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Women in Leadership under the spotlight

DFK International has held its first ever Women in Leadership Breakfast to discuss how to make the association more inclusive and the ways it can support females in their career progression.

The event was held at this year’s DFK International Annual Conference at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, in Munich.

It was led by Anne Brady, Vice-President of the EMEA region and Chair of the DFK International Women in Leadership (I-WIL) Executive Committee, and welcomed women from member firms across the association.

Delegates were invited to hear from Jo Iwasaki, Head of Corporate Governance within the Professional Insights team at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), who spoke about the importance of women in leadership and diversity within organisations, as well as the ACCA’s role in topics such as governance.

It follows on from ACCA and DFK International forming a signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen the global talent pool of the accountancy profession earlier this year.

The breakfast meeting also explored issues such women dropping off from career progression and why this happens and there was an opportunity to share good practice ideas.

A new mentoring programme was also introduced, which will see women in leadership positions across the organisation mentor and guide young professionals.

Jo said: “It was a privilege to speak to such an enthusiastic and captive audience. Diversity is very important within an organisation, and this shouldn’t just be at the time of recruitment but also throughout progression.

“It is important for businesses to get the best out of their staff members by giving everyone an equal opportunity to develop and progress in their careers.

“Women in leadership is an objective that should be addressed across the profession, and this kind of initiative provides a forum to discuss the issue and make a change.

“DFK is giving people a platform to voice their concerns, share experiences and work together to resolve issues. It also enables women in leadership to speak about the challenges they have overcome and support other women to progress in their careers.”

Anne added: “Our first breakfast event was a huge success and we would like to thank our guest speaker Jo Iwasaki.

“Our aim is to highlight the benefits of a diverse workplace and support young professionals’ progress in their careers. More than 50 per cent of employees in DFK International member firms are women, but this is not the case at partner level.

“We will be looking at how we can encourage existing partners to enable females to progress while working this around their family life should they need to, highlighting that this is often only a very short period of time during their life but can result in a business developing and retaining talent.

“Our new mentoring programme will also give senior females the opportunity to guide younger professionals. Mentoring and coaching takes place in businesses across the world, and it is something that is very popular with Millennials.

“DFK firms are all independent but working in the same area, and this is a way for us to join together to support young professionals and promote career development.”

Similar events will now be held at the DFK Latin America conference in October and the Asia Pacific conference in November.