PWN in France Leading by Example: Gender Balanced Leadership

Advancing gender-balanced leadership is PWN's "raison d'être". 

For many years, attaining gender-balanced leadership was focused on 'fixing the women' - helping women hone their leadership skills to mirror the male definition of being a leader, to improve their opportunities. This, coupled with a widely accepted and long-held belief that many women dropped out of their careers to raise their families, meant we were fighting an uphill battle.

A watershed moment came when both McKinsey and Mercer released meta-research that  demonstrated, beyond doubt, that the women were perfectly fine. In fact, women outscored men on 17 of the 19 capabilities that differentiate excellent leaders from average or poor ones.

Mercer's When Women Thrive research drew the conclusion that there was also an equal split beween women with children, and women who did not have children, leaving the corporate workplace in their droves - disproving the fact that women left their mid-management careers to focus on their families. 

The bottom line in all of this was, in around 2014, PWN Global started to change the narrative. We wanted to be a women's network, forcused on advancing gender balance, but we realised that this goal was not a women's issue, but a humanitarian issue, and in order to accelerate progress, we needed to get men involved. 

Over the years, PWN has run various programmes to engage male allies, with the shining example of Rober Baker, CEO Potentia, who generously contributed his time as a member of the PWN London Board;  was instrumental in brokering our long-standing corporate partnership with Mercer (for whom he worked for some 30 years); and, became the first male in a female-male PWN Global co-Presidency role, with Sonia Richardson, founder and managing partner of boutique transformational change company, Spark for Growth. 

All this to say, we still have a long way to go to engage more men in our allyship programme, but we have two city networks who are leading the way, and they are both in France. 

PWN Lyon

Christine Reverchon-Masclet, PWN Lyon President and Stéphane Le Bec, VP Strategic Development and Engaging Men PWN Lyon Originally 100% female, the PWN Lyon network chose to its doors open to men in 2020. The goal: to work together to promote diversity in leadership with a diversity of thought that brings both men and women wealth, and promotes performance.

"As a Senior Talent Development Consultant in international environment, when proposing my candidacy for the presidency of PWN Lyon in July 2021, I naturally thought it would be a good idea to live our mission rather than talking about it!  That meant bringing men into the discussion, and to the Board.

I proposed to the Board, that I call Stephane Le Bec with whom I had worked with in a co-mamnagement of the PWN Lyon Mentoring Programme. With over 20 years as a purchasing manager in industry, Stephane had aslo trained as a certified professional coach and I know from our previous work that he woule be an impactful new addition to our Board. He applied, and is now serves in teh important role of VP Strategic Development and Engaging Men PWN Lyon with the accolade of being the first man to have served on the PWN Lyon Board. We're delighted to have him - it has changed the dynamic of our teamvery positively." says PWN Lyon President, Christine Reverchon-Masclet.

PWN Lyon’s mission is to support and inspire women in their professional and personal development, involving men committed to gender balance leadership, by bringing concrete resources and programmes to support our members to: Network, learn, cultivate, develop themselves and reflect on their career dynamics.

PWN Lyon also works closely with local organisations to promote gender balance with their  innovative gender-balanced leadership incubator programme, called TandemW by PWN Lyon, led by Elsa Millot.

PWN Paris

PWN Paris also recently elected their new Board members at their Annual General Meeting on 14th March 2024. We're delighted that this is another network who is 'walking the talk' and introducing a powerhouse of a gender-balanced co-presidency, with: Nandini Colin and Patrick Valentin

Together, the team wants to continue to make PWN Paris a safe network, where their members can exchange, freely share their issues and concerns, connect with one another, learn and grow together, aligned with the purpose of the network: “cultivating committed leadership for a balanced and sustainable society".

Their ambition is to : 

  • Ensure women's leadership in the challenges of our time, notably in technology and climate change
  • Open the network to an ecosystem addressing these challenges, in technology and sustainability matters
  • Raise awareness of men and get them on board 
  • Embody gender-balanced leadership, in line with PWN Paris purpose.


Nandini Colin, Co-Présidente, PWN ParisIndian by birth and culture, Nandini has worked in several countries, and led multi-cultural teams, making her a perfect President for PWN Paris' base of internationally profiled members. Nandini says, "Leadership with purpose is my compass, international is my horizon, innovation is my path, growing organizations and teams is my passion. I am convinced that a successful people and organization journey has a high impact in overall performance and in society, and as a leader I act for sustainable growth." 

One of Nandini's favourite quotes is that of Gandhi:

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." 

Patrick Valentin, Co-President, PWN ParisTo compliment Nandini's skills set, Patrick Valentin is a technology-oriented business leader with 20 years operational experience in the B2B and B2C service industry (services to HR, Food, Payment and personal & home services such as childcare and senior care) and in Fintech.

Similar to Nandini, Patrick is people oriented, and enjoys developing teams and getting the best of each talent. A great skill for a PWN city network President who is managing large volunteer groups.

Patrick also brings a wealth of multi-cultural knowledge thanks to his numerous experiences as CEO, COO and CIO, in France and in several regions such as Europe, Asia, Latam and the USA have seen him leading change, turning around difficult situations and transforming businessed, focusing on impact. 

Leader and contributor in the French Government mission aiming at accelerating the digital transormation of corporates (payment, HR competences and relationships between start up and corporate), he will be a huge asset to network as we transition to our new PWN Platform.

We wish Christine and Stephane, and Nandini and Patrick all the best in their endeavors and thank them for leading the way in showing what impact gender-balanced leadership can really bring. 

Author: Rebecca Fountain, Marketing Consultant, PWN Global
Date: April 2024

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