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Initiative "Leadership without boundaries"

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The “Leadership without Boundaries” initiative was started up by partnership of Committee 20, Heidrick & Struggles, and Coca-Cola Russia (

The aim of this initiative was in bringing together successful female leaders and help them to share successful practices that promote further growth to the CEO roles.

The Mission of Community: To create the platform for a free and effective development and execution of women's leadership stream

Goals: To create a community that provides a platform for both formal and informal communication, exchange of information, views and best practices sharing helping women to develop their carriers in corporate environment, strengthen their motivation to overcome internal barriers or so-called "glass ceiling", promote the philosophy of women's leadership with the participation of top to mid-level executives who already succeeded in building carrier.

We develop leadership capacity through programs aimed at growth and professional development (mentoring, coaching, information exchange, role models) and best practices exchange, success stories and failures, research on women's leadership. We are open to any other ideas for additional activities.

The impulse to this initiative was Coca-Cola’s research showing that in 2004 the share of female GM/President/CEO’s in Russia was only 6%, and the same number existed in 2008 -although female representation in the other leadership roles had greatly improved (the data obtained from the Association of Russian Managers).

The first action in this joint initiative was a survey executed by Heidrick & Struggles.?See more at H&S survey results (PDF, 64 Kb).

The survey pursued 2 goals:

  • To assess motivation of the current second-line female top managers to become a CEO
  • To uncover the reasons of this motivation and attempt to identify the common (social, economical, personal) concerns, as well as career facilitators

The survey was conducted in June — August 2009, on a sample of 29 current second-line female top managers, working in Marketing, Commercial/Sales and other director roles in various industries, but mostly in the Consumer Goods. The details of the survey’s results are available on request. The summary is the following:

The survey has demonstrated that there is a strong willingness of the high-potential 2nd line female managers to become a CEO. They see themselves in a CEO role in the smaller size companies, which perhaps is connected with an easier way upward there, and more opportunity to keep work-family balance.

There are common facilitators identified, the main being role modelling, mentoring and the certain corporate career policies — which should account for «female career life-cycle» specifics, but otherwise seem to be gender-neutral.

It is also clear from the survey that creating communication platform around this topic would be highly beneficial for the female high-potentials; and that this platform would be more efficient if it will be built on a broader community base, and not just a company-employer.

?Based on these findings, we developed an idea of a large cross-industry event, which could serve as a good trampoline for the next activities.

"The 1st Forum «Female leadership without boundaries" was held on November 26th, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Marriott-Grand Hotel.

General goals for the event were:

— to create visibility of this initiative in the relevant circles:

  • female CEO potentials;
  • current female business leaders who will then promote it/serve as mentors etc;
  • corporations.

— to give impulse/create platform for industry-wise activities:

  • set up of mentor/coach network in Russia for the female corporate young potentials (YPs);
  • set up regular communications for the YPs and the «role models» — to network, to inspire and address how situation changes
  • set up regular communications involving corporations — around the best practices in the area, helping to focus corporate efforts on the most efficient corporate promotional policies;
  • to create regular feedback on Leadership Development and Training — to understand what type of training do women want in order to be better managers and executives.

The Forum started with the Opening session where the Initiative group introduced the project and it’s goals; was followed by the dynamic panel discussion with exciting speakers like Anna Belova, Svetlana Balanova, Marina Malykhina  moderated by HBR Editor-in-Chief Elena Evgrafova; followed by Q&A session, opinion exchange, and then — networking session.??

The next stage of initiative’ development was creating an active Committee that since December 2009 has done a great job in order to formalize the Community to articulate its mission and purpose, membership criteria, create working groups on major activities of the community and has taken important steps in specific areas. 

In 2010 the Community was proactively engaged in studying and sharing successful practices for support and the career development of women in business. In April 2010 with the support of the “Committee of 20 " The 2nd " Leadership without borders " Forum took place in Moscow with more than 60 delegates representing more then 45 companies. The importance of the event and its high level was confirmed by the representation of the Russian State Duma. 

 In the period from 2010 to 2013 several significant events took place: round tables, workshops, formal and informal meetings, case studies and so on... (for more details look at the “News” page)


In 2013 Community supported a study of corporate practices for women. The results of the study were presented at the International Forum "Women in the modern economy: challenges and solutions". The Forum was attended by 125 guests, among them the heads of major Russian and international companies, representatives of non-profit and government organizations, leading universities, mass media. The issues of women's participation in the economic development of the country, their roles in the modernization of the global economy and the challenges that business - women face today, as well as ways of overcoming them were discussed at the Forum.

We welcome and are open to participation in this Initiative and the activities described above of all interested parties with the female leadership topic in their immediate agenda, and those who are ready to invest efforts into creating better opportunities for realizing female’s leadership potential.


For more information check: