Top 50 Female Champions of Women in Business
Melanie works with KPMG’s Chairman and Board to set the firm’s strategic direction and determine major policy positions. Melanie is a Partner in the Debt Advisory practice and has more than 30 years of experience in Financial Services, with expertise in banking, lending and debt restructuring. She is KPMG’s senior sponsor for inclusion and diversity, and leads the firm’s external Senior Business Women’s Network. Under Melanie’s direction, KPMG published a detailed diversity profile of its workforce, looking at under-represented groups throughout the organisation. This move was an industry first and demonstrated the importance of this issue both to colleagues and to the wider market. Melanie has been instrumental in establishing KPMG’s Inclusive Leadership Board and invited three leading diversity experts, Tanni Grey-Thompson, John Amaechi and Nicolas Miller, to join. She has championed KPMG’s ‘Return to Work’ programme, designed for women who have taken a career break of 18 months or more, and sponsors ‘GROW’ – KPMG’s leadership development programme, designed to advance minority groups to senior positions. She has personally supported, mentored and coached women within and outside the firm. Melanie is one of the founding members of the 30% Club Steering Committee, and has facilitated a variety of research projects into women’s experience in the workplace. She sits on the steering group of the Hampton-Alexander Review, which aims to increase the number of women in senior positions in FTSE 350 companies and is joint Vice-Chair of The Eve Appeal and a member of the Harvard Women’s Leadership Board. In June 2016, Oxford Brookes University awarded Melanie an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration for her achievements in business and her promotion of gender equality.
Jayne-Anne Gadhia is the government’s Women in Finance Champion. In 2015, HM Treasury invited Jayne-Anne to review and report on the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the Financial Services industry. The Review recommended that financial services companies should set targets for gender diversity in senior management and publish progress against those targets annually. The Review also recommended progress against the targets should be explicitly linked to variable pay for the Executive team. Jayne-Anne’s report led to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter – a commitment by firms to work together for gender equality in financial services. The Charter has been a huge success with over 140 signatory firms, covering over 560,000 people – equal to over half of the employees in the financial services sector. Whilst recognising there is more to be done, Jayne-Anne believes the Charter will make a real difference in improving culture, make firms more female-friendly, and offer the opportunity to have a successful and rewarding career.
The biggest challenge for women in business is the lack of women in senior management roles. Carolyn has sought to create an environment in which women can build a career, by actively encouraging and supporting women as they progress. EasyJet make it easy for people to have flexible working including part-time working, working from home and job sharing. Women now make up over half of the executive team and a third of the senior management team, while one in seven of the world’s female airline captains already fly for easyJet. Carolyn has a regular programme of speaking and Q&A sessions with groups of women both in easyJet and outside, in particular young women who are starting their career. Recent events have included Speakers for Schools, and speaking to the women’s network of their engineering partner GE and LVMH. She has been involved with “Women in Advertising and Communication ” and chaired Opportunity Now from 2005 to 2009, continuing to be involved in the activities of both. Carolyn has been recognised a number of times for her gender diversity and management efforts, including a Damehood in 2016.
Chief Marketing Officer and President of Strategic Sales
At Brightstar Emer acts as an advocate for gender equality, and champions the subject through speaking engagements at various forums within the business. These include team briefings, segments on the quarterly global webcasts, as well as feature pieces in internal publications. She acts as a mentor to women across the business at different stages of their careers and set up the Brightstar Breakfast Club where talented women at all levels have the opportunity to connect, contribute and grow. Emer is a member of the UK Government’s Women’s Business Council (WBC), and represented the UK at the UN “Annual Commission on the Status of Women Globally” in New York. She was also appointed as the Co-Chair of the “Men as Change Agents” board which is a key project of the WBC, and was a keynote speaker at this year’s Mobile World Congress session on Women4Tech. Most recently, Emer was honored in New York by Women’s eNews, as one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” for her work on promoting gender equality – the only European female to feature on the list this year. Emer is also a Non-Executive Director of PaddyPower Betfair plc.
Karen started the Inclusion@MediaCom initiative, holding sessions covering ‘Authenticity’, ‘The Glass Wall’ and ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’. MediaCom also supports Women Returners to Work and launched Project Blend, which focuses on helping everyone reach their true potential, and ensuring the next generation of leaders are empathetic, intuitive, successful, and most importantly – happy. MediaCom also uses Shine for Women, a coaching course designed for women to give support, goals and focus to allow more women to reach the boardroom. This International Women’s Day Karen spoke in Dublin at the IAPI Doyenne Awards, she also mentors many women in and out of her role. She has also spoken at various events on the impact the female workforce can have on gender equality. Karen was also the first women to be interviewed for the new ‘Women in Business’ segment for BBC Breakfast News. Karen was appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service and is President of NABS. She is a member for WACL and part of WPP Stella. Recently Karen became the Chancellor for Portsmouth University and was named one of 20 ‘Women to Watch’ throughout Europe by Ad Age, and was one of three women honoured by Hearst UK & Cosmopolitan Magazine.
General Manager, Watson IoT, Customer Engagement and Education
IBM UK Limited
Harriet is an active IBM executive leader, mentor and sponsor of several women diversity groups. She has spoken at and hosted a variety of women in business events, internally and externally, discussing women’s leadership and how to drive transformation. She also regularly blogs internally on diversity and leadership communities, reaching 300,000+ IBMers. Harriet regularly speaks with women’s groups, university programmes and individuals worldwide to coach, mentor, and share her leadership views. She is a proud supporter and advocate of championing women through the Peaceworks Foundation, to help foster understanding, tolerance and co-existence in regions of conflict. In May, she was named one of the most Creative People in Business for 2017 by Fast Company and last year won the Women in Technology Institute award and was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame for her contributions to technology in business and her commitment to support and mentor women and girls worldwide. Harriet was recognized as the UK Business leader of the Year and Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year for 2014 and ranked 23rd in the Fortune Top Global Businesspeople list.
