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Facebook's Nicola Mendelsohn named world's top role model woman executive

Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn. Photo: Tom Lindboe

Facebook’s (FB) vice-president for EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, has been named the top role model woman executive in the world in an annual ranking of influential women in business.

The HERoes Women Role Model lists, released by diversity and inclusion network INvolve and exclusively supported by Yahoo Finance, celebrate the top 100 role model women executives, the top 50 future women leaders and 40 advocate male executives.

Mendelsohn, who is Facebook’s top executive outside the US, was credited for running a series of initiatives to empower women both inside and outside the company.

WATCH: Nicola Mendelsohn discusses her incredible career journey on Yahoo Finance UK’s Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded show

Those include “BackHer” — designed in partnership with Creative Equals to support women returning to work — and #SheMeansBusiness — a programme running across seven markets in EMEA that looks to help women start their own businesses by offering access to support, partnerships and events. Mendelsohn also chairs the Women’s Aid Development board.

“I know there will always be work to do but it is vital that we continue to boost the representation of women so that young women like my daughter can have the same opportunities as my sons,” Mendelsohn said in a statement.

Standard Chartered's Kemi Adetu. Photo: Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered (STAN.L) associate client manager Kemi Adetu topped the HERoes future leaders list this year. The list celebrates inspirational women who are not yet senior leaders in an organisation but are making a significant contribution to gender diversity at work.

As a member of the bank’s Gender Engagement Network, Adetu represented her global graduate class to pitch the senior management team the benefits of having a more diverse cohort and on how to retain female talent. She also sits on Standard Chartered’s Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Americas, helping to design and run mentoring, training and networking programmes.

Last year, Adetu launched GLOW UP, an initiative to empower female orphans and provide children in Africa and the US with the skills to become economic leaders in their communities. Alongside GLOW UP, she launched the Fempire Professional Network, an international community for professional women of colour.

She told Yahoo Finance UK in an interview that anyone in an organisation like Standard Chartered has the ability to effect change.

"Everyone has resources. It's just: what are you doing with those resources?” she said. “For some people, it's money; for others, it's their network, for some it's just who they are as individuals. For me, I've put a lot of effort into understanding my environment and seeing myself through other people's eyes.”

HERoes’ annual lists also celebrate 40 advocates — male leaders who use their positions to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for women. EasyJet (EZJ.L) CEO Johan Lundgren was awarded the top spot in this year’s advocates list.

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren. Photo: EasyJet

Last year, Lundgren asked the EasyJet board for a salary cut to match that of his female predecessor Dame Carolyn McCall. Lundgren has also spearheaded EasyJet’s target that 20% of its new pilot recruits will be women by 2020. The company says it is on track to reach that goal.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance UK, Lundgren said his focus on diversity and inclusion goes beyond business to fundamentally doing the right thing to ensure that everyone gets the same opportunities.

“I have twins: I have a boy and a girl. It's become very apparent to me that when you're blessed to have children, to have a boy and a girl at exactly the same age, you see how our society and culture works, how companies advertise and address them, and what the expectations are of them,” he said.

INvolve created the annual HERoes rankings to help drive gender parity in workplaces around the world, according to the organisation’s founder and CEO Suki Sandhu.

“Despite gender pay gap reporting being introduced well over a year ago, there has been virtually no improvement in closing the gender pay gap. Indeed, our research shows that 41% of people think it will take over 20 years to make the gender pay gap zero,” said Sandhu in a statement.

“Evidently, the quest for workplace gender equality is not complete.”

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Yahoo Finance is supporting diversity and inclusion network INvolve’s role model lists across EMpower, HERoes, and OUTstanding. Submissions for the 2019 OUTstanding role models lists are open.