The annual WeQual Awards celebrated eight businesswomen holding prominent executive roles. WeQual identifies and recognizes world-class women executives through its diversity awards. The awards promote inclusion and gender equality within the group executive committees of the largest companies in the Americas region.
The eight winners were selected from a shortlist of 24 finalists. The successful award holders work for TELUS, IBM, Analog Devices, CIBC FirstCaribbean, ABB, HSBC, Comcast and Diageo.
Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of WeQual, says: “WeQual identifies already successful senior women who are qualified to be appointed to the group C-suite. Our mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing diverse women to executive roles. We want to highlight successes where they occur. The glass-ceiling concept has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below the group C-suite, so it is important to champion gender equality at the top.”
The diversity awards come at an important time for women in business. The global COVID-19 pandemic is in danger of pushing back opportunities for women to be appointed to the most senior positions. “The fact that we are able to celebrate the achievements of these women in major companies at this time sets a shining example to others,” says Katie Litchfield.
The winners are:
- ABB: Heather Cykoski, Group Vice President (Leadership Excellence category)
- Analog Devices: Jen Lloyd, Vice President, Precision Technology and Platforms BU (Technological Impact category)
- Comcast: Noopur Davis, EVP, Chief Product and Information Security Officer (Business Security category)
- IBM: Christina Montgomery, VP, Chief Privacy Officer (Commercial Innovation category)
- HSBC: Terecina Kwong, Chief Operating Officer, HSBC Europe (Operational Performance category)
- TELUS (Canada): Juggy Sihota, Vice President, Consumer Health (Business Transformation category)
- CIBC FirstCaribbean (Jamaica): Monique French, Chief Credit Officer (Finance category)
- Diageo: Paula Costa, Marketing Vice-President, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil (Business Turnaround category)
The 24 finalists were assessed against specific criteria. Their leadership, cognitive ability, drive and resilience, integrity, emotional intelligence, personal development, approach to equality and knowledge of their business were all considered. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.
To choose the winners, eight executive interviewers held 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in each category. After, they chose the winners for the diversity awards.
The judges were:
- Sir Ian Cheshire, former Chairman, Barclays UK
- Steve Cahillane, President and Chairman, Kellogg Company
- Douglas Peterson, CEO, S&P Global
- Dame Inga Beale, Chair Designate, Mediclinic
- Ann Cairns, Executive Vice-Chair, Mastercard
- Ron Kalifa OBE, Chairman, Network International
- Tamara Box, Managing Partner EMEA, Reed Smith LLP
- Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO, Coca-Cola HBC
All the 24 award finalists have been given access to a range of WeQual support services and networks. They’re designed to help them make the step up to the group executive level. A quarter of WeQual award winners in the USA and UK have since been promoted to the global executive committees of Fortune 500 and FTSE companies. There are now 120 senior women involved with WeQual globally.
WeQual’s mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world’s Group Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual Awards, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they deserve to be appointed to the Group Executive Committee.