“It is not necessary that you cannot get success or recognition if you don’t go through a journey, but it is important to go through those roads and need to recognise them and be happy,” says Marcella Wartenbergh, Global Group CEO, AWWG Pepe Jeans London, Hackett, Faconnable, at the Fortune India Most Powerful Awards event held in Mumbai today.

“If you want to win a marathon, you need to train for the marathon. Running a marathon without sweat is not possible,” says Wartenbergh, who was also the Guest of Honour at the event, while sharing her successful journey.

Speaking at the Fortune India MPW event, the CEO of the Spanish fashion group Pepe Jeans says leaders need to believe in change because it is not possible to progress without change. Citing an example of Blackberry and iPhone, she said that Blackberry was the boss during her childhood, but it failed to evolve like iPhone and died. 

Wartenbergh further says that changes require agility and speed, which means one needs to be quick, fast, and agile to remain relevant in today’s Gen Z world. “The situation of Gen Z getting a job is much easier than a baby boomer.”

On women empowerment, she says AWWG Pepe Jeans London has 4,500 employees and out of this 72% are women, while 48% are in the executive team.

During a panel discussion on issues related to “unconscious biases” in corporate culture, Wartenbergh says she applies the rule of equal CVs of men and women to ensure diversity in her organisation. "Then we see who comes out of that. We need to make a bigger effort right from scratch. It's not about men or women, but women also need to believe they can do it."

Marcella also spoke on necessary policy changes, saying reporting and mandates are good, but expertise in the team is also important. "We need to have balance, so push and equality, leaders not seeking that will not survive. Men love to work with women and women with men. Any manager not supporting diversity will not survive in the next 5 years."

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