TSB was created to bring more competition to UK Banking and make banking better for UK consumers. Creating a different, inclusive culture has been key to success, with Helen driving TSB’s long-term commitment to gender diversity. Helen led TSB’s Gender Balance Matters campaign, pioneering a transparent approach to gender pay gap reporting, and calling on others to follow TSB’s lead and come clean on causes of their gender pay gap, and what they are doing to fix it. Helen regularly promotes gender diversity through media interviews and speaking events like CBI’s First Women, Management Today’s Inspiring Women, and an Equalities Office seminar for SMEs. She also led TSB’s sponsorship of the Women’s Equality Party’s first conference, participated in forums for HMT Gadhia and Hampton Alexander Reviews and was shortlisted for Woman of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards. Helen ensures TSB’s policies are gender neutral, championing activities supporting parental leave, flexible working and encouraging women to return to financial services. Throughout her career, she has mentored women and she introduced a programme for TSB’s executive committee to champion female partners. This is all on top of her ‘day job’ which includes co-leading TSB’s transformation programme, migrating to a new IT platform.
Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa
Rachel Lord, Senior Managing Director, is head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for BlackRock and a member of the Global Executive Committee. Prior to assuming her current role in September 2017, she was EMEA Head of iShares and Head of Global Clients, ETF and Index Investments. During the time in her former role, Rachel was Global Inclusion & Diversity lead for iShares and achieved 100% diverse slates in recruitment at all levels since 2014. She also championed global minimum maternity policies. As a result, there is 50% gender diversity at analyst and associate levels in iShares. Rachel is a member of the Women’s Initiative Network advisory council, and has been Global Executive Sponsor since early 2017. She leads on International Women’s Day European client and internal events, is a powerful advocate and role model for women leading major businesses at BlackRock. Rachel regularly mentors women, both internally and externally, and is often asked to attend and speak at events for senior women in business. She is a speaker at industry-wide recruiting and educational events for women at university, and girls at school, and actively engages with other women’s networks at major financial firms in Europe to encourage cross-firm collaboration.
Managing Partner Europe and Middle East
Tamara has been active in, and has ensured that RS is visible in, community, industry and global initiatives to champion women, including through involvement with organisations such as Women Corporate Directors, Boardwalk, Asian Women of Achievement, and the International Women’s Forum. She also started some herself, including Women in Structured Finance and Women in Corporate Trust. Tamara has worked for years with the Women’s Initiative Network (WINRS) at Reed Smith, is a founding member of the 30% Club, and has been instrumental in the development of the “Paradigm for Parity”, designed to accelerate the achievement of gender parity in business. Tamara is a member of C200, an invitation-only organisation of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators, and is the London School of Economics Court of Governors Sponsor for LSE Power (the female staff network). She also led a group of donors in support of the LSE’s acquisition of the Women’s Library and she currently chairs the Cancer Research UK initiative “Women of Influence”. She is a regular speaker at conferences and professional meetings focusing on closing the gender gap and frequently writes on women in business.
Chief People Officer
Under Sarah’s leadership, inclusive diversity is now a fundamental part of Aviva’s strategy. In the UK, they have set a target of 40% senior management roles held by women by 2020, with similarly stretching targets in all other 15 markets. They are a founding signatory of the Women in Finance Charter. Last year, Sarah launched a programme for 45 women across the globe to develop Aviva’s future female talent – by helping them grow their influence, confidence and leadership. Sarah believes in 1000 small degrees of change, in 2016 she put in place a policy globally for parents to take half a day off to support their child’s first day at school. She champions and speaks at Aviva global Women’s Network events and encourages the business to get behind iconic moments such as International Women’s Day. She asked Aviva’s people globally to make their ‘#Beboldforchange’ pledge, including the Chairman, Board and CEO. Sarah sits on the 30% Club steering committee, and mentors and coaches several women internally and externally on their career paths. She speaks on many panels and contributes to the gender conversation in the media. She also champions Aviva’s sponsorship of the Women of the Future Awards and Asian Women Achievement Awards.
Senior EVP - UK & I
Estelle’s vision is to build a more diverse company with a diverse management team and, as part of this, 30% of Veolia UK & Ireland’s ExCo is now female. To ensure this continues, she has created a diverse executive pipeline with support from Veolia’s Women in Leadership initiative and a series of executive training programmes. She is also one of two sponsors of Veolia Group’s Gender Diversity Network ‘WEDO’, to influence gender balance throughout the 163,000 employees worldwide. Internally, Estelle has also held a Coaching Circle to give guidance in addition to a live Q&A to answer business questions from female leaders across the entire Veolia network. Externally, she is involved in several networks promoting gender balance in the workplace, including being the chair of the French Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Business Club. She also often meets groups of young women at the start of their careers and has spoken to female engineers at various events such as those held at HEC Paris – the European business school that holds events in London. On International Women’s Day, Estelle has also taken part in several annual events, including those led by Accenture to inspire young female leaders.
General Counsel & Head of Financial Compliance
Funke is the most senior black lawyer in pharma, the only such leader in Roche globally, and a multi award-winner. She was appointed as Roche UK diversity champion, as a strong, visible female role model, who mentors, coaches, and sponsors female colleagues. She regularly presents on importance of diversity and inclusion to all 2,000 new joiners, and is filmed for transmission globally. In line with the UN HeForShe campaign, Funke engaged strong male champions of diversity, and supports the UK General Manager in achieving diversity goals. She established a summer work scheme, and an annual paid school leaver internship, changing trajectories of over 30 students from a range of backgrounds. She is also executive sponsor of a company-funded University bursary scheme to support students from underrepresented groups, specifically female graduates. Externally, Funke holds numerous voluntary leadership roles with strong gender equality campaigning focus, and grass roots approaches to removing barriers for women in the workplace. She also provides free diversity in leaderships talks, and has mentored thousands of individuals, impacting both men and women. Funke is one of the few female world news reviewers regularly presenting on BBC 1, and is a regular speaker and campaigner on gender diversity issues.
