February 27th, 2018

Tuesday, February 27th, saw the official launch of the PowerWomen at VEON Headquarters in Shoreditch. The theme of the event was “Strategy + Purpose” and the event was hosted by Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO, VEON and he was joined by Marisa Drew, CEO, Impact Investing at Credit Suisse, both sharing their reflections on this important topic. Over 55 women joined us for the evening, despite freezing temperatures and snow across the capital.

Tanuja writes “Yesterday was very energising – we came away buzzing with excitement, inspiration, connections and referrals. All the outcomes of a successful networking evening and very much the result of the size, closeness, intimacy of our group. We have received so many wonderful emails from so many of you today about how much you enjoyed the event, the inspirational speakers – Marisa Drew & Jean-Yves Charlier and the learnings from their presentations, being together with so many amazing, successful senior business leaders all in one room in Digital London and the follow -up discussions you have already started to plan…’s beginning and the more you reach out the greater the network effect. Do feel free to post on your Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook your takeaways — and mention PowerWomen Network 🙂

A huge thank you to Jean-Yves Charlier and the VEON team for hosting us in Shoreditch and the wonderful canapés and drinks we had and to Marisa Drew for sharing Purpose Inc. which I am sure many of you are reading already. I also want to send a big thank you to my co-founders Cecilia Weckstrom, Diane Mullenex, and Lidia Bozhevolnaya without who’s support we would not have pulled off last night and to my son Varun Randery for being there after school to take photographs (see below).

But most importantly a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you PowerWomen for bracing the weather in London and coming to our event — we had 55 attend and only 2 declines due to weather – WOW that’s commitment and definitely a Go Big or Go Home moment !

We could not have envisaged a better launch event however we would love your feedback so please do comment below or email us with any suggestions on how we can improve the format and discussions next time. 

How does one summarise such an evening ? I will try and keep it short and hopefully capture the impressive journey of VEON with Jean-Yves at the helm and the amazing journey that Marisa is embarking on with her team – so many similar takeaways across the 2 CEOs.​​​

Lessons from VEON & Jean-Yves Charlier on Strategy + Transformation:
  • Fix the foundations before embarking on the new programs

  • Get your cost structure in line and bet on process improvements and systems

  • Act quickly on leadership teams – change fast and as many as needed

  • Delayer the organisation to ensure cost savings but more importantly get strategy to the frontline fast

  • Invest in talent – diversity of exec teams and Boards

  • Scale matters – restructure portfolio and invest in focus segments, divest others, partner

  • Think Big – Digital was the last leg of the transformation but the core of the growth engine of the future

Lessons from Marisa Drew & Impact Investing on Strategy + Purpose:
  • Companies with a purpose beyond profit make more money, attract talent and create enterprise value/ outperform on return to shareholders. She referred us to Changemakers 500 a list of Purpose driven companies

  • Go big or Go Home – Marisa like Jean-Yves emphasised no time for incremental change in today’s disrupting world

  • She summarised John Wood’s key takeaways from Purpose Inc:

    • Keep costs down

    • Lead with Purpose – 30 out of 37 sustainable funds outperformed the S&P and a majority were in the top quartile of performance

    • Measure, Measure, Measure

  • Diversity matters – Credit Suisse report on 3000 companies with greater than 30% Women on Boards had greater returns and outperformed peers

  • There are many investable opportunities for the UN Sustainable Development Goals from ESG Investing to Impact Investing

  • Marisa also discussed the report on Women Rising 2030 – we will send out a link when we get this”.

© 2017 by PowerWomen Network