By Sophie Le Ray
Founder WIL FORUM
I started my career at a time (25 years ago) where, as the largest minority group, we had to make (un)conscious decisions to fulfill our career objectives: waiting for post maternity for promotion or exiting all together the corporate world to do our own thing, “getting on” or dodging diplomatically the not so subtle invitations from some male colleagues, bosses, trying to fit in by dressing and acting like a man or risking to be seen as “too sexy”, “looking for attention”; expecting to be noticed for our professionalism without daring to “lean in” not to be labelled as aggressive.
Throughout my career with Naseba, I was lucky to meet remarkable businesswomen who defied the odds, didn’t fit the “dragon lady” stereotype often described; who refused to believe there was not enough space at the top for more than one woman. They were scattered globally, ready and keen to be connected with one another.
WIL Forum started in Dubai 10 years ago to do just that: offering a platform to connect a global sisterhood. We believe there is massive power in the exchange of life stories, in supporting, sponsoring, mentoring each other and in doing business with one another.
Over the years, WIL travelled across continents to China, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, witnessing stories of organisations and individuals who harness the power of diversity and inclusion to build a more innovative and profitable future for societies and economies.
WIL Forum opened then the conversation to male allies and companies making change happen in their respective field. Partnering with IE three years ago was only natural since we shared a common vision for the society we want to contribute to: daring to have big dreams and to fail if necessary, learning by doing, enthusiastically pulling on each other strength to build a more interconnected world where personal success does not come at the price of someone else’s exclusion.
Since my young years, global migration, artificial intelligence, climate change, remote work, the data economy, and the “war” for our attention in a marketplace so crowded by offers and opinions as totally changed the game.
This new era can be seen as presenting unsurmountable challenges or an opportunity for a new social contract where the gender divide is not longer possible. All hands must be on deck.
This year, WIL Forum invites global leaders to DARE BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE, because we need less opinion piece and more action.
Join us in Dubai, on October 28/29
Please visit wilforum.com