AMCHAM REWARDS OUTSTANDING PROFESSIONAL WOMEN
Last May 29th we delivered, for the second time, the Factor f+m Awards, which recognize women in leadership positions in Costa Rica who are role models and men or women who have been influential and are currently making a difference in women’s access to leadership positions.
President Luis Guillermo Solís participated in the ceremony and received an honorary award as an Inspirational Man – Fair Play Champion for his commitment to gender equality, amply demonstrated by the election of his cabinet members.
Throughout the day we held lectures and panels about issues relevant to diversity. Martin Stier, Human Resources Vice-president for HP Brazil, referred to the best ways to inspire women to reach their highest professional level. Matters such as networking, personal branding, stereotypes and second generation bias and essential financials were discussed in depth throughout the day. The event concluded with a high profile panel with Mirella Arce, Human Resources Vice-president for Coca Cola; Morris Wallack, Printing and Personal Systems World Wide Vice-president for Hewlett-Packard; Dennis Whitelaw, General Manager for Costa Rica Marriott and Manfred Sáenz, Director of Legal Services for Scotiabank. The panel, which was moderated by José Antonio Muñoz, founding partner of Arias & Muñoz, focused on each company’s experience with effective diversity programs.
The awards were given in five categories: Corporate Leader, Young Leader Award – Women Under 40, Future Leader Award – Women to Watch, Inspirational Woman Leader Award and Inspirational Man Award – Fair Play Champion. President Solís delivered the award alongside Margaret Grigsby, President of the Jury and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner as Inspirational Leader in the 2013 edition of the Factor f+m Awards and Humberto Pacheco, AmCham President.
Danniza González, Sr.Director F&A at Walmart GSS-LA; Susana Quirós, Accounts Receivable Group Manager at Procter and Gamble; Franciny Rojas, Marketing and Sales Manager at 3M Costa Rica and Vanessa Pardo, For Sale By Owner magazine founder, were recognized as Young Leaders. Wendy Silesky, Business Unit Head at Bayer and Karol Zeledon, Living Progress Program Manager at HP, received honorary mentions in this category.
In the Future Leader category, the Chamber recognized Lourdes Morales, Security Assistant Manager for Costa Rica for Walmart; Andrea Leitón, leader of the Batch and Job Scheduling team at HP and Mónica Salas, ERS General Ledger / MSA and SRA Business Support at P&G. Daniela Carmona and Esmeralda Hasbún, both of IBM, received honorary mentions.
Leda Garino, Human Resources Director at Walmart who has participated in the creation of two service centers for transnational companies in Costa Rica (Procter & Gamble in 1999 and Walmart GSS Latin America in 2012) was recognized as Corporate Leader.
James Rutledge, Vice-President of Latin America Global Delivery and Costa Rica site executive for IBM won in the Inspirational Man – Fair Play Champion category. The honorary mentions went to: Fabio Ramírez, Americas Payment & Banking Services Group Manager in P&G and Patrick Taylor, in charge of AMS Business Intelligence/ P&L Management at HP.
This category aims to highlight the transcendental importance of men’s involvement in diversity efforts. As Catherine Reuben, the Chamber’s Executive Director, remarked: “it is necessary for both men and women to share the task of working towards greater equality, understanding that female advancement does not affect men negatively but, rather, that it works in their benefit.”
Finally, in the Inspirational Woman category, the winners were: Graciela Morales, Vaccine Cluster Lead de Pfizer; Lizbeth Cardona, Human Resources Director at Western Union and Patricia Bonilla, Partner at OPB Arquitectos.
Despite growing female participation in the labor force and the fact that Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53 percent (return on equity), women continue to have low access to leadership positions, particularly in the private sector. Salaries are still unequal (according to the World Economic Forum, in Costa Rica women make 63 percent of what men make for similar work) and there are considerably less women on boards than there are men.
Since early 2011 the Chamber has been working towards greater gender parity through the Factor f+m: Women and Men Leading Together initiative. Recognizing and promoting qualified women allows businesses to respond successfully to new global trends and contributes to a more equitable society. The Factor f+m Awards are an integral part of this effort.
See photos of the day’s events here