EVE International 2018: highlights from the second day of the seminar

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The 9th EVE International seminar went on making change happen on October 3, 2018 in Evian. We take a look back over the highlights from the second day.

Asserting your original self-esteem, with Myriam Cohen-Welgrym

Myriam Cohen-Welgrym is one of the pioneers of EVE, she is also one of the women who helped to design the program and a participant at the first edition in 2010. She made a great comeback today, on the other side of proceedings, taking the stage at the Grange au Lac. This woman leads the fullest of lives: she holds very important responsibilities in an international group, she is a talented artist, her writing style is second to none, and she is a devoted activist for women’s empowerment. She has written a book about all of her experiences, Et tu oseras sortir du cadre (Daring to be different), which pays tribute to the EVE experience, while giving some great advice on how to really be yourself, and pour your own original style into your approact to leadership… Her session was packed with positivity and daring, and full of tips for people who want to achieve their ambitions without taking themselves too seriously!

Juxtaposing cultures, ideas and points of view, with Franck Riboud

The annual EVE International question and answer session with Franck Riboud, Chairman of the Danone Board of Directors was a great success yet again. The director expressed how he sees management, saying it requires three main qualities: “intuition, courage and creativity”. He added that there is also a requirement for managers to come into “friction” with people who are different from ourselves, and never giving in to the temptation of believing that the truth is found in familiarity. And evoking diversity, Franck Riboud shared the need to tackle the issues of gender diversity alongside those of social diversity and educational diversity.

A closer look at the best & next business practices, with the Wise Committee

The Wise Committee is a representative body of partner companies, who came to share feedback on their actions with the EVE participants. Hosted by Sylvie Bernard-Curie, Chair of the Wise Committee, the round table reviewed what EVE has been helping to promote within our companies (mentoringdiversity networks, the creation of indicators to accurately monitor the progress of gender diversity across all levels of responsibility, etc.) and business-to-business (cross-mentoring EVE2EVE, the summer “after” program, the EVE & Donzel report on professional equality statistics) and much more.

Negotiating the barriers to cooperation, with Jean-Edouard Grésy

Later, Jean-Edouard Grésy, founding partner of AlterNego, gave a lively lecture on conflict and negotiation. Using both academic references and plenty of comedy, calling upon film excerpts and scientific studies, this legal anthropologist explained our ordinary (and inefficient) reactions in situations of conflict: flight, aggressive retaliation, temptation to yield with nothing in return, etc. He then put forward an alternative approach, taking inspiration from the Wing Chun martial art: balance, the ability to move in the other person’s direction and being able to re-frame the exchange by asking questions can all remove obstacles from relationships and engage cooperation. 

A lesson on empowerment, with Nilushika Silva Jayaweera

Nilushika Silva Jayaweera closed the plenary session of the second day of EVE with a moving testimony about her career. As an orphan, “Nilu” left her native Sri Lanka at the age of 20 to become a maid in Singapore, with a view to supporting her siblings. For sixteen years, she worked for families who showed her varying degrees of openness, some of whom heard her desire to get the chance to choose a life of her own. And then, one day, she was able to do a course on microfinance. She then became an entrepreneur, and created NiluTea, a company that produces fair trade teas with a respectful ecological policy. Her company now exports all over the world… and Nilushika has founded an NGO that strives to empower rural women. Her message is: “If I was able to do it, so can you.” What she means is that you need to look further than yourself if you are going to help change the world. This amazing woman received a standing ovation for her speech, which was a demonstration that charisma also finds its origins in pure emotion.

Party time !

While we’re putting this report to bed, the participants are preparing for the big EVE dance & network party. The suspense is killing us! Which company will win this year’s trophy for creating the best mood? It’s anybody’s game…