Women at the Top: generative power for greater impact

It is the title of the new women’s leadership program by POLIMI Graduate School of Management (Milan, Italy), conceived and led by Anna Simioni (@annasimioni LinkedIn profile) with Laura Orlic (@lauraOrlic LinkedIn profile), an executive coach with decades of experience in consulting on business, people, and organizational issues in the top management of large corporations.

Fedrigoni has made the growth of people and the development of potential a cornerstone of its strategy, using it as a lever to contribute to the company’s ambitious transformation and growth goals. Additionally, the group has set an ESG target to achieve 35% women in managerial positions by 2030. Therefore, the group decided to invest in the inaugural 2023/2024 edition of Women at the Top as the first corporate partner of the program. As a result, the 8 managers of Fedrigoni’s leadership team had the opportunity to participate in this 6-month journey, along with 7 other leaders from corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors.

Various studies, including one by the Peterson Institute for International Economics conducted on 22,000 companies worldwide, have demonstrated the economic relevance of female leadership. They highlight that increasing the proportion of women in leadership teams from zero to 30% is associated with a 15% growth in a company’s profitability. It has also been proven that women in top roles have the potential to impact key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance indicators, which are crucial for social progress. However, the advancement of women into executive positions remains very slow even today.

The Women at the Top program is designed for women who have already achieved significant professional milestones and want to amplify their impact in the company. It aims to raise awareness of ‘invisible’ or unconscious biases and strengthen some critical contemporary leadership skills.
For the 8 leaders of Fedrigoni, this journey was a discovery process that led them to explore the three transformative OECD competencies – creating new value, reconciling tensions and dilemmas, and taking responsibility – gaining deeper insights and an increased ability to handle everyday challenges, thereby generating greater impact in their professional and organizational context. They delved into the generative power of conflict and learned practices to transform tensions into growth opportunities, reconcile dilemmas, and navigate paradoxes. They learned to manage their limiting tendencies and beliefs in a new way, paving the way for greater awareness and decision-making agility.

The course took place on three levels of growth: individual development, through a series of Empowering Conversations guided by coaches; five collective events focused on transformative skills and mindset change, featuring prominent corporate guests sharing their experiences; and finally, small group discussions, Learning Circles, to consolidate the concepts learned.

What is the ambition of the new women’s leadership program? What were the most significant moments for the participants, and how did the journey help improve their personal and professional awareness, bringing tangible impact to their daily lives?

Watch the video to hear the stories of the protagonists of the first edition of Women at the Top.

Want to learn more about the upcoming editions of the program? Click here