The theme of this year's International Women's Day — #ChooseToChallenge — identifies how important it is for all of us — women and men — to call out and push back against inequity and gender bias to bring about change. While it’s important to seek out and celebrate women's achievements at every opportunity, it is also important to publicly recognize injustices that prevent women from realizing their full potential and then work to correct them. A host of thinkers from Martin Luther King to Albert Einstein have noted that silence equals complicity. Collectively, we can all help create a more inclusive world for future generations when we honestly address discrimination.
At Oliver Wyman, we are championing gender equity in the workplace. We are committed to removing career barriers women face in our own company and coming up with creative solutions for other industries on how to embed diversity and inclusion at the heart of every company’s business strategy. We value the amazing women already at Oliver Wyman creating breakthroughs around the world and recognize there are not nearly enough of them. Below, we highlight a few who are helping to drive gender parity in our firm and making a positive difference for all working women. Click through to see what they #ChooseToChallenge this year:
Meera Jayakumar | Senior Consultant
Meera is the acting Asia-Pacific Lead of our employee network Women At Oliver Wyman (WOW). She uses her platform to raise awareness about gender diversity issues, create opportunities for colleagues to explore and understand various perspectives on those issues, and support initiatives to address them effectively.
She encourages people to believe in their ability to affect change in their own way, whether those changes are big or small.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to challenge the assumption that one needs to be in a position of power or command a bully pulpit to bring about monumental change.
Amal Rajwani | Partner, Actuarial
Meet Amal Rajwani, an avid reader and homebody who enjoys gardening and bingeing on new Netflix shows. She was one of two women promoted to partner in the Actuarial practice this year. (With only four promotions total, it was a win for gender balance!)
Amal is also a champion of gender equity. She works to ensure a better work-life balance for both genders and equal pay for comparable roles. At home, she and her husband are raising their 8-year old son to treat everyone with kindness. They also share the “care work" to make sure he doesn't see responsibilities as gendered.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will call out gendered actions or assumptions.
Louise Cantrill | Partner, Lippincott
Meet the very first Lippincott female partner in London! Louise is a 55-year-old, self-described “menopausal, northern, single parent who has had to get scrappy and use her voice to survive.” As a creative, she’s fierce. As an older female, she’s on a mission to inspire younger women to get fierce too.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to challenge corporate stereotypes.
Rupal Kantaria | Director, Oliver Wyman Forum
Partner Rupal Kantaria is passionate about intersectional inclusion and diversity. This year, she is co-hosting a UK Parliament International Women's Day showcase with a diverse set of voices from young activists to established leaders across sectors.
At work, Rupal also champions gender equity in a number of ways: role modelling, mentoring younger women, working on an inclusive culture, asking challenging questions and more.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to challenge the non-diverse groups that are rebuilding our future systems.
Claudia Wang | Partner
Meet Partner Claudia Wang who leads our education practice in Asia. Recently, she has been working on some exciting projects, like social impact work to ensure education accessibility in less developed regions in Asia, as well as a strategy piece for world’s most valuable EdTech unicorn.
As a lead Partner, Claudia recognizes the importance of her role and makes sure to use it to help other women. She regularly connects with younger consultants in Greater China to discuss gender stereotypes, and help them reject and not restrict themselves by them.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will do everything I can to support other women.
Suzanne van der Meijden | Engagement Manager
Last year, Suzanne discovered that she was at her best when generating measurable impact. Following her passion, she joined our operations practice and is very excited grow our hub in Amsterdam.
In her role, Suzanne makes sure to be alert with regards to gender biases and other issues that could affect the inclusive environment at Oliver Wyman. Whenever she notices gendered stereotypes, she makes sure to call them out so that they can be addressed and resolved.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will ask difficult questions and expect data-driven answers.
Angela Natt | Regional EA Manager
As a black woman and proud mom to a queer daughter, Angela feels excited to work for Oliver Wyman as we're not just speaking the words, but really making an effort to institute change! Angela is also a creative crafter: while knitting is her therapy (the more challenging the project the better) jewelry-making is her passion.
What’s interesting about Angela's team (Executive & Administrative Services) is that it’s predominately female. So, Angela improves gender diversity focusing on bringing in more male candidates.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will point out inequities whenever and wherever I see them.
