On January 21, Mercer sponsored its sixth annual When Women Thrive breakfast in Davos — where our panel of global leaders engaged in a candid conversation on the systemic barriers to gender parity in the workplace, and how best to overcome them. These role models and advocates — female and male — gave us hope and inspiration as they shared their personal advice and insights on how their organizations are confronting and working on dismantling those barriers. We also previewed the forthcoming results of Mercer’s 2020 When Women Thrive research.


Breakfast attendance has more than doubled in participation since we began the dialogue in 2015  — a testament to the growing importance of gender equity as a business imperative as we enter this next decade.


Below you will find highlights from the event as well as opportunities to engage in the conversation.


The future of gender equality is getting brighter. Be part of it.



Live from the 2020 World Economic Forum

Below you will find highlights from the event as well as opportunities to engage in the conversation.

Getting real about gender equality

Mercer experts and a special guest panel of senior business leaders examine the real obstacles to achieving inclusive cultures and workplaces — and explore new strategies that actually make a difference.

Women in Technology Consortium: The power of collaboration

Karen Quintos, EVP and Chief Customer Officer at Dell discusses the power of collaboration in getting more women into technology roles.

Propelling female executive development

Paula Santilli, Chief Executive Office at PepsiCo Latin America discusses how women can step into leadership roles where they will motivate, inspire and drive a vision of growth.

Driving progress from the inside out

Larry Meixner, Managing Corporate Executive Officer, CIO, and CTO Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation stresses the importance of authentic culture change.


Martine Ferland

President and CEO, Mercer

Martine Ferland is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercer. Mercer is a global consulting leader in advancing the health, wealth and careers of over 115 million people around the world and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. 

Martine previously served as Mercer’s Group President and was responsible for leading Regions and Global Business Solutions, executing profitable growth strategies and driving collaboration across the firm. Prior to this, she served as President of Mercer’s Europe and Pacific (EuroPac) Region, delivering consistent profitable growth, leadership in the institutional investment space (with assets under delegated management passing $100B) and a strengthened market position through strategic acquisitions. During her seven years at Mercer she’s leveraged her expertise in health, wealth and career to bring value to clients across the globe. She is an executive for Mercer’s benefit technology business, Thomsons. 

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 with Mercer colleagues around the world, and has a passion for spending time in the mountains. Martine is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Prior to joining Mercer, Martine spent 25 years with a leading HR consulting firm in the US and Canada. During this time she served in leadership positions overseeing businesses in North America and Asia, as well being a Director on the Board for Towers Perrin. Martine has a bachelor's degree in actuarial science from Laval University.

Olivia Ross-Wilson

Chief Communication Officer, Ingka Group (IKEA)

Olivia Ross-Wilson has been with Ingka Group (IKEA) since 2011, having joined IKEA to lead positioning around its sustainability efforts. In 2016, she took the responsibility both for communication across Ingka Group, and for strengthening the positioning of IKEA in the countries where Ingka operates. As member of Group Management, Olivia is also active on issues related to gender equality and diversity. She has 20 years’ communications experience, and prior to joining Ingka Group, worked for the Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Marks & Spencer. Olivia started her career at global PR agency Ketchum, advising brands including Starbucks, FedEx and the World Health Organization.

Aniela Unguresan

Co-Founder, EDGE Certified Foundation

Prior to co-founding EDGE Certified Foundation, Aniela acquired extensive professional experience as a consultant with Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting, as a trader and project manager with TXU Europe and SIG Geneva, and as the CEO of CT Technologies.

She holds an MBA from the University of Geneva and a BA in International Trade from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies.

Aniela strongly believes that the time has come for businesses to move from vision to action, and that the EDGE certification process will enable them to understand what is holding them back while providing them with a road map to achieve better performance and more inclusive workplaces.

Sheri B. Bronstein

Chief Human Resources Officer, Bank of America

Sheri B. Bronstein is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Bank of America and a member of the company’s executive management team.


In this role, Sheri drives the company’s efforts to be a great place to work for all employees through a focus on recognizing and rewarding performance, creating opportunities for individuals to develop and grow, being an inclusive workplace for Bank of America’s employees around the world and supporting their financial, physical and emotional wellness. This includes leading a global team of human resources professionals responsible for recruiting, leadership development, learning, compensation, benefits, diversity and inclusion, and employee relations for employees in more than 35 countries. 

