KARACHI: New World Concepts organised Pakistan’s premier conference for women professional development, the International Women Leaders Summit, on Tuesday at a local hotel.
This year’s conference theme ‘Women Making an Impact’ focused on bringing women professionals and entrepreneurs together to learn from women who are pioneering agents of change in diverse fields such as business, government, medicine, entertainment and entrepreneurship. The summit explored ways women as entrepreneurs and corporate executives are re-shaping the business world and redefining leadership globally, while working to create sustainable future. This conference was supported by HBL as Platinum Sponsor, Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan as Gold Sponsor, Bank Alfalah as Silver Sponsor as well as other supporting sponsors.
Featured speakers included Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Senior Minister of the State at the Foreign Office and Minister for Faith and Communities, UK on the occasion said that Pakistan has a proud history of producing inspirational female leaders like Madr-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah while most women would not be afforded such opportunities in other countries. She added that women empowerment assists in the growth of economies, proving to be an effective tool for development. Baroness Warsi expressed that sustainable progress would only be possible if women were provided with skills, knowledge and confidence to take control of their lives and contribute to their communities’ success.
President and CEO, OPIC USA, Elizabeth Littlefield expressed deep interest in addressing women professionals and entrepreneurs in Pakistan and sharing learning. She referred to research that proved that women leadership in business improved business performance. OPIC is the US Government’s development finance institution with investments in Pakistan ranging from energy, healthcare, telecommunications and microfinance sectors.
Neera Saggi, the first woman President of Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry since its inception 177 years ago, and currently the CEO of L&T Seawoods shared her delight at being part of the International Leaders Summit. She emphasized that women needed to be more courageous in the workplace by empowering themselves through creation and utilization of networks. Ms. Saggi also quoted statistics comparing economic participation of South Asian women to the rest of the world.
Kazi Abdul Muktadir, Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan spoke on “Encouraging Board room Diversity” and highlighted the importance of having women on Boards as they add a different approach and skill set for organizational policy making. He emphasized the importance of utilizing the different skill set brought in by women on boards.
Devrim Gürsel, Vice Chairman of Mesan Electronics and Trading spoke about the close brotherly relations between Turkey and Pakistan further cemented by recent visit of Turkish PM Erdogan to Pakistan. She explained the similarities in challenges faced by working women in both countries. Devrim also explained techniques on how women could manager to lead a successful professional and contended personal life. She also emphazied on the need for women to organise professional associations to network and support each other.
A panel discussion featuring Sherry Rehman, former Minister and Ex Ambassador of Pakistan to the US, and Nadeem Hussain, President Tameer Microfinance Bank focused on the importance of finding work life balance for working couples.
Dr Anita Zaidi, Chair Dept. of Pediatrics, Aga Khan University & Hospital and winner of the Caplow Children’s Prize presented details about her global award winning project which focuses on improving maternal and child healthcare at Rehri Goth.
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