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Frankfurt am Main

Sixty alumnae came to Frankfurt School of Finance & Management on Thursday, April 14, 2016, to listen to Souad Benkredda’s talk on managing diverse teams. Souad Benkredda is a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank in London. She shared her experience about heading a team which works on three different continents, in three time zones, represents twelve nationalities and has a 97 percent male quota. FS Career Services and FS Alumni Management had invited her to a Ladies First event to share her experiences.

Karin Reuschenbach-Coutinho, Head of Career Services, and Anna Schweisfurth, Alumni Officer, warmly welcomed Souad Benkredda and all guests.

Souad Benkredda looks back on a remarkable career in a male dominated working environment. She started working on the trading floor of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt where she was almost the only woman. And due to the fact that she was a woman she was sometimes underestimated. But as she said, it is always better to be underestimated than to be overestimated.

During her career she faced various challenges in managing diverse teams. Her team members who worked in different countries had various cultural backgrounds and were predominantly male. To be accepted as a young, female leader has not always been easy. Inclusive leadership was Souad Benkredda’s answer to this challenge. Her approach was to get people involved, to listen to what they have to say and ask where help is needed or where she could add value. In some situations colleagues needed a little time to accept a new female team head and in other situations she realised that sometimes one has to back off rather than forcing a situation.

With many examples Souad Benkredda explained to the students and alumnae how diversity can be successfully managed and underlined that everyone benefits from inclusive leadership.

The interesting talk provided the basis for a lively discussion, which the guests continued at a reception afterwards.