Monday, March 26, 2012
Envoy Lauds Women in American Chamber of Commerce Talk
E. Anthony Wayne
Thank you, Jose. It has been an honor working with you the last six months as President of the American Chamber
[of Commerce of Mexico]. To you and the incoming President Carlos Paz Sold an, and the Am Cham Board Members present,
thank you for your service. We at the United States Embassy know you have a full time job and appreciate the time and
effort you put into the bilateral relationship. Through the hard work of its membership and committees, the American
Chamber has played a very important role in advancing bilateral trade, and I thank you for your dedication.
Last week, I had good discussions with the Secretary of Commerce and the leadership of the
State Department as well as with the U.S. Chamber in Washington about the upcoming G-20, B-20 and AACCLA meetings in Mexico.
There is great excitement in Washington about making the most of these opportunities, working with you, to advance our economic
and commercial agenda. I look forward to developing our common approach with you.
But I would like to focus on another theme today. President Obama has designated the month of March to be our
national Women's History Month in the United States, commemorating the struggles and progress being made toward gender
equality. In keeping with that theme, I would like to take a moment to recognize and honor the work being done by one
of the American Chamber's more recently created committees, the Diversity Task Force, which focuses on the importance
of gender diversity in the workforce.
Earlier this month, Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated, "The full participation of women is essential in order to raise the GDPs in every
economy in the world, including our own; essential for achieving the peace and security objectives of American foreign policy;
and we know that working with women and on their behalf can open doors for employment, healthcare, and education, which have
ripple effects that lift entire communities and foster peace, prosperity, and stability."
The Obama Administration is accelerating efforts to advance and institutionalize women's participation in making
and keeping peace, including the launch of a U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. The United States
is committed to making women and their advancement a cornerstone of our foreign policy, and through this initiative, our embassies
are developing local strategies to expand political, economic, and social opportunities for women.
In a globalized economy, one of the keys to competitiveness lies in the diversity of the corporate leaders of our
workforce. Today, women constitute the majority of consumers and an increasingly large part of the professional labor
pool. Studies show that companies with more than three women on their board of directors consistently demonstrate a
higher return on investment. Yet, among Fortune 500 companies, women hold only 16% of board seats, and only 3% of those
companies have women as CEO's.
This should not overshadow the fact
that Mexico counts with a high number of remarkable females holding key leadership positions in major corporations, including
CEO's, Vice Presidents, Board Members and General Directors. Over the past year, these include such prominent U.S.-Mexican
corporations such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, MetLife, Manpower, Sempra Energy,
Shell Mexico, Wal-Mart, Xerox, and many others. In addition to their roles as corporate leaders, many of these women
also contribute to the economic progress and prosperity of our communities, including service on the American Chamber's
Board of Directors.
For example, prior to becoming President and Director
General of General Electric Mexico, Gabriela Hernandez served important positions both in Mexico's Federal Consumer Protection
Agency as well as the Ministry of Communications and Technology, where she implemented strong public policies optimizing
transparency and functionality of operations to better serve Mexican citizens.
As the Managing Director for Manpower Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, Monica Flores has deep
knowledge of the human resource concerns shared by top corporations as well as small and medium sized businesses in the region.
She also serves as President of the Manpower Foundation, and the Mexican Association of Human Resources Companies.
Another important role model is Carmine Abad, CEO of MetLife Mexico, the largest insurance
company in the country. Among the many positions of leadership she has held during her distinguished career with
MetLife - spanning across Mexico, Spain and the United States - she has also served as an Officer for MetLife's Global
Diversity Program, supporting gender diversity in the corporate culture.
I would like to recognize Sandra Sanchez y Olden age, who is currently the CEO for Amgen Mexico, after serving as one of only
two women in Pfizer's Latin American operations running a revenue-generating commercial division. Since 2006, she
has consistently been recognized among CNN Expansion's list of the 50 most powerful female executives in Mexico.
In addition to serving on a number of executive boards, she also leads the AmCham's Diversity Task Force.
Under Sandra's leadership, the AmCham's Diversity Task Force has engaged in efforts
to support gender equality and inclusion at the highest levels of management within top business organizations. Through
studies and research, this committee has helped define the current status of professional women's leadership within U.S.-Mexican
organizations, and identified ways to support diversity and inclusion through best practices, including activities such as
mentoring and networking.
Progress has been made, but much more needs
to be done, both in the United States and Mexico. Despite great strides in achieving gender equality in access to higher
education and entry-level jobs, we have work to do to ensure diversity and inclusion throughout the workforce, which can only
lead to greater prosperity. Secretary Clinton has referred to this era as "the Participation Age," in which
every individual has the ability to become a contributing and valued member of society, bringing stability and prosperity
to their community through gainful and productive employment.
in Washington, D.C., I had several meetings with Secretary Clinton's Ambassador for Global Women's Issues Melanne
Verveer. We then met separately with Ambassador Sarukhan to discuss specific steps we can take in the months ahead to
build GOM partnerships with companies to promote this cause. Ambassador Verveer especially mentioned her conversations
with U.S. companies, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Exxon Mobil, about potential activities in Mexico. We hope to
develop these ideas in cooperation with you all as we move forward in the months ahead.
In the words of President Obama, "Ours is a legacy of bold independence and passionate belief in fairness and
justice for all. For generations, this intrepid spirit has driven women pioneers to challenge injustices and shatter ceilings
in pursuit of full and enduring equality. During Women's History Month, we commemorate their struggles, celebrate
centuries of progress, and reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the rights, security, and dignity of women in America and
around the world." We look to you all as key partners in the ongoing efforts beyond this month to achieve new breakthroughs
on these vital themes.
Thank you, Am Cham, for your leadership.
The U.S. Embassy looks forward to future collaboration with your membership on these and other important initiatives in our
bilateral, regional, and multilateral agendas.
Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne, Embassy of the United States, Mexico City, Mar. 22, 2012