Paul Van der Burgh

Under Paul’s leadership, Toyota GB have launched flexible working guidelines for all staff, adjusted language used in job profiles to avoid deterring women and have sent targeted communications to female placement students to explain opportunities in the industry. Toyota GB actively participates in the 30% Automotive Club, offering an external mentoring scheme for thirty female colleagues, and their ‘Women in Business’ networking sessions enable women to learn from each other and understand the career journeys of senior female leaders. Recently, Paul’s team launched a ‘Women on the Verge of Brilliance’ programme, helping women to take control of their professional development, with discussion and tools around managing perception with critical audiences, building a personal reputation management campaign, emotional resilience and mental toughness. The Company Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is fully endorsed by the TGB Board, and Paul now hopes to influence Toyota’s European Head Office to follow their lead. Externally, Paul is a member of the 30% Club and founder member of the Automotive 30% Club, whose conferences he sponsors and regularly participates in as a panel member and speaker. This year, Toyota sponsored Autocar’s “Great British Women, Top 100 list, rising stars” awards and through their involvement with the Automotive 30% Club, TGB are also sponsoring “Inspiring” – a new digital magazine aimed at creating a super network of women in the automotive industry that can share best practices, tips, advice and generally learn from each other.

Mark Burgess

Mark is responsible for the execution of Columbia Threadneedle’s ‘Gender Action Plan’, aiming  to drive improvement in gender balance across the business through a combination of advocacy, training and development, new recruitment policies and flexible working guidelines and support. This has resulted in 45% of the company board, 42% of the regional Executive Committee and 20% of senior management being women. Mark’s team has also launched an inclusive women’s network, ‘Aloud’. One of the main initiatives that Mark has spearheaded with the network is the formation of mentoring circles which allow junior/mid-level women to reverse-mentor senior leaders within the organisation whilst also being mentored themselves. Mark is proud that Columbia Threadneedle Investments EMEA became the first European asset manager to disclose gender data in 2015 and acted as a founding signatory of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter. Externally, Mark is a trustee of Access Sport, a charity which aims to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, inactivity and obesity, and is Chairman of LIFEbeat, which aims to improve the emotional wellbeing of young people.

Michael Kent

Michael was the Executive Committee’s Gender Champion for the last three years, during which time he acted as a role model to partners and lawyers across the firm. He took responsibility for ensuring that the firm and the Division for which he was responsible met its target of electing 30% new female partners over the past two years. Michael launched and led the firm’s HeForShe group, organising events, campaigns and internal efforts to promote the group to the largest audience possible, resulting in 212 male staff signing up in the UK alone. For International Women’s Day, Michael canvassed the firm’s most senior male partners across the globe to get their thoughts on the HeForShe programme and secured their commitment to press for progress in gender equality as HeForShe supporters. He also sponsored Stepping Forward, the firm’s newest talent development programme for more junior female associates. Externally, Michael has been a powerful industry voice speaking out on this topic across multiple high level fora exchanging views, experiences and best practice with other business leaders introducing gender related initiatives within their own organisations.  Within the legal industry he has been a vocal champion for greater gender equality and opportunity, helping to lead discussions with other senior partners from law firms across the City. He is a frequent and committed mentor, keynote speaker and industry champion for diversity.

Stephen Mercer

As leader of the Deloitte technology consulting practice, Stephen has promoted and created a respectful and inclusive culture which allows everyone to flourish. Over the last 18 months, he has sponsored and championed a Respect and Inclusion programme within technology consulting, aligned to Deloitte’s firm-wide respect and inclusion agenda. Related initiatives have included Stephen setting performance goals and gender diversity targets for his leadership team, and ensuring all leadership team members also mentor women in their teams, particularly at the manager and senior manager grades where there is most leakage of female talent. He has created improved gender balance for visible leadership roles across the technology practice and challenged the recruitment team to make sure there are a diverse range of candidates applying for the roles and under his leadership. Stephen also sponsored personal brand training for Deloitte Women in Technology members as well as a number of female Women in Technology conferences. Externally, Stephen was delighted to be able to speak and present at the WeAreTechWomen awards earlier this year. He raises the topic of respect and inclusion with his clients and has championed the firm’s respect and inclusion framework for use on projects. Stephen has also championed and sponsored a number of the external initiatives that have been led by the Women in Technology network including the CoderDojo girls-only dojos which are helping to drive awareness and hope to increase the number of girls considering technology as a career in the future.

Ray Berg

Ray has ensured that D&I is a central pillar of Osborne Clarke’s 2020 business strategy and continues to be important for their emerging 2025 strategy. Through diversity in recruitment, development and progression strategies, Osborne Clarke’s partner pay gap has dropped by 13% since last year and 43% of the Executive Board are now women. Ray commissioned a review of the firm’s lawyer progression framework, resulting in a relaunch with critical changes to some senior roles and the promotion process, making them more attractive, attainable and sustainable for all the firm’s lawyers. The firm has established a women’s network, with a high response rate from both male and female partners who want to lead the network. Ray’s team launched a generous parental package and enabled agile and flexible working styles. Externally, Ray was recently announced as an “Agent for Change” by Management Today and he is a member of the 30% Club. Last year, he participated in the Dads4Daughters campaign, which brings together fathers and their daughters to discuss key issues faced by contemporary working women. He is a trustee of the Social Mobility Business Partnership, and is also involved in supporting Bristol’s SteppingUp Programme, which aims to encourage more people from BAME backgrounds into senior leadership roles across Bristol.

