International Women's Day: 'Be Bold for Change' with CEMS Chair, Eugenia Bieto

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on 8th March every year. In different regions, the celebrations focus on respect, appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements. The UN theme for International Women’s Day, 8th March 2017, is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. 

In celebration of this day, we had a quick chat with the first female CEMS Chair, Eugenia Bieto. We spoke to Eugenia to hear her insights on motivation and leadership. 

Currently, you are the Director General of ESADE Business and Law School, making you the first woman to hold such a position in Spain. What motivated you to take up this challenge in a field that’s been predominantly male?

My motivation has always been to do things well, based on my work ethic and a belief in what I do. I assumed the role of Director General of ESADE with this same philosophy. It is true that positions like mine have been predominantly occupied by men, but I am convinced that this is starting to change, although not as quickly as we would like. Our society is becoming increasingly diverse, so it seems logical that the governing bodies of the companies and institutions that serve this society should do the same. Gender diversity –like other types of diversity that we must address, such as racial, religious and age-related diversity– is not only a matter of social justice but clearly also a positive element in corporate competitiveness.

How do you feel the CEMS MIM can help increase representation of young women in leadership, particularly in business?

Training itself is the key lever that will enable young women to attain leadership positions in the business world. The CEMS MIM is a global programme that every year trains young people –representing over 70 nationalities– to take on leadership responsibilities all over the world.

CEMS graduates acquire the best knowledge, they develop leadership skills and, overall, become infused with a deep sense of social responsibility.

Today 49% of CEMS MIM students are women. They will have enormous opportunities and produce a positive impact on both companies and society.

What advice would you give to CEMS students and alumni going into leadership positions for the first time?

I would advise them to maintain a high level of curiosity, to empathise with diversity, and encourage them, in particular, to believe in teamwork. I would also warn them of the changing complexity of today’s world because an awareness of this will help them face each and every challenge they encounter. Moreover, I would urge them to be conscious of their responsibility towards the challenges now facing the business world and society.

Lastly, you are an inspiration to many young women. Who has inspired you the most over the years? 

My parents taught me the importance of having a work ethic and ensuring that a job is well done, and in ESADE’s classrooms I learnt that leadership should be a very human exercise. What continues to inspire me on a daily basis are all those, men or women, who fight for their ideals. 

International Women's Day: 'Be Bold for Change' with CEMS Chair, Eugenia Bieto
07 Mar 2017