An update from Next Generation Women Leaders

Hi everyone,

I’m back with an update on our Next Generation Women Leaders event! After months of planning and promoting, we were thrilled that thousands of talented women applied to attend the event. We ended up hosting 112 amazing participants for the three-day conference.

This was an important event for us in EMEA, and we had several very senior leaders in attendance, which was great as the attendees were able to see for themselves that we are a non-hierarchical firm driven by strong values. As an organizer and a faculty member, it was simply a spectacular experience, and I will try to share some highlights here.

The Louvre pyramid

First of all, the participants were incredibly impressive—their accomplishments, energy, and attitudes were fantastic. They were well-rounded, driven, and thoughtful. Our attendees had very diverse backgrounds, which meshed well with all of the exciting changes and new work going on at McKinsey. I was able to witness first-hand how diverse skillsets and backgrounds lead to better teamwork, and it was very exciting to think that many of these women may apply to McKinsey and ultimately join the firm. I really did feel like I was meeting the “next generation” of female leaders!

We were lucky to have several inspiring speakers at the event. One such speaker was Natalie Rastoin, CEO of Ogilvy France, and she resonated so well with the participants that many of them repeated quotes from her presentation throughout our time together.

An aerial shot from the Eiffel Tower

Another presentation that really hit home for the attendees was on McKinsey’s Women Matter research. Sandrine Devillard did a wonderful review of our findings, and her presentation led to robust discussions and follow-up questions. One of our attendees works for a large consumer goods company and is hoping to bring the research to her company! 

We held a great session on positive psychology and reframing. We all realized that we often hold ourselves back by lowering our own expectations, and it was helpful to think about how our own personal beliefs can drive our attitudes and impact our success.

One particularly memorable module was a case study exercise based on helping the Louvre museum grow their funding base. The attendees were able to better understand what we do as a firm and how consulting could be an interesting career option for them. It was quite fun to hear all of the creative recommendations coming from the women—they were definitely thinking “out of the box.”

On the social side, we had a ton of fun! One highlight was a boat dinner in Paris. Many of the participants had never been in Paris before, and it was special to see the amazement in their eyes when they saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

A poster board from our "reframing" exercise

When the attendees left, they were all hugging at the train station and exchanging emails and phone numbers. It was exciting to see how they established new, strong networks in only three days. I already received a bunch of emails from women who want to chat more about McKinsey, and one woman even came to Krakow to meet with me in person after the event. Many of our offices are planning follow-up events for applicants who were not able to join us in Paris—in Poland, for example, we are hosting a group of women for a special event followed by dinner with consultants from our office. Many of our consultants are spending time speaking with applicants and coaching those who have decided to apply to McKinsey. All in all, we’re very excited about the event and hopefully welcoming many of the attendees to McKinsey in the coming years!

Visit our website if you’re interested in applying for the next NGWL event, to be held in Washington, DC in June 2017. I’ll be back soon with another update on my life outside of NGWL.