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Saturday, July 11, 2020

CEIBS Female Leadership Forum Explores Purposeful Leadership

July 11, 2020. Shanghai — Over 100 participants joined the 2020 CEIBS Female Leadership Forum today, which explored the theme of purposeful leadership. Going virtual for the first time, this year’s forum was attended by CEIBS Assistant Professor of Management Emily David, CEIBS MBA WLN President Shefali Pathak, and senior executives from multinational companies such as eBay, TOJOY, EATON, Hape Holdings AG and Traders of Africa. The forum was co-organised by the CEIBS MBA Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) and Global Women Connect.

This year’s forum looked beyond women’s issues to explore the broader topic of how to lead with purpose during times of uncertainty. As Prof. David said in her opening remarks, the pandemic has substantially changed the world today, underscoring the fact that we need new characteristics in our leaders.

“We no longer settle for narcissistic or charismatic superheroes to be our leaders, but instead we really crave the comfort of a stronger figure, people who are humble, emotional, hopeful, and most importantly, who we believe have our best interests at heart,” she said.

During the panel discussion, five leaders shared their insights and experiences in leading with purpose. Vivian Tian, Global Vice President and General Manager of eBay’s China Centre of Excellence, said purposeful leadership gives an organisation a meaningful objective that its employees will be willing to fight for together.

“The beauty of purposeful leadership is that once you get the team fully aligned in vision and strategy, the leader doesn’t need to ‘drive’. The organisation will have the capability to drive by itself,” she said.

She also added that she believes women’s consideration and attention to people’s feelings make it easier for them to adopt the idea of purposeful leadership.

But, how can organisations get people to buy in the idea of a leader, and take the leader’s ideas as their own? Uju-Uzo Ojinnaka, CEO of Traders of Africa, said it is important to create a culture of ownership for employees. This means leaders should not just involve employees in decision-making, but also make employees feel that their company’s vision is for them as well.

Aiying Wang, Vice President and General Manager of EATON APAC, said being visionary and being influential are two important qualities that are required of a purposeful leader. She added that she encourages leaders to become sponsors for women talents in their workplace, and encourages women to think more about Sheryl Sandberg’s famous advice to women in the workplace: to lean in.

Other participants on the panel included Ge Jun, Global CEO of TOJOY, and Peter Handstein, Founder and CEO of Hape Holdings AG, who shared their own stories and experiences of leading with purpose.

The panel discussion was followed by the World Cafe, an interactive session where over 15 speakers from around the world engaged in discussions about questions such as how leaders at all levels can be held accountable for prioritising inclusion and how organisations can create work cultures which promote a culture of inclusion from bottom-up.

For a complete list of the day’s speakers, event sponsors, partners and co-organisers, please visit the CEIBS Female Leadership Forum event page here.

Writer: 
Lilly Zhang
Editor: 
Michael Thede