Chief HR Officer
Caroline leads the talent strategy internally and across Permira’s portfolio companies, including a focus on maximising diversity of recruitment, optimising development initiatives and ensuring HR strategy is designed to align with business agenda. Though not having been with Permira long, Caroline has a strong history of engaging with diversity issues throughout her career, including the establishment of a cross-company network for women in law and compliance during her over 11 years at Goldman Sachs as a lawyer and HR professional. She is a founding steering committee member of the 30 % Club, founded by Helena Morrisey. During the set up of the group a number of law firms and accountancy firms asked to work with the 30 % Club to help them achieve better gender balance at partner level. In response to that Caroline founded and has chaired for the last five years the professional services firms’ group they then set up, ultimately consisting of 22 law firms and accountancy/consultancy firms conducting research and evidence based initiatives.
President International Markets
Ann has looked in detail at the Mastercard hiring process at a managerial level to make sure that they have qualified women among the candidates. This year, the women intake in this category as well as the number of high potential females in her division has increased by 22% and 20%, respectively. She is the executive co-sponsor of “GiveMe5”, an initiative launched to advance the gender balance agenda within Mastercard as well as in the societies and markets they operate in. Through this initiative, she supports projects that engage, enable and empower women. GiveMe5 builds on the UN Sustainable Development Goal #5; achieve Gender Equality. She is also a sponsor of the work Mastercard are conducting with World Food Program, and is connected with UN Women to advocate for and develop digital identities for women around the world. Additionally, Ann is a sponsor of the production of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs launched in 2017. Moreover, she has just launched the Let Her Shine platform, where female leaders will be gathered from various industries to reflect on what legacy the women leaders of today can create to excite and inspire the next generation.
The Crown Estate
At The Crown Estate, Alison makes sure they have the basics right on issues such as equality of pay, the way they hire and promote, and how they ensure a strong pipeline of female talent. She supports employees with “family friendly” policies – such as extended paternity leave, adoption and care leave, and emergency care support. Two out of the three of her Executive Committee colleagues are female and 30% of the Board Commissioners are female. Their bespoke leadership programme (comprised of the executive committee, directors and other senior staff) includes recognising unconscious bias and creating the right workplace culture. Alison is a very visible supporter of diversity charities, and regularly hosts talks from inspiring individuals to encourage diverse thinking within business. The Crown Estate has achieved the RICS Inclusive Employer standard, which gives them a framework to evaluate and celebrate what the business does well, highlights areas for improvement and helps them learn from the best practice of other businesses. Alison worked on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for 8 years, starting on the bid. As the only female director, it was critical that she built a highly diverse team – across many different backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation and disabilities.
Co-Founder & Chairman
Debbie has always believed in the importance of championing women in the workplace. In her latest venture, she implemented 1:1 mentoring of each of their female employees, personally taking on the majority of mentees. She also organised a quarterly afternoon tea for all female employees to have an open and honest conversation about the workplace. Additionally, she has set up monthly fireside chats by high profile entrepreneurs – ensuring that the majority of speakers are female founders. Debbie is well known for her activism around the importance of women in the workplace and on the challenges faced. She is a regular speaker on panels on this topic and is an active mentor outside work, often running one-off sessions through her network. Alongside this, she is a keen investor in female companies and a contributor to the government on women in business, actively engaging in policy-making. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2016, she was awarded an OBE for services to business. She was also a participant on the Silicon Valley 2 UK scheme, an invitation-only initiative that sends Europe’s most promising female entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to help scale up their businesses.
Victoria believes diversity is critical to business success and has created a 50/50 management team within M&C Saatchi owned customer experience agency LIDA, and is leading a committee defining diversity strategy globally for M&C Saatchi Group. They are building more flexible working options into their approach at LIDA to ensure they keep brilliant talent returning after maternity leave and fully support shared parental leave. LIDA also run speed mentoring for all women in the organisation bi-annually, giving female talent access to advice and inspiration from senior female management. She writes a Huffington Post blog on ‘authentic leadership’, and is an active member of WACL (Women in Advertising London) working on two committees focused on up and coming female talent. Firstly, she is a member of WACL Gather committee, an annual training event giving advice, inspiration and mentoring to 500 women. Secondly, she sits on the partnerships committee working closely with all organisations that are supporting younger females in the industry. They are currently working on a plan to promote ‘equal pay day’ Friday 10th November. Victoria is a school governor at South Hampstead High School for Girls, helping the next generation make great strides towards equality.
Head of Finance Community
Lloyds Banking Group
Elizabeth leads a cultural change programme, transforming Finance and targeting 40% female leaders by 2020. The programme upskills leaders to value diversity and inclusion, support agile working and be aware of unconscious bias, as well as empowering colleagues, giving them a greater voice and helping them achieve their potential. One of the elements is a talent programme which gives aspiring, female leaders the opportunity to develop their skills through a broad range of activities. Elizabeth speaks regularly at internal conferences and hosts visits from other organisations to promote the benefits of an empowering, inclusive culture. She role models best practice within her own team, including a job share and flexible work patterns. Outside work, Elizabeth has spoken at conferences such as PwC’s Finance Leaders’ Summit and its Women in Finance Network, as well as talking to other financial institutions and local organisations. She supports many charities, including women’s charity, One25, through fundraising and building their management skills. She has a particular interest in the impact of technology on women in the workplace and is in dialogue with Bristol academics about potential research in this, and other, areas.
