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11 December 2007

Genesis Park – reflections from a female alum: PwC Spain

It’s always been my intention for this blog to act as a thought leadership platform as well as an area in which we consider news, views and debate around the issues of women in leadership.  Some weeks ago, I approached various PwC women who had participated in our key global leadership development programmes – Genesis Park and Ulysses and asked if they’d consider writing a short article on their experiences for publication here on the Gender Agenda.

The submissions are now starting to arrive and here’s the first piece.  It’s written by Sandra Deltell Diaz of PwC Spain, who attended Genesis Park during the summer of 2007 and co-authored the report “Women’s Economic Participation: Enablers, Barriers, Responses” in which over one hundred business women from eight countries were interviewed about their views on the stereotypes and cultural factors which impact women in the workplace.

Sandra_deltell_diaz_3Sandra joined PwC Spain in 1997 and is a Senior Manager in the Consumer and Industrial Products and Services division of the Assurance practice. In addition to her work in audit, she is involved with the Audit Methodology group and also works with the Learning and Education team, giving courses both internally and to potential clients about International Accounting Standards.

“Nowadays, being a successful professional woman is not easy. In my experience in PwC, the talent is what really matters and we are evaluated and promoted on the basis of our talent without any gender discrimination.  However, sometimes talent can be evaluated via a male perspective or lens; and sometimes those making the decisions are from a background where professionals have had to sacrifice their personal lives in order to get the top managerial positions.

I have always been fairly treated and my work and efforts have been well recognised. I am very motivated because I have been offered the best opportunities in my job and I have been equally evaluated.  Nevertheless, I also have the feeling that I have been working as men do, working long hours, accepting all the offers and challenges, even though it’s meant that I’ve had to travel continuously or been unable to spend much time with my family. 

In my country the women are still the ones who carry the major family duties, childcare, family care, etc.  I have been very lucky, because if I am in my current position in PwC and I have a successful professional future ahead of me, it’s because I have a very supportive husband.  This is the case and aligns with the experience of the majority of the successful women I spoke to when producing the “Barriers and Enablers” report.

Attending the Genesis Park programme in 2007 allowed me to meet successful PwC professional women from several different countries and, although our specific country issues are different, the barriers to success in our careers are the same.

Therefore I think that, as a firm, we have to be able to offer our female professionals the opportunity of being successful, developing all their skills and contributing to PwC with all their talent as women and providing a female perspective.”

Later this week, look out for a piece from a female American Partner who participated in a South African based Ulysses development programme in the summer of 2006, working with an organisation that provides HIV/AIDs treatment to some of the nation's poorest citizens.

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