Leena Nair

Chief Human Resources Officer, Unilever

Leena Nair is the first female, first Asian, youngest ever CHRO of Unilever and member of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE), which is responsible for delivering Unilever’s business & financial performance. Leena bears overall responsibility for the 160,000-strong human capital of Unilever, which operates across multiple regulatory and labor environments spread over 190 countries. She ensures the company has the right people, in the right roles, with the right capabilities and mindset to deliver high business performance that enables Unilever to meet its ambitious business growth objectives with positive environmental and social impact. Leena is also a Non-Executive Director at BT and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom), a member of the steering committee for both The Global Future Council on New Social Contract and The Future of Education, Gender and Work at the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Larry Meixner

Managing Corporate Executive Officer, MCHC

Dr. Larry Meixner serves as Managing Corporate Executive Officer, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC).  

Larry is based in Tokyo, where he leads MCHC’s corporate venture activity, digital transformation, future business model development and Group-wide technology strategy. Larry also plays an active role in Japanese industry-academia-government initiatives in areas ranging from industrial competitiveness to education reform. He is a strong advocate for the value of diversity in corporate Japan. 

Previously, Larry was President & CEO of Sharp Laboratories of America, serving concurrently as Deputy CTO for Sharp Corporation globally. Larry holds a PhD from Stanford University in physical chemistry and a BS from Caltech in chemical engineering.

Paula Santilli

Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Latin America

Paula is the Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Latin America, leading the company’s food and beverage businesses for Mexico, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, and generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. 

Paula became the Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Latin America in May 2019, with full P&L responsibility over $7 billion in annual net revenue. LatAm supports over 70,000 direct jobs in 34 emerging and developing markets, and has over 40 production plants and over 24,000 sales routes.

She is a member of PepsiCo’s Executive Committee. Previously, Paula served as the President of PepsiCo Mexico Foods (PMF), which includes the operation of Sabritas, Quaker, Gamesa and Sonric’s, and is one of the largest food companies in Latin America with over $3 billion dollars in sales. In this role, she was also President of the PepsiCo Mexico Foundation. 

Prior to that, she was Chief Operating Officer (COO) of all business units of PepsiCo Mexico Foods, providing leadership for Sales, Marketing and Operations. Additionally, as COO, Paula helped guide strategy and played a leadership role in talent development for the business. Before that, as Vice President and General Manager for the Savory business in Mexico, Paula was responsible for Sabritas, Doritos, Cheetos, Ruffles and other leading snack brands. 

Paula’s experience also encompasses leadership roles in Beverages in Mexico, as well as in Foods and Snacks in the Latin America Southern Cone region comprising Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Paula joined PepsiCo in December 2001 when PepsiCo acquired the Quaker Oats Company. She had worked for Quaker since 1992, adding up to a 27-year trajectory at PepsiCo.

There she ran the regional Quaker Foods and Gatorade businesses in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Before joining PepsiCo, Paula worked for Campbell’s Soups and Kellogg’s in Argentina in marketing roles.

Paula has been a strong champion of diversity and inclusion, increasing women’s representation in Mexico. She won the Catalyst Practices Recognition in New York in 2014. In 2019 she was included in Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women International list and in Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list. She is a sponsor of the Inspira Program in Latin America, which seeks to propel female executive development within the business. She was also included in LinkedIn’s Latin America’s Top Voices 2019 list in recognition of the content that she publishes on this digital platform. 

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Paula earned her degree in communications and advertising sciences at the University of Salvador, in Buenos Aires. She completed her postgraduate degree in marketing and international studies at Miami University of Ohio in the US.  

Karen Quintos

EVP & Chief Customer Officer, Dell


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.

Geoffrey Rubin

Sr. Mng Dir & Chief Investment Strategist, CPPIB

Geoffrey Rubin is responsible for overall fund-level investment strategy and heads the Total Portfolio Management (TPM) department — the operational arm of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)’s Investment Planning Committee, with overall management accountability for the oversight and management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.

He joined CPPIB in 2011, with the inception of TPM, and has helped shape its growth and evolution, and to define and execute CPPIB’s Total Portfolio Approach.

Previously, Geoffrey held finance roles with Fannie Mae and Capital One Financial, where he managed the global balance sheet. Geoffrey also ran a consulting practice and was Adjunct Professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, DC.

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