Marleen Vaesen, the keynote speaker at Egon Zehnder’s Leaders & Daughters event in Brussels, knows all about the ruses Belgian women of her generation had to adopt to get taken seriously by male colleagues. “At the start of my career, I learned the results of the football World Cup to be able to talk to them,” Ms Vaesen told her audience of senior Belgian executives and their daughters at the Cercle de Lorraine business club on March 8.
Ms Vaesen has come a long way since then, as the CEO of Greenyard, a fruit and vegetable wholesale multinational based in Brussels with 8,000 employees in 25 countries worldwide. For a start, she no longer bothers to check soccer results. More to the point for the daughters at the event, Marleen – a mother herself – offered more than three decades of accumulated wisdom about how young women can fulfill their potential in Belgium’s male-dominated business world.