What do companies like SAP, Microsoft and Google have in common? Some of their top female managers are members of the Mission Female network.
Exclusive interview: Find out what challenged Frederike Probert (Mission Female Founder) faced during the founding process, how such a network was created and what the future of Mission Female looks like in.
Frederike is a gender diversity expert with a vision of changing the future of women in business. Therefore she founded the executive network Mission Female to connect top female leaders across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Before Mission Female, Frederike worked for over 15 years in management positions for US media companies such as Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft. She also introduced US based digital technology to the European markets and founded her own companies in the digital sector. As Vice President of the Federation of the Digital Industry in Germany (BVDW), Frederike introduced a quota for more female leaders for the online industry in very early times already.
Frederike will publish her first book about Female Empowerment in Summer 2020.
What makes Mission Female special?
Mission Female is an exclusive executive network for female top managers in German speaking countries across different industries. It distinguishes itself from other female business networks by its intense active component: Our members actively support each other to move up in their career through frequently moderated peer groups, workshops for personality- and career development, exclusive dinners and an annual offsite. Our strong believe is, powerful women have to work closely together to make a change. Therefore, we interact on a personal, confidential and reliable level.
What challenges did you face during the founding of Mission Female?
I founded Mission Female in 2019 originally as a consulting company for gender diversity. The initial idea was to advise companies how to establish more women in top management mainly in male dominated industries. I realized that the need for such a consulting is enormous. But if the mindset of the mostly male top management is not ready for such a change, the advices cannot have a real effect. In these cases, a holistic culture change within the company would be necessary. Therefore I decided to build and run the exclusive business network Mission Female instead. It gives female leaders the possibility to actively support each other and give them visibility in public in order to cause that needed cultural change within the society and the companies. Summarizing I realized quickly that the real power lies with strong women themselves to create a change.
How were you able to build such a network in such a short time?
Women always had the need for networking and exchange. Especially because the gender diversity question is so important, female leaders look for effective platforms like Mission Female. That’s why we were able to win so many different female executive leaders in such a short time. Now it’s about to prove that our concept of bringing together the right powerful women also not only supports our members but also drives cultural change because we all have to power and influence for it.
Only together we can create a working culture in which women really work with equal rights and chances together.
Frederike Probert, CEO and Founder Mission Female
What is the motto #strongertogether?
Our motto #strongertogether is a vivid and active motto. Mission Female members make a real professional exchange by supporting each other and being strengthened by the professional framework and program. Only together we can create a working culture in which women really work with equal rights and chances together.
What do you think is the secret of your success?
One of Mission Female’s success factors is surely our heterogeneous group. CEOs, top and middle management as well as entrepreneurs with different backgrounds and ages are part of our network. They are all committed to actively participate in our program, be specific when it comes to active support for each other and make a social impact.
What was the last milestone you reached with Mission Female? What are you particularly proud of?
I am very proud that we have many well-known female managers and supervisory board members who are engaged with Mission Female. We all act as role models for a more diverse business culture and show specifically how to implement it.
A recent example is the COVID-19 crisis in which we all stand together even stronger than before. We do initiate special online sessions across the network to seek our support and evaluate business opportunities for all of us which haven’t existed before.
What does the future of Mission Female look like? What is your vision?
The future of Mission Female should be the changing future of women in business. With the network I want to encourage sustainable changes within our society. My vision is to show more role models for a more diverse working culture and strengthen them within the network. I am convinced that women can only break through the glass ceiling with the strong will to use their power for all of us – so again our motto #strongertogether.