Davos 2013 (No.4)

Friday January 25 began with the private brainstorming session on Gender Dynamics in the Workspace format.  I was busy packing in the morning (it helped for me to get up at 3:00 a.m.!) , finishing big breakfast and heading for Davos in the dark.   It was not snowing in Klosters where I stayed, but you could feel VERY COLD air in Davos.

Brainstorming session on Gender Dynamics brought many people who have worked on the topic together and it was good for me to learn issues in different countries and actions taken.  For example, I hear that the US seems to need more actions in public sector, while Turkey is full of new coordinated initiatives to work on the gender parity issue.  Commitment and dedication by the top is the key was the message repeated many times.

After discussion in breakout sessions, we had report back and general discussion.  I could not but think that Japan has such a long way to go on this issue and the awareness of the significance of the issue leading to specific action with impact has to be raised quickly.   I heard the comment from the lady from France that she gets VERY discouraged whenever visiting Japan, as there is a stereotype that leaders are male!

After being a bit discouraged at the state of Japan, I went to the plenary session entitled “Women in economic decision making.”  Panelists include C. Lagarde of IMF, President Faust of Harvard, and Sheryl Sandberg of facebook among others.  It was a good discussion and made me feel that the WEF and the world is taking the issue very seriously.

Then came the special private 1-1 session with Dr. Inamori.  I tried to position his initial remarks in the context of the Davos 2013 when I found out that he planned to read the prepared speech (unlike my expectations otherwise).   As it took longer than originally scheduled, I decided to open up to the floor for Q & A, rather than me asking some questions.  (I ended up asking some questions in the process.)

Q & A session was quite active and I was impressed with his powerful and sincere attitude to express his philosophy and view.  Dr.Inamori is an entrepreneur (who started the company Kyocera with stellar performance of no loss over the five decades since its foundation), challenger (who tried to bring competition into the telecommunications industry with KDDI, against Gulliver, NTT) and leader dedicated to “common good” with his courageous act of taking over ailing Japan Air Lines AND turning it around in over 2 years.  Some of his remarks which caught my attention include “We need ‘intellectual barbarians’, and not leader going for consensus & ‘harmony’.” “I could visualize the day will soon come when every new born baby will get a phone number on mobile before own name, many years before mobile  in the current form became available in the world.”

I hope  those who were at the session could get even the glimpse of his deep-rooted belief in the importance of hard work, life philosophy and steady step-by-step effort to make the dream come true.  His words meant so much to me as he has practiced his philosophy for the world to be and for the leadership, in different industries and at different times.  I am so privileged to be given this opportunity.  With  that session, my Davos 2013 came to an end.

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