Gerald Karsenti (HP France) speaks on the vital role of women in the Digital Age
On March 26th 2015, HEC Paris Executive Education organized a special women’s event on "The Digital Woman – the vital role of women in the digital age", in collaboration with HEC Au Féminin, Women in the City, Business O Féminin and PWN London. Keynote speaker Gérald Karsenti, Managing Director of HP France and Distinguished Affiliate Professor at HEC Paris, shared his extensive experience of female leadership and spoke about women’s ability to provide sense in the workplace, their particular strengths in the current digital age and the direct correlation between better gender diversity and better company performance.
Gérald Karsenti described a postwar period where universities, industries and financial markets were dominated by men until the age of the internet in the mid 90’s. Innovation after the financial crash, he said, was a big opportunity for women to re-emerge. Why? Because women have 3 essential characteristics which make them great leaders: 1. Sense 2. Long term vision – the idea that you can get results and also gain social benefits and 3. Networking skills. These characteristics mean that women don’t always need to be in the spotlight; they are more likely to listen to other opinions and be open minded in order to make better decisions; they are more likely to risk their egos and experiment. This means that women can create real social networks. Gerald Karsenti credits his companies drive to appoint more women to senior positions for the last three years for being ranked in the top 5 in the world for performance.
Gérald Karsenti was joined by four panelists : Nathalie Gaveau (HEC 99), Founder of Shopcade.com and Co-founder of PriceMinister, Anne-Claire Berg (EMBA 2014), Corporate Affairs Director at Danone UK, Cecilia Weckstrom (Trium Global EMBA 2012), Global Head of Lego.com and Frédérique Deau Blanchet, Managing Director at Accenture. They who provided concrete advice to the audience of aspiring female leaders and who agreed that emotional intelligence, soft skills and the ability to listen are vital to be an interactive leader for the future.