How can we create more inclusive organisations? This was the main topic at the annual conference of the Erasmus Centre for Women in Organisations (ECWO) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) on 24 November 2023. There were inspiring keynote speakers, a thought-provoking panel discussion, eye-opening workshops, research presentations, and plenty of opportunities for connecting and networking.

Highlights included keynotes by Professor Barbara Banda and Professor Frank Baaijens. Banda, author of The model black: how black British leaders succeed in organisations and why it matters, spoke about the difficulties when talking about race, and why leaders need to speak the right language to make their organisations truly inclusive. Prof. Frank Baaijens, former rector magnificus at TU Eindhoven, talked about taking a bold step to change paradigms and systems to significantly make an impact on gender balance at his institution.

Leading and crafting

Prof. Banda and Prof. Baaijens were joined by Ahmed Shafik (manager of group services IT at NN-Group) for a panel discussion that examined the imperative for creating inclusive organisations and how to effect that.

Participants could also choose to attend several workshops, for example about leading and crafting inclusive cultures with Dr Jochem Kroezen. Other workshops explored how social safety plays a role in inclusive teams, the possibilities of VR to amplify empathy and activate inclusion, how saying no to non-promotable work helps inclusion, and a look at whether Gen Z really is disloyal and lazy.

Tailored processes

Researcher Kirsten Kardijk presented an inclusion gap tool that ECWO is developing, specifically for use in organisations, to bring the inclusion puzzle together. Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Dianne Bevelander Prize to 2023’s winner, Karen de Sousa Pesse. Writer, consultant and coach, Maartje Laterveer, closed the conference by threading together the insights of the day and issued a potent call to action towards creating more inclusive organisation by taking the time to invite different perspectives and have more tailored talent processes.

Read the full event report.


The Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) is committed to fostering inclusion, empowering women and creating a level playing field by building communities for organisational change. Its mission is to create a sense of belonging for everyone within organisations for all, regardless of gender or identity, through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). ECWO conducts research and produces evidence-led educational programmes, events, coaching, advocacy and advisory services.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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