Knowing who you want to be, having courage and confidence, focusing on constant improvement, having the ability to transform, and committing to free thinking—these were just some of the many takeaways of the conversation with Claudia Jañez, President of Dupont Mexico and Latin America, and Luz María Gutiérrez, CEO of G500, hosted at IPADE’s Mexico City campus on July 25, 2019.
Hosted by the Women in Business association, an Full-Time MBA student initiative, in partnership with the Research Center for Women in Senior Management (CIMAD), the fireside chat was the second in a series meant to offer Full-Time MBA participants the opportunity to engage with female business leaders and converse about the realities of being a woman in senior management.
Ana Cristina Dahik, Professor in the Social and Political Environment Department, moderated the conversation. The evening was divided into three segments, each of which covered a different aspect of the guests’ professional trajectory and each more personal than the last.
During the first section, the invited CEOs shared some background on their professional trajectory and the roles they held prior to assuming their current leadership roles.
“I never expected to work in a company,” shared Claudia. “I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to contribute to building one.”
“Of the 18 managers at my firm, 17 were men,” said Ms. Gutiérrez. “I was the only woman.”
During the second segment, Professor Dahik asked Ms. Jañez and Ms. Gutiérrez to identify the qualities that they consider fundamental in order to take on an executive management role.
“I had to see my own potential,” said Claudia. “I realized that I was a good communicator and had the ability to concretely explain the direction we needed to go as a company. I discovered my passion for leading teams.”
She congratulated the Full-Time MBA program and the CIMAD for creating space for initiatives that push the conversation forward. “We need to keep focusing on inclusion and on the fact that what really matters is talent.”
Ms. Jañez also focused on resilience as a skill that can make all the difference in management. “Sometimes the frustration can be overwhelming and you’ll need to just deal with it,” she said. “However, I love what I do, and that helps me get through the long days that my job requires.”
Ms. Gutiérrez talked about her experience working for her family, where she discovered skills that would play a major role in her professional trajectory. “I realized that I had leadership skills and that I had a certain addiction to risk,” she said. “I also discovered that I had to believe in myself, because sometimes the biggest limitation is our lack of confidence in ourselves.”
During the third segment of the evening, Professor Dahik opened the conversation to the audience for questions.
In response to a question about who to listen to for guidance, Ms. Jañez responded, “Something that’s served me very well ever since I was young was knowing who I didn’t want to be. Identifying the type of leadership that has a negative impact on people.”
Ms. Gutiérrez closed the conversation with a valuable reflection on the qualities that she values on her teams: teamwork, consistency, trusting oneself, an eagerness to conquer the world, being humble, a focus on personal growth, as well as a commitment and willingness to work with men in order to promote inclusion not separation.
Founded 10 years ago, the CIMAD is dedicated to the study and understanding of the realities faced by women in management. The Center has developed case studies, publications, international seminars, articles, events, and programs on these topics and has contributed to events and forums. CIMAD recently published a commemorative book that gathers the history of the Center and testimonials from contributors from the past 10 years.