Women’s mentoring network founded

The president of Advance is Simona Scarpaleggia, head of IKEA Switzerland Keystone

Increasing the percentage of women in top manager positions to 20 per cent by 2020 is one of the goals of the new networking group "Advance – Women in Swiss Business", founded on Thursday by nine major firms doing business in Switzerland.

This content was published on September 5, 2013 - 21:48 and agencies

To complement the founding companies – ABB, Credit Suisse, GE Capital, IKEA, McKinsey & Company, PwC, Sandoz, Siemens and Swiss Re – Advance hopes to increase the total number of participating firms to 30 by the end of 2014.

Simona Scarpaleggia, head of IKEA Switzerland, will serve as President of the new organisation. One of the the goals of the group will be for women “to help each other overcome organisational and practical hurdles”, she said.

Vice President Petra Jantzer of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company said that another goal will be for members to create a mentoring programme which will help ambitious professional women develop leadership abilities.

Networking events will be organised to allow group members to meet top female managers from a variety of industries. This networking could include discussions and the sharing of practical experience about “innovative work models” that allow women to successfully combine their careers and personal lives.

Speaking before the more than 300 women who attended the founding meeting on Thursday in canton Zurich, the CEO of the Swiss Post, Susanne Ruoff, called on women to “formulate goals for each stage of their lives, have courage, take risks, but also make ‘charming demands’.”

Currently, 48 per cent of the Post’s employees are women, said Ruoff, as are eight per cent of top managers. That percentage should increase to 40 to 50 per cent in the next ten years, she vowed.

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