Gender Initiative

Kaisa Snellman

Academic Director of INSEAD Gender Initiative
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

 

Vinika Rao

Executive Director of INSEAD Gender Initiative
 

Our Vision and Mission

Gender imbalance and the resultant experience of women in business and society have consequences for both organisations and the communities they serve. Yet the dynamics, causes, and consequences of gender imbalance are not yet fully understood, limiting our ability to enhance gender balance. Built on INSEAD’s core organisational value of diversity and decades of gender diversity efforts, the Gender Initiative integrates research, business, and pedagogy to engage the full potential of both women and men.

Our community of gender researchers includes psychologists, sociologists, economists, and management and finance scholars who conduct cutting-edge research on the experiences and impact of women in business and society. We are building relationships with organisations to enhance their commitment to gender balance and their ability to fulfil this goal. By striving to create a pipeline of future business leaders who are passionate and equipped to drive gender balance within their existing and future organisations, we aim to empower women leaders to positively impact business and society.

Our mission is to create and disseminate knowledge that advances women leaders and optimises their contributions within and beyond their organisations. We strive to engage both men and women in this effort, inspiring all to take action.

In the Spotlight

 

Our Team

 

 

Kaisa Snellman

Academic Director
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

Kaisa Snellman is an Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD where she teaches courses in organizational behavior and organizational theory, she is the Academic Director of the INSEAD Gender Initiative.

Kaisa's work examines inequality based on gender, race, and class in the domains of education, employment, and health. She is interested in both the structural and the cultural-cognitive processes that contribute to inequality. More specifically, she studies how cultural beliefs about gender and race shape outcomes for individuals as well as organizations, and how organizations contribute to economic inequality through their employment practices.

Kaisa's research has been featured in a variety of news outlets, such as the Atlantic, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, The Economist, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. Her research on the diffusion of the shareholder model in Finland received the Louis R. Pondy Best Dissertation Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management in 2012. She was also a finalist for the William H. Newman Award from the Academy of Management.

Kaisa earned PhD and MA degrees in Sociology from Stanford University, and an MSc degree in Economics from Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. Prior to joining INSEAD, Kaisa was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

 

Vinika Rao

Executive Director

Vinika started her career with an MNC bank and went on to become Managing Director of an Asian conglomerate, before making a serendipitous transition to education. Her research is in gender diversity in leadership, male allyship and intergenerational influences on the workplace. Prior to INSEAD, she was Assoc Professor of Strategy at S.P. Jain School of Global Management. She currently sits on the boards of a non-profit organization and a think tank and advises Diversity & Inclusion initiatives at global organizations. She is also Ambassador, Power Women of India; International Advisory Committee, Mody University for Women & SP Jain Return to Work Programme; Ambassador, She2030 and Advisory Board, Nine by 9. She has an MBA from IIM Bangalore and an award-winning doctorate in leadership diversity from the Singapore Management University (SMU).

Dr. Rao is passionate about supporting women managers to make fulfilling work-life decisions, aiming to do this through active sponsorship rather than mentorship alone. She strives to engage both men and women in the effort to foster gender balance in their organizations and communities.

 

Daisy Pollenne

Research Associate

Daisy is a Research Associate at INSEAD, working on the Equal4Europe (E4E) project. Her research examines the persistence of gendered dynamics in business institutions' working climates in Europe. She is interested in the consequences for women and men's performance and wellbeing at work, and how these shape career trajectories in business academia. Daisy also uses the E4E research to inform INSEAD's policy development on diversity, equity and inclusion. In parallel, Daisy is a doctoral student at the University of Oxford. Her research explores how wellbeing is affected by different reasons for migrating and subsequent experiences in host countries.

 

Felicia A. Henderson

Executive in Residence
November 2022-February 2023

Felicia A. Henderson is a Paris-based independent consultant with over 25 years of advising experience. She devoted the first twelve years of her career to practice as a corporate lawyer in the New York and Paris offices of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Felicia has been an Adjunct Lecturer on corporate law and governance at Sciences Po Paris since 2011. Additionally, she regularly lectures on diversity, equity, and inclusion in INSEAD Executive Education programs.  Felicia has published on leadership, corporate governance, and DEI topics in INSEAD Knowledge and the Sciences Po Law Review. She is the co-author of Mirvac: Building Balance (A) and (B), a pair of business teaching cases awarded Outstanding Case Writer: Hot Topic ‘Diversity and Discrimination’ in 2020 by The Case Centre.  Her current research focuses on the dynamics of racial equity and inclusion in Europe and the practical applications for anti-racism initiatives in multi-national corporations.

Felicia graduated with Distinction from INSEAD’s Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change (EMCCC), and holds a BA, cum laude from Duke University and a JD, cum laude from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Felicia served as Editor-in-Chief of Volume 20 of the Harvard Women’s Law Journal. Although she no longer practices law, Felicia remains a member of the bar of the State of New York.

 

Jean Lim

Administrative Assistant

Jean Lim is responsible for the overall administrative coordination of the INSEAD Gender Initiative. She manages the website, events, social media presence and related activities. Jean is the contact person for any queries you may have for IGI. Prior to joining INSEAD, Jean has held various administrative roles in the multinational environment, providing support to Directors; human resource management and taking care of secretarial and office administration management.

We gratefully acknowledge the support received from the Patrick Cescau/Unilever Endowed Fund for Research in Diversity and Leadership.

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