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Alumni Central - BLC Bank and We Initiative would like to invite you to the Women in the Lead 3 - A Step Towards Equality Event

Join us with free registration on the below link:


9:00 AM Registrations and Networking

9:30 AM Welcoming Remarks

MC Ms. Youmna NAUFAL, Producer and Host of Y Chats
Mr. Wael KECHLI, President, Alumni Central
Ms. Maya MARGIE YOUNES, Head of Marketing Group, BLC Bank

9:45 AM Gender Cannot Define Competences, Skill Sets and Values

Gender cannot and should not define or impact the salary of an employee, the promotion of an executive, the role of a person in an organization or the credibility of an entrepreneur. Inequality in pay, access to finance and corporate representation are very different topics, relating to issues of redistribution and market justice (pay gap), credibility, individual performance and social stigmatization (access to finance) and unequal opportunities.

Dr. Zeina ZEIDAN, Chair of the Board, Royal Financials

10:00 AM Fight for Equal Pay Today!
For every dollar a man earns, on average a woman is paid 25 cents on average. Based on today’s rate of progress, it will take 202 years for the pay gap to close, according to the World Economic Forum.

In this opening panel senior players from the public and private sector will have an open discussion around the pay gap in institutions. Men and women should have the same economic opportunities all around the world, but despite progress, protests and legislation, there is a persistent gap between what men and women are paid. Panelists will tackle 1) the pay gap situation in Lebanon with insights from the public and private sector, 2) the reasons behind the existence of a persistent pay gap; and 3) the policies, steps and measures to be taken to bridge this gap in less than 202 years.

Moderator: Ms. Lea HAKIM, Co-founder and member of Board of Trustees, Alumni Central

Ms. Abir CHEBARO, Advisor to the President of the Council of Ministers on Women’s Affairs & Vice President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women

Ms. Randa BAHSOUN, Partner in the People & Organization practice, PWC

Ms. Ayla ZIZ, Managing Director, Unilever Levant & Iraq

10:45 AM Fireside Talk “Family Business: A Barrier or an Opportunity for Women?”

Family business constitutes more than 85% of the private sector and contributes to more than 80% of the Lebanese National GDP (IFC, 2016). The succession process represents one of the most critical events in the family business life-cycle.

Most companies prefer to maintain the business within their families, even at the expense of growth. This challenge is also faced between siblings of different gender in order to maintain the business, not only within the family but within the same family name. The talk will tackle: 1) the challenges women are facing to prove to their families their capacities to lead the business, 2) the key measures and reforms to be taken for a fair succession planning; and 3) how to embed the right corporate governance for a fair allocation of responsibilities to the women of the second generation.

Ms. Caroline FATTAL, Founder of “Stand For Women” & Board Member Fattal Group

Dr. Josiane FAHED-SREIH, Associate Professor of Management, Chairperson, Department of Management, Director, Institute of Family and Entrepreneurial Business, Lebanese American University of Beirut

11:10 AM Freshn’ up Break

11:30 AM Fireside Talk “How Expensive is Your Bill as a Woman?”

According to a study by McKinsey and the IFC, there is about a US$1.5 trillion credit gap for formal small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) globally. Goldman Sachs estimates there is a US$285 billion credit gap when it comes to women-owned SMEs in particular.

Despite many advantages and acquired rights, Lebanese women continue to face discrimination at numerous levels, keeping gender equality in Lebanon an elusive objective. Building on the women entrepreneurs’ experience, how should we address the legal and regulatory barriers? What can we change in the business practices in the financial services sector? How can we help women help themselves?

Ms. Aline KAMAKIAN, Owner and CEO of Fig Holding

Ms. Marilyn ZAKHOUR, Acting CMO, EMAAR Properties

11:55 AM Panel : Balance for Better

Women are increasingly acknowledged as being key to economic development and progress, and yet are barely present in many of the boardrooms of the world’s largest companies. Ignoring the talent of half the population is surely not the ideal way to build board effectiveness. In Lebanon, only 4.4% of Lebanese companies have women on their governing boards (IFC)

A growing body of research shows a broad set of business benefits associated with gender diversity on corporate boards, including improved decision making, reduced risk, broader and deeper market knowledge, increased customer and employee satisfaction and enhanced reputation. This panel gathers key players working closely on driving the change in this area to discuss 1) how can a diverse board with complementary skill sets and experiences positively affect company operations and strategy, 2) is legislation the barrier hindering the advancement of women to boardrooms; and 3)what are the policies, reforms, and actions to be taken on the ground to increase women’s corporate representations.

Moderator: Rebecca BOU CHEBEL-MACMILLAN, International Strategic Communications and Reputation Management Advisor

Yasser AKKAWI, Founder, Capital Concept

Elissar FARAH ANTONIOS, Chief Executive Officer, Citibank - U.A.E.

Saad SABRAH, Lebanon Country Head, International Finance Corporation (IFC) the World Bank Group

Asmahan ZEIN, Partner in Filovault Crypta SAL & President of Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB)

12:45 PM A Step Towards Equality - Closing Ceremony

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Mansour BTEISH, Minister of Economy & Trade


Mr. Bassam HASSAN, Chief Executive Officer, BLC Bank SAL

1:30 PM Lunch