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SAP is committed to having 25% of leadership positions held by women by the end of 2017. To support this goal, we have numerous global and local initiatives underway. But one of the most impressive of these initiatives took place very recently. On June 20th, SAP in Walldorf hosted “Power to Lead: Female Managers Host the Next Generation of Female Leaders at SAP”.

Barbara Althoff-Simon, Head of Global HR Service Delivery and Talent Acquisition, opened the event and introduced the audience to the overall goals, namely encouraging women to apply to managerial positions, while Anka Wittenberg, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, gave an overview of SAP’s career development offers.

Participants learned “how to be a charismatic female leader in a man’s world” from the internationally renowned British comedian, screenwriter, and corporate speaker Deborah Frances White. Frances-White, who also facilitated the afternoon’s program, led the participants through a comical journey about evolution and described the neurological reasons why men and women often behave differently at work. While keeping the audience’s spirits hilariously high the whole time, Frances-White gave the women tips on how to bring out their strengths and become more charismatic, inspiring leaders. Frances-White reiterated that charisma is something that anyone can develop and that body language plays a big role in expressing self-confidence and charisma.

Participants also joined interactive sessions on professional development and found out more about open first-level leadership positions at SAP. At one of the sessions, six female leaders presented their personal career stories in a PechaKucha style through a series of pictures. Additionally, there was an engaging drum performance and the women themselves were encourages to grab a set of drums and take part too!

The event concluded with a dinner that combined CSR and fun activities with other SAP employees and select external talents.

Thanks to the highly dedicated project team, the “Power to Lead” event over-achieved its goals and made a huge impact for HR and for SAP. Nearly 700 female SAP employees and external guests took part and the feedback received was phenomenal with comments like:

  • “This was really one of the best events I ever attended!” - SAP colleague
  • “This was fantastic! I can’t wait to get started.” - SAP colleague
  • “I am very happy for the opportunity you offered me to be part of such a motivational and extremely positive atmosphere that SAP people created. Thank you!” - Guest
  • “Thank you for the great conversation and for the wonderful event. It still feels like walking on the SAP Cloud!” – Guest

Some of the most important and resonating key messages that the audience were left with were:

  • Be true to yourself
  • You do not have to behave like a man to advance your career
  • Women can harness the learning of new behaviors to become twenty first century business leaders.
  • And always push past your limits

Check out the video below to get more advice for yourself from powerful SAP women:


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