‘Diversity vs. Conformity’ Vienna Alumni Symposium

Members of Vienna’s business community joined Webster University alumni, students and staff for a Nov. 7 panel discussion on the topic of diversity and conformity within companies, the many problems that can arise from having a diverse workforce and equally diverse clientele, and what aspects of conformity are needed to find success in the international marketplace. More than 200 people gathered in the beautiful Palais Eschenbach in Vienna’s first district for this 4th Webster Vienna Alumni Symposium, “Diversity versus Conformity: Finding a Balance that’s Right for Business.”

More video clips from the event available at: http://www.youtube.com/webstervienna.

Eric Frey, managing editor of Der Standard, acted as moderator and posed questions to the panelist that drew from their experiences and expertise.

The panel included:

  • Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, Webster University
  • Thomas Hintze, managing director, UPC Austria
  • Felix Thun-Hohenstein, managing director, 3M Austria and Switzerland
  • Erno Karl, IBM Intellectual Property Licensing, Europe
  • Doris Tomanek, head of HR Austria and CEE, member of the Board, UniCredit Bank Austria
  • Samantha Yarwood, marketing director, Switzerland & Austria, Starbucks Coffee Company

While cultural diversity remained the main theme for the night, other issues were brought up as well, including gender diversity and generational differences. Tomanek noted that while over 50 percent of Bank Austria’s employees were women, they make up only 25-30 percent of the managerial team. She also mentioned the importance of a healthy mix of younger and more experienced workers.