Diversity and inclusion in the financial industry were the key topics of the First WIM CEE Forum

On September 7, 2018 the First WIM CEE Forum “Impact of Sociocultural Diversity and Leadership Strategy on a Company’s Results” was held by CFA Society Ukraine. The key themes of the Forum were diversity and inclusion which boost innovation, business outcomes and confidence in the future. 
Mykhailo Merkulov, CEO of Arricano Real Estate Plc, took part in the discussion panel of the First WIM CEE Forum “Success Strategies for Business”.
M.Merkulov pointed out that the philosophy of partnership which is the strategy of Arricano implies the development of human capital and the creative potential of employees, “People, a team, professionals aimed at development and interaction provide success in business. Sociocultural diversity, including the gender balance of a team gives a chance to form management special forces where each person is important and valuable, ensuring the ability of such a team to solve higher complexity tasks. For example, Arricano ensures a double-digit growth of the indicators in difficult economic conditions for several years running.”
CEO Arricano said that due to the policy of gender equality in the company all shopping malls are run by women, “They are different, but all managers of our shopping malls manage the objects thriftily, solve many issues of exploitation economical, thoroughly control the processes and carefully delegate the authorities. Sustainable development, sociocultural diversity, gender equality are parts of Arricano's corporate culture which influence business success and provide leading positions of the company.”
Speakers of the panel, Emily Dunbar (CFA Institute), Paulina Shaw (MERAAS), Barbara Stewart (CFA, Kensington Capital Partners Limited), Svitlana Drihush (Horizon Capital) and moderator Yulia Kovaliv, head of the Office of the National Investment Council under the President of Ukraine, discussed the importance of diversity of personnel for the achievement of the company's objectives, discussed the ways of enhancing of the competitive advantages of companies due to gender differences, shared cases related to the impact of gender and sociocultural differences of team personnel on business results.
Yulia Kovaliv emphasized, “A team which has different experience, background and especially - a different culture of doing business - is always an advantage of a company, especially today, taking into account the fact that the markets are dynamic. My experience on leadership positions in the spheres where men have long dominated confirms this statement. I respect those leaders for whom diversity is not just a haypoo word, but one of the key components for the effectiveness and healthy microclimate in a team. I would like to see more such leaders in Ukraine.”
The intensive program of the Forum included two more panel discussions: “The Role of a Strong Leader in Turbulent Times”, “Sociocultural Diversity in Supervisory Boards”. Training workshops from international experts and international coaches Carolyn Notebaert, Notebaert Consulting; Annette Cernik, Inspired Executives; Barbara Stewart, CFA; William Thome, CFA were also held. The evening business networking-cocktail party finished the program of the day. 
Olha Burenko, CFA, Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of CFA Society Ukraine, spoke about the objectives of the First WIM CEE Forum, “The aim of the forum is to draw attention to the fact that not only individually women and men are important, but the diversity and mixed leaders’ teams. Such teams can have a positive impact on individual companies, improving their financial performance and profitability, contributing to the increased capital investment and, finally, to the economic growth.
At the moment we do not have gender equality in leadership positions in Ukraine. The Increase in a number of women would lead to a diversification of the economy and even to the emergence of new industries. A strong corporate culture and good financial results begin with a leadership. The more diverse the leaders are, the greater are the success and the effectiveness.”
The participants of the Forum note that the relevance of topics discussed at the Forum is growing. In the next 5-10 years, the global investment market will undergo great changes, only “balanced” teams which are successful in making complex decisions will survive. This means that the ability to create a gender balance in companies is one of the key factors of success for participants of the investment market which must be provided today.
The organizers of the Forum, the Association of Investment Professionals CFA Society Ukraine with the support of the international CFA Institute and the international analytical company Thomson Reuters, gathered in Kyiv more than 300 participants, financiers and investment specialists from 15 countries of Europe and the Middle East.