What Everyone Was Talking About at Davos 2020 (Blog Post)
When I returned from the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos on Saturday, I had one overwhelming emotion: Exuberance. The trip wildly exceeded expectations.
At every panel I sat on, every meeting I attended, every speech I heard, it was clear that Catalyst’s agenda – inclusion, pay equity, gender diversity at all levels – is high on the priority lists of the world’s largest companies. The question that Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), CEOs, Boards, and investors asked repeatedly at the WEF was, “What actions must we take now to be more inclusive?”
Leaders in every industry and sector showed they understand that human capital management is critical to their organizations’ success. They are focusing on how to support the workforce, measure and track diversity, and improve employee engagement, training and reskilling, and compensation. Put simply, Davos confirmed that what we do—making workplaces work for women—is more relevant than ever before.
On the panel sponsored by The Female Quotient, the women-owned events company committed to advancing equality, I discussed with leaders of Google, Ingenuity, PwC, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility the topic of “future-proofing”—preparing for tomorrow’s workforce today—and how to ensure women advance. Another panel discussion, at the U.N. Global Compact with leaders from the software giant SAP and the NGO, Women Deliver, on women driving sustainable development and governance.
Not surprisingly, The Female Quotient Equality Lounge was the place to be throughout the week, hosting talks with leaders from The New York Times, Amazon, Unilever, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, and Harvard Business Review, among many others.
Catalyst also co-hosted a roundtable with Lareina Yee, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of McKinsey, Sheri Bronstein, Chief Human Resources Officer of Bank of America, and Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Officer of Unilever; we discussed “Breaking the Gap Between Say and Do on Diversity and Inclusion” and focused on actionable solutions.
It is validating, to be sure, that the world’s largest companies now recognize what Catalyst has demonstrated for 58 years—that inclusion goes hand in hand with thriving business. But even more exciting is that companies are now turning their attention to measurement, an issue we’ve been intensely focused on; there is a growing recognition that what gets measured gets done. At Davos, I saw firsthand that the conversation has shifted from the need for inclusion and gender equity in the workplace to how best to accomplish it.
I am optimistic because while we all know that more needs to be done, this trip strengthened partnerships with Catalyst Supporters and reinforced our shared mission to create inclusive workplaces that work for women. With measurement now front and center, we are poised to effect real change.
President & CEO
Lorraine Hariton is President and CEO of Catalyst, a global nonprofit working with the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Catalyst’s vision and mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion has been a lifelong passion for Lorraine. She is…