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These are the winners of the Cartier Women’s Initiative

The award ceremony of the Cartier Women’s Initiative had to be canceled due to Corona, but the seven award winners can of course be proud of their award even without a gala event. After all, they prevailed against a pool of 1200 applicants and 14 other top-class finalists. In addition to fame and honor, they win an extensive package of grants ($ 100,000 each), professional strategy advice, INSEAD training and exchange with the network of the program founded 14 years ago. And at the end of May 2021, the ceremony will be rescheduled in Boston.

So far, 240 female founders from 56 countries have been supported in realizing the full potential of their respective companies and projects. This year, the partner of the Cartier initiative led by Wingee Sampaio is the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society. Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron says the commitment is an important expression of the jeweler’s stance on the topic of “female empowerment”: “Creating new opportunities for women in business and supporting them is not just something that we find right. The Cartier Women’s Initiative also expresses who we are: a house that is anchored in reality and at the same time open to the world and aware of its responsibility for it. ”

These are the seven winners of the Cartier Women’s Initiative 2020:


The jury members gave two exclusive interviews with Personal-Financial.com Cathie Black and Bárbara Silva Not only practical tips for more female participation in a company, they also reveal the most important advice from your personal mentors and moments in which you stood up for yourself in your career. Honest insights from two women who are vehemently committed to women in business.

“Be a good boss, be honest and appreciate others”

Cathie Black, jury member of the Cartier Women’s Initiative 2020

Cathie Black started her career in advertising sales of the “Ms. Magazine “, before becoming the first editor of the” New York “magazine and later holding the same position at the” USA Today “newspaper. Later, as President and CEO of Hearst Magazines, she was responsible for the media giant’s magazine portfolio, which includes, for example, “Cosmopolitan” and “Elle”. Today, Black, who has made it onto the “Fortune Top 100” list twelve times and was a member of the supervisory board of Coca-Cola and IBM for a while, advises mainly start-ups with founders. Her guide, Basic Black: the Essential Guide to Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life), was a New York Times bestseller.

Which projects, companies and leaders are you particularly impressed by? And what do they have in common?

The first thing that comes to mind is an absolute commitment to innovation and breaking new ground. I’m thinking of the start-up phase of companies like Apple, Spotify, Uber, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, USA Today, Netflix, HBO, Starbucks and many more. Some start-ups started in the dormitory, others in garages or very cheap offices. However, all of these companies had strong leaders who were willing to take risks to implement their respective vision. There are now many (auto) biographies, magazine stories and films. One was rather extroverted, the other introverted, but hardly anyone deviated from the direction in which he thought the journey should go. It was less about being liked, some of them might also enjoy the fact that subordinates sometimes felt fear. Important characteristics were therefore bravery and a thick coat. They gathered teams around them, which were again fascinated and “all in”, burning for the common mission.

Supporting women in their jobs and at all levels of their career ladder – keyword: female empowernment – has long been a topic of public debate and in many companies. What signs of sustainable progress do you see in this area?

Before I answer, a quick look back. At the beginning of my career, I applied to a major New York advertising agency because I heard about their executive training program. After a few minutes of small talk about my studies and my training, I asked my counterpart about this program. There was a pause, his face looking puzzled. Finally he said, “Oh, this training program is only for men.” If I remember correctly, he added, “Why would we allow young women like you to invest in you just so that they get married a few years later and Having children? ”I was disappointed and angry at the same time, but at the time, at the age of 22, I simply didn’t know what to say.

Today we know that there is little difference between what drives men and women in business. It makes me proud to see what women have achieved in the meantime. When I climbed the career ladder in large corporations, I saw the first signs of it everywhere. Women do their MBA more often than men, they do their doctorate, they achieve top positions in almost all industries and in politics. Did we catch up with the men? Too often this is not the case, but progress has been immense. Did it take too long? Definitely!

Please share the most important career advice with us and the readers you have ever received.

There are so many! One of them comes from Patricia Carbine, editor of the magazine “Ms. Magazine “. In a meeting, I just wanted to tell her that I would go to be the editor of a smaller regional magazine. She advised me: “Don’t be in such a hurry, be patient. The job in the province won’t take you anywhere, so keep working on your profile here and you’ll have a great career ahead of you. ”And that’s exactly what happened.

My later boss Rupert Murdoch gave me the second piece of advice, at least indirectly. I had prepared very well for a presentation of business figures and memorized every number, no matter how unimportant. After my talk, Murdoch thanked me and the appointment was over. The next day, my line manager almost told me from Murdoch that I had spoken for far too long and had gone into too much detail. I was devastated. What I learned from it: Be aware of who your audience is and what they are particularly interested in. Also find out how much time you have – and don’t just use every minute of it. Perhaps another tip from me personally: Be a good boss, be honest and appreciate others.

Which to-do on the way to equal opportunities in business for everyone should be at the top of the agenda for every man and woman?

First, make a schedule and stick to it. Ask your team where exactly progress should be made and determine exactly how the path can get there. The problems can be many and do not think you know what position appeals to someone else or how high he or she wants to rise in the company. So listen to others’ ideas extremely well. This Progress team should of course be diverse, not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of family background, creativity, motivation and other character traits.

Second, make sure that people who are particularly active and loud are not just heard. Treat all colleagues with respect, and if you make mistakes, apologize. Approach major problems aggressively and promptly – and ensure that individual performance and not (domestic) politics are decisive for a promotion.

In which situation did you particularly stand up for yourself or a colleague?

I remember that as if it was yesterday. That was when I was head of all Hearst Corporation magazines, on a retreat for top management with around 100 people in a luxury resort. I had been able to get Bill Clinton to speak for it, an honor for the whole group, which no one had ever met in person. I had long considered whether I should get the okay from our CEO, after all, Clinton’s fee was horrendous and included additional costs for a private plane. I decided against it because I feared a no and was absolutely convinced of the motivating effect of his appearance at the event. And I should be right, Clinton was fantastic.

When we returned, our CEO asked for an interview. I knew right away that I was in deep trouble. He said nobody had ever spent so much money on a keynote speech and then asked me the exact amount. I replied how excited everyone at Clinton was, and how much they would carry around the world, that Hearst was a great company. A few months later we were on a plane together. Again my boss wanted to know what we had paid Clinton. I gathered all my courage and said, “I know you’re upset about it. However, I cannot give you the exact number, we have divided it into several budgets. I can only say that nothing like that will happen again. And now we should just be happy that my department has had a record year. ”

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