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SS&C Intralinks WomenIN Forum 2021 Event Recap

Highlights from the inaugural virtual event.

SS&C Intralinks WomenIN Recap

On July 14, SS&C Intralinks hosted its inaugural WomenIN Forum 2021. This event stood out because of the intimate stories the speakers told — sharing their experiences both personal and professional.

The forum has grown from a grassroots global initiative to a breakthrough live event designed to offer new possibilities in professional development and personal growth. Stand-alone sessions were arranged into an East stream (Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa time zone friendly) and a West stream (Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin and North America friendly) that allowed virtual attendees from all over the world to engage in keynote presentations, live workshops and conversations.

Maya Ito, partner at Nishimura & Asahi, opened the East stream with a keynote speech exploring "Why Companies Should Promote Gender Diversity: In Japan & Beyond." Making the case for more women in the workplace, Ito argued that it would result in increased productivity, innovation intensity and would offer the potential for an increased global GDP. She gave an overview of gender diversity-related regulations in Japan, illustrating them with several real-life examples and made frequent references to her personal experiences.

Jenny Lie, senior consultant/corporate trainer at Imageworks, and Celine Fontaine, managing director, coach and lead consultant, hosted a personal development session titled “Get Unstuck: The Journey to Empowerment” in which they used their own experiences to encourage viewers to explore their vision of the life they want. They encouraged participants to consider what you might regret if you never lived that life, what is holding you back and what are you willing to let go of to bring you closer to that vision. Wrapping up the session they offered their five practical tips to getting unstuck: create space for yourself; have a vision; don’t go alone; seek help and guidance; be willing to accept fear and discomfort; and finally, take one step forward.

The final session of the East stream was a fireside chat about negotiation with Suzanne Williams, QPM, International Hostage and Negotiation Expert, in which she gave an inside look into the unknown world of hostage negotiation. Williams shared her experiences in the field and provided relevant, real-life takeaways for those in the business world.

The West stream later in the day kicked off with a panel discussion titled "Females On the Board: Gender Diversity in Corporate Dealmaking." The session was anchored around Gender Diversity and M&A Outcomes, a report published in 2020 by SS&C Intralinks and The Business School, London, led by Dr. Valeriya Vitkova, a senior research fellow at the university, into the role that gender diversity plays in M&A outcomes. Dr. Vitkova presented the key findings of the report, the first-ever large-scale study analyzing gender diversity in the context of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity by corporate acquirers, an area of significant strategic importance for company growth.

Roshanak Bassiri Gharb, legal director, Clyde & Co., Dubai, was delighted with the results of the report, particularly the juxtapositioning of data with perceptions and the finding that having a diverse Board improves M&A outcomes. Kristin Murphy, global M&A strategy and commercial leader, Mercer North America, was similarly encouraged with the findings of the report and contributed examples of how men and women are treated and judged differently in the workplace. The speakers discussed their organizations’ efforts to promote gender diversity.

In another practical personal development session, Jennefer Witter, CEO/founder of The Boreland Group, spoke to the topic of "The Importance of Personal Branding." Sharing fascinating anecdotes, she outlined her seven-step process to creating your personal brand: 1. Defining the objective. 2. Conducting an anonymous survey on what people currently think of you and your personal brand. 3. Conduct research yourself from a branding point of view. 4. Development a personal branding statement. 5. Test that statement. 6. Re-evaluate and update the statement; finally 7. Work it!

The final session of the day was a presentation titled “Unleash Your Potential” by Molly Fletcher, author and CEO of The Molly Fletcher Company. During her talk, Fletcher outlined her five-step program, sharing stories from her work to bring them to life: 1. Believe in the value that you bring to the table. 2. Discover the gaps and unique ways to add value. 3. Clarify the question: Are you building a relationship, or just doing deals? 4. Discipline to focus and finally, 5. Boldness. If you lean into these pillars, Fletcher argued, you can 5. Unleash your potential.

The inaugural WomenIN event combined data-driven discussions about gender diversity and female empowerment with intensely personal sessions, offering viewers practical advice on how to further their careers and fulfill their potential. While the tone of the day was informal, the messages the presenters conveyed were powerful, inspiring and hugely encouraging. Please click here for recordings of the day — it will be worth your time.