How Invest Cyprus embraces gender equality in the workplace

A recent study has placed Cyprus in 37th place out of 46 European countries in terms of the best for women’s career progression, while the latest figures from CySTAT show that, while women represent 51.2% of the population and 60.9% of the workforce, only 2.2% of employed women hold managerial roles.

It is refreshing and encouraging, therefore, to see that the country’s investment promotional agency, Invest Cyprus, not only has a woman Deputy CEO but four of the 10 members of the Board of Directors are women and all of them spoke to GOLD recently.

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of women to the economy, Invest Cyprus has created a working environment that prioritises work-life balance for all team members. This commitment is exemplified through flexible employment arrangements and a progressive work-from-home policy, reflecting the organisation’s values and forward-looking trajectory.

Today, an impressive 75% of its team are talented and dedicated women serving in various hierarchical levels. These exceptional women bring diverse perspectives to the decision-making processes and serve as influential ambassadors, proudly representing the organisation and the country on the global stage.

Irene Georgalla, Board Member, Invest Cyprus, Director, Office of the Deputy Minister to the President: “Throughout my professional journey, I’ve witnessed first-hand the profound impact of diversity. Organisations that embrace diversity perform better financially, make more balanced decisions and are better equipped to navigate complex challenges. Women in particular often have different networks, communication styles and priorities, which can open doors and foster connections that might otherwise remain untapped. In the case of Invest Cyprus, its gender-balanced leadership enhances our ability to attract a wider range of investors, foster innovation and ensure that our strategies are inclusive and sustainable, ultimately propelling our nation’s economic prosperity. I’m honoured to contribute to the mission of this esteemed organisation, aspiring to encourage greater female representation on boards.”

Lia Riris, Deputy CEO, Invest Cyprus: “To be chosen for the Deputy CEO role is a true testament to the organisation’s drive for women’s empowerment and leadership. I am thus committed to driving innovation and fostering a future where diversity and inclusion are championed. Women belong and deserve to compete for positions of power and it’s our duty to nurture and promote future women leaders. Together, we can build a thriving business ecosystem that reflects the strengths of our collective talents and the limitless possibilities that arise when women lead with purpose and vision.”

Pavlina Mela, Board Member, Invest Cyprus, Senior Officer, Directorate Strategy & Coordination – HRM Unit, Ministry of Finance: “Being a Board member gives me an opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the organisation’s strategy and, consequently, to the economic development of our country in line with the Government’s strategy, objectives and priorities. Cyprus’ economy has demonstrated its level of resilience to challenges. Irrespective of gender – having diverse perspectives at Board level adds value – the focus is on making decisions and implementing targeted measures to attract investments in strategic sectors that lead to economic growth and promote sustainability.”

Panayiota Patsali, Board Member, Invest Cyprus, Director of Trade, Ministry of Energy, Commerce & Industry: “Holding such an esteemed position has allowed me to integrate my extensive experience and drive for results into this dynamic body. I am proud to be working with like-minded women who, with their dynamism and vision, are helping to steer our country’s economy into a new era. Our presence on the Board signifies a commitment to equality, signalling that in the context of investment and development, Cyprus embraces the strength of unity and diversity.”

Angela Panayiotou, Board Member, Invest Cyprus: “As a superpower, women can work harmoniously and side-by-side with all the other superpowers in the country. A government, an economy and a society need all their superpowers fully active to see the country flourish and develop further. With women being almost 50% of the population in Cyprus, the choice of the state, the business world and the decision-makers is obvious: Do we want our full forces to drive our economy forward and upward or not? And let us not overlook the worldwide acknowledged positive influence of women in decision-making positions when it comes to peace and conflict resolution. So, shall we walk the walk?”

(Photo by Michael Kyprianou, pictured from left to right, Irene Georgalla, Lia Riris, Pavlina Mela, Panayiota Patsali, Angela Panayiotou)

(This interview first appeared in the March edition of GOLD magazine. Click here to view it.)

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