Cohesion in challenging times is essential: Our Forbes Women’s Summit partners and their opinion on the current situation.


Astrid Kleinhans-Rollé
Managing Director at WU Executive Academy

It is obvious that the effects of the corona crisis will have dramatic consequences for all our lives and that it comes with economic tragedies and severe suffering. Nevertheless, every crisis always has the potential to create something good: Challenges that seem insurmountable and obstacles in the path always offer the chance to become aware of one’s own strengths. Courage, the willingness to take risks, creativity and personal commitment will help find solutions to unprecedented challenges.

Had you asked at the beginning of March whether I could imagine switching almost all of our continuing education programs to distance learning within just three weeks, I would probably simply have dismissed this as utopian. Today, however, we have almost mastered this challenge, even though there is still a lot of work ahead of us. However, this could only succeed because everyone involved – our team, our lecturers, our partners – pulled on one string. What we have now achieved together is not only a necessary basis for continuing in these difficult times, it has also catapulted us at the speed of light into a new, more digital age – achievements from which we will continue to benefit for a long time to come. Together.


Dr. Viktoria Veider-Walser
Executive Director at Kitzbühel Tourism Management

We are facing a situation that is significantly shaking the very foundations of our entire community, both socially and economically. In the first step, the top priority was to ensure the security of operational procedures and to gain an overview in a state of emergency. In a second step, it seems essential to look into the future step by step and to define one’s own scope of action with possible scenarios. Prognoses are difficult, especially when they concern the future — nevertheless, it seems that the way we deal with relationships in the future may mutate into the key variable of developments. It is also unclear at present how we will interact on a global scale.

Both factors have a major influence on future develop­ments, especially in tourism, and I am convinced that we would do well to take new needs and desires into account in our business model right now. Kitzbühel, as a premium brand with a clear positioning, faces rather inelastic demand effects and has a strong brand. In the long term, these appear to be stable success factors. Nevertheless, the effects of this crisis will not concern us just this year. Irrespective of this, this period will also bring positive externalities, be it international solidarity or the focus on regional and en­vironmental issues. We can build on this.


Christina Reiter (left)
Head of Recruiting and Employer Branding at Raiffeisen Bank International


Andrea Pelinka-Kinz (right)
Head of PR Subsidiaries Austria at Raiffeisen Bank International

Just a few weeks ago, nobody would have believed that our working and ­living worlds are changing and condensing so rapidly that the virtual influences our professional and private lives more than ever before. Or that people are finding each other and looking at each other again. Many people already know that we can only overcome the current crisis together. The goal must be to ensure that this idea continues and is lived on in the long term.


Helmut Eggert
Head of Porsche Import at Porsche Austria

I think cohesion is an important element in the companies themselves and in their external relations. The current situation alone shows the quality of cohesion and how resilient these relationships ultimately are. This unprecedented state shows the “maturity level” of an organization and the people working in it. We are currently doing everything to provide the best possible service to our customers, while simultaneously ensuring that our employees are protected against a possible infection.

To realize this within a “home office” setting, when you’re not in direct contact with each other is a challenge for each individual and will ultimately only be successful if everything works together – and everyone pulls along. For us as the Porsche brand, this is similar to an endurance race: everyone is required to deliver top performance – even in the most demanding situations. “To finish first – first you have to finish” — true to this old racing driver wisdom we are currently focused on what is our main goal during this time: When “Monday after Corona” (Schwejk) comes, we want to be where we were before we were abruptly hit by the shut-down and the pandemic.


Claudia Schabata
Head of Marketing at IP Austria

The current crisis has blown each of us off-course. From one day to the next, we had to change previous habits, rethink things, and were confronted with a lot of uncertainties - both in our private   and professional lives. Especially in such challenging times, the importance of reliable social points becomes even more noticeable.

As a media sales house for Mediengruppe RTL in Austria, our core business is selling television. Television, which, particularly in the current crisis, offers both viewers and the advertising industry reliability. For the audience, it is obviously important not only to get information through television, but also to get good entertainment through which one can easily relax and switch off. For the  advertising industry, the current high reach in viewers offers effective opportunities to strengthen their brands - both for image and to boost sales.

I think the last few weeks have shown how important humanity, solidarity but also reliability are in work life. Values that we at IP Austria upheld and lived also before the crisis. Values that are now more important than ever, because the current situation affects all of us and, as generally known, we are always stronger together than alone. For this reason long-term partnerships, such as with Forbes, are of great importance for us and we are very proud and happy to be a partner of this year’s Women’s Summit. Also the chosen motto “Superwomen” seems to me more appropriate than ever. Because especially the last few months have made numerous superwomen more visible again. It was or is women again, who have achieved incredible things under multiple loads.


Monique Dekker
Area Vice President, General Manager at Park Hyatt Vienna,
member of GIDC – Global Inclusion & Diversity Council

Now more than ever it is important for businesses to stand together and support each other in order to master this crisis and come out stronger in the end. We are happy to ­support events like the Forbes Women’s Summit, which directs awareness to important matters we’re facing as a society. At Hyatt, we live our purpose to “care for people so they can be their best”, so valuing diversity and practicing inclusion every day comes naturally with that. Especially in challenging times like these, people realize we are all in this together and our challenges are better overcome when we act with kindness and unity.


Karl-Heinz Strauss

In times like these, cohesion and continuity are essential. We feel not only responsible for our approximately 20,000 employees, but also see our obligation to society. With particular intensity we support all efforts that serve to promote equal rights and the appreciation of women in the economy. At Porr, we live this on a daily basis. In other areas of economy and society, every impulse is important. Therefore, we have decided to take part in the Forbes Women’s Summit and we will continue to do so. In accordance with one of our five Porr principles, we are a partner for whom reliability is paramount.

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