Global Summit of
Women 2005 Remarks
I am delighted to be here with you this evening and feel privileged to be providing the Closing Remarks that summarize the spirit of this Global Summit of Women in Mexico. My name is Kyung Yoon, Vice Chair of Heidrick and Struggles. I am originally from South Korea, but live and work in the US, in Silicon Valley in CA. As my second home is in Baja, Los Cabos in Mexico, I feel especially at home in Mexico and am in love with the Mexican people and the culture of Mexico.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Irene Natividad and Patricia Espino Torrez for organizing a fabulous and outstanding Summit, which has exceeded all expectations. I believe that the Global Summit of Women has gained a new threshold of media recognition and acclaim with this successful summit in Mexico. It has truly been an inspirational and impact three days and I am thrilled to see this gathering of amazing women who are passionate, energetic and strong. All of you are stepping up to your calling as leaders no matter where you are living and working and no matter how difficult the challenges.
Heidrick and Struggles is proud to sponsor this event and is deeply committed to helping to promote women in leadership roles all around the world. I am especially grateful to be in a position to help strengthen women because I came from Korea, a country traditionally steeped in a conservative Confucian culture which was terribly repressive towards women. When I was born in Korea 50 years ago, Korea was a poor, worn torn country that was recovering from a terrible war, reminiscent of Iraq today. The average per capita was around $100 per year. As a female born into this country at that time, my prospects for a successful, international career were bleak indeed. Today, as Vice Chair of Heidrick and Struggles, I am personally dedicated to helping women attain career and personal success, much as I have been blessed enough to do over my life.
As many of you already know, H&S is the world’s premier provider of senior executive search and leadership consulting services, including talent management, executive assessment, board building and executive on boarding services. For over 50 years, H&S has been helping firms build leaderships teams around the world. As a firm, we are deeply committed to the advancement of women and we demonstrate that commitment as more than 25% of our own leadership team and 30% of our professional team are women. You have already met Carla Palazio from Miami who is one of our top partners serving major clients in the US and Latin America. Bonnie Gwin is our President of Americas, the largest and most important geography for H&S.
Based on the Plenary Sessions and the Breakout Sessions, some of the key issues emerge as challenges faced by women in Mexico, Latin America and other countries around the world. These issues still center on social and cultural prejudices and the fact that women are not advancing rapidly enough into higher, more prestigious positions of economic and political power. Also, because of internal and external expectations of what a woman must do in the home and in the family, women have to do double duty, putting in an average of at least two additional hours of work in the home even when they have challenging jobs outside of the home. The sessions on Innovative Marketing, Learning from Business Failures, Branding, Innovative Financing, Micro enterprises, Leadership development, Women in Technology, Growing Women Entrepreneurs, Women on Corporate Boards have all led to rich discussions about how to enhance the power of women in the working world and how to enhance the economic, social and political power of women so that we can unlock the potential of what Antonio Puron in his McKinsey study called the “most under utilized asset” in the world.
The search for talent and leadership development, the business that H&S is involved in, has emerged as a key to success in an increasingly global economy which is increasingly knowledge and service based. As women, we can fully participate in such an economy to our great advantage. Women actually have an advantage in competing in an economy where brainpower is more important than muscle power and where our natural strengths in building relationships, trust, alliances and creating teamwork can serve as a great competitive edge.
The other critical key to success in our interconnected and increasingly global world is being plugged into powerful networks of people working together and helping each other around the world. Globalization is an easy word to say, but extremely challenging to implement. The Global Summit of Women is an exceptional example of a power network that connects women of achieving and influence from the US, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Over the past several days, we have had the opportunity to bond and to forge wonderful relationships which can become the base for global relationships that we can all leverage to do business together. We have connected with each other not just through the exchange of business cards, but with our hearts, in a way that is unique to women.
As we look forward to next year’s summit in Egypt, I am confident that through the relationships and friendships forged here, tremendous value and wealth will be created through all kinds of new business generation, as well as through the sharing of our collective experiences and best practices.
Thank you and have a wonderful evening!
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