Last month, Kellogg had the honor of hosting Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After a school-wide lecture, 30 students, including myself, had the unique opportunity to attend an intimate roundtable discussion with Madame Lagarde. The conversation primarily focused on women in leadership and the IMF’s international finance policies. Both topics are near and dear to my heart, as I am passionate about international finance and hope to one day lead an organization.
Madame Lagarde began the roundtable discussion with the observation that women leaders are frequently called upon in difficult situations. She cited Iceland and the United States Federal Reserve as examples where women came into challenging economic situations and thrived with their intelligence and attentiveness. She mentioned Angela Merkel several times, noting that Merkel was the most welcoming to smaller and newer nations’ leaders at the last G20 Summit.
Madame Lagarde shared her personal story as well. As the oldest of many boys in her family, she didn’t perceive or encounter discrimination until later in life, when she interviewed at a law firm and was told that women couldn’t make partner status. This anecdote resonated with me, as I am entering the corporate law industry after graduation, where there is still a disparity between the number of male and female senior leaders.