Women in a world of men
Do Czech companies have enough women in management? And how do they perceive working in such positions?
n online meeting called ŠKODA Diversity MeetUp was devoted to this and many other interesting topics, and the carmaker invited female managers and management talents to participate.
Daniela Pešková, Board Member for Retail Banking at Česká spořitelna, and Thomas Schäfer, CEO of ŠKODA AUTO, discussed the diversity and involvement of women in company management. The meeting was admirably moderated by Sandra Kulková from the SE – ŠKODA Academy department, who is also a management talent. The event took place on 10 February, the same day that the carmaker announced the appointment of the first woman to its Board of Directors (Maren Gräf will take over leadership of Human Resources Management).
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After a brief introduction by the head of ŠKODA AUTO, Pešková took the floor to summarise her career as a successful female manager and describe her journey to the Board of Directors at one of the largest Czech banks. She spoke of the eternal dilemma of balancing family life, which is her priority, with her career, as well as the importance of mentoring. That is, it has been important for her to have someone with whom she could consult, confide in or be led by. Another of her topics was about the common fear of women to ask for a promotion or better pay. “We’re usually scared of that. Women would rather stay in their current position than risk others saying that they’re only interested in their careers. However, there is no reason for that. The same applies to salary increases – don’t be afraid to negotiate for adequate money in a decent and correct way. It’s about business and not about being grateful for something; don't be afraid to set your price”, Pešková said. She also reminisced about the beginning of her professional life at the GE Group where, in her own words, she absorbed the Anglo-American culture and environment, which was very useful to her in subsequent phases of her career. “This concerns the 1990s, when women had to adapt to a world of men. They were teaching us what kind of make-up to wear and how to dress and act. Everything has long since passed. Today, a smart male manager understands that women have different needs, and if he wants them to succeed in his team, he has to support them and actually adapt his behaviour to them”, according to Pešková.
The two participants in the debate answered numerous questions from the nearly 150 female employees who joined the online broadcast. Their questions were about discrimination and how the carmaker intends to give more support to women in management positions. “I worked for a long time in South Africa, and I perceived discrimination against women in managerial positions there”, Schäfer observed. “By contrast, in Central Europe, we are working to change the way people think, especially men in leadership positions. From my own experience, I know that the best teams are diverse, and not only as far as the gender balance is concerned. The differences are beneficial, which is why I’ve committed myself to changing the situation here at the carmaker. I see great potential in having a number of managers who have worked abroad and seen how everything works there. So, I believe that this change will take place, and we will get there, too”, he promised. ED
Through the participants’ eyes
GMP/ 1 – Market and Business Intelligence
The first Diversity MeetUp was a great start, as it opened up the current dilemmas that many of us face – balancing family and career or choosing between security and professional growth. In her humorous presentation, it was pleasant to hear how Daniela Pešková had coped with everything and how mentoring helped her. I also appreciated the very open approach of Thomas Schäfer, who was not afraid to answer specific and critical questions.
PSU – Environmental and Work Protection, currently on maternity leave
The meeting with both participants was inspiring for me, and I believe that it can raise great expectations among women working at ŠKODA AUTO. I appreciate that the carmaker also invited colleagues on parental leave because the discussion included information concerning support for their future reintegration and how to maintain contact with them. I will keep my fingers crossed that the leadership can fulfil these and other visions that they mentioned in the near future.
Who is Daniela Pešková?
After graduating from the University of Economics in Prague, she began her career at GE Money Group and spent a year working in Hungary. Prior to joining Česká spořitelna, she held a management position in Slovakia’s Tatrabanka.
She has been working for Česká spořitelna since the end of 2007, and since 2015, she has managed its network of branches.
In February 2016, she became a Board member at the company, where she is responsible for retail banking – that is, all the activities relating to customers and sales. She supervises approximately 5,000 employees.
She is the only woman on a Board of Directors of any of the large Czech banks.
Last year, this mother of three received the 2020 Top Czech Female Manager award.
You can watch the recording of the entire 90-minute discussion in the media library on ŠKODA Space.