Michael, you’ve been an influential leader at Citibank for a long time. Tell us what
you think about diversity and its role in business.
"Diversity of all sorts - gender, cultural, generational, etc. - is in our self-interest. Most
societies are half male, half female. Our clients are a mixture of local and global companies.
Unless our leadership teams have a similar profile, then we will lack perspectives necessary
for commercial success."
Betsy, can you tell us what you both think of the HeForShe movement so far and
what impact it's had?
"I think the greatest achievement is that the HeforShe movement has brought the dialogue to
the surface and shown us what it looks like in real life. It allows men to serve as an example
to other men and to say, “treating women respectfully and equally is not only the great for
women, it is great for your business, for your family and for society”. When men step
forward and tell their own stories it is incentive for others to follow. It also serves as a
powerful example for younger men to experience fathers, mentors and bosses treating
women with respect and equality. Women witness the movement and approach life with
the expectation and understanding that this is how they can and should be treated. These
are the steps that will help normalize gender equality in Singapore and it is exciting to see
them unfolding daily."
A question that often gets asked to women and less often to men, Michael, can you tell us how you balanced your career and personal life?
"I have always been ambitious but about ten years into my 28-year career I was trying to
determine just how ambitious I was. All four of our children had been born by then and we
were already working in our fifth country. My biggest concern was my ability to balance my
career ambitions with my commitment to family, so I asked a very senior person in Citi to
point out a role model - someone who was still happily married to his first spouse, who had
thriving children, and who was successful within Citi. Those people became my role models,
examples that showed me it was possible to keep my family as True North but also be a
You both spoke at the inaugural HeForShe Impact Awards on the 27th, Betsy, what do you think these Awards mean for Singapore?
"I think these awards really help to shine a light on what a progressive society Singapore is
and that they will help continue to ensure her leadership in the SE Asian region. The
determination of this small island nation historically to become something extraordinary
cannot be understated. Singapore’s ability to assimilate new information, adapt and to lead
is undeniable. Evidence shows us that when women are included in every segment of
society and in the workplace that everyone benefits…from healthier families, to more
efficient businesses to more meaningful dialogue in the boardroom. These are no
measurable. As Singapore shines a light on these issues she is sure to create evidence-based
policies that reflect the importance of gender equality. Her leadership across ASEAN
ensures that these policies will spread and gender biases will begin to dissipate regionally.
The benefits to Singapore will be continued productivity and a healthier society, and to the
region, a great example!"