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Accelerating Gender Equity for a Sustainable Future

Event Date: March 31, 2022

In celebration of women’s history month Duke Corporate Education convened a global dialogue of business leaders and changemakers who discussed the current state of gender equity and identified opportunities to enable action to accelerate sustainable change for all women.

This two-hour high-impact virtual event features insights from thought leaders and executives from top companies on key topics like intersectionality and allyship.


Sharmla Chetty, Chief Executive Officer, Duke Corporate Education

At the current rate of change, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take 135 years to close the gender gap worldwide. Despite advances made, progress has been way too slow. Wherever you are in the world, good enough is not enough. What can be learned from leaders on the frontlines of progress about how each of us can accelerate and achieve a more equitable future?

Panel 1: Never forget to lift as you climb

Jeanett Modise: Group Human Resources Director, Sanlam
Samantha Hammock: Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Verizon
KG Bako: Managing Executive: People and Culture, Absa Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB)
Susana Elvira: Chief People Officer, A.P. Moller - Maersk
Lee-Ann Samuel: Group Executive: People, Implats

A woman alone has power but as a collective, women have IMPACT. The power of collaboration is how we can change the equity equation. What kind of networks should women seek to align themselves to and create? Are female-only dominated networks the way forward? What role do allies play in raising women to senior positions?

Keynote: Breaking Gender Bias to Reach Infinite Possibilities

Dr. Mae C. Jemison: Physician, Engineer, former NASA astronaut, leader of 100 Year Starship non-profit for space exploration

Imagine a gender-equitable universe that is free of bias where we engage to increase knowledge and realize our full potential. Dr. Mae C. Jemison broke more than the sound barrier in 1992 when she climbed aboard the space shuttle Endeavour and became the first woman of color to travel into space. Engage with this fearless heroine about breaking bias to reach infinite possibilities.

Panel 2: Gender Equity Now, It's Our Moment... We'll Claim It

Dr. Virginia Bastian: Global Head of Talent, Deutsche Bank
Jane Munagian: Global Head of Talent Development, Electronic Arts
Nana Phiri: Chief Executive Officer, Sanlam Specialised Finance
Natalie Maroun: Managing Director, The Performance Agency
Thokozile Mcopele: Relationship Manager: Global Development Organisations, Absa Group

We need gender equity NOW. Gender equality "does not mean that women and men will become the same, but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.” Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. We talk to women across geographies and industries on the importance of gender equity.

A Path to Progress to an Inclusive Future: Connecting Purpose and Society

An interview with Francine Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer of Cisco. At Cisco, purpose is about action, not just words. In today’s world, business and society work hand-in-hand. That’s why Cisco created The Inclusive Future Action Office dedicated to driving beliefs and actions to respond to injustice and inequity in society.

Fran oversees critical functions that instill Cisco’s conscious culture, contribute to the company’s overall performance, and advance Cisco’s purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All.

Fran leads an ecosystem comprised of People & Communities, Corporate Affairs, Workplace Resources, and Government Affairs & Country Digital Acceleration. A strategic alignment of functions and expertise ensures holistic care for the well-being of Cisco’s people, establishes Cisco as a trusted and valued partner to governments and global leaders, and extends Cisco’s reach to positively impact communities everywhere in alignment with the company purpose.

Closing Remarks

Sharmla Chetty, Chief Executive Officer, Duke Corporate Education

We are beginning to grasp the magnitude of the gap and understand some of the forces for accelerating the shift. What actions can we commit to take now so that we are continually integrating these efforts to drive sustainable change for women?

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