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Abi Wright launched Spabreaks.com in 2008. Her aim, to change the perception of spas from purely hair and nails to highlight their role in health, wellbeing and body confidence; making them more accessible, and opening up the industry where people had been marginalised before i.e. Cancer and Disability. Today she has a culturally diverse team of 85+, was number two in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 in 2012, won numerous awards relating to her role in diversification and inclusivity in the workplace and has taken turnover from £250k to £20m+ in 2016. The London based call centre hopes to attract more women into a male dominated world of sales and as a result her skilled senior management team is 98% female. In 2017 the company introduced its first female apprentice, and she has recently introduced a part-time home working programme for parents wanting flexibility.
Head of AIS Client Service
Carol serves on the Leadership Committee for BNY Mellon’s women’s network and is also an internal mentor to five women. In 2016, she co-led BNY Mellon’s co-sponsorship of the “Women in Management” report, which enhances the evidence base for addressing workplace gender inequality in Ireland. She supported the implementation of internal focus groups following Business in the Community’s Project 28-40 report, which ultimately led to an internal media campaign featuring a video of their Chairman dispelling myths around agile working. She also began the company’s Ireland CSR programme in 2006 and continues to support local efforts. Externally, Carol founded the 30% Club Ireland Chapter and, two years later, 169 member organisations have pledged to make a meaningful difference to the way women participate in the Irish workforce. She currently co-chair the Financial Services group and has recently become the Ireland chapter lead in July. She was the former Director of Junior Achievement in Ireland, believing that empowering women in the workplace begins with the development of young children, and encouraging education at a very early age. Gender equality is not just about women, but men as well, and she is dedicated to fostering cultural change that inspires diversity of thought.
Head of Global Markets Technology Core Engineering Integrations Components
Pips took the conscious decision to be ‘out’ at work as gender fluid to embrace and advocate the importance of authenticity as well as to shine a light on the power and diversity of women in the workplace. Multiple aspects of our identity, including gender identity/expression, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability and religion influence our experiences at work. Our sex or gender may be the same, but our identities, our successes and our struggles are different and it is for this reason why Pips is proud to be a female champion in business. She is a member of the European Women’s Network/IT Women’s Council and had many external publications relating to gender equality published. Additionally, she has been integral in providing reverse mentoring to management board members of the firm and is co-lead of the LGBT & Ally program at Credit Suisse where she places much importance on intersectionality and how the voices of all types of women and our allies need to be heard to drive forward gender equality – our differences make us stronger and diversity should be celebrated, not tolerated. Pips is also a regular panellist/speaker on gender equality, and often interviewed by external publications on the topic.
Community Clothing is a social enterprise with a mission to sustain and create jobs in the UK textile and garment manufacturing industry, where many of the workforce at risk from the closure of factories are women. Together with Founder Patrick Grant, Lucy has focused on delivering the company’s social impact, collaborating with organisations working with vulnerable women and the long-term unemployed, many of whom live in underprivileged communities. The team at Community Clothing is 75% women, and Lucy is a fierce supporter of working parents, as many of the women in the team at Community Clothing work non-traditional schedules. Passionate about discovering and supporting female talent, Lucy continues to mentor young women who no longer work with or for her, helping them to transition back from career breaks or to move into different industries. Having successfully returned to work after a career break herself, Lucy is looking to share her experience and promote the voice of working women. Lucy gives talks in schools, regularly speaks on industry trends and the future of work at events including WGSN, AdWeek Europe, and will deliver a forthcoming TEDx talk on Community Clothing’s ethos and ambition in 2018.
Zone President UK & I
Whilst at Schneider, D&I was a top strategic priority for Tanuja and her senior executive team, and she personally reviewed progress against key goals monthly. She is also an advocate of the HeForShe UN initiative and Schneider is one of 10 companies– with 28,000 men globally who have signed this commitment. She also launched the PLUS ONE initiative encouraging hiring managers to add one more woman to their team. Tanuja regularly monitors female talent and proactively reviews their progress, as well as ensuring each of them is assigned a mentor and proposing women talent for promotions and key projects. Externally Tanuja is an active advocate for D&I and Women in Technology, and frequently speaks on industry panels, at schools, and in the media on the topic. When Tanuja joined Schneider, she founded PowerWomen a network of senior female leaders committed to developing the next generation of female talent and advancing women’s roles in leadership. This group meets quarterly to discuss the topic of D&I, how they encourage women into their industry, especially in commercial roles and at executive level. She has recently moved to Apax Partners, a global private equity firm, and continues to be a champion of diversity.
Chief Executive, UK & Ire
Dixons Carphone plc
Katie believes that, without setting specific gender targets, companies should always employ the best person for the job. The attitude has seen a steady increase in the number of senior team members who are female. They attract and then support women with genuine opportunities to work more flexibly: from home, from out-based locations, or flexible hours for example. Externally, Katie is an active supporter of the annual ‘Power Part Time’ List, which garners immense interest and national coverage. The list promotes flexible working for men and women. Having been listed herself four years ago, she is now a judge and speaker at the event. Dixons Carphone are sponsoring more of this going forward and, through connections made on the Power Part Time List, they’re founding members of ‘Be Inspired’, the retail change programme to encourage more women to join the industry. She has also spoken at her daughters’ school on valuing difference in the work place. Additionally, she is also non-executive director of Scottish and Southern Energy plc.
