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Women in Power

Spotlight On: Janti Soeripto

President & CEO, Save the Children

How is Save the Children taking an innovative approach to collaborations and partnerships in order to reach the next generation of social leaders?

Over 100 years ago, Save the Children’s founder declared that children have rights, which was an innovative concept for the time. We are particularly proud we’ve maintained that bold spirit not just in our programmatic work, but in our approach to strategic collaborations and partnerships as well. We work diligently with brands to ensure our collaborations are authentic, our campaigns are uniquely differentiated, and that together, we’re able to offer unique value to each other to meet our shared goals. Whether through driving consumer action, boosting brand awareness, increasing positive sentiment, or engaging employees – our team innovates with our partners to create breakthrough campaigns that benefit children – and grow business. If one is able to do both successfully, we’re confident the next generation of social leaders will be well equipped to make the biggest impact possible.

In your opinion, how can the fashion and beauty industries be used as a force for good?

Firstly, companies must look internally and ask whether or not they have reached gender parity at a board and C-suite level. This level of leadership is critical for improving an organization's – and in this case, an industry’s – ability to innovate, collaborate, increase performance and make an impact. Secondly, the industries can – and should – reimagine and redefine how women and girls are portrayed. They are leaders in this respect, and the world is looking to them to lead in a positive way. Corporations should also ensure their supply chain is as sustainable, equitable and fair as it should be, and lastly, collaboration. All industries, inclusive of fashion and beauty, must work together across sectors and partners, to come up with groundbreaking and transformative partnerships to truly make a change for good.

Why is mentorship so important in empowering young women?

I think women are over-mentored and under-sponsored, to be honest. Mentors are fine, of course, but young women also need sponsors who have their back, take a risk on them and put them up for promotion and challenging assignments. This is still not happening consistently.

What are 5 things you wish someone had told you when you first began your career?

Don’t think we have cracked the glass ceiling yet!
It is not just about creating a pipeline of female talent, it is about making sure we appoint strong female leaders.
Always support other women (I knew that anyway).
Be unapologetic to demand systemic change. For example, quota are necessary. This is not just about “leaning in” and pulling up a chair at the table, although these things are necessary too.
The range of styles that are “allowed” for women are still more limited and it helps to be conscious of this. For example, when women portray passion on a topic, they are seen as “emotional,” whereas for men it is seen as a strength.

How do you define leadership?

Leadership is about empowering the people around you to do their very best, being accountable for delivering results, having the courage to make tough decisions and practicing humility. Never assume you know an answer better than the person you’re trying to support. Leaders must also collaborate with, trust and encourage their teams to make smart, strategic decisions while at the same time being unafraid to think in bigger, bolder and more ambitious ways.

"Women’s empowerment starts with girls’ empowerment. When girls are empowered to lead their lives, speak their minds and determine their futures, everyone benefits."