Women as powerful drivers of economic change

On October 6, 2021, the European Brand Institute in cooperation with UNIDO and partners such as: ÖBB, A1 Telekom, DiePresse, US Embassy, Refinitiv invited to the UNIDO headquarters for the 9th WOMEN LEADERSHIP FORUM, which was held again this year as a hybrid event due to COVID-19. The focus was on women as strong drivers of economic change shaped by the fourth industrial revolution. This year's forum aimed to show that positive change is possible when passion leads the way. Female leaders, experts and participants from all over the world met online and at the Vienna International Centre to exchange experiences and discuss how to strengthen the role of women and achieve gender equality.

Digitalization as a boost for women empowerment


Dejene Tezera, Director Agri-Business UNIDO emphasized that "digitalization and technological advancement are helping women around the world to strengthen their role as drivers of sustainable development and economic change." Mario Mesquita, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna stated that the digital revolution is opening up new opportunities to achieve gender equality.

UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador Veronika Peshkova saw "COVID-19 as an unexpected accelerator of digital transformation."

Innovation - Investment - Information

In the masterclass on greentech, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, Managing Director Rabmer Group gave insight into which measures need to be taken to achieve the climate goals: "Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for our future. By using green technologies and making changes in our own world, we can achieve our goals."


Chaired by Elisa Aichinger, Partner Deloitte Consulting, the panel "Smart Financing - Investing in and with women" featured Kyla Tennin, WBAF Board Member, Valerie Neim, CEO Brazza Transactions, Aysegül Baykal, Deputy Director for Private and Institutional Investors-CEE at Schoellerbank, and Christian Vancea, Co-Founder essentio, who explored how "Smart Financing" can be used to provide access to capital for innovative start-ups and especially female founders.

Sighted at the high-level networking with distance among others: game changer Claudia Winkler, co-founder good, agile management expert Eva-Maria Ayberk, who also held a masterclass, Gerhard Hrebicek, European Brand Institute, Bashir Conde, UNIDO, Brigitte Maria Gruber, Frauen Fachakademie Mondsee, former minister Maria Rauch-Kallat, Claudia Cordie, Professional Women’s Network, Julia Andras, LGGFP Rechtsanwälte, Michaela Buttazzoni, BDO, Richard Mauerlechner, weekend Verlag, Philipp Bodzenta, Coca Cola, Monica Rintersbacher, Leitbetriebe Austria, Beatrice Schobesberger, Erste Bank, Alice Burton, US Embassy, Bettina Rieger und Dominik Renner, essentio, Susanne Reisinger-Anders, Amcham Austria, Doris Ullrich, Refinitiv, Andrea Fuhrmann, Savencia Fromage, Hawa Kebe, UNIDO,  and many more.



Goodie bags powered by: European Brand Institute, Guerlain, Tupperware, Coca-Cola, Kelly´s, maxima, Sheconomy etc.

Strengthening female leaders as catalysts for change


Under the motto "WOMEN.FOR.CHANGE - passion into action!", Renate Altenhofer, initiator and founder of the Women Leadership Forum, welcomed the international participants* on site and online: "In our fractured world, marked by the ongoing pandemic, digital transformation and trouble spots, where women are currently once again being set back light years in their development, it is even important to empower female leaders to become catalysts for change." Sonja Kato, Managing Director of communikato & Coaching, once again led the day with aplomb.

Closing the confidence-gap


Led by moderator Sonja Kato, Eser Sevinc Manav, Coca Cola, Cornelia Grossmann, Batten & Company, Eva Buzzi, Rail Tours Touristik, Sonja Wallner, A1 Telekom and Monika Racek, Admiral explored the question of which management skills will be essential in the C-suite under the motto "Women on the rise - the modern leadership".

Carina Zehetmaier, Women in AI Austria, Loubna Bouarfa, CEO OKRA, Natascha Kantauer-Gansch, CCO Consumer A1, Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director Google Austria, Rui Pedro Silva, CIO ERIKS and Vera Kocsis, Sales Director Refinitiv showed very impressively how women are shaping the digital transformation in the field of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, 5G and cloud technology in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution. 



In her closing remarks, Sonya Janahi, board member of the Chamber of Commerce Bahrain and founder of Maya La Chocolaterie, gave an insight into how women empowerment is lived in Bahrain.

(c) Katharina Schiffl

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