Head of Commercial Banking
Amanda dedicates a lot of time supporting women in business within HSBC. She is a mentor to many of her female colleagues, and she has also created a female talent development programme to help more women working in Corporate Banking to rise through the ranks. At a global level, Amanda is a sponsor of Balance – HSBC’s largest employee network resource group, which promotes gender diversity across the bank and reaches around 44,000 colleagues in 45 locations around the world. Outside of HSBC, Amanda plays an active role in championing female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, and regularly speaks at events designed to share best practice and help them succeed in business. HSBC is also partnered with Forward Ladies, the UK’s largest business support network for empowering women in business – the only women’s network with a regional and national reach across the UK and beyond. As an avid supporter, Amanda speaks at their networking meetings and events. With women accounting for more than half of the increase in self-employed workers since the recession, Amanda joined forces with Anya Hindmarch to create The Entrepreneurs Exchange, a nationwide programme designed to connect successful British business founders with the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Managing Partner, Talent
Since becoming Managing Partner for Talent in 2013, Emma has led significant change on culture and gender diversity at the firm. She designed and implemented an action plan against which Deloitte measures progress – focusing on culture and targeted interventions designed to address key challenges. Their relentless focus on culture has included embedding agile working (including the design and implementation of their award winning ‘Time Out’ programme) and ensuring that the workplace is truly inclusive. Specific interventions have included a female manager development programme and a Return to Work internship. Externally, Emma regularly speaks publicly and to clients about Deloitte’s focus on gender diversity, including being an advocate for gender pay gap reporting. She regularly comments on these topics in the national press and broadcast media. She championed the early, voluntary reporting of Deloitte’s gender pay gap in 2015 and was a private sector representative spokesperson for the GEO during the recent gender pay gap legislation launch in April 2017. In addition, she has been on the Business in the Community Gender Equality Leadership team since 2016. In 2015, Emma was named Woman of Achievement by Women in the City.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Leena led the Diversity and Inclusion agenda at Unilever from 2012 to 2016 as Global Head of D&I, and continues to be involved as a member of the Global Diversity Board. With the vision of getting to gender balance, they put together a comprehensive framework, metrics led governance, and a robust model to drive the recruitment, development and retention of women at Unilever. There are number of programmes which have aided in this aim, by supporting women going through maternity transition, providing agile working and leadership development programmes, and mentoring. They have also introduced balanced slates in recruitment which ensure that they create a level playing field while adhering to the principle of meritocracy. Leena’s personal mission is to “ignite the human spark in everyone to build a better business and a better world”. She has set a target to inspire 1 million women by showing them what is possible when they apply themselves to their dreams. She speaks at every possible opportunity to groups of young women across the world, and drives the participation of Unilever in the HeforShe UN campaign.
Chief Transformation Officer
Sue holds a key role in defining how MediaCom evolves, and is an important part of the company’s drive to establish strong women leaders, in which MediaCom has led the industry over the last 10 years. She helped set up the “Inclusion Network” at MediaCom to ensure that the culture of inclusiveness is open to everyone. Project Blend is another new initiative at MediaCom to encourage and ensure that everyone can manage their own work life balance. She also mentors women, both within MediaCom and across their client base. One of her focuses is gender diversity at senior levels, which is why she has written and published The Glass Wall: success strategies for women at work and businesses that mean business. Since publication, she has given many talks and run workshops both at MediaCom and across their client base, for example, at Tesco, Sky and Ebay. The book has since been called the most significant addition of the year to the debate on gender diversity at work. It has been featured and extracted widely in the media including features in the Times, the FT, the Daily Mail, the Mirror, Good Housekeeping, Grazia, Mumsnet, and BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour.
Global Head of Operations, Group General Manager
Since joining HSBC in 2016, Kirsty has spearheaded a number of initiatives to advance gender equality across the bank’s international network. Within Operations, a function employing more than 40,000 colleagues in 59 countries, Kirsty has increased the proportion of women in leadership roles to one in three. She has doubled the maternity leave entitlement from 12-24 weeks for colleagues in India and Sri Lanka. This year, a new internship programme to bring undergraduates into HSBC’s Global Service Centres (GSC) had a 100% female intake. The GSC in Kolkata has been awarded the NASCOMM ‘Highest Percentage of Female Employees in IT/ITES’ award three times. In March, Kirsty led the introduction of HSBC’s ‘Take Two’ programme to bring women back into the workplace in India – with the aim of hiring 30 women into management positions each quarter. Kirsty also invests a lot of personal time into championing women in business. She was part of the team that established the City Women’s Club in 2004, which recently merged into the London Women’s Forum (LWF). She also mentors and sponsors a number of aspiring female leaders in other organisations, helping to coach them through their work and life challenges.
Pinch Point Communications
As a board member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations from 2013-2016, Sarah tirelessly worked to support the women in the industry, establishing a young communicators forum, speaking out regularly on the gender pay gap, supporting female leaders and commissioning detailed quantitative research into the experience of women in PR. That research was published in 2017 along with an action plan. In the New Year, she will launch a mentoring programme to support female managers who want to become leaders. She takes time to mentor women in business, and actively promotes her own company as a female owned and led business. As a non-executive director of the HSE, she also talks to and sponsors aspirant female NEDs who are seeking a public appointment. Sarah is frequently asked to talk to schools, groups of girls and young women about being a leader in business. She also spoke at a debate of the Parliamentary debating group on the issue of new legislation calling for reporting of gender pay statistics. She led a session at The Fawcett Society conference on the same topic and now regularly speaks to groups of women about the opportunities the publication of this data will afford women
As the first woman to become a partner at PwC in Ireland, 30 years ago, Marie has promoted, sponsored and supported hundreds of women in their careers since. She leads PwC’s Asset Management sector, with over 50% of the partners in that area being women. Externally, over the last three years, Marie has lead the 30% Club in Ireland; a group of Chairs and CEO’s who are committed to accelerating gender balance in their organisations through voluntary action. They are an active part of the Global 30% Club, with 170 CEO/ Chair supporters from leading business in public, private and multinationals in Ireland. Their activities include information sharing on best practices, research on Women in Management, cross company personal mentoring, and scholarships to promote further education. They are complementary to individual company programmes and other networks, adding to these through support and the development of targeted programmes where gaps exist. Marie received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Ireland-US Council in June 2016, and was honoured by Irish America Magazine as one of its Inaugural Top 50 Women in July 2016. She was also an honouree of University College Dublin at their Alumni Dinner in New York.
