Seminar 2

Opting in and opting out

Which factors facilitate or hinder the recruitment and retention of talented women?

Michelle Gadsden-Williams -Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Credit Suisse AG

Michelle Gadsden-Williams is Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Credit Suisse AG based in Zurich, Switzerland.  In this role, she provides strategic direction, thought leadership and champions the development of an inclusive environment by integrating diversity practice into all aspects of the business on a global scale.  Michelle is a member of the Talent, Branding and Communications Management Committee at Credit Suisse.

Michelle is a seasoned Diversity Practitioner with more than 17 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry and several years in the consumer goods industry before transitioning to financial services in January 2011.  She has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in the Diversity, Talent Management and Staffing functions at Novartis AG in Basel Switzerland, Merck & Co., Inc. in Whitehouse Station, NJ, Philips-Van Heusen Corporation and Wakefern Food Corporation in NJ.

An exemplary role model and advocate for equality and social justice, Michelle works tirelessly at refining processes, policies and programs that support an inclusive work environment. Examples include the re-constitution of Global and Regional Diversity Councils, the design and deployment of Executive Female Leadership and Mentoring Programs, establishing partnerships and programs aimed at addressing disparities in healthcare and her role in the start-up of over 50 Employee Resource Groups around the world. Michelle has acquired a number of community service awards and accolades for her work as a diversity practitioner. She has been profiled in Black Enterprise Magazine, Diversity Inc, Diversity Executive, Ebony, Essence, Fortune, Hear & Soul, Jet, New Vision, Science Magazine, Sister to Sister, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Target Market News and recognized as one of 40 Outstanding Executives Under 40 in America by the Network Journal in 2004.  In 2010, Michelle was ranked (#6  as one of the Top 25 Women of Substance in Healthcare by Heart & Soul Magazine and more recently ranked (#48) as one of the Top 100 executives in America by Uptown Magazine. Her most notable accolade to date is being named the 2010 recipient of the Maya Way Award for Diversity Leadership by the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou, the 2008 recipient of the Harvard Black Men’s Forum Businesswoman of the Year Award, the recipient of Rainbow Push Coalition’s Bridge Builder Award by the honorable Rev Jesse L. Jackson and she also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from Kean University for her outstanding personal and professional accomplishments in the field of Diversity and Inclusion.

Michelle has a B.S. in Marketing, a B.A. in Communications from Kean College (summa cum laude) and an M.S. in Organizational Development (with honors) from the University of Pennsylvania. Michelle is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a Board Member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the SLE Lupus Foundation in New York City and an Executive Committee Member of the Women’s Leadership Board of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Michelle and her husband, David, live in Basel, Switzerland.


Dr Kim Peters, BSc (Hons), MSc Organisational Psychology, PhD Social Psychology (2006, University of Melbourne) - Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, University of Exeter

Kim Peters is a member of the Centre for Identity and the Psychology of Self in Society (IPSIS) in the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter. She is an Organisational Psychologist with experience in psychometric testing (Chandler & MacLeod, Australia), HR (Cadbury Schweppes) and market research.

Kim’s research focuses on the implications of social identity dynamics for a range of workplace outcomes, such as career motivation, leadership and retention. This research has been conducted in collaboration with a number of prominent UK organisations, including the Police Service, the RAF, the Royal Marines, Positive Energy, and The Royal College of Surgeons of England.


Professor Michelle Ryan, Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter and Professor of Diversity at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands

Michelle Ryan is a psychologist who obtained her PhD from the Australian National University.

Michelle is a member of the Centre for Identity, Personality and Self in Society, and specialises in research into gender and gender differences.  Michelle's work on women and leadership has been represented in academic journals, industry publications, and within the wider media including BBC, CNN, ITV, and all major British newspapers. Her research into the glass cliff was short-listed for the THES Research Project of the Year in 2005 and was selected by the New York Times as one of the ideas that shaped 2008.


Dr. Ruth Sealy, BSc, MSc, PhD, MCIPD

Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Director of the International Centre for Women Leaders,
Cranfield School of Management

With global expertise on women on boards, Ruth has been the lead researcher of the UK’s annual Female FTSE Report since 2007. Sponsored by government and major organizations, the report analyzes the demographic composition of the FTSE 350 corporate boards and executive committees. The annual report has a considerable reputation and research impact, with the findings cited in approaching 100 broadsheet newspapers, radio and television channels, and practitioner journals across the world each year. Ruth was the academic advisor for a recent CBI report into women on boards, advised a cross-party parliamentary group and contributed to Lord Davies review for the UK government on the same subject.

Ruth’s research interests cover many aspects of retaining women in leadership, particularly board composition and corporate governance. Her doctoral research considered the importance of role models for female directors in investment banks, and how the lack of them may affect their work identity formation and career aspirations.

Ruth has spoken at many academic and practitioner conferences, lectures on MBA and MSc courses, and has written a number of book chapters and journal articles. Ruth is a member of the editorial review board for Gender in Management – an International Journal. She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development and has written various articles for practitioner audience magazines, e.g. Women in Banking and Finance, City Women’s Network.
Prior to becoming an academic, Ruth was the Managing Director of a specialist holiday company, which she sold to a larger tour operator. Since then she has worked for a number of years as a Business Psychology Consultant, with clients such as Airbus(UK), RHR International, and Bank for International Settlements (Switzerland), Xancam Ltd., Fujitsu, Chiumento Ltd., Barkers Ltd., DVLA, Learning Skills Council, Home Office. Her work included Learning & Development Strategy; Design & Implementation of Management Development Programmes; Performance Management training; Developmental Coaching, Managerial Assessment Centres. She specialised in process-oriented Developmental Feedback based on a variety of psychometric instruments, including Cognitive Processing Profile, MBTI (Step 2), and Emotional Intelligence tools.


Nicola Walther, co-author of Your Loss: How to Win Back your Female Talent

Nicola is an ex-Banker turned entrepreneur, with over 13-years of experience from the world of banking and finance. She has travelled the world in a variety of roles within financial services, including corporate finance, transaction banking and relationship management, culminating in two senior staff roles, firstly within Emerging Markets and, lastly, within Risk at Citi. Nicola has lived, first-hand, numerous of the cultural and structural obstacles that face women in male-dominated fields, such as commercial and investment banking. 

During her time in Citi, London, Nicola co-chaired a Retention & Development Committee for Women in the UK which developed the “Coaching for Success” programme that won external recognition from the Women of the Future Awards. She has devised and actively supported a multitude of Diversity initiatives, only to see the initiatives as “window-dressing”; not changing the underlying issues around stereotyping and structural bias. 

Nicola is the co-author of Your Loss: How to Win Back your Female Talent, published in December 2010. As a consultant, she offers practical and highly analytical insight for effective measurement of Gender Diversity initiatives. She is also an advocate for the elimination of the stereotyping she has witnessed in her career and redressing the bias against women for the benefit of an improved business culture and, ultimately, bottom line.  Nicola has two children under four years old.  In her limited spare time she enjoys cooking, dancing and fine dining.