The IMEX Group and tw tagungswirtschaft in partnership with MPI – Meeting Professionals International launched the conference 'She Means Business' at IMEX America: a packed auditorium, 200 enthusiastic delegates, and a save-the-date: September 14, 2020.
he future of finance is female – and we all need to take better control of our financial futures!” Dr. Mara Catherine Harvey issued a rallying cry to women at the first She Means Business. The Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy at UBS Switzerland AG, and author of the books ‘Women and Risk’ and ‘A Smart Way to Start’ showed some hard-hitting stats on the true impact of the gender pay gap over a lifetime: A 10 percent pay gap accumulates to 40 percent wealth gap over the working lifetime. Harvey talked about the need to drive forward progress on workplace equality and to pass on the powerful message to the next generation. In her keynote 'Gender equality: less words and more action?', she urged event planners to transform the value chain and also the supply chain of their businesses. Harvey: “Ask yourselves: Where are the women in everything we do? Make sure your RFPs ask where your suppliers stand on gender equality. You have the power. You need to use it!”
It is for the first time that the international conference about diversity, gender equality und female empowerment took place during 'Smart Monday' on September 9, 2019, the day before IMEX America at Sands Expo in Las Vegas. With a recent World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 projecting it would take 202 years for men and women to reach economic parity, gender equality remains a pressing issue. “Issues around diversity and gender equality are more important than ever and She Means Business will provide women in events and their male counterparts with a platform for deeper understanding and action. The launch of this new conference at IMEX America follows two years of growth and refinement at IMEX in Frankfurt,” explained Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “It’s a valuable opportunity for planners to collaborate with and learn from inspiring speakers on crucial issues facing women today.” For this reason, the issue was carried on at the IMEX America's 'Inspiration Hub' on the first event day. In her session 'Women and risk: rewriting the rules' Harvey spoke on financial barriers to economic gender equality. “Women are missing out on the opportunity to capture the knowhow that’s essential for their future,” she explained. This resounded with the audience as hosted buyer Nicole Laurette from the Society for Protective Coatings said: “I’ll certainly take Mara’s advice on board – she's inspired me to be bolder.”
'She Means Business' is a joint event by IMEX and tw tagungswirtschaft and is supported for the first time in Las Vegas by MPI – Meeting Professionals International. “Packed rooms, incredible panels and stories, women who were vulnerable and transparent and truthful– to the point of sharing their mistakes and their lessons,” is how Jessie States, CMP, CMM, Director, MPI Academy, Meeting Professionals International summed up her impressions. 200 women and a few men showed up, with not enough seats available for everybody.
Dr. Mara Catherine Harvey
PHOTO: IMEX AMERICA
States moderated the session 'Our Story: Lessons from Influential Women in Business'. Her guest Gina Glantz is convinced that 'Women's voices count' and she inquired: “Where are the women? That question is becoming more and more commonplace at conferences where women are missing from main stages.” The founder of GenderAvenger is delighted with the spirited exchange with panel and audience, and the open-minded attitude. At her side was Vicki Hawarden, Vice President Events, Society for Human Resource Management, who gave her thoughts on 'What I wish I knew'. Hawarden wished that she had spent more time building a network of mentors and advisors. “I was moving fast, always taking the next step, and not reaching out enough to successful people I respected.”
The panel 'The sandwich generation: Balancing career and family' had its focus on debunking myths as well as sharing best practices and solutions. With event management regarded as one of the most stressful careers (Forbes, 2017), managing family obligations and a career can be challenging. An issue resonating with many professionals – both women and men. This was confirmed by Manuel Wrobel. The International Sales Manager at The Hague Convention Bureau thinks this is an interesting discussion, because “many protagonists agreed that numerous so-called 'challenges on working women' actually concern everyone in a modern family – and that's simply the way it is.”
GENDER EQUALITY TO ATTRACT TALENT
Statement by Melissa Ow, Deputy Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board, supporting partner of She Means Business
While the struggle for workplace advancement is still a very real issue for many women around the world, challenging gender equality is not the end goal. When companies look at ways to drive competitiveness and stay relevant, the ability to innovate is often recognized as a critical part of their strategy. What fuels this is diversity and more specifically, diversity of thinking. From an organizational perspective, gender equality is therefore essential to enable a diverse workplace so that the organization has the ability to innovate, compete and progress. As an organization, we compete for the best talent in the market and ensuring gender equality helps us with talent attraction and retention. For example, we have observed that in the workplace, women, and increasingly men as well, tend to take time off their career to look after the elderly and their family. Instead of losing talent to all these pressures and multiple roles that individuals play, our organization has created alternative career tracks to enable our employees to be able to continue as individual contributors and at the same time progress in their careers. It is in this light that I believe that gender equality is more than furthering the interests of women. When we create a workplace that is open, tolerant, and dynamic, we are able to allow different talents to come through. And when that happens, we ultimately better their way of life. www.visitsingapore.com
“Resonance to the first She Means Business America was overwhelming, not only in terms of attendance, but also as relates to interaction and networking between delegates from North America, Europe, Africa and Asia,” said Heike Mahmoud, COO of CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. She supported the conference from the very beginning and sponsored the keynote in Las Vegas. “There's an enormous share of women in the global meetings industry, and diversity thus plays a very important role. At the Congress Center Hamburg, this issue is a key criterion.” The CCH wants to set an example with its commitment and considers its support to be a statement to clients, many of these women. Mahmoud: “This was the show's first edition. I'm absolutely convinced that the second edition in Las Vegas next year will have double the size. This is an outstanding platform for men and women in our industry.” Be sure to save the date: September 14, 2020.