Celebrating Women’s History Month 2021

In celebration of Women’s History Month (WHM) and International Women's Day (IWD), recognized annually on March 8, the Goldman Sachs Women’s Network (GSWN) invited colleagues around the world to a series of events highlighting the economic and cultural achievements of women, diversity in the workplace and opportunities to contribute to a more inclusive society.

As our recently named Chief Diversity Officer Megan Hogan reflected, “This Women’s History Month included so many bright spots, from the Inclusion Network’s impactful events to the announcement of our One Million Black Women initiative. It’s also important to recognize that the past few weeks have been marked by tragedies including the killing of Sarah Everard in London, the shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, and the unrelenting acts of violence against the AAPI community. As our CEO David Solomon recently noted, we have a responsibility to act as allies by contributing to an inclusive and safe environment for all, and I’m grateful to our Inclusion Networks and all of our people for making space for dialogue and action towards this critical goal.”

This year’s events were organized around the three key global priorities the GSWN Council has set for 2021, which include amplifying the visibility of gender diversity firmwide initiatives internally, advocating for the retention, advancement and recruitment of women professionals, and strengthening engagement with our clients through collaborative action on gender diversity. The events included:

International Women’s Day Panel With 10,000 Women Growth Fellows and Champions

On March 8, more than 750 people registered for an interactive panel discussion moderated by CEO David Solomon with opening remarks by Asahi Pompey, global head of Corporate Engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, featuring select Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Growth Fellows. These dynamic entrepreneurs shared incredible stories about their journeys and experience as Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women graduates. 10,000 Women Champions – Goldman Sachs associates and vice presidents selected to mentor the 2021 class of 10,000 Women Growth Fellows – also joined the discussion.

Partner Perspectives Panel

Women leaders from different functions of the firm discussed their perspectives on leadership and career development, and shared their advice on embracing change. This discussion was moderated by COO John Waldron. Some key quotes from the panel include:

"I now realize more than ever the importance of these peer relationships. When you get to certain positions in the firm It actually is about your peers and working with your peers to make the firm better. If you haven’t built those relationships over time, it’s hard to build them later when you are kind of forced to have them.”

– John Waldron, COO

“[In overcoming professional setbacks], I would just say to people it’s never too late to figure out what you’re next great thing is whether it’s a new seat here or just more broadly, keep being on the front edge of where you want to be and meeting people to know what other options are out there for you to keep navigating your career.”

Heather Von Zuben, global head of Client Portfolio Solutions and co-head of the GSWN

“[Regarding One Million Black Women], I think what I’m most excited about and certainly we felt this over the last week … I really do think it’s going to be something where we really do bring in the whole firm. There’s not a single business or division that can’t touch this population in a meaningful way.”

Margaret Anadu, global head of sustainability and impact for Asset Management and chairwoman of the Urban Investment Group

Inclusion, Intrusion or Illusion: Making Diversity Work

Marking IWD in EMEA, we co-hosted an event with EQT, led by Anna Skoglund, head of the Financial and Strategic Investors Group in EMEA, co-chair of the European Inclusion and Diversity Committee and co-head of the EMEA Women's Network. The discussion was a deep dive on leadership and investor perspectives around gender diversity in the workplace. Richard Gnodde, CEO of Goldman Sachs International, and EQT’s CEO Christian Sinding opened the session by sharing shared perspectives on the evolution and future of diversity. Nishi Somaiya, global co-head of Growth Equity, and Sharon Bell, senior strategist on the European Portfolio Strategy team, also joined panels with EQT leadership discussing the business case for diversity and the powerful economic implications of a more diverse workforce.


10,000 Women Growth Fellowship Panel

The Americas Global Markets Women’s Network and Hispanic/Latinx Network hosted a virtual panel discussion with three Latin America-based Fellows from the 10,000 Women online business education course. The discussion was hosted in Spanish and moderated by Ricardo Mora, co-head of Americas FICC Sales.

The panel was part of the firm’s second annual 10,000 Women Growth Fellowship, which aims to train, coach and support participating entrepreneurs to further their business growth. The panelists discussed the impact of 10,000 Women on their businesses and their experiences as women entrepreneurs. The panel featured Paula Perotti, founder of Valorable Valorable, an eco-friendly online store changing the way customers shop and promoting responsible and conscious consumption; Alejandrina (Carmen) Arróspide Poblete, founder of Illapa Culturas Andinas, an adventure tourism company operating in Peru; and Carolina Doldan, founder of Change Agency, an Argentinian firm that provides an internal communications consultancy service for companies and organizations.

