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WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

Nominations are now closed for the 2016 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards!


Review Process  |  Awards Committee

 The prestigious WEPs CEO Leadership Awards recognize business leaders for their exceptional championship of gender  equality and support for the Women's Empowerment Principles. The Awards salute  concrete and innovative actions taken to advance the 7 Principles and particularly  Principle 1: Leadership Promotes Gender Equality.  Award recipients will have the  opportunity to speak directly about their commitment at a ceremony held at the United Nations during the Women's Empowerment Principles Annual Event, March 2016. 

For more information on the WEPs CEO Leadership Award, eligibility and how to apply, please see the FAQ.

Learn more about the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards:

  • View Categories and Recipients:  20152014 | 2013

  • Read Press Release: 20152014 | 2013

  • Watch Ceremony: 20152014 | 2013                                                           

To learn about the Women’s Empowerment Principles please watch the WEPs video.                                                                                                                   


2015 Categories & Recipients


As advancing women in the workplace, marketplace and community requires implementing a range of tailored strategies and actions to achieve concrete, sustainable programmes with measurable impact, the WEPs Leadership Awards are structured to reflect diverse strategies.

2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Award Recipients 

Benchmarking for Change

Recognizes a company for embedding accountability to achieve gender equality through meaningful metrics, indicators, and reporting to track and monitor the inclusion of women at all levels of the company's operations.

  • Angélica Fuentes, Chief Executive Officer, Omnilife (Mexico); Founder, Angelíssima; and Founder and Chair, Angélica Fuentes Foundation 

Omnilife, a personal goods company with over 6,000 employees, is committed to a comprehensive action plan that is measured by distinct indicators and measurements. Omnilife closely collaborated with the Mexican Government’s National Institute for Women to establish occupational segregation metrics and indicators to better assess equality across job categories and craft policies to redress inequality. This gender equality action plan resulted in a 17% increase in new women hires from 2007 to 2013.

"This is a great honor for the company and for the employees I represent. I am proud to be the first woman CEO from Latin America to receive this prestigious award and thankful for the recognition it confers on my efforts to champion gender equality. I have been working to advance women’s empowerment for almost thirty years, and this great honor bolsters my commitment to advance the Women’s Empowerment Principles not only at my company, Omnilife/Angelíssima, but also in Mexico, Latin America, and throughout the world. As the first Latin American woman to receive this award, I hope to bring attention not only to the issue of gender inequity in our region, but also to the progress we are making to close that inequality gap.” - Angélica Fuentes, Chief Executive Officer


Business Case for Action

Recognizes a company for the implementation of a cross-cutting strategic initiative to sustainably establish inclusion and equality, and transform company behavior and practices.

  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric (France)

Schneider Electric is a global electrical energy company employing 162,000 employees. Schneider Electric’s Diversity and Inclusion policy prioritizes communicating the business case for diversity and creating a gender balance environment as key elements to the company’s holistic diversity framework. Setting the tone from the top, the CEO has taken the WEPs and the gender equality business case beyond company headquarters in France, encouraging more than 10 Schneider CEOs of its international branches in countries from Viet Nam to Turkey. Furthermore, to demonstrate the linkages between gender-balanced teams and positive bottom line impacts the company has implemented provisions that link gender diversity to financial bonuses allotted to executives.

“I find myself extremely honored to be receiving such an important Award and I am very grateful and proud for this recognition. Schneider Electric is a global and multicultural company. Over the past years, we have strived to implement gender equality and to make diversity and inclusion an integral part of our company culture. This award is a great encouragement for all Schneider Electric leaders, managers and employees who have been active supporters in this journey. 

Gender equality will be achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of whether they are a woman or a man. Operating in all geographies, the Women Empowerment Principles offer a global and common guidance across the organization on key components of our gender equality policy. Companies have a key role to play as “change agents” to build a world where gender equality becomes thus generating progress of all.” - Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Community Engagement

Recognizes a company for applying the business case to long-term community investments by leveraging community engagement to build locally-driven and participatory programmes.   

  • Symon Brewis-Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Sovereign Assurance (New Zealand)

To embed change and unleash innovation, the CEO of Sovereign Assurance, a financial services company headquartered in New Zealand with approximately 800 employees, spearheaded a leadership exchange programme creating unconventional ways to shift mind-sets and change organisational culture.  The programme, in partnership with the Hunger Project, a civil society organization whose mission is to end hunger and poverty by with women-centred strategies, connects top executives and other employees from Sovereign Assurance with women leaders in villages in India, Bangladesh and select countries in Africa to develop new leadership partnerships to address some of the world’s pressing challenges such as inequality, hunger and poverty.  The invaluable exchange of knowledge helps leaders broaden their way of thinking galvanizing a cultural shift in leadership mindsets and new innovative solutions to business challenge.   


“Gender diversity in corporate leadership generates better company performance and increases innovation - this is not a belief, it’s a well-researched fact. For our organisation, this recognition is a huge affirmation that we are on the right track, it also gives us a platform to further promote the WEP principles in our industry and across the wider community, which will hopefully inspire others and enable us to gain further momentum with progressing these issues in New Zealand.” - Symon Brewis-Weston, Chief Executive Officer


Cultural Change for Empowerment

Recognizes  a company for its public, unwavering and proactive commitment to gender equality throughout its business operations that is complemented by a record of expansive programming elevating women’s equality in the workplace and throughout it communities.   

