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Women managers want greater diversity among company leaders

Women managers want greater diversity among company leaders
The Women Leadership Team (WLT), an organisation that seeks to promote diversity among company leaders, held its annual conference in Paris, on the theme of diversity in business. Over 200 male and female business leaders attended the event at the prestigious Cercle de l'Union Interalliée. Leading this initiative was the manager of a Portuguese company.

Jacqueline Legrand, president/founder of WLT and chief operating officer of Portuguese multinational group MDS, said diversity was an emerging and critical challenge for companies and society: "Diversity is not limited to gender, it also encompasses other elements that contribute to our identity throughout our lives, such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical disability and age. Diversity enhances company performance, and with the arrival of the millennial generation, this inevitable culture change will speed up considerably. This transformation will happen with us, without us or against us.” 

During the conference, business leaders and diversity experts shared their views on this major challenge, which will be of interest to all companies in the coming years.

After a presentation by Claude Fromageot, president of the Yves Rocher Foundation, who mentioned the economic contribution women make, Nathalie Balla, co-general manager of La Redoute, explained how diversity was a critical factor in her company recovery. Estelle Dufetel, leader and founder of Bboosstt, presented the initiatives undertaken by large companies to support new employees and, thus, continue to attract the next generation. Emmanuelle Duez, a young entrepreneur, lecturer and founder of WoMen’Up, an association that deals with issues of gender and ageism, recounted with energy and humour the need for organisations to change the way they operate to adapt to the new generation, whose expectations are similar to those of many women: flexible working hours and recognition of individual performance.

Alan de Bruyne, senior associate of Pluribus, reinforced the importance of leaders’ commitment to cultural transformation, at a time when ‘diversity is a reality, but inclusion remains a choice’. A round table event bringing together diversity leaders from Drivye and Accenture, prompted a lively debate on the subject of integrating new generations into the workplace.

The Women Leadership Team (WLT) brings together 20 corporate-leading women from Europe and the United States. Their goal is to help create environments within the insurance industry that encourage women to take up leadership positions.

WLT confirms: "Management positions are usually solitary. We, leaders of today and tomorrow, need a forum to share the experience of leadership; this helps our career progression while successfully balancing personal and family commitments. We would like to accompany women in leadership roles, support and share things with them, so that they themselves become a source of inspiration and support for the young female talents who will nurture and develop the insurance industry of the future, and bring the profession the diversity it needs.”

MDS fosters women in leadership positions
The MDS Group, which is now a global leader  in  risk consultancy and insurance broking, has a firm  commitment to diversity, both within its management teams (where there are a significant number of women), as well as internationally.

In addition to Jacqueline Legrand, the Portuguese company has among its leaders,  Paula Rios, director at MDS,  Ana Cristina Borges, MDS RE’s chief executive officer and  Carla Alves, Chief operating officer of  Brokerslink’s, a global broking company that manages a network of independent insurance brokers operating in over 100 countries.
Additional information about WLT at 

About WLT
The Women Leadership Team was founded by Jacqueline Legrand, COO of the MDS Group and regional director of Brokerslink  Europe. WLT is an informal group, consisting of more than 20 executive women from Europe and the United States. They  seek to create conditions that enable women to evolve in their leadership roles. WLT is a non-profit organisation based in the United States.
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