Constance Courtalon | Senior Consultant
To forge a gender equal world, empowering the newest generation of women is exceptionally important, and something that Constance feels passionate about. So much, that she actually represented France at last year's G20 for Youth (Y20) Summit as Head of French Delegation. There, she advocated for the empowerment of young women and creating conditions when can thrive.
Constance brings this interest and experience to work as well. She supports gender equity in the office by working hard to support young women joining the firm in their career development.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will encourage women to stand out and speak louder.
Yang Lu | Principal
Yang Lu is not held back by gender stereotypes; this past year she has been helping banks navigate through Covid-related challenges by redefining their strategy, simplify and digitize through risk transformation, and ultimately supporting their customers. At the same time, she fosters kittens who are too young to be adopted (she is currently a cat mom to three adorable babies!)
At Oliver Wyman, Yang proactively looks out for and supports female consultants. She enjoys being a mentor to them and helping them to navigate through their career so that they too are not held back by gender biases.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will support other women in every way that I can.
Shelly Howard | Marketing Manager
No matter where she is, Shelly champions intersectional gender equity. She is always seeking out those whose voices are missing in the conversation and inviting them in; she challenges everyone to be transparent, honest, and non-performative.
She has recently become the Co-Leader of the Actuarial Practice Equality, Inclusion, and Diversity Strategy Team (with another amazing woman, Simone Brathwaite, she notes) and is excited to help shape work culture to be a place where belonging is the norm.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to challenge gender stereotypes that keep women from reaching their full potential.
Eva Hajdu | Lead Software Engineer
As our Dublin Sustaining Engineering Lead and a mentor, Eva works hard to make sure her team is not only highly utilized, but also happy and able to work on topics that interest them. She's also been writing in her spare time, getting closer to completing her second novel and editing it so it could be ready for publication!
Eva is an active participant in our newly formed Women At Oliver Wyman (WOW) Digital community and uses this platform to promote gender equity at work.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will support other women to help them unlock their potential.
Carolyn Vo | Director, Digital
Carolyn has currently been working on the next phase of the Americas' engineering team's evolution: with a large push towards adoption of modern paradigms such as serverless and everthing-as-code. (Fun fact: she also helped design the room service menu for a hotel during one of her long-haul engagements in Asia.)
In addition to these initiatives, Carolyn sponsors and mentors several women at the firm—her aspiration is to help them get connected to the wider firm network, support them taking on more leadership roles, and increase their sphere of influence by helping promote their personal brand.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will challenge unconscious bias.
Andrea Lynch | Associate, Lippincott
As part of Lippincott’s brand strategy team, Andrea helps companies solve complex brand architecture and naming problems. Outside of work, she enjoys teaching yoga, reading very dramatic fiction novels, and (slowly, but surely) advancing her cooking skills.
Andrea champions intersectional gender equity by coming up with exciting programming for two of our employee resource groups: Women at Oliver Wyman (WOW) and Employees of Oliver Wyman enabling Racial & Ethnic Diversity (EMPOWERED). She also strives to be ally and active listener for coworkers looking for advice or solidarity.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to challenge capitalist, patriarchal notions of productivity and intelligence, so we can all thrive at work by just being ourselves.
Amal Khatib | Project Manager
Amal supports gender equity in everything that she does. Recently, she joined forces with a group of more than 10 other colleagues to run a month-long program for International Women’s Day to support women in the region.
Before joining Oliver Wyman, Amal spent a year working with a women empowerment organization in the Middle East. The experience was intense, and she found it was less about the business and finance training and more about 40 aspiring female entrepreneurs and their stories. Initiatives like this only reaffirm her conviction in their necessity as she looks at the road ahead for gender equality.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to find, understand and challenge my own biases.
Aarti Nihalani | Partner
Every day, Aarti supports gender equity by just bringing her whole self to work. She also makes it a point to talk about topics beyond work to help young consultants know that it is possible to be successful in consulting and have a life outside of work. After all, Aarti feels like she gained a great deal from hearing about the experiences of Partners she worked with (both men and women). So, she is passing on the goodwill by sharing her story!
