The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) of ULI Singapore, in celebration of International Women’s Day, organized a lunch time event on 13th March that focused on the business case for diversity in leadership and how men can support the advancement of women in the workplace.
Held at AON’s offices, the program consisted of a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session from the room. The panel comprised of three male champions, who have been identified as supportive and committed to the development of women in the Real Estate industry. These included Scott Dunn (Vice President, Southeast Asia at AECOM), Chris Fossick (Managing Director, Singapore & Southeast Asia at JLL) and Benett Theseira (Managing Director, Head of Asia-Pacific at PGIM Real Estate). The panel was moderated by Jane Drummond of Aon Risk Solutions and drew a good balance of both male and female attendees.
Some interesting topics that arose amongst the discussions included maternity cover and flexibility around women returning to work and creating a supportive framework for working mothers. It was also highlighted how essential business insight can be gained by being able to leverage the diverse perspective that women bring to various aspects of the professional sphere, adding greater value to a team. Also of note were stimulating dialogues around creating a cultural shift in how women are perceived in the workplace, and the key ways to train and nurture leadership qualities and celebrate female success stories.
The final question asked of the panel was what advice they would give to women hoping to succeed and move upwards in the business. The responses included the importance of confidence, the need to take risks and not doubting one’s own ability or credentials. Following on from that topic, Bennet offered a thought-provoking end note, stating that often in the workplace “men think they can, when they can’t and women think they can’t, when they can”. The women in attendance were encouraged to speak out and take affirmative action for the things they are passionate about to counter this attitude.
It was inspiring to see such a large gathering and overwhelming support for an important discussion, and promising to hear the contemporary and progressive opinions of these male champions. Thank you to Aon for hosting the event!
“It was great to see such a good male turnout to this event” – Magdelene Chua, PwC
“I found the topic very interesting and enjoyed the sharing by the panelists. They are prominent male leaders with direct female reports, as well as husbands and fathers. From their sharing, I find that they truly appreciate women in the work environment by not differentiating and respecting the differences.” – Tang Wei Leng, Colliers International
Contributed by Kassandra Wrout of Colliers International