Alison Rose

Alison is passionate about achieving gender balance at RBS and is executive sponsor for the bank’s employee-led networks, including those for women. Alison is championing action on RBS’s target to achieve gender balance by 2030 through development, networking and performance support. RBS’s networks have delivered unconscious bias training and Alison has introduced programmes supporting women returning to work. Alison has insisted on a 50:50 gender split on each of RBS’s regional boards and she frequently engages with government officials and MPs on diversity. Alison is also involved in an RBS initiative in which Women in Business specialist bankers offer bespoke mentoring, networking and professional business advice to women-led and owned SMEs. In September 2018, Alison led a review on behalf of the UK Government to identify barriers faced by women when starting a business and most importantly what can be done to overcome them. She set out a series of recommendations designed to deliver significant and co-ordinated action to ensure female entrepreneurs across the UK have ample opportunity. As a result, the Prime Minister set out the government’s ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by 50% by 2030, and numerous leading financial institutions are reviewing policies and products, and developing further investment opportunities for female entrepreneurs.

Les Matheson

As executive sponsor for gender, Les has worked with the Bank’s Executive Committee members to introduce a formal target to have >30% women in their most senior roles by 2020, and to have full gender balance at all levels by 2030. The targets are supported by a positive action approach, tailored by business area, according to the specific challenges they face. Externally, Les is a great ambassador for gender equality and regularly speaks and participates as a panellist at external events to help facilitate change. He was a keynote speaker at the London Women’s Forum in Whitehall; the Global Banking Alliance (GBA) Women Summit and a panellist at the Citi Women Event, on International Men’s Day. Later this year, Les will host an external roundtable with fellow CEOs, ministerial representatives, analysts and academics, to broaden the discussion on how to create a sustainable culture across UK plc, that supports gender equality, by allowing participants to share their own or their organisation’s stories, experiences, outcomes and practices so that others can benefit from them. He also leads the women in business initiative, where they have over 400 trained Women in Business specialists who nurture and support the business women of tomorrow.

Heather Melville

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.