Letter from Inez: January 2018

Tuesday 9th January 2018

Inez MurrayLooking ahead to 2018, we are pleased to be able to offer an increasingly robust set of peer learning opportunities and knowledge products that support financial services companies in offering our hallmark holistic value proposition to women.

Highlights this year include a ramped-up GBA Mentoring Program that will take in two cohorts per year instead of one due to unprecedented demand. This program matches mentors from banks that have successfully implemented Women’s Market programs with mentees whose institutions are either starting out or looking to scale up their programs. If you are a GBA member and are interested in applying to this year’s second cohort, kicking off in July, contact Hilary Nichols at

To consolidate our growing footprint in Asia and Africa, we will host our first All-Stars Academy Asia in Sri Lanka the week of March 12, followed by our second All-Stars Academy Africa in June. These immersive workshops are taught by expert practitioners from GBA member institutions and are open to members and to non-members who are serious about taking on the Women’s Market. Participants are selected on a competitive basis; interested parties may fill out an application to the All-Stars Academy Asia here. Additional information on this year’s All-Stars Academy Africa and a link to apply will be posted when available.

In 2017 Westpac was ranked the world’s most sustainable bank for the 10th time by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and April 30-May 1, 2018, Westpac will open its doors for its first Study Tour in three years. This is an absolute must-go event for senior managers exploring the business case for being the employer of choice for women and the bank of choice for women. Indeed, in 2010 BLC Bank of Lebanon went to Westpac, came away convinced that this was a winning strategy and is now the leading bank in the Women’s Market in the Middle East. Today we are very proud to announce that our 17th Annual Summit will be hosted by BLC Bank in the fourth quarter of this year. This will be our first Summit in MENA and one we hope will galvanize many other banks operating in the region to serve women well.

One of the hallmarks of a successful Women’s Market initiative is an annual awards program that makes women visible, provides role models, and honors their achievements in business and in their communities. In this issue we profile 2017 winners of BLC Bank’s Brilliant Lebanese Awards and Garanti Bank in Turkey’s Women Entrepreneur Competition. We intend that this year’s Summit dovetail with BLC’s awards, which are akin to the Oscars in Lebanon. The event is broadcast live, receiving the highest media ratings of any show on TV, and more importantly is a potent example of the multi-dimensional impact our members are having on women in their communities.

In 2018 we will continue to go deep on topics of interest to members through our Working Groups. Each Working Group consists of 10 monthly webinars, during which members and stakeholders share and discuss approaches, challenges and opportunities relating to the group topic. This month we are proud to publish the final draft of “The Women’s Market for Insurance: An Emerging Business Opportunity,” an output from our Insurance Working Group that showcases the extraordinary business results attained by members who have integrated insurance into their value propositions for women.

Last year we welcomed eight new members — six banks, one insurance company and one card company — and we hope to at least double that growth in 2018. This month we welcome BRAC Bank Ltd, the SME commercial arm of BRAC, one of the world’s largest microfinance institutions and arguably the world’s most successful NGO, truly helping to lift millions of Bangladeshis out of poverty. In this issue, three members of the senior management team share the bank’s strategic rationale for seeking to be the bank of choice and the employer of choice for women in Bangladesh.

As we look toward a full year of enriching activities, we acknowledge the work that each of our members is doing in their countries to put women on the map, and we note that none of our programs would be possible without the extraordinary generosity of both our members and our stakeholders in providing knowledge, resources and experiences — and particularly in sharing their time with us.

Sincere thanks.

Inez Murray Newsletter Signature