Center Diversity


By Margarita Alonso, General Director – Fundación IElogo_iebs_ee_business



Wow! It is a privilege to work at IE. You meet interesting people all the time. The other day the Women Club and the Diversity Center, invited me to moderate a round table with Emma Fernandez, Senior Vice-President of INDRA;  Maria Eugenia Girón, entrepreneur and reference in luxury; Carmen García, Business Analytics Director of IBM and Rosa García Piñero, President of Alcoa Spain.

It was the kick-off event of the Mentoring program. By the way, several male students showed up!

It was so interesting, sorry if you missed it! I will drop the ideas mentioned in bullets, I hope at least you get a flavor of the relevant conversation we held.


Hofstede defines culture as “mental programming” and Shere Hite thinks there are a masculine and a feminine “sub-culture”. They were asked if to talk about women leadership means “decoding a previous programming “

  • They started with a tale: A Norwegian boy asked his mother “Mummy, I am a boy Can I be a Prime Minister?”
  • The first step for leadership is to know WHAT YOU WANT personally and professionally
  • To take time to understand your believes and your values
  • Leadership  means DECODING YOURSELF

These women are ice breakers and therefore belong to what sociologist call “creative minorities” exposed to constant trial and error because they are inaugurating new trials for women. They were also asked about their mistakes:

  • The worst mistake mentioned was “to limit myself”
  • Not to take more risk
  • To indulge my “orientation to action” in detriment of reflection, underestimating all variables and taking wrong decisions.

They were also asked about their main successes.

  • Things go right when you focus in your dreams
  • Sometimes I have said NO  to certain positions
  • To ask for a position
  • Normally, I have been successful when I REALLY wished something.
  • Take time to myself, every year I go back to school, maybe to learn Japanese Cocking
  • To dare!
  • To have the courage to ask

We reviewed IE´s values:  Diversity, Humanities, Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship. Are we entrepreneurs only creating a start up? How can we be entrepreneurs of our own career?

  • We are not entrepreneurs of own careers we are entrepreneurs of our own lives. We have to be sure that our dreams are adjusted to this world!
  • It is not only fundamental TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE it is also necessary to define what your need to MAKE IT HAPPEN: create the conditions, build the connections etc.  “Your life is your business”
  • But entrepreneurship is also fully linked to big corporations and to any kind of job all. All workers have to undertake.
  • Life means planning, to find short term goals and to be flexible to review the path. The good thing of mistakes is that your retake from a better position, you are wiser, you have more experience, network etc.
  • I am a hard believer on “individual responsibility”
  • We are privileged people with access to all what is needed to reach leadership, education for example, but we have to realize that not everybody is so lucky.

Next question was about our professional role models.  Who are they?

  • People who balance their personal and professional life
  • There is not a single person, I got many things from many people
  • My father worked hard and taught us two things “enjoy what you do” and “do the best that your can do “
  • Mentees and Mentors
  • But they also mentioned negative role models “what I do not want to be”

We discussed about the theories of Soledad Murillo and Mª Angeles Duran regarding use of time, own time, public time and domestic time, Can we have it all? Can we ALWAYS  have it all?

  • We have to aim to have it all, and we have to underline the difference between REAL time and QUALITY time.
  • Life is a process that you have to ENJOY
  • ACHIEVEMENT  is a continuum,  it is the own trip
  • Have everything all the time, in exchange of what
  • You have to make decisions  and be CONSECUENT
  • You cannot have it all, you have to make trade offs
  • Leading men are never asked about personal life
  • Professional life is very long, more than 40 years
  • Corporate world has its rules you have to adapt; you are measured only by PERFORMANCE and VALUE . Being an entrepreneur is more flexible your partners and investors only look for those assets they do not mind how you do it

The Q&A session brought quotas to the table

  • I detest them but if in the European Union we did not have quotas the parliament would be dominated by German and French representatives.
  • When you keep five years with same low sales level in your company you have to try something different.


Center for Diversity Event

Celia de Anca, the panel and Amy Petrini and Carolina Llul, coordinators of Women Club


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