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Gender Equity Conference - meet Brian Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Baker & McKenzie in Asia

Posted on 6/09/2016 by Marie Swarbreck

Meet Panelist #6

Meet Brian Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Baker & McKenzie in Asia and Co-Chair of The Women’s Foundation Male Allies Initiative


Question 1 - Can you introduce yourself in a couple of words?

I am Chief Operating Officer for Baker & McKenzie, one of the largest law firms in the World, based in Hong Kong and travelling frequently across Asia.


Question 2 - How has your company/position got you involved in the gender equity space?

Baker & McKenzie globally is strongly committed to diversity and we are proud to have had Christine Lagarde as our first female Chairman. I am a member of the Firm’s Asia diversity committee and lead our local diversity initiatives as a member of our Management Committee. We have specific gender diversity targets and have achieved many of them already. Our challenge is to get more women into senior leadership positions. Baker & McKenzie is also proud to sponsor Community Business’s Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Network.


Question 3 - What are you currently doing to improve gender balance in HK?

James Quinnild of PwC and I Co-Chair of The Women’s Foundation Male Allies Initiative. We have 28 senior male leaders committed to making progress on gender diversity within their organisations and to taking personal actions to promote gender diversity in Hong Kong. Each of them has a specific action plan to achieve this and we meet regularly to learn from and support each other in developing and implementing our plans. I am also a member of the BritCham Women In Business Committee, helping them to engage more men in their activities and initiatives.


Question 4 - What are you doing to inspire women in leadership?

I work with and champion our BakerWomen committee to develop our gender diversity action plan and ensure that gender diversity is on our management agenda. Baker & McKenzie has sponsored TWF’s Mentoring programme for several years and I have been supporting our current protégé, who happens to be one of my direct reports and the leader of one of our key business functions. Along with one of my Male Allies at Thomson Reuters and TWF, we are putting together a programme to encourage teenage girls into careers in technology.


Question 5  - What is your opinion on gender equity in HK?

Unfortunately, we have a long way to go because not enough male leaders are sufficiently engaged with the issue.


Question 6 - What are some key challenges you are facing (or in general)?

We need to move on from ‘go girls’ women supporting women initiatives to ‘go team’ initiatives where men and women work together to improve gender diversity and gender equity for everyone’s benefit. Encouraging men to see this as a priority, and as an opportunity rather than a threat, are major challenges.


To learn more about how Baker & McKenzie and Male Allies are supporting Female Talent in HK, book your ticket now. Seats are limited. 

For tickets, click here.