The two powerhouse women share a long and warm friendship, and used this connection to set off the morning debate about women empowerment and the breaking up of patterns.
Breaking down rigid structures may be a special talent for the two women, who have both worked hard to break monopolies to keep Europe open and free.
“Technology means that it could not be a better time for us women to come together and make the changes we need,” said Reding.
“Women have an amazing talent for putting together bits and bites. This is digital thinking. But we have to break some barriers on our way!” said Johnson.
One of the best examples of how to do this is Reding and Candace’s celebrated work to fight monopolies and and prize cartels. And, as they went on to show, breaking monopolies also change attitudes, often for the better.
Reding did this by fighting telecom monopolies as an EU Commissioner, and later by going after outrageous roaming prizes across EU borders. Her fight against Deutsche Telekom earned her the title as “Enemy No. 1”, but also made the company introduce quotas “after they lost to a woman in court.”
Johnson - nicknamed “the Sate-Lady” by Reding on stage - did her part by preventing the Murdoch-Berlusconi-Kirsch cartel from taking over the ASTRA satellites in order to “keep Europe’s skies free.”
Parallel efforts to keep markets open and at the same time promote strong female leadership.
“It always starts with a dream. Maybe it looks impossible, but start going and your chances will grow,” said Reding as the two friends left the stage, arm in arm.
A powerful and inspiring message that deservedly earned a sound standing ovation from the crowd.