Davos Breakfast: When Women Thrive

Davos Breakfast: When Women Thrive

Celebrating Five Years of When Women Thrive at Davos

Empowering People, Companies and Societies to Thrive

Mercer celebrated a significant milestone in empowering individuals, companies and societies to thrive as we hosted our fifth annual When Women Thrive breakfast event at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting 2019.


An audience of C-suite executives, government representatives, academics and leaders from NGOs gathered together on January 22 in Davos where Mercer’s newly-named CEO Martine Ferland and When Women Thrive Global Leader Pat Milligan were joined by MMC President and Dan Glaser and María Fernanda Suárez, Minister of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Colombia, to talk about gender equality, leadership accountability and the much-debated subject of quotas.


Our esteemed panel, moderated by Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners, featured Karen Quintos, EVP and Chief Customer Officer at Dell, Jennifer Saenz, SVP and CMO, Frito-Lay NA, and Carolyn Tastad, Group President — North America, P&G. Together, they demonstrated courageous leadership as they shared their own stories and talked about the impact of technology on the workforce, the need for caregiving support for women in the workforce and the importance of advocacy.


Highlights from our dialogue are featured below.


Live Content

Watch the full replay of the session and executive conversations to hear first-hand the insights and themes that emerged from our session.

Live Content

Watch the full replay of the session to hear first-hand the insights and themes that emerged from the conversation.

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Daniel S. Glaser


Daniel S. Glaser is President and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a $14 billion global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and people. Through Marsh & McLennan's market-leading businesses—Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer and Oliver Wyman—approximately 65,000 colleagues provide analysis, advice and transactional capabilities to clients in more than 130 countries.

Dan is an insurance industry veteran who has held senior positions in commercial insurance and insurance brokerage, working in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Dan serves as the Chairman of the US Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI). He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Insurance Development Forum; the Boards of Trustees for The Institutes and Ohio Wesleyan University; the Board of Directors for the Partnership for New York City; and the Advisory Councils for St. George's Society of New York and British American Business.

María Fernanda Suárez

Minister of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Colombia

María Fernanda Suárez is the Minister of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Colombia. She has over 20 years of experience within the public and private sectors. Prior to her appointment as Minister, she acted as the Vice-President for Strategies and Finances of Ecopetrol, where she led the efficiency plan of the company that has positioned it as one of the most profitable and resilient within the industry.

Minister Suárez has served as Director of Public Credit and National Treasury in the Ministry of Finance; Vice-President of Investment for the Porvenir Pension Fund and has also been a Citibank, ABN AMRO and Bank of America executive.

She has served as a member of the Boards of Directors of ISA, Isagen, XM, FDN, Cenit and Ocensa, among other companies.

Minister Suárez has a Business Administration degree from the College of Superior Studies in Management (CESA) and has a Master's Degree in Management of Public Policies from Georgetown University.

Martine Ferland


Martine Ferland is Group President of Mercer, a leading global consulting firm specializing in improving the health, wealth and careers of over 115 million people around the world. As Group President, Martine is responsible for leading Mercer’s regions and Global Business Solutions, executing profitable growth strategies and driving collaboration across the firm.

Prior to assuming her current role in September 2018, Martine served as President of Mercer’s Europe and Pacific (EuroPac) region. Under Martine’s leadership, Mercer EuroPac quickly advanced profitable growth; achieved leadership in the institutional investment space, passing the $100 billion mark in assets under delegated management; and strengthened its market position through strategic acquisitions and innovative product offerings.

As one of Mercer’s most engaged leaders around diversity and charitable outreach, Martine is the executive sponsor of Mercer’s global volunteering program, Mercer Cares. She has participated in charity runs and fundraising marathons with Mercer colleagues around the world. Martine holds a bachelor's degree in actuarial science from Laval University and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Pat Milligan


Pat is the Global Leader of Mercer’s Multinational Client Group and the architect of Mercer’s When Women Thrive program. Throughout her career, she has pioneered and delivered innovative work in the areas of people strategy, talent management and workforce engagement. Her work and thought leadership focuses on leading through disruption and workplace gender equity.

During Pat’s 13 year tenure with Mercer, she has held multiple leadership roles including President of the North America Region, President of Mercer’s Global Talent business, and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. Before joining Mercer, Pat led Mellon HR Services and held various P&L leadership roles at Towers Perrin.

Pat is an advisor to the World Economic Forum and drives Mercer’s involvement in multiple projects. She has been recognized by Consulting Magazine as one of the nation’s top 25 consultants (2012), and named among Women Worth Watching (2010) by Diversity Journal. She currently sits on the board of EDGE, the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality, and is an active mentor, sponsor, and passionate advocate for advancing progress for women at work.


Robert F. Smith


Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of more than $44 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 50 software companies that employ more than 60,000 people worldwide.  

