Lead with Her > Global Online Event

Driving Equity and Inclusion for Women in a Post-Covid World

Don’t have time to watch the two-hour virtual summit? Read the highlights in our executive summary.

Watch the Lead with Her > 2021 Recording

Covid-19 has caused significant pain and suffering across the globe, but has disproportionately impacted women, and specifically women of color. Many have lost their jobs and businesses or left the workforce entirely, erasing years of progress towards gender equality. It is in this environment that we ask: Why are women bearing the brunt of the pandemic and how can we change this?

We believe the Covid-19 crisis presents an opportunity to accelerate positive change for women in the workplace and society at large. On March 24, 2021, we convened a global dialogue of business leaders and changemakers to examine the fundamentals of the crisis facing women and to seek answers to improve outcomes for women in the wake of Covid-19. This two-hour high-impact virtual event features insights from global thought leaders and executives from top companies.

“Research shows that organizational barriers such as unsupportive cultures, biased talent and business processes, and non-inclusive stakeholders are pressing challenges to the advancement of women. Systemic bias undermines the progression of women and organizations now have an opportunity to turn this challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented into opportunities.”

Jeanett Modise

Group Human Resources Director, Sanlam Limited


Introduction: Why We Are Here

Women are suffering, and a recent UN report notes that we have taken backward steps in the quest for gender equity, with the gender-poverty gap having worsened during Covid-19. Together we have a chance to redesign the way the world works, to ensure that women’s contributions count equally and that women are fairly compensated. As the world returns to some form of normal, we must be careful not to reaffirm unequal power structures, but build new, more equitable and productive ways of working. What happens next is up to us.  

Sharmla Chetty

President of Global Markets, Duke Corporate Education

Beth Ahlering

Dr. Beth Ahlering

Regional Managing Director, Duke Corporate Education

Faith Mangope

TV News Anchor, Radio Broadcaster and Duke CE Educator

Intersectionality: Connecting Gender with Race at Work

Gender and race, when considered in tandem, can generate a more in-depth understanding about women and their experiences in the workplace. In this session, Dr. Ashleigh Shelby Rosette calls for organizations to consider the role of intersectionality in shaping workplace outcomes.

Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, PhD

Senior Associate Dean, Executive Programs
Professor of Management and Organizations, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

Panel Discussion: The Impact of Covid-19 on Women in the Workplace

How and why have women been impacted by Covid-19? Do we understand the long-term effects on our businesses? Can some of the changes brought on by the pandemic help to create greater productivity and well-being for women? Our panelists outline the challenges faced by women, the structural causes, and how we might work to remove them to improve social efficiency as well as quality of life for women.

Jane Datta

Jane Datta

Chief Human Capital Officer, NASA

Dr. Thokozile Lewanika Mpupuni

Group Head of Leadership, Learning and Talent, Absa

Sarisha Naidoo

Senior Vice-President, Head of HR South Africa and West & Central Africa, Citi

Julia Limbacher

Global People Growth Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim

Dr. Becky Ellis

User Research and Certification Manager, Arm

Caroline Vanovermeire

Caroline Vanovermeire

Global Director of Talent, dentsu international

Panel Discussion: Let’s Talk Equity

Empowering women is not just a human-rights and a gender-equity issue. It is an obvious business strategy. Our panelists share their thoughts on the role women play in our economies, why empowering women makes business sense, and what can be done to create more space for women leaders in business while ensuring equal opportunity and pay.

Telva McGruder

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, General Motors

Jeanett Modise

Jeanett Modise

Group Human Resources Director, Sanlam Limited

Dr. Maria Angelica Perez

Dr. Maria Angelica Pérez

Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Standard Chartered Bank

Busisiwe Sithole

Group Head of Transformation, Diversity & Inclusion, Absa Group

Panel Discussion: Through Her Eyes

We gain perspective and insights from leading women in business. Hear from women on the frontlines of change and progress as they share their visions for the future.

Ann Cairns

Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

Ritu Chandy

Ritu Chandy

Regional CEO, BMW Group Financial Services Asia Pacific

Abena Osei-Poku

Abena Osei-Poku

Managing Director, Absa Bank Ghana

Alexandra Altinger

Chief Executive Officer – UK, Europe & Asia, JO Hambro Capital Management Group

Panel Discussion: Together We Can

Men’s support of women in the workplace can begin with giving credit, listening to women, and avoiding any preconceptions. However, allyship also requires actively working to build a conducive, gender-equal environment by pointing out what’s not working and addressing it. Our panelists share their thoughts on how others can support women’s business contributions for the benefit of their organizations and broader society. 

Terrence Taylor

Talent and Organizational Development Consultant – Americas, Google

Dr. Marc Kahn

Dr. Marc Kahn

Global Head of People & Organisation, Investec Group 

Sashir Milne

Group Head of Human Resources, Tongaat Hulett Limited

Allyship and Purpose-Driven Leadership

Michael Chavez

Chief Executive Officer, Duke Corporate Education

Keynote: Self-Help for People Who Don’t Ask for Help

Many of us are more than willing to help others — family, friends, colleagues, and our community — but we’re reluctant to request help for ourselves. If this sounds familiar – especially in these difficult times – then this session is for you. Our keynote speakers will address three concrete strategies to help you change your thinking, create new action plans, and connect to others so you don’t feel overwhelmed by stress and underwhelmed by options for taking care of yourself.

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Co-author of Overcoming Overthinking: 36 Ways to Tame Anxiety for Work, School, and Life

Sophie Riegel

Co-author of Overcoming Overthinking: 36 Ways to Tame Anxiety for Work, School, and Life

What Happens Now?

We are beginning to grasp the magnitude of the problem and understand some of the forces holding women back in our societies. There is a long way to go to achieving true gender equity, but we are making progress. When the next crisis happens, we must ensure we act fast and with clarity of purpose to recover quickly, effectively and without another global tragedy for women. Until then, we must actively address gender inequity in our workplaces and society and design systems that actively empower women.

Sharmla Chetty

President of Global Markets, Duke Corporate Education

Thank you to our 2021 Lead with Her > sponsor!


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