Last update: 27/07/2022

At Santander, we continue to work to accelerate equality in management. In May, we held the first summit with more than 200 women leaders from around the world, all alumnae of the W50 Santander women's leadership programme.

Banco Santander has been committed to female leadership for over 12 years, creating the Santander W50 programme. It gives 50 women worldwide the opportunity to take part in a week-long intensive training course and gain, not just the tools, but also the empowerment they need to lead their teams and accelerate their transition to senior management positions or directorships. 

The programme offers high-performance training for women senior managers at companies in all sectors who want work on their leadership style. 

More than 700 women have already participated in the programme, which was reason enough to bring them together at a summit in London on 5 and 6 May with the London School of Economics and Political Science. Over 200 programme alumnae attended. 

Attendees enjoyed two intense days of training, talks, and the best leadership and networking activities while sharing ideas, fears and aspirations.

Summary of the summit held in London

Day one was attended by Connson Locke, academic director of W50, and Blanca Sagastume, vice- president of Santander Universities, who talked shared stories of resilience from Lara de Mesa, global head of Responsible Banking at Banco Santander. Also at the meeting were Nadia Bilous, head of Legal at BAT, who spoke about leadership in times of crisis, and Jane Murray, founder and CEO of PeaceBeam. The event ended with a workshop led by SW50 instructors Connson Locke and Emma Soane.

One of the most acclaimed talks on day two was between Pamela Ann Walkden, independent director of Banco Santander, and Helena Torras, managing partner at Paocapital and alumna of one of the first SW50 programmes. Pamela gave an account of the challenges she has overcome to reach her current position.

Interview with Pamela Ann Walkden, independent director of Banco Santander

Everyone was awe-inspiring. Attendees highlighted the magic of being under the same roof as 200 female executives hearing them talk about success, the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned along the way; and sharing what their own SW50 experience had meant to them.

Equitable leadership: a key to better results

According to ‘Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey’, a study by Ernst & Young (EY) and Peterson Institute, having women in leadership roles can help raise a company's earnings by up to 6%. According to "Women in Business and Management: The business case for change", a 2019 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), companies that had a significant number of women managers increased productivity by more than 50% and developed substantially more creative and innovative strategies. 

All of the information regarding the scholarships can be found at Santander Open Academy

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