Invest in Women – Accelerate Progress

March 12, 2024

International Women's Day 2024

On International Women’s Day 2024 the WU EA Female Leaders Network hosted the most wonderful breakfast event. Following the #IWD2024 topic: ‘Invest in Women – Accelerate Progress’ our Female Leaders was delighted to welcome around eighty people following the call to start the day inspired through an exchange of experiences and viewpoints on how to accelerate women’s careers.

Two women hugging at a reception

Partners and other networks joined us to celebrate International Women’s Day

In addition to guests from Hypo Niederösterreich who were there for this inaugural event of our new collaboration we were quite lucky to have our colleagues from the University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management with us. Dean Jamie Prenkert, Academic Director Stephen T. Parente and Assistant Dean of Global Initiatives Anne D’Angelo and their team were in Vienna to kick off a new cohort of our joint Global Executive MBA program. They could join the beginning of the event together with students of our brand new GEMBA students before kicking off their day with the first GEMBA module.

People at a reception

We were very thrilled to welcome a group of women from the Microsoft Austria Women in Technology network, who followed the invitation of the WU EA Female Leaders Network to attend this event. It was a terrific opportunity to connect with another network of female tech leaders.

Members of the Women‘s Network of Microsoft Austria attending the WU EA Female Leaders Breakfast on IWD2024
Members of the Women‘s Network of Microsoft Austria attending the WU EA Female Leaders Breakfast on IWD2024

Dean Barbara Stöttinger opened the event with very personal words about gratefulness: being grateful for the women in this room, the FLN as her sanctuary, the men in her life supporting her.

Barbara Stöttinger

Dean Stöttinger brought the lottery of birth to our thoughts as she emphasized the sheer luck of being born in a privileged country without having to fight the essential battles other women have to fight across the world: ‘When I travel, I am always grateful for being born in a very privileged place on this earth. Especially when I think of women in other parts of the world.’

She closed her opening words by thanking the Hypo Niederösterreich or collaborating with the WU EA Female Leaders Network in 2023. Our Alumna, and former IAB member Rita Jakusch, has been essential in setting up this collaboration.

Connecting People & Create Change. How I found out to be more than a storyteller

Then the distinguished keynote speaker Heidi Aichinger, Publisher of FORBES Magazine for Austria and Germany took to the stage.

Keynote speaker Heidi Aichinger, Publisher of FORBES Magazine Austria and Switzerland.
Keynote speaker Heidi Aichinger, Publisher of FORBES Magazine Austria and Switzerland.

She spellbound the audience with a very deeply personal speech about how a great personal challenge transformed her. How being forced to rest led her to acknowledge how she treated herself over the course of her career. Heidi also explained how she was inspired and supported by the exceptional women in her own family to follow her calling and retain her financial independence.
She encouraged everyone in the room: ’Try to pursue your dreams but do not overdo it. Try to be happy about what you have achieved. The more you share it the more comes back.’
 

Jumping into workshop action

The WU EA Female Leaders Network President Katarina Stanisavljevic took over to introduce the interactive workshop part of the event.

WU EA Female Leaders Network President Katarina Stanisavljevic calls to Action at the Female Leaders Breakfast event on IWD2024
WU EA Female Leaders Network President Katarina Stanisavljevic calls to Action at the Female Leaders Breakfast event on IWD2024

Audience members divided into six teams and discussed focal topics Career, Meaning, Health, Wealth, Harmony, and Leadership. Each team was led by experts from the WU EA Female Leaders Network who provided thought stimulating input to kick off the discussion.

An interactive workshop session during the WU EA Female Leaders Breakfast on IWD2024
An interactive workshop session during the WU EA Female Leaders Breakfast on IWD2024

A very animated group work session ensued which concluded with a presentation of the main takeaway points from each team!

Team ‘Career,’ led by Karin Apjarova and Priyanka Dutta-Passecker, pointed out that every woman needs a sponsor and a mentor - while a mentor is educating, a sponsor is talking about you and praising you when you are not in the room. The group concluded that women are generally ‘over mentored’ and ‘under sponsored.’

Team ‘Career,’ led by Karin Apjarova and Priyanka Dutta-Passecker, pointed out that every woman needs a sponsor and a mentor - while a mentor is educating, a sponsor is talking about you and praising you when you are not in the room. The group concluded that women are generally ‘over mentored’ and ‘under sponsored.’

Women around a table

Team ‘Meaning,’ led by Katarina Stanisavljevic and Gina Eitelbös, presented on how we can help others to help themselves emphasizing that talking about meaning alone connects people on a much deeper level. Everyone was encouraged to reflect, and share, to find a meaning for themselves every day.

Women in front of a white-board

Team ‘Health’ led my Lilly Sommer and Viola Kospach, worked out a complete set of practical tips how to keep an eye on one’s own physical and mental health by taking care of good nutrition, sleep, and a way to manage and regulate thoughts.

Team Wealth

Team ‘Wealth,’ led by Martina Ernst and Nina Schweighofer, illustrated on how much wealth we are missing out globally just because there is now gender equality in the workplace. The group members reminded us that we need to negotiate our worth.

Team Harmony

For Team ‘Harmony,’ led by Elena Petrova and Gabriele Lang group the main takeaway was to overcome the desire for perfection, to take time and see the bigger picture when faced with challenging situations.

Team Leadership

The presenters of Team ‘Leadership,’ Natalia Villanueva García und Özlem Şensin group opened their presentation with pointing out how leadership is always also allyship.

The event concluded with the chance to continue networking in a relaxed atmosphere encouraging everyone to make plans how to put into practice all the great ideas to accelerate our careers.

A group picture

We are incredibly grateful to our amazing WU EA Female Leaders Network for organizing this event. We want to thank Hypo Niederösterreich and our collaborating with the WU EA Female Leaders Network this year! And, as always, we are grateful to our fantastic Events team supporting us as always to bring our community events to life!

Collaborating with the WU EA FLN in 2024
Collaborating with the WU EA FLN in 2024

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