Women in leadership is on the rise. The latest Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies, for instance, features more than 60 female Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). Incredible women around the world control the financial futures of many of the world’ s largest and most respected brands — from Google and Coca-Cola, to PwC and Macy’s.
Given the progress women have made and evidence of the value they bring, the slow pace of gender equality raises questions that women have been answering with more positive impact in small, medium and big size corporations across the globe. A good example is Sitel Group’s Esmeralda Mingo, Sitel Spain’s Managing Director.
Esmeralda is part of a strong group of women responsible for a massive transformation within Sitel Group’s EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) organization. Among leaders including Kim Neyret (Country Manager, France), Kellie Smith (IT Director, EMEA) and Maria Harju (VP, Account Management, EMEA), Esmeralda has forged an arduous career as a BPO executive by anticipating and embracing challenge and change. Her energy and empathy, despite rising to a top leadership position in a very competitive landscape, has made her a role model for women across the company.
When speaking to Sitel Group’s young female associates, Esmeralda gave an honest assessment of the journey to becoming a seasoned, mature leader. Was her journey all planned? Did chance or luck play a role? Did she experience any sort of prejudice or setback by being a woman? Her answers are truly insightful.
“I have not calculated my career in detail, but it is indeed a result of a conscious effort – a natural evolution of a professional path I’ve challenged myself to build,” said Esmeralda, who began her career as a contact center agent, and worked her way up in many different leadership positions, servicing and supporting many of the world’s most well-known brands.
“I believe woman must be visible, vocal and active against her goals, with a restless desire to persevere,” recommended Esmeralda. “But, this doesn’t mean being always right or the first to talk. You must be patient, stay rational under pressure, deal with problems rapidly but wisely and find suitable solutions which solve short and long-term problems.”
When asked about setback and prejudice, Esmeralda highlights the importance of education and culture: “I was fortunate to grow up in a family and country [Spain] that gave me the confidence that as a girl, I had unlimited potential and I could do whatever I wished. We must continue raising our girls – and our boys – to imagine their infinite possibilities, and educate them with the tools to realize it,” advised Esmeralda who is the mother of a young millennial.
Regarding gender equality and the future of women in the workplace, Esmeralda is positive, but thinks organizations must take commitment and time.
“Yes, this will take more time and more effort, but we are witnessing the creation of a mindset and system that provides great hope for sustained improvement – and part of it is comes from the actual results delivered by women. In fact, a recent study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY reports that profitability increases by 15 percent for firms that have at least 30 percent female executives versus firms with no women in the top tier,” said Esmerelda.
And, she knows what she is talking about – the path forward for Sitel Group is lined with women. By the end of 2017, Sitel Group increased the proportion of female associates to 54.7 percent – which is above the average of Fortune 500 brands. Woman in leadership position (managers and above) represented more than 40 percent of the Sitel Group in the same period.
“We still have a long way to go, but we are really proud of the progress we’ve made,” said Esmerelda. “The momentum is strong and I hope we can continue motivating our young women across the globe to work together with our contributions around the world,” concluded Esmeralda, who consciously or not, serves as a role model for women uniting forces for a positive change in their lives and communities.