As more than 5,100 meeting and incentive buyers plus 3,500 exhibitors from at least 100 countries gather in Germany this week for the IMEX Frankfurt show, the event's organizers delivered a half-day educational track on gaining gender balance and driving female empowerment during "EduMonday," a multi-track program that took place before the exhibit floor opened for business on May 21 and 22.
Titled "She Means Business," the track comprised 10 mini-sessions of 10 minutes each after a 50-minute keynote by Anne Kjaer Riechert of ReDI School of Digital Integration. Riechert’s experience building and expanding schools in Berlin and Munich in large part to help female refugees gain digital proficiency, as well as her work with the Grace Female Accelerator summer entrepreneurship program in Germany, allowed her to impart lessons on educating and empowering the next generation of women in the workplace.
Interestingly, both the keynote and the mini-sessions had an overarching goal to educate both women and men about why to and how to focus on the education and empowerment of girls, novice businesswomen, and veteran businesswomen. Dr. Martina Niemann, vice president of human resources for Lufthansa, spoke on how her company creates more diversity, equal opportunity, and empowerment for female employees. Another mini-session titled "Women Matter: A Male Perspective," led by Gernot Sendowski, team lead for global diversity & inclusion for Deutsche Bank, explained why male participation in building diversity and opportunity for women to advance through organizations is critical to the success of such initiatives. And Louis Tongbong-Thomason of PwC Deutschland discussed the "HeForShe" global movement that enlists men to contribute to female empowerment in business and society.
The half-day track ended with success stories from two female executives—Ping Liu of China Star Ltd. and Fay Sharpe from BCD Meetings & Events—followed by roundtable discussions where attendees could choose from 14 different topics, including "How technology unlocks the data you need to be heard in the C-suite," "Sexual harassment in the meetings industry: let's talk," and "Positioning, stance, and values: how do you want to be recognized." The entire EduMonday track focused on gender equality and women's empowerment can be seen here.