be part of the councils.
- Work alongside companies so that they incorporate women and assign them positions in the decision-making at the highest level.
She mentioned that they have had contact with various women’s associations that believed in the initiative from the beginning. “This is, undoubtedly, a historic moment in which I am truly proud to be able to generate this unity in order to achieve this development, this equity, where we see more and more women sitting on the board of directors and actively participating,” Mucharraz said.
They have had contact with the Institutional Stock Exchange (BIVA) and the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV). As of today, they are working with the Beta version, whose launch is expected in June. We have become a bridge between these women and the companies.
How does it work? The potential new counselor is registered in the database and includes relevant information. A company that does a new search obtains the visibility of women who may be in a different location or who require certain qualities and who have not necessarily been able to contact them. So here we establish the link.
For her part, Marivi Esteve, president of the Center for Research on Women in Senior Management (CIMAD), indicated that in Mexico the participation of women on the boards of listed companies is 8.7% and only 2.2% are independent directors. 56 women are independent directors, including owners and alternates, compared to 894 men. 72 women are wealth advisers compared to 548 men. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of women on boards increased by 12, that is, 6 percentage points. If we continue with this annual growth rate, we find a truly shocking figure: equity would not be reached until 2088, or in 68 years. We would need to wait 34 years to reach 30%, the point in which a minority can make a difference even though it is a minority.
One of the arguments we have heard, Esteve said, is that there are no women, but we know that there are women, we know them, we’ve seen them act. What is possibly lacking is visibility, knowing where they are, and that is the purpose of this directory of counselors that we are announcing and that we have called the Network of Counselors. This network does not only include women who are already members of a council or who have experience in one. They are women who are already ready to become members. They are also experts in different areas who are invited to panels or different forums. We are convinced that there are women counselors, there are women who are experts and they are all ready to be visible, to be invited and to occupy those positions to which they belong.
“Thank you very much for your attention and for allowing us to share our mission to raise this 8.7% because we can’t wait 68 more years to see results,” Esteve concluded.
Silvia Dávalos, from the Business Coordinating Council, said that “Without inclusion there is no transformation; there is no growth in equity.” Behind this initiative is to make women visible, to make known that there is talent, yes, but the most important thing in this initiative is where universities are added. What this effort tells us is that we are moving away from an individualistic and isolated vision. We are moving today toward what a phenomenon as complex as the one we are experiencing demands of us: collaborative actions that lead us to a greater purpose. If all universities, associations and business organizations limit themselves to their own networks and directories, they have a very narrow vision of the impact we can really make. I think that with this initiative that CIMAD will be launching, we will carry out a purpose we’ve tried to achieve for years.
Sylvia Meljem, chair of the Department of Accounting and one of the main promoters of this seminar, mentioned and thanked the representatives of the universities that participated: Pilar Madrazo, Universidad Anáhuac; María Concepción de Alto, EGADE; Alejandra Peralta, ITAM; José Ramón Barreiro, La Salle; Cristina Huerta, Universidad Iberoamericana; Edith Ortiz, UNAM; Manuel Bernal, Universidad Panamericana.
Presentation of the Study “Radically Human”
During the seminar, “Radically Human,” a study elaborated by Korn Ferry, was also presented. Blanca Conesa, senior client partner of Korn Ferry opened her presentation with the question, “What do we mean when we talk about a radically human organization?”
She said that the approach organizations are taking to transformation has changed. Before, the change was in the processes in technology and now we are observing the change is in the people, in the change of culture.
Korn Ferry’s research shows that everything that makes us human is critical and fundamental and it is what makes us succeed and organizations triumph. After two years of research of more than 1,000 organizations in which 55 variables – ranging from financial metrics, to ratings of corporate social responsibility, presence in social networks, internal and external commitment measurements – were studied, they identified those critical factors for the success of transformation by measuring those companies that had important growth indexes at the end of the transformation compared to those that only did relatively well.
Resilience Testimonies from Women Financial Leaders
This panel included the participation of Vanessa Quiroga, CFA, director of Capital Analysis for Latin America at Credit Suisse; Cecilia Jiménez, head of Capital Markets at Banco Santander México; Fernanda Langarica, CFO at Nacional Monte de Piedad, and moderator Pable Ricalde, ITAM professor and stock market analyst at PAAMCO.
The panel was held in a Q&A format. Pablo Ricalde began by asking each panelist direct questions about the actions taken during the pandemic.
Cecilia Jiménez said that coordination and communication are vital when a company works remotely and that, with digitalization, having transparency with investors is essential. Vanessa Quiroga added that in the pandemic a key to controlling a team consisted of letting go of control, being more inclusive with the team and fostering interpersonal relationships at work. Fernanda Langarica concluded this first participation by pointing out that at Monte de Piedad the important thing was to always guarantee the operation, promoting the safety of everyone.
Another question was about the career changes with Covid-19, to which Vanessa responded that she had to modify her coverage sectors to include those that have grown, such as Retail and E Commerce. Cecilia stated that this stage represented a shock and there was a need to review and rethink.
When asked about the role of women in mentoring new generations, the three speakers agreed on the essential role that mentors play in professional development, as well as the role that men and women have in business development, specifically in the sector of finance, to include more and more women.
The panel concluded with Pablo asking the speakers for a phrase that defined their professional development. Vanessa pointed to the importance of completing the work, Cecilia the importance of passion, and Fernanda the importance of purpose.
