"If someone tells me that he himself does not find enough suitable women, then I ask him: What are you personally doing to train women as suitable candidates?" Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Women in executive positions? A rarity even in the legal profession. PANDA supports young women lawyers on their way to the top. The application deadline for this year's Leadership Contest for women lawyers is currently running.
Isabelle Hoyer began her professional career in a network of excellence for executives. Not untypically, there were significantly fewer women there than men - and some of them told adventurous stories about their everyday work. PANDA was born out of the motivation to support women in their professional careers and to bring more women into leadership roles. Isabelle Hoyer has a master's degree in communication science, intercultural communication and Russian. The mother of two lives with her family near Munich.
Mrs. Hoyer introduces us to "We are PANDA":
We are PANDA exists in Germany since 2013 and was originally developed as a cross-industry event for women leaders. Today, 3-5 PANDA events take place annually - the main event with 200 participants is still open to all industries and types of companies, and there are also industry-specific specials. In addition, a Women Leadership Community has been developed with currently about 800 participants. Since 2015, PANDA has also been available specifically for women in the legal sector. The premiere in 2015 was already a complete success. We at CLP can proudly say: We were there from the beginning!
"There are so many highly qualified women lawyers that it won't be long before the management teams of law firms are predominantly female..." Dr. Ulrike Binder is a partner at Mayer Brown LLP. This makes her an exceptional phenomenon, because although more than half of the law graduates are female, the proportion of the law firm partners is below 10%. The legal profession is considered conservative and resistant to change. The salary gap between men and women is, with an average of 42% in the legal profession, still significantly larger than the 23% in the national industry average. And so the initial quote goes even further:
"One might think. But professional quality alone does not lead to an improvement. It is also important to show yourself, to be courageous and to use opportunities. For that you need supporters, role models and opportunities."
Supporters, role models, opportunities - this is exactly what the initiators of PANDA Women want to offer. PANDA is an initiative and community for more women in leadership. Here, women in leadership and management roles find a platform to specifically expand their networks, exchange experiences and strengthen each other through constructive feedback. They are actively brought together with companies that offer opportunities or are explicitly looking for women leaders.
The PANDA Women Leadership Contest is a format that reflects the facets of a management career: Learning from others, developing, working in a team, asserting oneself. A contest in which the participants discuss relevant topics together and in the end choose a winner from among themselves. A fresh format that stands out from the well-known conferences and networking events with its special dynamic and offers the participants tangible added value.
In 2015 the PANDA University Law format - especially for women lawyers - had its premiere at EBS Wiesbaden. Last year it took place at the LMU in Munich.
This year we will meet PANDA for Women Lawyers in Frankfurt.
Female law students and young professionals will be offered a top-class program: In addition to a keynote, they will have the opportunity to talk to successful women lawyers at the "Lunch & Learn" and learn from their experiences - all participants are women lawyers and have chosen very different career paths, which they will present. They will be available to answer any questions during the meal together.
In the course of two workshops, the participants will have the opportunity to work in groups on practice-relevant issues, bringing in and training precisely those personal strengths that are often neglected in everyday life at the university. Teamwork, empathy and argumentation skills, for example. After each group situation, the participants give each other feedback, learn more about their public image and simultaneously train their own perception.
The afternoon is reserved for networking among the participants and for discussions with the partner companies present. Parallel to this, offers such as CV-check and speed-mentoring are available.
The day ends with the awarding of the chosen winner. But she is not the only one who can expect a whole package of offers for personal development: CLP (JurCoach) has been a supporter and cooperation partner of Panda Law since 2015. Like last year, Dr. Geertje Tutschka, managing director of CLP, lawyer in Germany and Austria and certified ICF coach - and herself mother of 3 teenage daughters - will again sponsor a personal career coaching by CLP worth €1,000 for the PANDA winner.
Franziska, winner of PANDA Law 2015: "I have benefited several times over from my participation in the PANDA Law Contest: The exchange with the other participants and the mutual feedback during the contest offered the ideal opportunity to test my leadership and teamwork skills and thus to develop personally and professionally. I got to know strong, confident and inspiring women. It is no secret that women in management positions are unfortunately often underrepresented in legal professions. A strong network is therefore indispensable, especially for women lawyers. PANDA Law offers the perfect platform for this".
Thank you very much, Mrs. Hoyer.
(Originally published on 06.10.2017 on the former CLP blog JurCoach.)