If women’s participation in the global workforce rises by 25 per cent by 2025 – adding 100 million more women – the global economy will be boosted by $1 trillion, according to modelling from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The health of the global economy is important; but just as important is the workforce diversity that allows enterprises to reflect and represent the broader community more realistically. Giving women a voice ensures that businesses canvass a broader range of issues – delivering a more nuanced understanding of the needs and desires of consumers. Everybody benefits.
Diversity means sustainability
The Chief Sustainability Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Bea Perez, a mother of two, is a beacon for the impact that women can have in the corporate arena.
She reflects a growing sector of society that cares deeply about sustainability and the world we create for future generations. Bea engages globally with a broad sweep of Coca-Cola stakeholders and partners, focusing on wellbeing, encouraging women in the workforce, and water related issues that will be crucial to the planet’s sustainability.
On a recent visit to Australia, Bea shared some of her insights about the importance and impact of greater workplace diversity. “I was one of the founding members of our Women’s Leadership Council in 2007, and it and Women’s Linc are great ways for Coca-Cola women to connect with and help each other,” she said. “I’m passionate about advancing the conversation around women’s leadership.”
Bea believes it is critical that Coca-Cola reflects the rich diversity of the marketplace and also be recognised as a supportive environment for female talent.
Many roads lead to success
Bea also understands the challenges that women can face as they meld family and private commitments with a corporate career. She says that women need to be aware that success can take many different forms.
“There’s no straight path to success,” Bea said. “In life, we may have a clear plan on how to achieve what we have defined as success. What we tend to forget is that our plans may change. There is no shame in taking a step back or making a lateral move if that means you gain an excellent experience that can help you in the long run.”
“And sometimes we not only take a step back – sometimes we fall. All successful people do. That’s how you learn and grow. What matters is how you respond to challenge and what you make of the situation. What people will remember is that you got back up and continued climbing. Isn’t it true that as children we learned to walk and run, but sometimes we stumbled and skinned our knees?”
This applies equally to women at every level of Coca-Cola.
Bea encourages all women, regardless of the stage of their career, to share their ideas and insight, actively promote positive change and be prepared when that idea is accepted, to work hard and deliver results.