16 June 2011

Barclays Bank of Kenya (Barclays Kenya) has announced its Ksh 1 million platinum sponsorship for the 2nd Leadership Excellence Forum that gets underway from June 20th – 22nd at Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.

The forum will focus on women in leadership and will bring together more than 100 professionals from various organizations to explore, learn and network as they prepare to take on more challenging leadership roles.

Barclays Kenya Managing Director, Adan Mohamed, said the Bank’s participation in the two-day event was formed by Barclays diversity and inclusion agenda.

“Employers recognise the need to attract and retain top talent who can provide a wide variety of perspectives,” said Mr. Mohamed. “With this in mind, we aim to create a workplace that recognises employee differences; encourages colleagues to demonstrate inclusive behaviours in the workplace as well as the community; and aims to ensure all employees have the opportunity to maximise their full potential,” he said.

He added, “Diversity is important to any organisation. Women have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution towards Barclays. We were the first bank, in Kenya, to appoint a female branch manager. And today we have many more women in senior leadership roles, including two women serving as directors on the board.”

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Prof. Susan Vinnicombe, from the School of Management at Cranfield University.

Prof. Vinnicombe, has written 10 books and over one hundred articles, reports and conference papers on women's leadership styles, the issues involved in women developing their managerial careers and gender diversity on corporate boards.

Her research centre is unique in Europe, with its focus on women leaders and the annual Female FTSE 100 Report, which is supported by Barclays Plc, and is regarded as the global premier research resource on women directors.

According to the organizers of the forum, Ciar Africa Ltd, over the last 20 years organizations have seen the hiring of talented women as a business imperative -- yet the numbers and the statistics at the strategic table are growing at a very slow rate. For instance, only one out of the 49 companies, listed in the Nairobi Stock Exchange, is managed by a woman.

“With two women on its board, Barclays is among the few organizations that have embraced the unique attributes that women bring to the board. And we are hoping to create a discussion with both business leaders and the women themselves on how to leverage the immense potential women bring to our businesses,” said Ruth Kwalanda, general manager in charge of programs at Ciar Africa Ltd.

According to Ciar Africa, statistics indicate that women are an emerging force in terms of both talent and the economy. The global labour force comprises 50 per cent women, 70 per cent of the shopping decision makers are women, and 30 to 40 per cent of all retail distribution channels in both the formal and informal sectors are controlled by business women.