  • Frank Vettese, Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte Canada (Canada); and Member, Global Executive Committee, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Global) 

Driven by the CEO. the Canadian consulting firm, strengthened and recrafted their diversity and inclusion programme to create a cultural transformation by embedding inclusion throughout the company’s actions, decision-making processes and business operations. The integrated approach encourages all departments within the company to make concerted efforts towards creating a gender inclusive environment.  Recognizing that clients are requesting diversity statistics, Deloitte CA’s strategic programme uses data pulled from an Inclusion Data Analytics to enable leaders to make more informed inclusion decisions and proactively manage their business inclusion challenges. The data analysis project, developed by the firm’s Forensics Group, included an online visualization tool in which leaders could share inclusion best practices and data.


“Perhaps the simplest yet most profound thing this recognition does is send a message to our communities, to our clients and to our talent – Deloitte is truly committed to equality, including the empowerment of women. This is our stake in the ground and we invite you to hold us accountable to it. Without question, these principles challenge the business community to raise our game. It provides a broader, more global platform to learn from and encourage one another and, ultimately, to accelerate our leadership in this area.” - Frank Vettese, Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte Canada; and Member, Global Executive Committee Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

7 Principles

Recognizes a company for taking coordinated action and implementing policies to deliver powerful results aligned with the 7 Principles.

  • Alexander Wrabetz, Director General, Österreichischer Rundfunk (Austria)

Österreichischer Rundfunk, one of the leading media outlets in Austria employing over 3,000 people, has strategically integrated the 7 WEPs principles both internally within the organization and externally via the company’s broadcasting programmes. The company’s comprehensive Equal Opportunities Plan covers a broad spectrum of programmes and initiatives including: empowering women to become company leaders through training and mentoring programmes; reducing barriers for women to enter technical professions; and changing gender role perceptions with the company’s Papa Campaign that encourages more men to take parental leave and assume child care responsibilities. Moreover, the company externally supports gender equality by promoting that all broadcasting programmes and communications should be gender balanced and gender sensitive. 

“The Women’s Empowerment Principles are a backbone for design and implementation of company measures and structures to achieve gender equality. The Platform serves as an inspiring resource to learn about the good practices of other companies regarding women’s rights and to exchange ideas and experiences. It is crucial that our company commits to future sustainable development goals on gender equality in the interests of justice and of competitiveness. The ORF is working on achieving these goals in executing an integral equal opportunities plan based on Gender Mainstreaming including quota, top-down communication, gender competence workshops for all employees,  measures for reconciling work and family, a curriculum for women’s career advancement and regular monitoring.” - Alexander Wrabetz, Director General


View a complete list of award recipients and biographies.


Review Process

The review process identifies outstanding and innovative initiatives that advance the implementation of the WEPs and gender equality within a company. Specifically, the review focused on actions spearheaded by the CEO that resulted in concrete, sustainable programmes with measurable impact. The Awards are reviewed by an independent Awards Committee.


Awards Committee

The Awards Committee is comprised of members of the WEPs Leadership Group, a multi-stakeholder volunteer group that provides strategic guidance to the UN Women/UN Global Compact WEPs partnership and represented business, academia, civil society, women’s organizations and international institutions. (Note: To avoid any conflict of interest, Leadership Group members are not permitted to participate in the process if their CEO was a nominee.) The Awards Committee members are:

  • Business for Social Responsibility- Ms. Racheal Meiers, Director, Inclusive Economy

  • Calvert Group Ltd.- Ms. Shade Brown, Sustainability Analyst

  • Cranfield School of Management- Ms. Elisabeth Kelan, Chaired Professor of Leadership 

  • Commonwealth Business Women- Ms. Freda Miriklis, Co-Chair

  • Jindal Stainless Ltd.- Brigadier Rajiv Williams, Corporate Head of Corporate Responsibility

  • International Finance Corporation- Ms. Carmen Niethammer, Employment Lead for Gender Secretariat

  • MAS Holdings- Ms. Shanaaz Preena, Director, Women-Go-Beyond/Women’s Advocacy

  • Université de Saint-Boniface- Ms. Maureen Kilgour, Associate Professor in the School of Business Administration

  • University of St. Gallen- Ms. Gudrun Sander, Director for Diversity and Management Programs

View the 2015 WEPs CEO Leadership Awards Committee biographies


"Framing” the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards

The frames for the WEPs CEO Leadership Awards are uniquely-designed by artisans from the village of Croix-Des-Bouquets in Haiti.  Artisans in this village have a long-standing tradition, dating back to the 1940's, of creating art from steel oil drums. Designs are drawn out in chalk and then hand-cut and hand hammered, with no electrical tools whatsoever. Maiden Nation, an organization that empowers women through entrepreneurship, worked with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to organize an Artisan Business Network, led by women, to help the gifted artisans of Haiti sell their goods in the global market. These frames were created within that network, which is supported by Maiden Nation, Inter-American Development Bank and other international partners.The UN Olive Branch and WEPs Award language were incorporated into traditional Haitian folk patterns. Each frame is uniquely created and made expressively for this business Award. The artisans are incredibly proud to have their work recognized through the WEPs CEO Leadership Award.