Insights into the 2024 Women in Business EQUALL Conference

What is the Women in Business EQUALL Conference and my journey from attendee to organizer

By Michelle Abou-Raad, MBA2025

Just over a year ago, I was invited to virtually attend the Women in Business EQUALL Conference as a Round 1 admit. As I tuned in from my Bangkok apartment 6,000 miles away from London, I was captivated by the different speakers, but even more so by the passion and dedication of the student organizers. The adept moderating of one of MBA2024 students particularly caught my attention and inspired me not only to take part in planning the following year’s conference, but to also moderate a panel.

As soon as I arrived at LBS, I applied for an Executive Committee position with the Women in Business Club and was selected to join the EQUALL Speakers planning team. Over the span of six months, the team and I created a vision for the 2024 conference and got to work making that vision a reality. We reached out to keynote and panel speakers, put together engaging workshops, and thought through the scheduling, marketing, and audience engagement of the event. The culmination of our efforts was nothing short of spectacular, with almost 500 in-person and virtual attendees gathering to engage in a day filled with inspirational keynotes, thought-provoking panels, enriching workshops, and even a comedy performance.

One of the most rewarding moments for me was meeting the goal I had set one year before: moderating a panel. I moderated “Women Investing in Women: Unlocking the Multiplier Effect,” which confronted the harsh reality that women entrepreneurs and fund managers raise a small fraction of the funds of their male counterparts. The panel, which consisted of a VC investor, a limited partner, PE impact head, and an entrepreneur discussed systemic biases ingrained in the investment process and stirred a debate on how best to ensure that women entrepreneurs and fund managers have equal opportunities. Should we still teach women to be assertive and confident? How do we reshape investment committees and workplaces so that they value everyone’s skills and contributions, regardless of gender? These nuanced questions led to lively discussions after the panel and for weeks following the conference.

Another highlight of the conference for me was “The Key to Manifestation: Mastering Your Imposter” workshop, where we explored ways to manage imposter syndrome and self-doubt. As we sat in a classroom where we usually take our classes, the facilitator walked us through a mindfulness exercise. Taking a couple of minutes to disconnect from everyday stressors like classes, assignments, and recruitment was incredibly grounding and gave me the chance to reflect on my future vision of myself.

My journey from attendee to organizer of the WIB EQUALL Conference has been an incredible learning experience that has given me the opportunity to take on new challenges and it has exposed me to new ways of thinking about gender equality and empowerment in the business world. As I continue my journey at LBS and beyond, I look forward to continuing to foster spaces where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and championing diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment in all facets of business and beyond.

Anushka’s reflections of the 2024 EQUALL conference

By Anushka Mirchandani, MBA2025

The London Business School 2024 EQUALL conference was a thought-provoking and profoundly motivating experience. This gathering brought together an impressive group of pioneering women from various sectors, age groups, and walks of life, each with their own distinct tales of victory, grit, and guidance.

The BCG mixer before the main event laid the groundwork, featuring an impactful panel titled “Through the Decades: Journeys of Trailblazers.” Listening to the frank insights and stories shared by these accomplished women was truly revelatory. The way they navigated obstacles, embraced setbacks, and devised strategies for success demonstrated the fortitude and resolve of women when faced with hardships.

I found the keynote addresses by Dame Sharon White and Francesca Carlesi especially powerful. Dame White’s focus on fostering opportunities for the next wave of women struck a deep chord with me. Her path from government service to retail, and her steady hand during the COVID crisis, highlighted the flexibility and toughness needed to excel in any domain. Equally inspiring was Francesca Carlesi’s examination of nimble leadership and flourishing in dynamic business environments. Her remarkable career arc across multiple financial sectors, culminating in becoming the CEO of Revolut, vividly illustrated what women can attain by seizing new opportunities and forging paths for others.

The conference’s panel discussions delved into vital challenges confronting women in the present day. “Thriving, Not Surviving: Women’s Health and Careers” illuminated the frequently neglected influence of women’s health on professional achievement. It was heartening to hear women CEOs actively promoting advancements in medical studies and corporate practices to bolster women’s welfare. The “Women Investing in Women” panel laid bare systemic prejudices in investing and stressed the need for more women in fund management to champion women entrepreneurs.

The afternoon sessions on allyship and workshops offered concrete insights and tools for personal development and growth. I found the dialogue on how life experiences shape allyship and the significance of evolving from supporter to sponsor particularly thought-provoking. The workshops on financial planning, board potential, and realizing dreams empowered attendees to seize control of their personal and work lives.

The concluding panel on sustainability and diversity in business underlined the pivotal role women have in tackling inequality and spearheading the drive towards a more sustainable world. It was inspiring to hear from women at the vanguard of climate action who are molding the path to a more just and sustainable future.

The 2024 EQUALL conference was a transformative experience that left me feeling invigorated, motivated, and linked to a community of exceptional women. The insights gained and connections forged will undoubtedly have an enduring impact on my personal and career journey. I’m thankful for the chance to have participated in this remarkable event and eagerly anticipate applying the lessons learned to spark positive change in my own life and the lives of those around me.

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