Chief of Staff, Pharma R&D
When Maggie started to realise the potential impacts of unconscious bias in society, she was inspired to drive change through taking on the role of Global Head of GSK’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. Leveraging her role, she has led a strategy for global growth, developing the WLI presence from two countries to over forty. She has held regular senior stakeholder engagements, with a focus on gender balance, collaborating with external not-for-profits, providing networking opportunities and 50% membership growth. When Maggie relocated to the UK from the US, she found that the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association lacked a presence in London, so she drove the establishment of the UK division; now it is one of the strongest and fastest growing regions of the European Chapter. Maggie has since progressed through various roles, culminating in becoming President of the European Chapter in January 2017. She is responsible for leading the Board to deliver strategic and profitability objectives, centred on advancing the leadership impact of women in healthcare. Maggie is now planning her next initiative; working with expert organisations to develop a secondary school curriculum on beekeeping in Western Africa. This will empower women to be economically independent and provide extra income for families.
Jacquelyn is a gender equality advocate, social entrepreneur and change-maker, and listed as one of the UK’s most influential Women in Tech in 2017 by Computer Weekly. She began her career as a management consultant in the technology sector, at Accenture, where she played a key role in company-wide gender initiatives, including piloting and launching Accenture’s Girls in Tech programme. She went on to become co-founder of Stemettes, an award-winning social enterprise that inspires girls and young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM), working with over 10,000 girls and young women over three years to change their perceptions of the STEM industries. She is now Founder and CEO of Salomé, the literary magazine for emerging female writers, a platform that aims to tackle gender inequality in publishing. Jacquelyn is also on the steering committee, and a member of the management team, for the Tech Talent Charter, which brings together industries and organisations to drive diversity and address gender imbalance in technology roles. In 2016 she stood as a political candidate for the Women’s Equality Party, particularly focusing her campaign on equal education (in STEM) and opening up access to business investment for women.
Group Director for People
Deborah worked with the core Women in Leadership team to create initiatives designed to empower women in the workplace. These include programmes to upskill high potential women, introducing gender-balanced shortlists for all job vacancies, delivery of unconscious bias training, targeting women-only recruitment events to actively diversify the talent pipeline, and offering family friendly policies surrounding care and leave. Deborah also actively champions gender diversity at Sky, by speaking internally about her career journey, challenges she has faced and why she supports the Women in Leadership initiative. She is focused on engaging the leadership team, and making them accountable by regularly reviewing targets and recruitment shortlists so that business areas can be updated. She has been integral to the development of the Women@Sky network, and the GetIntoTech training programme. Deborah is an active mentor, both internally and externally, and often engages with speaking platforms such as The Women in Media Awards, and in the press.
EVP Global Marketing
In Aline’s current role as Executive Vice President for Global Marketing and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, championing gender equality in the workplace and in advertising is a top priority. She has been key to the #Unstereotype initiative; a movement to eliminate outdated stereotypes from advertising. Aline made the ‘Unstereotype’ commitment public in 2016, and has since been advocating for industry-wide change. 2017 saw the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance with UN Women– an industry wide collaboration to make Unstereotype a reality cross-sector and create impact at scale. Along with leading Unilever’s steady march towards Gender Balance, with current female representation in management at just under 46%, Aline places equal emphasis on building inclusion. On International Women’s Day, Unilever launched the “Unstereotype-Changing Mindsets” program that aims to remove the limiting power of stereotypes and unconscious bias in the workplace. They have also been working to create global standards for wellbeing, including maternity and paternity leave policies, and Aline has been focusing on business areas that have traditionally low female representation. She also plays an active leadership role in the Women’s Network Forum, chaired by Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, focusing on driving gender balance in UK corporates.
Chairwoman and Chief Creative Officer
Nicky regularly mentors many young women, both in her own business and externally. One thing which may seem small but she believes can make a big difference, is the championing of women in business, singing their praises at any given opportunity. As the first female and creative Chair of a UK marketing agency, she evidences that women can lead a business, not just work for it. Externally, Nicky has chaired the IPA’s Women of Tomorrow awards and filmed an experiment which highlighted the difference in confidence between men and women in the workplace, and gender inequality in general. She is on the Creative Equals Advisory Board and is a member of WACL. She is also on the Fundraising and Marketing Committee for ‘Women for Women International’, a charity that helps women in worn torn countries get back on their feet and live independent lives through starting their own small businesses.
VP Head of Network and Telecoms EMEIA
As Executive Sponsor of the Women’s Business Network in Fujitsu Wendy has created a new strategy to make Fujitsu the IT company where women can succeed. She is a regular mentor. She has set the ambition for them to become a Times Top 50 Women’s Employer within two years, and is personally driving the action plan to address the gender pay gap issues within Fujitsu. She often shares her very truthful and personal story at internal and external women in business events, including Fujitsu’s Ada Lovelace Day, to speak on the importance of building good networks, and help inspire others to achieve their own success. Externally, Wendy sits on a variety of women in business panels discussing the variety of careers available in tech, and giving practical tips and advice to attendees. She has also recently enrolled onto ‘Inspiring the Future’, affording her the opportunity to connect with, and encourage, young girls.