Looking ahead, the speakers said that the new generations will have to adapt their habit of immediacy to what happens in the workplace, where results are not always immediate. Likewise, on the need to connect their technological skills with reality. They ended up by advising the need to look for a job with purpose and social impact.
The presentation by Maribel Dos Santos, CEO and senior vice president of Oracle México, was given by América Taracido. It began by establishing the concept of paradigm, which for Maribel dos Santos is an already established model that sets a guideline, a series of already established beliefs or the way in which a person understands things. She pointed out that the importance is the severity with which you want to break a way of seeing things. Dos Santos warned that she herself has broken two substantial paradigms in her career: first, being a marketer in a world of technology, and second, developing in it as a woman.
As advice to women, she suggested that when looking for opportunities, you should not expect yourself to meet 100% of the requirements in order to apply for new positions. “You must be emotionally aware; we are educated to have good hard skills but not to control soft skills since we are highly judged by how we react.” At the end of the conversation Dos Santos thanked to ITAM for fostering conversations on such important topics.
Analysis Panel of the Women, Talent and Development Seminar
An Analysis Panel was held with the participation of Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director–General for Social and Human Sciences area, UNESCO; Laura Tamayo, president of the CCEE Inclusion and Diversity Commision; Pilar García Pichardo, general manager and senior AVP, Salesforce México; Adriana Ortiz, deputy director of Gender, Diversity and Inclusion at ITAM, and Ana Díaz Bonnet, director of the Public Accounting and Financial Strategy program at ITAM, was the moderator.
The participants began with the presentation of the initiatives for inclusion and equality that are carried out in their respective organizations. Afterwards, they answered some questions.
Gabriela Ramos indicated that a crucial area is the fight for girls to go to school and the promotion of their participation in STEM education. In artificial education and in science in general, quotas must be used, resources designated for women and the elimination of the bias to break the cycle of less participation, less production, less financing that perpetuates under representation. Legislating equity, dual paternity leave, incentives, etc. are also important tools.
Universities should encourage the entry of women in fields in which they are not represented. The bias must be removed, through education and from home, that women may achieve less or are not suitable for certain programs or fields of study. More role models and women mentors are needed.
Pilar García said that for Salesforce companies must be the engine of equality and must promote the same right to opportunities and education. She mentioned they have the 1 1 1 program, which gives 1% of employees’ hours to equality causes, 1% of capital and 1% of products. Within the company they also have a robust equal pay program.
In terms of opportunities, they have the “Representation Matters” program that seeks inclusion in all aspects of the company: recruitment, talent training, culture and resources to close gaps, wherever they are found.
Laura Tamayo, on the other hand, indicated that in Mexico there is a problem of representation in the private sector, beginning with managers. There is a problem of wage parity. To solve it, it is necessary that the CEO and managers are committed and actively participate in equality programs. The new Inclusion and Equality Commission of the CCE seeks to coordinate and add a strategic vision to the efforts of the business sector on inclusion. It is crucial that women support each other.
The whole chain of talent production must be improved, especially in STEM. The greater the inclusion and diversity, the greater the richness. The condition of the SMEs, focused on survival, makes it difficult for them to worry about the issue. That is why we have to change the approach and present it as a business issue.
Adriana Ortiz said that the universities are working to guarantee equal opportunities by building bridges with the public, private and social sectors. There is a very strong focus on reducing gender violence in order to form, sensitize and train the entire university community and to emphasize the role of men in changing the condition of violence.
Mónica Aspe Gave the Keynote Speech of the Seminar
During her address, Leaders Who Inspire, Mónica Aspe, CEO at AT&T, assured that, in the face of the crisis generated by the pandemic, the recovery will be by those who make assertive decisions and who are more open to changing the rules of the game.
She pointed out that this change suggests a society in which being a woman is irrelevant to professional success and that in the future to occupy managerial positions the only thing that matters is having the necessary skills to carry out a leadership post, regardless of gender, guaranteeing merit in the selection of people for those positions.
She affirmed that to achieve that future, leadership development programs and technical skills are essential so that women have the preparation and are ready to participate in promotion competitions in companies.
She referred to five concrete actions to accelerate an egalitarian society, with political plurality, a willingness to redistribute power, positions and money: include gender equality in corporate strategy; promote the economic participation of women at all levels; eliminate the wage gap; combat gender violence; and promote work and personal balance.
She concluded by saying that recognizing plurality and embracing diversity increase competition.
During her participation in the closing of the seminar, Alejandra Peralta, VP for Advancement and Communication at ITAM, celebrated that it is the second time the institute is a forum of the Women’s Initiative, an internationally recognized project of which Seminar Perspectives 2021: Women, Talent and Development is part as well as the ITAM4Her event, aimed at young women to help them boost their talents, achieve their dreams and plan their futures.
She took the opportunity to highlight the opportunities that the pandemic has given ITAM to carry out a profound transformation, with a vision of human excellence, that complements the academic excellence that characterizes it. This, she said, has implied institutional strengthening to meet the most heartfelt demands of the students and women who make up the community. In particular, she highlighted the actions aimed at instilling a culture of gender, such as the rewriting of the Harassment Protocol, the organization of updating seminars, as well as training in this matter of its faculty, administrative staff and study body.
On the other hand, she emphasized the speed – in less than two weeks – in which ITAM, forced by social distancing, was fully incorporated into distance education. Likewise, she stressed the financial support granted to students, keeping tuition unchanged and expanding financial support for those who need it. In addition, she said, all jobs, including those of external services, were preserved.
Finally, she spoke about the institutional projects for the rest of the year, highlighting the celebrations for ITAM’s 75th anniversary.