Rod Flavell

Rod has ensured that inclusivity is engrained into FDM’s corporate values. The company embraces the differences that make them stronger as one and Rod has always focused on instilling a culture of acceptance that fosters innovation from the day he founded FDM. With 80+ nationalities and cultures working together today and a healthy pipeline of senior female management, FDM is leading by example. FDM regularly hosts panel discussions, thought leadership sessions, breakfast events and networking sessions for women, and Rod supports and participates in these events, alongside mentoring several women throughout the business. FDM has almost 50% women on the management team and 30% women globally, with a 0% median pay gap for the last two years, as well as being ranked first in the Women on Boards and Leadership rankings in the tech industry. FDM has a robust partnership with Everywoman and hosts the FDM Everywoman in Tech Awards on an annual basis. These awards exist to recognise, reward and celebrate the achievements of women at all levels in tech. FDM welcomes girls (largely from disadvantaged schools) into centres around the world every year to showcase what a career in tech could look like for them in the future. Rod regularly advocates for women’s inclusion through external media, making public statements in the Telegraph, City AM, Management Today and European CEO amongst other media outlets.

Colin Passmore

During his tenure as Senior Partner, Colin has ensured that improving gender diversity is a key business priority, leading the firm to greater positive action to progress more women through to partnership and into senior management positions. Under Colin’s leadership the percentage of female partners has increased from 12% to 22%, and the firm has experienced its second consecutive year of 40% plus internal partner promotions for women. Colin sponsors two female Managing Associates in their route to partnership, and chairs quarterly gender balance meetings with the firm’s gender balance partner lead, steering committee and the co-chairs of the firm’s women’s Network, The Number One Club. Externally, in June, Colin spoke on the panel of a Women’s Business Alliance event at Morgan Stanley to mark the first 100 years of female solicitors in the UK, where he discussed the steps that Simmons & Simmons have taken towards increasing gender diversity. He has also been involved in a charity called Sport Gives Back, the brainchild of a former UK athlete Connie Henry, aiming encourage social mobility through sport.

Dave Brittain

Dave has made a hugely positive impact on boosting diversity across Amazon through his work leading the policy workstream for Women@Amazon, one of Amazon’s employee affinity groups. In this role, he works closely with Women@ members and HR to develop policies and workplace practices that are applied, not only in the UK, but across Europe. He was a key driver of Amazon’s Flexible Working guidelines, providing informal guidance to help managers and employees more effectively use informal and occasional flexible working. The guidelines were launched on International Women’s Day in 2016, initially in Amazon’s London corporate office. Since then however, they now apply across five EU countries. Dave is also passionate about mentoring women at all levels of the business, currently mentoring four women, two of whom have subsequently been promoted to senior management positions. He also speaks frequently at Amazon events, championing diversity across the business and gathering feedback from female employees which he then feeds back for the consideration of the policy working group. Most recently he spoke at the Women@ Annual Summit and the Amazon UK Graduate/MBA All Hands meetings to talk about how Women@ and the company are working to ensure a great and diverse workplace for employees.

Gavin Bounds

Following his analysis of some unfavourable data regarding gender balance, Gavin became the new Chair of the D&I Council, creating a gender action plan which is unequivocal in its approach and clearly aligned to the business strategy. It is a personal challenge for Gavin to eradicate the gender pay gap in the next 3 years. Gavin’s hard work has contributed to drastic improvements in gender diversity throughout the region. Gavin has made monthly calls on progress, challenging the under-representation of women at higher levels. He is taking decisive action to address gender parity in recruitment, demanding and enabling balanced shortlists and bias-free processes. Beyond Business, Gavin has given a personal commitment not to appear on external all male panels. He promotes STEM subjects for girls in schools and has published several articles on LinkedIn and external blog pages outlining his views on targets and tokenism. He is determined to create an attraction and retention culture so women can thrive. He coaches a phenomenal disabled woman, Kate Nash OBE, to grow her business @PurpleSpace which is creating employee networks; promotes International Women’s Day using #SheInspiresMe asking LBT+ women to share inspirational quotes and regularly speak out on women’s equality. Amongst his many efforts to support D&I, Gavin also supported a trans woman manager, featuring as a Values Champion in a video about inclusivity, where she highlighted the importance of colleague-support through her transition.

Lee Ranson

During Lee’s tenure as Managing Partner and now Chief Executive, Eversheds Sutherland has elected its first female Chair and met its initial target of having 25% female partners in the business one year ahead of the set timescale. The new target is 30% by 2021. Lee personally leads on Eversheds’ D&I strategy and appointed its first Gender Champion and Diversity & Inclusion Partner Sponsor in 2019. He was the first member of Eversheds’ Gender Network, which is currently working to engage male champions across the business as part of the #balanceforbetter campaign. Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated across the firm, with the day kicking off with a personal video or message of thanks from Lee and a celebration of the talents and contributions of female colleagues. He also launched Eversheds’ Development Plus programme to support career progression of women at the firm. Externally, Lee is a frequent speaker and panellist at legal industry conferences on D&I and is often quoted in the legal industry press.