CEO Champions workshop

Daring to imagine the inclusive organization of the future


Daring to lead in a disrupted world


PARIS, France, 6th October 2017 - Recognising an extraordinary opportunity, the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society convened 50 CEOs to discuss how they could advance women’s leadership in business, the economy and society. Together, they shared concrete ideas on how companies can transform themselves into the diverse and inclusive organisation of the future by focusing on a handful of key attributes.

“Companies and entire economies have a lot to gain from enabling skilled, creative and ambitious women to succeed,” said Clara Gaymard, Executive President of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society. “Chief executives are in a position to create the conditions for those women to thrive and accelerate women’s advancement in the private and public sectors.”

McKinsey & Company, knowledge partner this year, who celebrates ten years of research on gender diversity and launches a new “Women Matter” report at the Forum, presented key insights at CEO Champions workshop, including that women are still under-represented in decision-making, making up just 12% of executive committee members across G20 countries. Closing this deficit is a significant opportunity that corporate leaders are keen to take advantage of: McKinsey research showed that companies with highest female representation in their executive committees had a 47% higher return on equity from 2007 to 2009. The new “Women Matter” report invites leaders and thinkers from business, government, academic and social realms to share their perspectives on the gender diversity issues, and to dare to imagine what a truly inclusive company would look like in the future. These perspectives were synthesized in 10 key attributes that shaped the CEO workshop discussions.

“These attributes represent the kind of organisation that every company strives to embody. It’s in our own best interest, as well as those of society,” said Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Publicis Groupe. “With these concrete action items, leaders of all organisations can work towards becoming more diverse and inclusive.”

The CEOs at the workshop drew on the McKinsey research to identify five critical next steps for building inclusive organisations:

  1. Articulate a clear purpose for your company. Understanding ‘why’ employees come to work in the morning will help drive change in your business toward greater inclusiveness.
  2. Change what we value in performance reviews: choose KPIs that measure your purpose, not just your profits.
  3. Publish reports on how companies rank on gender diversity figures, as we do with financial performance or environmental impact. Even if the result is imperfect at first, they will get better and better.
  4. Build and communicate your company’s business case for gender equality from senior leadership to middle management and all levels, and ensure that you take a holistic approach to implementing gender equality across the entirety of your business.
  5. Challenge investors, purchasers, consumers and companies in your supply chain to make decisions based on their commitment to gender diversity.

Held in partnership with McKinsey & company, knowledge partner, and with the support of the 30% Club and the OECD, the Women’s Forum’s CEO Champions Initiative workshop included the CEOs and leaders of organisations across many sectors of the economy.  

The CEO Champions initiative was launched in 2010 by EY and the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society to drive progress and accountability for women’s advancement in the private and public sectors. This peer-to-peer network presents an opportunity for CEOs to underscore their organisations’ commitments to women’s advancement as well as to taking a strong leadership role in the global economy and society. CEO Champions members are active, highly committed participants who track and drive measurable progress for women’s advancement through mutual commitments and accountability.

The workshop was held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris, France, during the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society’s annual Global Meeting.


Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in communication. The Groupe is positioned at every step of the value chain, from consulting to execution, combining marketing transformation and digital business transformation. Publicis Groupe is a privileged partner in its clients’ transformation to enhance personalization at scale. The Groupe relies on ten expertise concentrated within four main activities: Communication, Media, Data and Technology. Through a unified and fluid organization, its clients have a facilitated access to all its expertise in every market. Present in over 100 countries, Publicis Groupe employs around 103,000 professionals.

About the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society

The Women's Forum for the Economy & Society (which belongs to Publicis groupe) has been the world's leading platform featuring women's views and voices on major social and economic issues. Our Forums around the world feature broad, rich and edgy debates, deploying the experience of both women and men – business leaders, researchers, politicians, entrepreneurs… – across all generations and geographies. Each meeting serves as a vital sounding board for today’s essential ideas, and as a springboard for tomorrow’s solutions. In addition to the annual Women's Forum Global Meeting in Deauville, France, important Women's Forum meetings have taken place in Brazil, Myanmar, Italy, Brussels and Dubai. Upcoming Meetings: Mexico city 8-9 november, and in 2018, malta, Toronto, Singapour, Paris 15-16 november 2018.

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