UKI Human Capital & Diversity Lead
In her role as the Accenture UK & Ireland Human Capital & Diversity Sponsor, Payal has single accountability for employee engagement, leadership development and is responsible for all Inclusion & Diversity initiatives for the workforce. She is a senior executive sponsor for the ‘Accent on Gender’ employee network, providing an environment where Accenture’s people to drive towards greater gender equality at all levels, through sponsorship, mentoring, and coaching initiatives. Payal was the compere and keynote speaker for an internal International Women’s Day event focused on gender through the lens of social mobility. Externally, Payal speaks regularly at conferences such as Critical Eye CEO Retreat, European Business Summit, STEM Gender Equality Congress as well as senior leadership forums on the topic of the gender inclusion and diversity. Alongside this, Payal sits on the Business in the Community (BITC) leadership team for gender where she works with other senior business leaders to shape and drive the BITC agenda. She is a Trustee on the Board of East London Business Alliance (ELBA), and mentors CEOs as part of the Accenture Diverse Supplier Development Program. She has also founded a scholarship program for under-privileged girls in Mumbai, India.
Senior Director HR (EMEA)
Wendy is passionate about ensuring gender diversity at all levels across LinkedIn and champions this through the EMEA Leadership Team, ensuring that the topic remains front and centre as the business grows. As a result of this effort, and the programmes associated with it, LinkedIn has almost 50/50 gender parity across the region. She initiated LinkedIn’s partnership with Connecting Women in Technology, an initiative aimed at attracting and retaining women to the technology sector, and she is also the executive sponsor for the Employee Resource Group (Women@LinkedIn, or WIN) focused on developing top female talent. Externally, Wendy is a volunteer mentor for a number of women helping them to reach their potential. So far she has helped three young women make important career moves, with a fourth in the works. She is also on Board of Junior Achievement Ireland, which promotes entrepreneurial skills to young people. On the board she has focused her attention on getting female engagement in STEM subjects.
Managing Director, Global Multinationals, Corporate Banking Division EMEA
Sarah is a driving force behind Balance – MUFG’s gender diversity employee network. Balance has seen employee engagement and awareness gather significant momentum since its launch. Sarah’s ability to engage male champions of the gender agenda has also led to a sea change in company culture, with employees understanding that male inclusion is a key factor to successfully progressing gender diversity effectively. Sarah has built a gender-balanced leadership team alongside an impressive network of supporters by being a visible, outspoken and active ambassador for gender diversity. Sarah has make a concentrated effort to mentor other women in financial services. She has also worked to raise awareness of diversity issues in her previous roles at JP Morgan Chase & Co, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. As a mentor to a number of women at MUFG and other financial institutions, she actively utilises her extensive network to assist other women in seeking new roles, particularly post redundancy. Sarah has also been involved in a programme which saw her visiting sixth form female students and promoting the finance sector, and takes part in a Senior Women’s Network hosted by KPMG.
Gaia Innovation Ltd
Julia founded Gaia Innovation Ltd to build positive links between schools, employers and universities, in order to encourage children to aim high, equip themselves with creativity and technology skills, and seek careers in the growth industries associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These industries tend to be male dominated, and so she uses successful female role models in all activities to demonstrate to both male and female students that women can perform at the highest level in industry and academia. In 2016, Julia founded the UK Automotive 30% Club, a group of progressive CEOs and MDs of the UK automotive industry. The goal she has set is to achieve 30% of key leadership positions in member organisations to be filled with women by 2030, and she has devised a 4 phase “30 by 30′ strategy in order to make this happen. She has also recently launched a “303030” Campaign in collaboration with the charity Speakers for Schools which will see 30 senior automotive executives go into 30 schools to give inspirational speeches, and then provide 30 executive work shadowing placements to girls where they will spend a week with the senior leadership team of that business.
Development Partners International
Runa Alam is one of the most influential women in private equity, being one of few women CEOs managing over US$1 billion. Within DPI, Runa prides herself on promoting equality across every level of the business. Three of the six partners are women, while a 2015 study from Harvard Business School found that the typical number of women in senior positions in Private Equity is 5%. This diversity is apparent across all levels of DPI – nearly half the professionals are women. Runa believes that the top quartile returns of DPI’s funds are due to the talent and diversity of its team. Externally, Runa played a role in the establishment of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, where she served as the Chair and is currently the Chair of the Sustainability Committee. She is also a Board and Africa Council Member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, a steering committee member of PEWIN, an organisation for women leaders in private equity, as part of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Runa has over 35 years’ experience in private equity, entrepreneurship, investing, investment banking, and is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.
HR Director UK & Ireland
Leigh has been co-chair of Enterprise’s UK/Ireland diversity team since 2007, where she started a ‘Mum and Tots’ group, launched Enterprise’s first women’s networking group, ‘Enterprising Women’, and developed an award-winning, company-wide benchmarking tool. She created the gender diversity magazine ‘DRIVE’, which is distributed to employees, customers and universities. Leigh drives employee awareness through Twitter and has also introduced a number of events, both client and customer facing, to showcase diversity at Enterprise. Under Leigh’s leadership, Enterprise was shortlisted for Corporation of the Year by Women of the Future in 2016, been included in the Times’ Top 50 Companies for Women for the last 12 years and has increased the number of females in senior management positions by 58% and women holding director positions by 83%. Externally, Leigh is a member of the BITC Leadership Team for Gender Diversity. She is a regular speaker at conferences, in the HR press and at events on gender diversity. Enterprise is a sponsor of Women of the Future and the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. Leigh has also held positions on multiple advisory boards and organised International Women’s Day conferences with influential guest speakers.
