Female leadership forum rewrites the rules to inspire women
June 18, 2022. Shanghai – The 2022 CEIBS Female Leadership Forum took place online today, bringing together more than 100 inspirational speakers from various industries to share stories and experiences about their personal and professional lives.
The event, co-hosted by the CEIBS MBA Women’s Leadership Network and Global Women Connect, featured senior executives from multinational companies such as Deloitte, Lego, and Cathay Pacific Airways.
Now in its fourth year, the 2022 event focused on the theme of Rewriting the Rules and aimed to inspire more women to question, reshape, and eliminate the boundaries imposed by themselves and others, and define their own lives.
Xiangwei Gong, President of Aptar Asia, noted during the forum that staying true to yourself is important in setting role models for others.
“Everybody else is taken, and you can only be yourself and constantly strive to be the better version of yourself. That’s a lifelong journey, and it’s all worth it,” she said.
As a global citizen who has served business leaders in various countries, Ms. Gong added that she believes that leadership is something that can be nurtured.
“I stick my head out, I don’t think about consequences and also have the courage to be rejected [...]. Take a step forward and believe you can do that,” she said.
Her view was echoed by Polly Ng, President and CEO of BWSea Group and Chairman of Global Women Connect, who told the audience that women should break societal expectations and recognise who we are and who they want to be in the face of unconscious biases that they face today.
During a panel discussion moderated by CEIBS Professor of Organisational Behaviour Emily David, five leaders shared their insights and experiences in what rewriting rules means for them.
Judy Zhu, VP of China Digital Technology at Lego Group, suggested that the first step to rewriting the rules is to have the courage to break up rules and not be afraid of failures.
“Even if you fail this time, it doesn’t mean you will fail next time; be resilient, be consistent […]. Let’s shatter the glass ceiling, and you can be that person,” she said.
Agatha Lee, Regional General Manager China for Cathay Pacific Airways, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it a perfect time for us to rewrite the rules, especially in the heavily-disrupted tourism industry.
“With all the uncertainties that we have to face, we cannot just rely on what has worked in the past to succeed again. It has pushed us to explore new ways of working and interacting with people,” she explained, adding that it is a great opportunity to re-examine what we previously took for granted as rules.
Sebastien Denes, VP at SAP, encouraged women to go for positions even if they only feel semi-qualified, citing the disparity between women and men when it comes to applying for new and challenging jobs.
Other participants on the panel included Deloitte Partner Enjoyce Zhu and Founder and CEO of LUÜNA Naturals Olivia Cotes-James, who reflected on their own professional experiences in breaking down the rules.
The discussion was followed by small group conversations where participants engaged in with business leaders about their own unique strengths and goals.
The Female Leadership Forum is an annual event aiming to create an inclusive and diverse environment, and which brings students and young professionals together with industry leaders to achieve their fullest potential.