#ChooseToChallenge: This year, I will choose to challenge the notion that we need to challenge anything at all. I discovered that true equity lies in being able to choose from the whole range of options – including the option to not change anything at all.
Rose Baki | Senior Partner, Lippincott
Rose recently hit 15 years with the firm, having starting at OW and spending over a decade now in brand strategy at Lippincott. But her most important role in that time has been becoming ‘Mama’ to Noor, age 5, and Zayd, age 2.
Rose champions intersectional gender equity, applying her personal background and client work to her role as co-chair of Lippincott’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Senior Sponsor Team. She listens and creates space for others to openly share their experiences, and then uses her voice, influence, and time to tangibly support them
#ChooseToChallenge: I will look to create opportunities for the women I work with, celebrate their achievements, and encourage my colleagues to do the same.
Jennifer Nguyen | ITS Chief of Staff
Even though she's been working out of a tiny studio apartment (with a new puppy!) in NYC, Jennifer has been part of multiple initiatives to help our colleagues transition and adapt to remote working.
Jennifer supports gender equity through her work on the OWG Women in Technology team: continually developing programming and events to attract, hire, support, and promote women within our technology talent pipeline. She's specifically keen on incorporating measures to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment process.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will advocate for the advancement of women across the MMC Tech organization.
Chaitra Chandrasekhar | Partner Financial Services
Chaitra is passionate about improving the financial health of underserved communities, having seen so many deprived of basic banking needs.
During her 15 year tenure, the firm has supported her endeavors for financial inclusion, gender equity, and diversity. Chaitra works to drive change, best serve underserved sectors, and improve women’s participation in the formal financial sector. She is a frequent speaker and author on financial inclusion, and actively mentors and leads events to support women as they move through their careers.
#ChooseToChallenge: I choose to drive financial inclusion and help build equitable workplaces and societies.
Yoshi Arnaud | Senior Designer
Growing up, Yoshi always preferred more “male-oriented” sports or toys. She appreciates that her family only encouraged her to pursue her interests regardless, which helped her grow up without gender stereotypes and develop the confidence to do what she loved.
Yoshi respects and values each of her colleagues: no matter gender, age, or sexual preference. As part of the design team, she also encourages other female colleagues to improve and never give up.
#ChooseToChallenge: I will challenge gender biases.
Now is the time to step up. Use your personal power within your organization to look at the challenge differently and start to create some breakthroughs.Terry Stone Head of the Americas | Global Chair of Diversity and Inclusion
Podcast: How Men Can Challenge Gender Inequity
Explore the ways men can challenge gender norms, become feminists, and support women at work and at home in this podcast with our Global Head of I&D, Roianne Nedd, and Duncan Mills, a Partner in our London office.
Listen to learn more.
Research and Insights
How Executive Sponsors Can Help Address the COVID Gender Gap
As the executive sponsor of Women of Oliver Wyman (WOW), Partner Ana Kreacic explores the role executive sponsors play in strengthening the pipeline of women leaders for the MIT Sloan Management Review.
Unwritten rules preventing progress for women
Terry Stone, Head of the Americas and Global Chair of Inclusion and Diversity, explores how to breakdown barriers for women in leadership in the Dallas News.
4 Ways To Fix Gender Imbalance In Private-Equity Firms
Partner Dominik Treeck lays why gender balance is so important in private equity and simple steps to help achieve it in Forbes Middle East.
AI Has Alarming Power to Spread Gender Bias.
Our Digital experts explains how companies can develop and deploy AI applications in a way that proactively seeks to identify and eliminate existing societal biases so they are not amplified in the digital world for Brink News.
AUTHORED BY OUR WOMEN LEADERS
I’m trying to extend my allyship to those who need it most and consciously including those who may not have not benefited from it as much in the past.Christian Edelmann Partner, Financial Services
Featured Insights by Our Women in Financial Services
Women at Oliver Wyman (WOW)
Women At Oliver Wyman
WOW is a network of colleagues of all genders working together to enable a culture where we view gender diversity (and its many intersections) as both an asset and a competitive edge.
Each year, WOW supports the firm in recognizing International Women's Day. For last year's #EachForEqual we celebrated a robust and growing mentorship initiative where women leaders at the firm promote gender equality at an individual level.
Visit WOW to learn more >