Authenticity in Uncertain Times: A Conversation With Rachel Lim

The South East Asia Women’s Network hosted Rachel Lim, co-founder of clothing brand Love, Bonito for a candid discussion on how she propelled the company to the forefront of the retail industry, empowered women’s confidence through fashion, and how she maintained authenticity and balance in her leadership throughout the pandemic. The conversation was moderated by Daphne Chan, Sponsor of the South East Asia Women’s Network, CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) Singapore and head of GSAM’s South and South East Asia Client Business.

“When things go well, don’t let it get into your head; when things don't go well, don’t let it get to your heart.” shared Rachel. As the co-founder of Love, Bonito, Rachel is very mission-focused, but she also stresses the importance of being self-aware and being the champion of your own strengths.

A Conversation with Jennifer Yu Cheng on Female Entrepreneurship

In a virtual session organized by Asia Pacific Women’s Network, Jennifer Yu Cheng, Deputy Vice Chairwoman and Group President of CTF Education Group (CTFEG), talked about how she’s leveraging her vast experience across different education sectors to empower the next generation of female leaders to get them “future ready”. Padideh Raphael, co-head of APAC Women’s Network opened the event and Isaac Wong, Head of North Asia Corporate and family office coverage, moderated the discussion. While COVID-19 has accelerated transformation and digitization of companies, the gender gap persists in STEM fields. Jennifer shared examples of how her organizations are ensuring the knowledge of technology, use cases, and application is available to all students.

Keynote address by Major Vandana Sharma (Retd.)

In partnership with the Veteran’s Network, the Bengaluru Women’s Network invited Major Vandana Sharma (Retd.) to a virtual session on International Women’s Day, during which she shared her inspiring journey challenging gender stereotypes as a military veteran, promoting equality and empowering other women throughout her career as an entrepreneur. She encouraged everyone to break the wall rather than becoming another brick in the wall, as we all work towards creating a more inclusive environment.

Panel Discussion: From Challenge comes Change

On March 16, the Bengaluru Women’s Network hosted a candid conversation with Zainab Patel, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at KPMG and Sheenam Ohrie, Vice President, Dell Digital Online at Dell Technologies. Moderated by Rachana Bahadur, co-head of the Bengaluru Women’s Network, the discussions included addressing gender beyond the binary, intersectionality, and challenging social conditioning to break free from biases. The panelists encouraged everyone to speak up and embrace the diversities around us to truly foster inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

2021 Women Partner Promotes Panel

The EMEA Women’s Network hosted a panel session with our recent EMEA and APAC 2021 women partner promotes, Lisa Donnelly, head of EMEA Operations, Orla Dunne, global head of Foundational Infrastructure, and Christina Ma, head of Greater China Equities. Co-head of EMEA Women’s Network, Celine Mechain, provided opening and closing remarks and the discussion was moderated by Richard Gnodde. The conversation focused on how this year’s IWD theme #ChooseToChallenge resonated with our panelists and each of their career journeys, with Lisa sharing that her time at the firm has been ‘a continuous journey, whereby you’re always looking at what the next step is and marching forward to the new set of challenges’

A Conversation with Baroness Manningham-Buller

Anna Skoglund, co-head of the EMEA WN, moderated a conversation with Eliza Manningham-Buller. Eliza headed Britain's Security Service (MI5) from 2002 to 2007, leading the organization through substantial change in the wake of 9/11 and the threat from Al-Quaeda. Eliza shared how her experience at MI5 taught her ‘a great deal around remaining resilient in times of pressure and maintaining balance’, which resonated especially given the pressure we have all felt over the past year during this global pandemic. When addressing how we can drive gender diversity, Eliza challenged the audience to ‘speak up and stand up for the things that are right’.

Ask Me Anything With Senior Leaders Across March

A weekly series of Ask Me Anything (AMA) conversations was hosted on themes around "Choose to Challenge" with eight managing directors in India, including co-heads of the Women’s Network. The sessions provided participants the opportunity to interact with senior leaders as they reflected on their career paths and covered a range of topics including best practices and thoughts on workplaces of the future, importance of gender equality and how they #ChoosetoChallenge every day.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we also conducted a Q&A with Regional Leaders of the GSWN.