ExxonMobil was a gold sponsor of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society once again in 2019. And once again we sent a big delegation of colleagues from across our business to exchange ideas and hear diverse perspectives on some of the challenges facing society. Scroll down to find out a bit more about this year’s Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, France.
Dame Kirstin Scott Thomas was named honorary president of the Women’s Forum for 2019. The Forum opened with a fireside chat between Dame Kirstin and Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe (parent company of the Women’s Forum).
Before the Forum formally opened, ExxonMobil’s delegation began with an informal gathering nearby, at which Bob Catudal, Janet Matsushita, Loraine Phillips and RoseMarie Egglesfield shared their thoughts on the three-day ideas conference ahead.
Coming together for the Forum reunited colleagues from across ExxonMobil’s different business divisions from our teams around the world.
RoseMarie Egglesfield, EAME lubricants product manager and co-chair of ExxonMobil Women’s Interest Network Europe, shares her thoughts on the opening session.
“What was really uplifting about it,” RoseMarie said, “was the leadership accountability and particularly the role of companies. Companies don’t need to wait for legislation, companies don’t need to wait for the government to tell them what to do. We can have a sense of purpose in ourselves beyond our business objectives and goals and really drive change. That was very motivating for me.”
Mabel Leung, ExxonMobil’s director of Asia Pacific retail sales, joined the ‘Accelerating the clean energy transition’ panel to discuss some of the technologies ExxonMobil is investing in to tackle the dual energy challenge – such as carbon capture and storage.
After the panel, Mabel also shared her perspective on gender equality in business, saying: “Inclusion and diversity is not about meeting the numbers, it’s about women playing an important role in decision-making, in running the business and making an impact on the industry.”
Delegates to the Forum were invited to share their thoughts on climate action at the Women4Climate hub.
Outside of the large plenary sessions, smaller workshops looked at specific issues. One encouraged delegates to consider the implications of being in an ‘advantaged’ or ‘not-advantaged’ group, in an exercise that involved literally standing on different sides of the room.
Paul Greenwood, project executive at ExxonMobil human resources, spoke at the Women4Business hub. Paul shared his personal experiences of achieving a balance in working and family life – and outlined ExxonMobil’s flexible parental leave policy.
“I think we have to make sure that major life events like giving birth are not obstacles,” Paul said at the Forum, “and that they don’t stop women really striving forward to meet their absolute max potential.”
Sebastien Ferard, NDG process manager, operations director at our Gravenchon facility, and a member of ExxonMobil’s manufacturing delegation, experiences an immersive audio installation. The installation placed him in a discussion between two female entrepreneurs travelling to Israel to create a tech startup.
The Energy Factor team spent time with Sebastien throughout the Forum to discover how the conference helped him discover diverse perspectives and new ideas. You can watch Sebastien’s film here.
Nikolaas Baeckelmans, our vice president of EU affairs, joined the Women4STEM hub to talk about how we can encourage more young women to study STEM subjects. Promoting STEM education has long been a focus for ExxonMobil and for Nikolaas, who judged ExxonMobil’s Sci-Tech Challenge 2019. The challenge is one of ExxonMobil’s many educational initiatives and invites students from across Europe to use their STEM skills to find a solution to a problem affecting society.
Our 2019 delegation was led by Bob Catudal, named ExxonMobil’s regional director EMEAF in 2018. “What we’d like to be able to do,” Bob said, “is help other people understand how we can be part of the solution, particularly around the risks of climate change. We’re a technology company and technology is ultimately going to solve the problems that the world is facing. We think we’re going to be a big player in that.”
ExxonMobil sent a delegation of 26 colleagues from across our business to the Women’s Forum Global Meeting. As ever, we are grateful for the insights they have brought back into the company and to all those we met with during the Forum.