Called to Lead: A Summit on Leadership & the Power of Diversity in the 21st Century

On May 16, SAP North America President Jen Morgan hosted Called to Lead: A Summit on Leadership & The Power of Diversity in the 21st Century.

Building on the tremendous success of the 2015 Women’s Leadership Summit, Called to Lead convened a number of thought leaders and executives from across industries to share personal experiences and best practices for harnessing the power of what it means to be a truly diverse – and inclusive – company in today’s digital economy.

Anka Wittenberg, SAP’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, provided insights into the company’s plans for diversity to affect the bottom line. She said, “By raising employee engagement by just one percent, we see an increase in $45-48 million. If our employees are happy, our customers are happy.” SAP is on track to meet its 2017 goal of having 25% of its leaders be women.

Diversity is no longer a “nice-to-have”: It’s good business and critical to company profitability and sustainability.

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and bestselling author of Presence, then took the stage and captured the audience with a thought-provoking talk on power, body language, and what it means to be “present” to be the best version of yourself.

Amy kicked-off the keynote by asking the audience to think of a challenging time in life and relive that situation. “How did you feel?” she asked. “I can assume that your mind wasn’t functioning calmly, with reason, or with presence.” Becoming present is achieved through personal power. When you feel powerful you are more likely to take action and be focused, leading to desired outcomes. It reveals your true self.

Amy then showed the audience several pictures of animals in their dominant state, followed by athletes celebrating victory. The comparison? Humans express feeling powerful no different than animals. The gorilla beats on its chest; the horse bucks; the peacock spreads its feathers; the football player throws his hands in the air after a touchdown. We expand our bodies when we feel powerful. With that, Amy encouraged the audience to “power pose” for 2 minutes a day. Studies have shown that those who power pose actually feel better at work and in life. Amy left the stage with an emotional video about a depressed horse whose trainer used power posing to build confidence. You can’t miss this:

Saving Draumur from Seriouspony on Vimeo.

The remainder of the afternoon included a panel with Dyan Decker, partner, PwC, U.S. Forensic Technology Leader; Elena Donio, president, Concur; Kathy Miller, assistant deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army; Lila Snyder, president, Global Ecommerce, Pitney Bowes, Inc.; and Bob Nardelli, former chairman and CEO, Home Depot, and former CEO, Chrysler; hosted by Vanessa Smith, chief of staff, office of the CEO, SAP. The panel shared their personal and professional experiences on how diversity has helped drive technological change and innovation amidst disruption.

Before welcoming the closing segment of the day, Maggie Chan Jones, SAP’s chief marketing officer, briefly took the stage and encouraged the audience to take the insights from today and ask yourself, “Is my team diverse? Am I enabling my team to grow and be the best we can be?”

A supportive workplace can help anyone achieve a sustainable work/life integration.

The event concluded with a fireside chat between Jen Morgan and Arianna Huffington, co-founder, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Jen and Arianna had a lively discussion on a variety of topics, including how diversity has evolved; why leadership, innovation, and disruption are key to any successful leader; and how a supportive workplace can help anyone achieve a sustainable work/life integration.

“Jen, I love that you use the term work/life integration and not work/life balance,” said Arianna. “I don’t even know what that means because today, we are always on. You just have to know how to recharge yourself.”

Arianna gave a cliff-notes version to her book, The Sleep Revolution, and honed in on the importance sleep plays in being successful. “There is this misconception that in order to get to the top we must burn ourselves out. It’s quite the opposite.” Studies show that we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to operate at our peak performance. “We’re being paid for our judgment, not our stamina,” said Arianna.

Jen followed up by asking if Arianna is seeing more women rise to the top in her industry. “Yes, we do, but we, as women, have to realize that biologically, we internalize stress more than men. And in order to conquer that, we have to find a way to center ourselves among the chaos.”

During the 45-minute chat, Arianna and Jen engaged the audience on several issues, with Arianna throwing in comedy along the way. Jen ended the discussion with one last question: “What are you most excited about for business in the future?” Arianna explained that technology has completely transformed – and democratized – us. It gives us the opportunity to express ourselves and share our stories. “And, that’s why I love The Huffington Post. It’s not about exclusivity. It’s about sharing with the world.”

The key takeaway from the event? Diversity is no longer just a “nice-to-have” – it’s good business – and critical to company profitability and sustainability. And without inclusivity, there is no diversity.

Follow @SAPPHIRENOW and use the hashtags, #SAPPHIREC2L and #SAPPHIRENOW to learn more about the event, the discussions and attendee’s reactions.

Image via SAP