Over the past few years, it has become a good tradition to hold our spring women in leadership events a few days prior to International Women´s Day. So we did this time and on March 6 we gathered at Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel Tallinn to sit down with 4 amazing women and hear about their success stories of making outstanding careers in traditionally “men-dominated” industries.
This time the event featured 3 speakers: the CEO of CircleK Kai Realo, the CFO and Board Member of Estonian Cell Siiri Lahe and the CEO of Philip Morris Estonia Kai Tammist. The panel discussion was moderated by Annika Arras, the Partner, and CEO of Miltton New Nordics.
After a short introduction about the careers of all the 3 speakers, the C-level female leaders continued an open discussion about what it takes to make a difference, stand out, and establish themselves as valued leaders in companies. It was made sure that despite the topic of equality and gender balance being on the table for quite some time already, companies are still struggling to implement and support the diversity within the leadership level of businesses. Also, one of the main messages from the experienced leaders was to learn to be outspoken and self-confident in one’s value, knowledge, and skills. There is no need to downplay your input and ladies should definitely learn to market themselves as a valued and trustworthy brand in the business.
Main messages from the speakers:
“I’m proud to be a female leader in a highly regulated industry. We need women at all levels of management to be the new normal. Equal pay for equal work should not be considered a demand from women; rather, it should expected. The difficult part is to overcome the existing bias in hiring and promoting decisions. Bias seems to be the biggest obstacle. All companies should look for best talent, therefore rely on competencies not likeness, and facts not assumptions.” – stated Kai Tammist from Philip Morris Estonia. She then went on to add ““PMI has placed inclusion, equal pay and diversity at the core of its business strategy as a key enabler for the company’s business transformation from a traditional cigarette manufacturer to a science and technology-based company with a pipeline of innovative smoke-free products. We are the first multinational who has received Equal Salary Certificate and are recognized as Top Employers“.
According to the CEO of Circle K Kai Realo “As a female leader, you do not have to act like your male colleagues, but it does help if you understand what drives different people and how to effectively interact with them. Stay true to yourself and build your leadership style on your strengths. And let self confidence be one of them!”
As for the advice from the CFO of the Estonian Cell AS Siiri Lahe, she recommended the following: “Do not overdo the preparation with perfection. The 80:20 rule applies in most areas, and keep in mind that 80 percent of the score will already be achieved with 20 percent preparation.”
In conclusion, the event moderator and CEO of the Miltton New Nordics Annika Arras said: “I’m waiting for the day when we don’t have to organize events to talk about women in leadership. I’d love to have events to talk about just leadership, no matter what gender.“
We would like to thank our Premium Partners, Microsoft Estonia, and Coca Cola Baltic States, for their continuous help and support of the Women in Leadership program! A big thank you also goes to our event partner and one of the newest members of the chamber Eesti Ekspress Meedia and Anne & Stiil magazine. And of course, we would like to thank all our participants for joining this event! We hope that you got truly inspired and we look forward to hear about your personal success stories in the nearest future!!
Event photos by Sergei Krasii, FotkiAgency for AmCham Estonia©