Interview of Gabriela Nguyen-Groza is the Founder and Managing Partner of Amrop Luxembourg
Amrop Luxembourg will launch in March 2022 the first Intercompany Peer-to-peer Leadership Development Program for a dozen female leaders from different companies and sectors. Gabriela Nguyen-Groza, Amrop’s Managing Partners, gives us more details.
Why this program and how it is relevant for PE firms ?
We all know that women are significantly underrepresented among the investment decision-makers at private equity and venture capital firms.
Promoting female leadership is a two-way street. It needs a lot of willingness from companies, and in that respect PEVC firms started to make more and more efforts to integrate women. Not because of moral considerations, but because all the studies show that female representation has a positive effect on the business. But it also needs those women to play their part, to bring up courage, to claim territory, to drop their self-doubts and to lead their own careers in order to succeed.
This leadership development program is the result of a discussion that we had with the CEO of a firm and his assessment was that a lot of his female colleagues have a tremendous potential, but they would not progress in their career without working on their self-leadership. The company has a very extensive Diversity & Inclusion program. Nevertheless, these female leaders were sometimes showing lack of self-confidence and of assertiveness and they did not take their career into their own hands in a decisive manner. As I said, diversity and Inclusion is a two-way street. In the eyes of the CEO, the firm was doing half of the way, but the women needed to do the other half…
The world, even today, has a much larger proportion of male leaders, and that’s the template professional women subconsciously compare their behaviour and success with.
How can we explain this problem?
People from underrepresented groups (e.g. women) will often internalize the expectations of others, often based on biases. This impacts their confidence and, in some cases, results in a gradual withdrawal of effort. However, when individuals understand that they have power over how their career progresses and can make choices about how they react to the barriers they face in and outside of work, they go on to achieve great things.
The world, even today, has a much larger proportion of male leaders, and that’s the template professional women subconsciously compare their behaviour and success with. While the end goal may be the same, the route to success often differs for men and women on the professional path.
Professional women need to understand that they have power over their own careers. They must become proactive and “activate” that power in order to reach their full potential by making smart and conscious choices about their career path and how they react to obstacles they face. They need to put in place a strategy of thriving by design.
What is the goal of this leadership training? How does it work?
The program consists in a series of eight seminars (one per month) with a dozen of female leaders from different multinational companies, from diverse sectors, in Luxembourg. Participants will share personal experiences, will brainstorm together and will take part in individual or group leadership exercises to help themselves and each other advance in their reflection. We will apply the “Chattam House” rule, and we will work to install trust and good will between participants, in order for them to feel in a protected, transparent and safe environment, where they can share their thoughts without fear. They will address with their peers the issue of proactivity in advancing one’s career, but also the topics of self-development as a means to adding value for the company. We will also work on several means of advancing professionally, including the importance of the professional relationships and of the influence within the organization, which become crucial at top corporate level.
Every participant will leave the program with an individual career plan (based on feed-back from peers, leadership exercises, group and one-to-one discussions), that she created for herself and that she will put into action in the next years. We will organize two follow-up sessions per year in the next three years after finishing the program, in order to discuss what are the obstacles they meet in putting into practice their career plan. The goal is for female leaders to take their careers into their own hands and to dare to succeed!