What Happened in The FQ Lounge @ Davos: Day Three

The mountains outside The FQ Lounge, Home of Equality @ Davos

WEF Davos 2019

The FQ Lounge @ Davos closed with a circle of schoolchildren and Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, asking them about their hopes for creating a better world.
The American children of the WAY Program visited The FQ Lounge as part of their school trip to Europe. The impromptu circle conversation wrapped up a day of discussions surrounding gender equality, workplace fairness, and how future generations will play a role in both. Here are some highlights from day three in Davos.

“These projects are going to be the things that are going to give the visibility … This is the extra credit that gets you to the next level.” Melissa Barnes, Head of Global Brands, Twitter

Melissa Barnes says when company executives select people to lead projects, they are men more often than they are women. She says this can lead to men getting more promotions than women, simply because executives have seen men succeed in leading projects where women haven’t had the opportunity.

“The moment of awakening that you have that is based on data is important.” Jia Hyun, VP, Head of North America, Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

Statistics outlining female representation in work can be staggering. Jia Hyun says it’s not only important to have an “awakening moment” of realizing gender disparity, but that there also has to be a follow-up of commitment to changing it.

“It’s not something that you just switch on … it’s something that has to be embedded in the culture of the place because otherwise, it’s just another program.” Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group

Without integrating ideals of gender equality throughout the culture of the company, it is difficult to actually improve that company’s representation, says Darryl White.

“It’s good to be crazy. It’s needed to be crazy in your mindset to have the next great idea.” Ann Rosenberg, SVP and Global Head, SAP Next-Gen

Ann Rosenberg spoke on science fiction and innovation. She says thinking forward and creatively can lead to new ideas that could change the world.
Panelist Caitlin E. Krause, Director of the AI Global Ambassador Program, Swiss Cognitive and MindWise Founder, says the idealism and future-focused themes of science fiction are what drew her to the genre. “I wanted to be in a world that was that aspirational. Brazenly aspirational.”

“Even though driving toward diversity and (equality) is the right thing to do, it’s also an efficient thing to do in terms of business.” Allen Blue, VP Product Management and Co-Founder, LinkedIn

A World Economic Forum report released last year found that just 22% of the AI workforce is women. Allen Blue, who participated in this report, said this bleak number has a silver lining, because any woman who learns AI skills will have opportunities in many companies around the world.

“We all have the mindset still that there is just one type of leader and we don’t really see the diverse leaders that we have.” Selina Stuessi, Youth Ambassador, Plan International Switzerland and President, The FQ Lounge @ University of Zurich

 Selina Stuessi spoke on behalf of Gen Z, and says she hopes in the future her generation will continue the conversation and improve the issues, particularly those acting as barriers to women and people of color. “We have to stop talking about categories … everyone can be a leader, no matter what category you come from.”

“Don’t wait for permission. … It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get started.” Márcia Balisciano, Head of Sustainability, RELX Group and Board Member, Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens

In a panel focused on achieving the 17 sustainable development goals, Márcia Balisciano says women have an important role to play in making progress. She says women should not be afraid to take initiative in improving their own companies or starting new progressive initiatives.
For more on The FQ Lounge @ Davos, check out:
What Happened in The FQ Lounge, Home of Equality @ Davos: Day One
What Happened in The FQ Lounge @ Davos: Day Two
Why Diversity Should Be a Business Goal
headshot of The Female Quotient intern at Davos London Gibson
London Gibson is a journalism student at the University of Texas who will be covering The FQ Lounge, Home of Equality @ Davos. She has also reported for The Austin American-Statesman.