I was invited by the Slovenian Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association of Professional Managers – Section of women managers to participate in their workshop of women managers. The topic of the day “Moving from Management to Boards positions” so this was the ideal opportunity to present the work of the EESC in this aspect and have a debate with the 80 female managers in the room.
The crisis has affected all EU countries but many of the smaller ones, in population size, appear to be facing some of the greatest challenges as employment opportunities are decreased and the younger generations leave the country. How to debate growth when facing the challenges of recession? The solution I presented was the review of the ways we work, looking for innovation and new solutions. Some of these opportunities could be addressed by increasing the number of women on the boards of companies. It was heart-warming to hear that 14 of the 18 Slovenia companies who may be affected by the new Directive on targeted objectives were supportive of the measures.
Presenting the findings of the EESC opinion, I also presented the difference in thinking between women and men that may bring new solutions, together with the consideration that Slovenia was ideally placed to maximize its position in the EU having borders with so many other member states and access to the Balkans, who needed EU technology and knowledge.
Encouraging the younger population to use their knowledge and consider starting enterprises instead of leaving would add to the countries growth, but for that they needed to build on the support mechanisms that were already in place by institutions such as the Chambers of Commerce. Here the Chambers of Commerce could develop stronger links with other EU Chambers as developing business inside the union was easier than outside.
The workshop was supported also by a Serbian psychologist who highlighted some of the difference in the responses of women leaders and how they could change to be effective leaders in the future. This backed up the recommendations in the EESC opinion to identify the necessary training and development for women on Boards and to provide a “pipeline” of board ready women.
Prior to the meeting I had an interview with a Leadership and Management magazine from Slovenia who took away both opinion son female entrepreneurship and women on boards for their research. After the conference I had a further interview with another journalist preparing an article on successful women.
In the evening I was invited as a guest of the Nike Rotary Club where I again presented the activities of the committee and my work as an individual.
It is always an honour to represent the EESC at these events and see the added value of our work.