In 2017, Robert was named by Forbes as one of the 100 greatest living business minds. Previously, Robert worked for Goldman Sachs in Tech M&A and for Kraft General Foods, where he earned four patents. In 2017, Smith signed on to the Giving Pledge — the only African American to do so.

Robert serves as the Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Founding Director and President of the Fund II Foundation, and Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Smith earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his MBA with honors from Columbia Business School.

Karen Quintos


Karen Quintos is Dell’s Chief Customer Officer (CCO), leading a global organization devoted to customer advocacy and experience. Under Karen’s leadership, the CCO organization deepens customer relationships through driving greater engagement, trust and loyalty.  

Karen is also responsible for Dell’s social impact strategy and programs focused on sustainability, inclusion and the application of Dell’s technology and innovations for good, which have become critical elements of both the employee and customer experience. In addition, she is a passionate advocate for women, including the advancement of women in the technology industry. Karen was founder of Dell’s Women in Action Employee Resource Group and continues to serve as co-chair today.

Previously at Dell, Karen served as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer; Vice President of Public Sector Marketing and North America Commercial; and also held executive roles in services, support and supply chain management. Karen joined Dell in 2000 from Citigroup, where she was Vice President of Global Operations and Technology. She spent 12 years with Merck in marketing, operations and supply chain leadership positions.

Karen earned a master’s degree in marketing and international business from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science in supply chain management from the Pennsylvania State University. She serves on the boards of Cummins Inc., Lennox International and Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, and is a recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Karen was listed among the most influential CMOs in the world by Forbes, and named “Mother of the Year” by Working Mother magazine. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children.

Jennifer Saenz

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer,
Frito-Lay North America

Jennifer Saenz is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Frito-Lay North America. She leads marketing for the PepsiCo snacks portfolio — a $14 billion division. Jennifer has oversight for brand marketing, innovation, strategic insights, design and media.

She has led several recent breakthrough marketing initiatives, including the Cannes Gold Lion award-winning Cheetos Museum — the world’s first collection of the most interesting Cheetos shapes in existence. Under her guidance, the marketing team at Frito-Lay has also executed the Cannes award-winning Stacy’s Stands With You — nine limited-edition bags that were inspired by iconic signs and moments in women’s history.

Jennifer has also inspired the team to push for strong experiential programs like the recent Cheetos restaurants in New York and Los Angeles — the “Spotted Cheetah” and “Flamin’ Hot Spot” were actual pop-up restaurants featuring restaurant-quality dishes using Cheetos — and the Tostitos Party Safe Bag — a bag that could indicate if someone had been drinking and reveal an Uber code to ensure Super Bowl partiers could receive a safe ride home.

Prior to her role as CMO, Jennifer directed the company’s product innovation strategy. Before that, she led the Lay’s brand, where she ran the highly successful “Do Us a Flavor” program, which asks consumers to create America’s next great potato chip. Other roles during her tenure at Frito-Lay North America include oversight of the SunChips, Baked, Smartfood, and Flat Earth brands, as well as Kroger and Publix customer marketing.

Prior to joining Frito-Lay North America, she worked in Deloitte Consulting’s Consumer Business and Retail Strategy group. Outside of work, she and her husband stay busy chasing around their three little boys.

Jennifer earned a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.

Carolyn Tastad

Group President – North America, P&G


Carolyn Tastad leads P&G’s business in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The North America market is the company’s largest and most profitable region.

Carolyn has experience across P&G’s broad portfolio of brands and has held a variety of positions with national, regional and multinational responsibilities and has worked in Canada, the United States and Europe. She was appointed Group President, P&G North America, in January 2015. Prior to that, she held the position of Global Sales Officer, responsible for leading P&G’s selling organization across all sectors and all regions.

Carolyn serves on the Board of Directors for the Kellogg Company, the Board of Trustees for the Cincinnati Museum Center and on the Board of Directors for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Carolyn is passionate about diversity and inclusion. She is executive sponsor of P&G’s Gender Equality citizenship effort and leads P&G’s Corporate Women’s Leadership Team.

Carolyn holds a business degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and was named to Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Join the Conversation


About Mercer


At Mercer, we make a difference in the lives of more than 115 million people every day by advancing their health, wealth and careers. We’re in the business of creating more secure and rewarding futures for our clients and their employees — whether we’re designing affordable health plans, assuring income for retirement or aligning workers with workforce needs. Using analysis and insights as catalysts for change, we anticipate and understand the individual impact of business decisions, now and in the future. We see people’s current and future needs through a lens of innovation, and our holistic view, specialized expertise, and deep analytical rigor underpin each and every idea and solution we offer. For more than 80 years, we’ve turned our insights into actions, enabling people around the globe to live, work and retire well. At Mercer, we say we Make Tomorrow, Today.




If you are traveling to Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 and would like to attend our session, please register with us now!




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