Thursday 25th February 2021
February 19th marked the end of the 2021 All-Stars Academy Online. This was our widest-reaching All-Stars Academy yet, with more than 200 participants from over 80 institutions—including banks, development finance institutions, and fintechs—hailing from more than 70 countries.
Four weeks was much longer than our previous in-person All-Stars Academies, but somehow it felt too short. The longer timeframe and hybrid format allowed us to dive deep into what it takes to create a women-centered strategy. Module topics included developing financial experiences that work for women with new content on design-thinking approaches, risk-sharing facilities, leveraging digital solutions, creating social change through marketing, and much more.
In recognition of the strong connection between internal-facing and external-facing women-focused strategies, this years’ All-Stars included a second track focused exclusively on gender D&I, based on the best-practice tools and approaches in the recently published “How-To Guide for Becoming the Employer of Choice for Women.”
While we missed the opportunity to convene in person, we were amazed by the commitment from participants who immersed themselves in the material through many hours of self-guided modules on the All-Stars learning management platform and twice-weekly live sessions. By the final day, they had watched 52 learning videos each, heard from 27 guest experts, and submitted more than 1,200 assignments in total.
The participants were stars—and so were the experts. Between CEOs, board chairs, chief inclusion officers, marketing directors, fintech founders, women’s market leads, sustainability officers, and many more, we heard from the full spectrum of internal stakeholders needed to build a holistic women-centered strategy. We also heard from a range of external stakeholders—including gender-lens investors and international financial institutions—who play a crucial role in accelerating women-centered programs by risk-sharing, providing capital and technical assistance, and building awareness from the top.
Finally, as is All-Stars tradition, we finished the last day with a pitch competition. Eleven teams presented their women-centered strategy pitches, incorporating the core strategic pillars covered throughout the Academy: defining the business case; identifying and understanding the target market; developing a strong customer value proposition; ensuring the right organizational structure and resources are in place to implement the strategy; making the financial projections for the strategy; and incorporating an employee value proposition for women so that the workforce teams reasonably reflect the target market. The judges were blown away by the top three pitches.
Sabrina Castelli of Mujer Financiera shared her plan to leverage e-learning to help women in Latin America develop financial skills and independence. Kenza Youssefi of Attijariwafa Bank pitched an innovative idea to bank the 46 percent of working women in Morocco that are informally employed. And, the crowd-selected winner, Farzana Amin of BRAC Bank, introduced an idea for community-led banking to link unbanked RMG (ready-made garment) workers to a full range of financial services. The pitches left us feeling optimistic for the future of the female economy as we saw new, highly informed advocates cropping up all over the world.
Those institutions in Latin American countries who were not able to attend this round can take this learning journey with the All-Stars Academy Español this Spring. Check your inboxes in the coming month for more information on dates and how to register.
If you participated in the All-Stars Academy Online and haven’t yet filled out your evaluation form, please do so here.