In addition to giving participants practical skills to strengthen their personal leadership brand, or “signature,” the Signature and Signature Select programmes have a strong focus on broadening women’s external network of peers.
That was a main driver in the Maersk Group’s decision to choose Signature, given programme founder Carol Seymour’s wide network of senior talented women in different industries, says Lucien Alziari, Group Head of HR.
“In my view, it’s the best out there. It gives women exposure to different companies, leaders, industries and cultures,” he adds.
To date, 23 women from the Maersk Group have gone through the Signature programmes. Nominees for Signature Select are high performers at level 5 identified in the Group’s talent review process.
The network continues and grows beyond the course, with periodic networking events for all Signature alumni, providing a forum for ongoing connections and relationships across different companies.
Zhanar Dreisig, Senior Legal Counsel in Maersk Oil, attended the first Signature Select course in London in March.
“You realize the challenges you’re facing are not unique to Maersk. And it helps to come together with women from different companies and industries to share insights and experiences and to provide support to each other. It is great to see that the Group is taking active steps to address the gender gap,” she says.
A forum for CEOs
In addition to Signature, the Group is also working to harness the power of cross-company networking at the CEO level.
Along with McKinsey & Company and the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Maersk Group is a co-founding partner in the new Danish Diversity Council, launched on May 18 at the Womenomics conference in Copenhagen.
The council, which aims to recruit additional companies, will be anchored in top management through the CEO Committee, which will meet twice a year to discuss experiences and strategies for improving gender diversity.
Rachel Osikoya, Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion, was part of a similar CEO forum when she worked on diversity in investment banking in London.
“One of the things I noticed is it works. It’s the only time you get CEOs knocking on your door saying, ‘Can you give me some stats on how we’re doing with women?’ It really creates a sense of competition to do well in this area, but more importantly, it actually creates real change and learning among our CEOs as well,” she says.