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Panel: Diversity as a guarantor for innovation

In one of the opening discussions, a dynamic panel discussed the importance of diversity within the industry.

To start the discussion, panel host Lea Jordan, Head of Marketing and co-founder of techtalk.travel, stated that there is clear room for improvement in terms of diversity within the industry. Jordan noted that there are simply not enough women working in the industry, and that most CEOs are male. Thus, steps to dynamically diversify the industry must be researched and implemented. 

For Carine Lea Chardon, CEO of ZVEI-association for consumer electronics and media networks, the issue of gender underrepresentation in the industry is clear. “We are way behind the average in Germany when it comes to women in the industry”, she said. According to Chardon, studies show that there are too few women researching science and thus, not enough diversity within scientific jobs as well as engineering. 

Chardon claimed that by having more role models, as well as more child care services, we would be able to see improvement in terms of gender equality. The importance of mentoring programmes was also highlighted as being a key solution for women working across a range of industries. 

For Vivien Richter, founder and Chief Vision Officer at seatris.ai, a women quota is not entirely necessary. Richter said she was raised by her parents, who taught her that everyone is entitled to create and be an entrepreneur regardless of gender or cultural background. The Chief Vision Officer stated that she had learned a lot about leadership since she founded her company ten years ago.

For her, giving opportunities migrant workers could be key to address the shortage of staff in German companies. Also, older employees should be considered as a valuable addition to a company’s success, rather than a burden.

Lisa Meissner, co-founder and CFO at Mersor, spoke on her experience in the finance sector, which she regards to be a male-dominated industry. “Yes, we need a women’s quota”, Lisa Meissner stated, even though it does not need that kind of label. She noted that there are many ways to integrate women into a work environment, such as using gender-conscious language, in her words an “easy obstacle”.

Carine Lea Chardon concluded that it is becoming more and more difficult to find staff for enterprises, therefore, it is vital to have a diverse team. She stated that diversity is not simply a trend, but above all an opportunity. 

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