We are very proud to announce the tenth winner of the FEOY award - Saana Azzam. Female Economist of the Year celebrates 10 years -
Saana Azzam unites International Economics and Entrepreneurship
For the tenth consecutive year, the prestigious Female Economist of the Year has been awarded to an outstanding female student at the Stockholm School of Economics. This year's winner Saana Azzam has experience from both the financial industry and retail; in addition she has studied entrepreneurship and leadership in Sweden and abroad. As part of the scholarship Saana Azzam will work in Business Development & Planning at this year's new partner company - American Express.
Saana is an excellent representative of the Female Economist scholarship. Saana is a person with great drive, a broad academic background, international experience and high ambitions. She is not afraid to help herself in the male-dominated areas, which is a needed drive in Sweden, "says Barbro Ehnbom, initiator of FEOY scholorship.
Parallel to her master's degree studies in economics, Saana Azzam has worked and studied in six different countries. She speaks four languages fluently, has worked in Private Banking at SEB, as a currency trader at Barclays Capital in London and also as a business developer in sports company Nike. Saana also has a background as a basketball player at the elite level.
- The scholarship is an incredibly important moment in my life and in my career! While I personally gain a strong profile and lots of experience, I now also have an opportunity to reach out to a large group of women who have the odds against them, but the self-confidence to know they can accomplish what they are wishing for. It is also very gratifying for me to be given this wonderful award after all these years of hard work, "said Azzam Saana.
Female Economist of the Year scholarship was awarded for the first time at Stockholm School of Economics in 2001 and is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. This year with a new partner, American Express.
- American Express is actively promoting diversity. Our clients are diverse and so we must be. The cooperation between AmEx and FEOY is a win-win for all parties. We are getting a top talent into the organization who can create value for American Express and the Female Economists are getting the opportunity to enter an exciting business where they can grow and have international careers, "says Kathleen Fiorello, Vice President, Nordic Countries, American Express.
The jury that selected this year's winner consists of Barbro Ehnbom, founder of the Female Economist of the Year, Kathleen Fiorello, Vice President Nordic Countries American Express, Lars Bergman, president of the School, Agneta Dreber, CEO in the Food industry, and last but not least Marketing profile Steve Trygg, which among others founded the advertising agency Anderson & Lembke in New York.
- Female Economist of the Year is an important scholarship. We need more women in senior positions and the scholarship is one step in that direction. The winners are also great female role models for our students,"says Lars Bergman, president of the SSE
Saana Azzam received the scholarship June 7 at an official ceremony on Confidence at Ulriksdals Palace Theatre. Among the invited guests were outstanding representatives from the Swedish and American business and cultural life.
Your excellences, ladies and gentlemen, BBBs, friends and family,
To be here tonight and be acknowledged to receive this honor is beyond expression through words for me. I am truly grateful.
I believe that it is important for us to understand the achievements of our predecessors to truly appreciate what they have achieved and also what we have the potential to achieve. My mother has been a most inspirational woman in my surrounding; she brought up 8 kids and was the provider of the family many years. She constantly instilled in me the value of persistency, hard work and honesty. Most importantly, my mother thought us about the personal empowerment through education. I stand her today with 7 successful siblings and a coming diploma from one of Sweden’s top institutions. This is an example how by sheer will and ambition, the sky is the limit for anyone regardless of their background.
Now, we are here today for a purpose. So let us talk numbers. The number of female CEOs of noted companies in Sweden amounts to a total of 1,7 procent. That is 4 females. 72% of all managers, at all levels are male, and the average wage for women is 83% of men’s wage. There are a obvious disproportions between the male and female ratios. But there are many benefits to be had by integrating a higher percentage of females into the workplace at senior management positions. Benefits include diversified forms of resources and experiences combined with additional angles of perspectives when forming strategies and solutions. Countless of studies have been made about this, in the States, a study showed how the Fortune 500 firms with the best records of putting women at the top were 18 to 69% more profitable than the median companies in their industries. Female managers have proven their worth to these companies and have exhibited exemplar performance by increasing profitability, and the figures given back this up. I also believe that for us women, it is time for us to eliminate all of our inhibitions and break free of any stereotypes so we can obtain our place alongside our male counterparts. This award is an exact representation of that. Encouraging young females to dare to aim high from the starts just as we involve the decision-makers in also taking an active part.
There are many actors whom have made this award possible and whom I would like to thank. Barbro, thank you for your support and dedication to this project. 10 years have passed and you still show such great enthusiasm to this award. Madeleine Albright said ”There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women" so Barbro, see you in heaven.
Kathleen, Bora and future American Express colleagues. Your co-operation with this event is commendeable and you’re a great example of how companies can proactively support women in their careers. For that I say well done and thank you.
Principle Lars Bergman, Helena and SSE team, thank you for sustaining the high standards and the great reputation of this university and for supporting FEOY.
To all Female Economists, BBBs and Friends it is through you that we can truly shape the market and change its demographics. You are the people whom are actually implementing the change. Keep inspiring and continue to be role models in the spirit of change.
For all, we are presented with a great occasion which allows us to get together and share experiences but more importantly through collaboration we are redefining the rules to achieve real visible change. Many of you are here because you have succeeded with just that and I applaud you but there is still much that needs to be done.
Maya Angelou said, 'When you learn, teach. When you get, give.' I want you to know that this award means that I will continue to strive to give back to the world what it has given to me. I will contribute by redefining the rules in the domains that I am present in. By sharing my values, always working hard and with a high level of integrity will I ensure that at least one seed will be sown through me.
I hope that you also acknowledge that and continue to support Barbro, this fantastic network and all the rising stars out there. Let us be be the change we want to see in the world.