Gender Diversity Conference

When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive

9–10 November, Brussels

Conference Agenda

Titles with an arrow can be expanded


13:00–16:00Optional Pre-Conference Workshop: Developing a diversity strategy that delivers results

This interactive working session will guide participants through a roadmap and methodology designed to diagnose and target your organisation's best opportunities to advance gender diversity.

  • Utilizing the your company's data and the benchmarks from Mercer's When Women Thrive research study, workshop attendees will review how their organisation's gender programs, policies and operational environment are benchmarked.
  • Understand the workforce strategies and data-driven approach leading companies are taking to accelerate diversity and representation at all levels of the organisation.
  • Engage with your peers to hear and share successes, challenges and lessons learned on this journey to women thriving in the workforce.

Christopher JohnsonSenior Partner and Talent Business Leader, EuroPac Region, Mercer

Pat MilliganSenior Partner and Global Leader of When Women Thrive and Multinational Client Services, Mercer

Brian LevinePartner and Workforce Analytics and Planning Co-Leader, Mercer

Linda ChenSenior Associate, Workforce Analytics and Planning, Mercer


18:30Coaches depart for offsite dinner at the Groot Bijgaarden Castle

19:00Drinks reception and welcome address

Welcome reception and keynote remarks followed by dinner and keynote speaker presentation.

Martine FerlandSenior Partner and President, EuroPac Region, Mercer

21:00Keynote address: The world is becoming feminine (Don't let it freak you out)

Julie Meyer, MBEFounder and Chief Executive, Ariadne Capital


07:15–08:00Registration and refreshments

08:00–08:10The opportunity before us and today's objectives to make tomorrow, today for women and businesses

Welcome and personal reflection on the opportunity before us, and how today’s discussion can reshape programs and strategies to help women to thrive.

Christopher JohnsonSenior Partner and Talent Business Leader, EuroPac Region, Mercer

08:10–08:25Keynote welcome: Gender equality – work in progress

Elke SleursBelgian Federal State Secretary for Poverty Reduction, Equal Opportunities, People with disabilities, Urban policy and Science policy

08:25–08:45A year of When Women Thrive

Since the inaugural When Women Thrive conference in Washington DC last November, the concepts we have pioneered have flourished across the globe, but just where have we seen the greatest impact and what is the scope and scale of this impact?

Hosted By:

Pat MilliganSenior Partner and Global Leader of When Women Thrive and Multinational Client Services, Mercer

08:45–09:30New knowledge, new thinking, new solutions

We've made good progress - the number of women in the European labour force has grown significantly, as well as their representation in leadership. Women today are healthier, better educated and presented opportunities far in excess of any afforded to previous generations. But there is still much work to be done and the pace of global change is picking up. Degrees of progress across Europe have been diverse and outdated government policies and business practices are doing more harm than they are good. This panel discussion convenes some of the world's leading experts, who will explore some of the myths and that skew our well intentioned efforts, how we should be rethinking gender diversity and why this change is so urgent.

Hosted By:

Christopher JohnsonSenior Partner and Talent Business Leader, EuroPac Region, Mercer


Monika LadmanováAdvisor to Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

Helena Morrisey, CBECEO Newton; Chair, The Investment Association (IA) and Founder, 30% Club

Anula Jayasuriya MD, PhD, MBAManaging Director, EXXclaim Capital

Aniela UnguresanCo-Founder, EDGE Certified Foundation

09:30–10:15Mercer's 2015 Global Gender Study Research

Earlier this year, Mercer in collaboration with EDGE Certified Foundation, conducted our 2nd annual When Women Thrive global employer research. This study was designed to understand how organisations can fully utilise their female talent by supporting women employees to be healthy, productive, and financially secure across the various stages of their professional lifecycle. After two years, the research includes responses from over 640 organisations in 41 countries. This session will preview the global insights from the study, with a focus on findings in Europe.

Brian LevinePartner and Workforce Analytics and Planning Co-Leader, Mercer

Julia HowesPrincipal, Workforce Analytics, Mercer

10:15–10:45Networking break

10:45–11:45From thinking differently to holistic solutions

An interactive conversation with leading employers who are advancing representation and delivering results. They'll share their strategies for moving the needle, creating organisational vitality and delivering business performance for and with their women.

Hosted By:

Sarah PearsePartner and HR Leader, EuroPac Region, Mercer


Åsa LautenbergVice President, Corporate Human Resources & People Strategy, Lufthansa Group

Giulia FitzpatrickManaging Diector, Head IT Strategic Regulatory Initiatives/Co-Chair Global Technology D&I Council, UBS

Graham SparksVice President, Diversity & Inclusion, Shell International

11:45–13:00Networking lunch

13:00–13:45Table response and discussion: Navigating the life and career scenarios where women thrive

Participate in Mercer's new Health & Wealth interactive game that highlights the milestones, decisions and opportunities unique to a woman's professional journey.

Achim LuederSenior Partner and Market Leader for Central Europe, Mercer

13:45–14:30Women and well-being – an organisational imperative in a fast-changing world

If women are to thrive in an organisation, the employer needs to provide the appropriate enabling environment. It's no longer enough to consider wellbeing as the sole responsibility of the employee. A convergence of societal, economic and technological shifts has led to an overwhelming expectation of, and challenge to, wellbeing, in particular that of women. Physical, mental and financial health is a critical determinant of overall wellbeing which have direct impact on their families and of course employers, in the form of engagement, productivity and future development. This session will explore what companies are doing to push the overwhelmed employee from survive to thrive.

Hosted by:

Martine FerlandSenior Partner and President, EuroPac Region, Mercer


Florence BerguinHead of Compensation, Benefits and HR Systems, IATA

Brid HoranNon-executive Director of FBD Holdings plc; member of the Governing Authority of Dublin City University and of the Council of the Irish Management Institute

Alison UnderwoodHead of Diversity, Well-being and Inclusion, British Airways

Sue JohnsonGlobal Head of Diversity and Gender Balance, Nestlé Group

14:30–14:50Networking break

14:50–15:35Innovation and women as drivers of tomorrow's economy

An engaging and interactive discussion of the critical need for greater female representation in innovation and R&D. The panel will present what needs to be done to change cultures and foster greater innovation across companies and industries, plus provide real examples of how organisations who actively engaged women in innovation saw significant and immediate returns.

Hosted by:

Yvonne SonsinoPartner and Innovation Leader, Mercer


Simonetta di PippoDirector of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Dr. Maria Angelica PerézGlobal Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Ericsson

Eva LevyManaging Director, Eva Levy & Partners

15:35–16:15Introducing the women of tomorrow

The principles of our When Women Thrive programme are built around the female lifecycle framework. This final session of the day is a unique take on the aspirations, needs, fears and expectations of the women of the future

Hosted By:

Fiona DunsireSenior Partner and UK Market Leader and CEO, Mercer


Helena EcclesFounder, the Think Future Study and BA (Hons) student, French & Russian, University of Cambridge

Beatrix TrögerConsultant, Robert Bosch GmbH

Emmanuèle AttoutCo-founder and Executive Director of Women on Board

Svenja RanderathGlobal HRBP for Procurement, Unilever Supply Chain Company AG

16:15Closing remarks and conclusion

Pat MilliganSenior Partner and Global Leader of When Women Thrive and Multinational Client Services, Mercer

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