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Women in business: interview with Lilien Léber of Female Management Network, Hungary

Updated: Jul 7

”In 2018, there were more men named James running Fortune 500 companies than there were women. This year, only one CEO on that list of 500 is a woman of color. Women are 51 percent of the population but hold only 24 percent of the seats in Congress [of the United States of America]. My reaction to facts like these is a complicated mix of outrage and optimism. I imagine I’m not alone. It’s frustrating – even heartbreaking – to confront evidence of the many ways our country continues to hold women back. Then again, for most of our history, women’s absence from positions of power and influence wasn’t newsworthy; it was normal. The fact we’re now talking about these inequities is itself a sign of progress.” - Melinda Gates


Courtesy of FMN - Female Management Network

As a little girl, I was so fascinated when tales like Pocahontas or Mulan first appeared, because women were portrayed in a confident, independent way. I felt the same happiness when I became the member of Female Management Network (FMN). It was four years ago, but the experience and the friendships which I gained in this student organization are still a valuable part of my life.

In this blog post, I interviewed Lilien Léber (the leader of Female Management Network, Hungary) in order to introduce FMN and share information about this amazing Hungarian student organization.


Courtesy of FMN - Female Management Network


What is the purpose of FMN and why was it created?


Our organization was founded in 2010 and it’s the only association in Hungary focusing on women’s career management. FMN’s main goal is for our members to be aware of their career opportunities and by the end of their studies become more confident in the workplace environment. We wish to achieve this goal by constantly improving their skills and organizing training programmes and a three-step mentoring programme which helps them to be prepared for the challenges of adulthood.

What do you do on a daily basis to achieve your goal? What kind of programmes do you organise?


Our provided activities include professional trainings in various subjects held by certified trainers and coaches. FMN’s corporate partners assure the high quality and diversity of these trainings. Besides that, we host lectures and networking events open to a broader audience. Also to strengthen the bond between the members, we participate in various fun activities like quiz nights together. Our main strength is the three step mentor program we provide for our members. The first step’s main goal is to help the integration of our newest members, that’s why we pair up the older members with our newest ones. In this step, all of our members get a chance to be mentees and also, when the next generation of FMN members arrives, to be mentors. In the next step of the mentoring, our members are mentored by one of our alumni members. During this mentoring period, the girls are paired up based on their interests (like HR, finance, marketing, etc.) with a more experienced alumni who can help them at the start of their career. During the third step, our members can choose themselves a mentor from any field, most often an experienced manager from the corporate sector.



Courtesy of FMN - Female Management Network



Why do you think women’s career management is important ?

In most countries women are still considered and treated as a minority, even though we’re living in the 21st century. I believe that it is very important for a woman to be conscious and informed about career opportunities because it’s the only way to not get left behind by their male colleagues.


Do you think FMN has a real impact on the society? Can you tell us a little about what you consider to be an FMN "success story”?

FMN is a unique organization because it’s the first and only women-only student association in Hungary in the business field.

I think that our main strength and success is that we are able to provide a safe space for these young women to practice important career skills like leadership, teamwork, self-branding or even public speaking.

To be exact, during our mentoring program, many of our members have found answers to their most important career-related questions. For example, one of our former presidents decided to continue her studies abroad, even though she had many doubts about it before participating in our mentoring program.



Courtesy of FMN - Female Management Network



What is your personal motivation for being the leader of this organization?

This association is the best thing that’s happened to me since I started university. Our members are the most inspiring women I’ve ever met and I love that we can be ourselves and speak more freely in FMN.

Besides my love for our organization, I think that this is a great opportunity for me to practice leadership and gain more professional experience and a great way to give back something to society by helping women achieve their career goals.

For more information, visit FMN website: https://www.female-management-network.com/.


Written by: Brigitta Zentai

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