Winning for Women: female empowerment program boosts C-suite talent

Javier HermosillaGeneral Director, Cegos América Latina

Cegos helped design and deliver Continental’s ‘Female Talent Program’, which aims to boost the role of women within the organisation. Currently, there is already 24.5% female representation at C-suite level, based on a target of 25% by 2025. Find out how empowerment happened so quickly and successfully in such a short time.

The Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards is a global programme that recognises innovation and achievement in the world of Human Capital Management. The group recently announced Continental and Cegos' project as winner of the Gold Award in the category: Best Advance in Leadership Development for Women in "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion".

Back in 2016, only 27% of management and C-level executive positions were held by women worldwide. In Mexico, this number was 13%. Continental – the global manufacturing company – decided it was high time women played a bigger role in the boardroom and implemented a program to make it happen. Quite a challenge in Mexico’s male-dominated business environment.

In 2020, after working initially with another training provider, Continental chose Cegos to design its Female Talent Program. They chose this new partner due to their proven track-record and excellent reputation in creating tailored programs for global companies.

The requirement was that Cegos help Continental expand the talent and competencies of high-performing women and prepare them to take executive positions. The program had to be implemented in a systemic and integral manner, thereby contributing to professional and personal development.

The Female Talent Program in action

Participants were expected to take ownership of their personal development, with the support of HR and country managers. They were encouraged to identify internal barriers that prevent them from promoting their talents, developing an action plan that expands their opportunity for action. In addition, they were encouraged to network with other female leaders to share experiences and strengthen their skills.

In response to these goals, Cegos developed ‘The Female Talent Program’ – a mix of training, coaching and business simulation exercises.

Before the program, participants undergo a behavioural assessment (PDA) that identifies their behavioural profile and uniqueness. The result informs the coaching process.

96 hours are devoted to group training activities, focusing on creating the right culture and providing the tools for influential leadership and self-management. Normally, workshops would have been delivered face-to-face. But when the pandemic struck, all sessions had to be delivered virtually.

Soaring to success

After two years of the Cegos program – building on the program developed by the previous supplier – the results have been astonishing. Currently, 24.5% of management/C-suite positions are held by women, making it likely that the 2025 target of 25% will be surpassed.

What’s more, a significant percentage of participants have been promoted since taking part in the program.

One of the most important impacts of the program is to accelerate female development within our organisation and make sure they are prepared to take on new responsibilities,” says Marco Galluzzi, the Country Head of Continental Mexico. “In addition, the program helps to display the company’s best interest to support women’s career progress and to retain talented professionals for critical positions.”

An empowering response

Indeed, the program was well received by participants, too:

“The program provided me with specific tools to help me tackle opportunities,” says one. “It was very gratifying to know that I was considered a female talent within the organisation. And being gifted with the time and resources to help me unleash my potential was an enormous opportunity.

Another commented: “I got promoted to a position with higher responsibilities and exposure after this program. It helped me know myself more as a professional and understand that some of the fears and questions I had were normal and shared with other colleagues. It also helped me to grow my self-confidence and confirmed that I should never go backwards, no matter the situation.

Going for Gold

Cegos is proud to be awarded ‘Gold’ by Brandon Hall for this very special project, thanks to the partnership with Continental.

The Female Talent Program is a necessary initiative in a world where female empowerment shows real benefits to companies and the people who work within them and while great results are seen from the program in Mexico, this is just the beginning of a concerted effort to achieve gender parity in the boardroom.

Interested to learn more about how Cegos can help your female leaders reach new heights? Contact us today.

Written by

Javier Hermosilla

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