Group HR Director
Jill has been sponsor of a number of programmes at Centrica, involving many events, networking and online resources to champion gender diversity. She is also the founder and sponsor of the Centrica Women’s Network, which was built around the question ‘how can diversity and inclusion help Centrica achieve its strategy?’ She has also been heavily involved in the launch of pilot returnship programme, to support experienced professionals to get back to work after a career break. Centrica made a pledge to Powerful Women during international women’s day and national apprenticeship week to increase the number of female engineers by supporting at least 50 females on career development and mentoring. Externally, Jill is a member of the Women’s Business Council, set up by the Government in 2012 to advise ministers on how to maximise women’s contribution to the future economic growth of the country. She has spoken at local school events about women and careers based on her own experiences and success, and was awarded an MBE in this year’s New Honours list for her services to women in business.
Chief Creative Officer
Jay has been leading our content strategy at Channel 4 for the past 6 years and has led us to an unprecedented level of creative recognition and audience success. Under her leadership Channel 4 has twice been made Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh TV Festival and has also been recognised in genres as varied as news, documentaries, comedy and drama. Jay is an inspiring leader to both men and women having developed an innovative approach towards peer review at Channel 4. She sets high standards but has also nurtured a new generation of talent both behind and in front of the screen.
Director of Strategic Partnerships & Head of Women in Business
Heather founded the RBS Women’s Network, to support the development, growth and attraction of female talent. The network has since been used to help support the change of culture needed to engage their leaders, peer employers and clients. Through her leadership, RBS engaged an executive sponsor and funding which allowed the creation of a wide range of development programmes and events, which complimented the technical training offered to staff. Heather has also launched the Focused Women’s Awards, which have three key categories recognising men, women, and clients who act as role models for gender diversity. She has mentored, and still supports, the two chairs in an advisory capacity. Externally, Heather is an NED for Enterprise Enfield, is on the board for CMI, and is the Chair of CMI women, which has 16,000 members across industry. She hold various advisory board positions, and is a visiting lecturer at University of Westminster for the Women on Boards programme. For the last 5 years, she has been a guest speaker at Chelmsford Girls High School, where she provides business coaching and mentoring. She also has six female business owners as mentees, and mentors 26 women from school age through to their corporate careers.
Chief of Staff, Group Director Corporate Affairs
Lloyds Banking Group
Janet’s work encompasses all aspects of enabling women to achieve their full potential, from women on shortlists to agile working and action on domestic violence. She worked with the CEO to set the first FTSE 100 target for women in senior management (40% by 2020), and is a regular speaker at Lloyds’ Women’s Breakthrough Network, the largest in the FTSE. She mentors four women and has established a ground breaking internal programme to propel the careers of high potential women, tackling issues such as authentic leadership and creating aspirational role models. As a Camden Councillor Janet was heavily involved in equalities issues including the rights of women in employment, housing and education. She has been involved for 20 years with the Camden School for Girls, founded by Suffragettes in 1871, pioneering the drive for girls’ education. The school straightforwardly shows girls what they are capable of achieving and equips them with the skills to get there. She has chaired the governing body for the past five years, having previously chaired the finance committee. She is also a regular contributor to events organised by EY, KPMG, Egon Zehnder and others to promote the role of women in the workplace.
Michal founded the Skadden Women Attorneys’ Network (SWAN). Having worked at Skadden as an associate for several years, she had recognised the need for an internal forum specifically designed to support women in their professional lives. SWAN was the first such group in the entire Skadden global network. It has evolved into a major force for championing women, both within the Skadden business and externally. Each of the firm’s 22 offices globally participates in the programme, hosting a multitude of events and networking opportunities. The European SWAN group regularly hosts intimate roundtable events for women in the business community. In addition to SWAN, Michal has recently played an active role in the roll-out of a ‘Women in Leadership’ programme at Skadden. Aimed at supporting women in the firm reach senior levels and partnership, the course offers one-on-one training to provide the tools needed to help them become partners. Michal is an active participant in the female business community, regularly participating and speaking at conferences and industry events specifically targeted at women, and mentoring more junior women in the sector. She has also mentored women with ambitions to work in government as well as in business.
Global Group Technology Officer, Communications, Media & High Tech
Under Emma’s leadership, Accenture were able to make significant progress with the recruitment, progression and retention of women technologists. This success involved implementing a number of programmes to out-perform the estimated c.15% women in the UK talent pool more than two-fold in their recruitment activity. In 2013, Emma was made a fellow of The Chartered Institute for IT. In 2015 and 2016, Emma was named as one of the 50 most influential women in UK IT by Computer Weekly magazine, and was listed in Computer Business Review’s 10 most successful women in UK technology; her other accolades include being the National Women in Business STEM category winner 2016 with Forward Ladies. Emma is regularly in the national media and a regular speaker at industry events from Wonder Women in Tech & the National Digital Conference to most recently appearing at the Salesforce World Tour 2017. Emma is a prominent feature in STEM and she regularly is contacted to act as a mentor within this rapidly growing field. Emma currently serves as a board member of techUK, is an advisory board member of Digital Leaders, and a trustee for the Orchid Project.
Siobhan has been co-leading on internal D&I initiatives to achieve a goal of 35% female leadership by 2020 and 40% by 2025. Each business unit now has a multi-year talent plan with gender diversity actions and milestones, sponsored by the business head. She is also an active sponsor of the women’s network “Spirited Women” and the LGBT Rainbow Network. In her own legal function, females hold 55% of roles across the team. She also ensures, when reviewing relationships with law firms, that they look at diversity statistics, not just gender, but also ethnic origin, LGBT+ diversity, and social mobility. Siobhan led the initiative for #IWD2017 to make #BeBoldForChange a rallying cry in and outside Diageo. This involved the organisation of panel discussions and events, and the use of internal media to promote her activity. She has spoken on many occasions about the benefits of having an open and inclusive workforce and acts as a senior agent of change in the business. Externally, Siobhan encourages girls to enter the legal profession and young female lawyers to strive to achieve their goals, through talking about her career journey and decision points along the way.