Connecting in Crotonville: GE Hosts Female CEOs from MENA, Turkey
Stereotypes aside, the reality in the region is that women play a powerful and influential role in business and government. So when GE wanted to connect with some of its most important customers across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region, it did so by inviting 50 senior female CEOs to its world-renowned Crotonville global leadership institute in New York.
Together, this group of women brought a diversity of viewpoints, coming from different job functions, different countries and different industries, such as aviation, oil & gas and power.
During the five-day “MENAT Women CEO Program,” hosted by Dalya Al Muthanna, President and CEO of GE Gulf, the participants discussed issues such as change management, how to manage millennial employees, the importance of a strong corporate culture, and the most important leadership qualities.
The event also included GE’s leadership development workshops, team-building exercises and sessions on the company’s ongoing innovations, such as the GE Store and its transformation into a digital-industrial company.
GE also shared several of its tools for success, including FastWorks, which is the company’s initiative to promote an innovative, nimble and quick-iterating ‘start-up’ culture; GE’s business innovation and leadership philosophy; and Simplification, which reflects the company’s commitment to improve cost, speed and quality issues through simplification in areas such as processes and systems.
They also participated in interactive presentations by Jeffrey Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO; Beth Comstock, GE Vice Chair; Susan P. Peters, GE Senior Vice President for Human Resources, and Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO of GE MENAT.
Immelt spoke about the company’s transition to a digital-industrial company, in part through the development of Predix, the world’s first cloud-based operating system built exclusively for industrial assets. He explained that by linking Industrial Internet software, big data analysis and industrial equipment and system, GE is helping its customer to reduce costs, improve operations and boost efficiencies.
Explaining GE’s vision behind bringing these women together to extend their leadership skills, network and share best practices, Al Muthanna said it was clear that, increasingly, women in the region are assuming leadership roles in government and private sector organizations, and are working to lead their organizations to the next level.
“We wanted to draw from their experiences, listen to them, share stories and join hands to further engage these customers meaningfully,” Al Muthanna said. “This called for the creation of a new platform that would bring together all these women leaders to share their aspirations, and discuss how we, at GE, can contribute to their growth as leaders and to the growth of their organization. This is extremely important for us as we firmly believe that ‘customers determine our success’.”
Habayeb discussed the importance of this gathering of women leaders from the region in the context of GE’s broader commitment to diversity and to increasing the number of women in leadership and all other areas of the workforce.
GE is reflecting this commitment in the MENAT organization, which saw its total female employment double over the past 10 years, while the number of women in senior leadership positions more than tripled, with one-third of the MENAT’s leadership team comprised of women.