Colin Passmore

Colin has implemented an aspirational target that women will make up 30% of all their Managing Associate and partner promotions each year. He has also amended the Partner Remuneration process to ensure a greater emphasis and accountability for people development. Colin was central to setting up the mentoring scheme, in which all Managing Associates are matched with a partner sponsor who acts as a guide to support and champion them in the workplace. He currently has two mentees, one female and one male, and is focused on providing them with equal opportunities. Externally, the firm is involved with a sector-wide female mentoring scheme, and Colin volunteered to be one of three senior mentors. He is also involved with external diversity committees, and ensures that gender diversity is always on the firm’s agenda.

Julian Pritchard

While managing his firm’s US practice, Julian developed a programme with the ambitious goal of making the firm the most attractive law firm for women to work in, and to drive great gender diversity outcomes. The programme was comprised of a variety of factors, including new mentoring and sponsorship programmes for women, unconscious bias training, women’s lunches, workshops and client events, part time and flexible working initiatives and other initiatives designed to drive inclusion. In that period, 70% of recruits into the firm’s US practice were women, and they had a relatively high proportion of women elected into the partnership. Julian is now co-sponsor of the firm’s global gender diversity efforts, and one of two partners assigned to assess and interrogate the firm’s partnership candidate pipeline to ensure better gender diversity outcomes. Externally, Julian regularly participates in diversity events ensuring that he is part of the debate. He has driven a project to obtain statistical information that can inform internal discussions on women in the workplace, and has led offsite presentations focussed on behavioural changes that will lead to more inclusive leadership.

Michael Keegan

Michael is a vocal champion of gender diversity in the Fujitsu EMEIA leadership team, and to workplace colleagues. He secured funding for gender diversity initiatives enabling Fujitsu to join Everywoman and other networking events, and supported the deployment of unconscious bias training for all Fujitsu UK hiring managers. He has supported senior female colleagues attending important networking events, for example, the Global Female Leadership summit May 2017. He is a mentor to several talented women, both inside and out of Fujitsu, and helped to support the establishment of a Fujitsu gender diversity group in their Germany business, encouraging others by speaking at the launch event. Michael is an ambassador for Everywoman and a frequent speaker at industry events and contributor to media articles on the of gender diversity. He regularly uses his social media reach to promote gender diversity campaigns in the workplace.

Stefano Toffolo

Stefano actively encourages diversity and flexibility, as demonstrated by establishing a Women’s Network to support the development, advancement and engagement of a gender-balanced workforce. Stefano has initiated many initiatives and policy changes to increase gender diversity within his own significant area of influence. Since 2014, six female professionals joined Stefano’s team to re-enter the workforce through the bank’s “Real-Returns Program” and he offers his professional experience as a mentor to many employees. Stefano participates in a variety of events, both internally and externally, aimed at promoting gender diversity and encouraging the advancement of women. He also holds attended an advice seminar for Liverpool University, at their London campus, and offers advice to female students on developing their career paths.

Simon Linares

Simon is committed to the progression of talented women at all levels through an inclusive culture. He has developed Direct Line Group’s people strategy to support the company’s mission to make insurance easier and better value for customers. Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of making their strategy sustainable for the future, and they have raised the profile of this debate at Board and Executive level over the last 2 years, while also accelerating a range of tactical activity to drive immediate benefit. They are signatories of the Women in Finance Charter and members of the EveryWoman Network.  Direct Line Group focus on everyone being able to ‘bring all of yourself to work’ as a key value.  Simon is also a voluntary advisor of the Leadership Pipeline, which promotes women progressing in business.

Richard Beaven

Richard has been a driving force behind equality and diversity in the workplace. As part of a restructure he displaced all three layers of mostly male senior leaders in the business, the outcome of which was an almost 50% mix of male and women in the leadership team. The basis for selection wears entirely meritocratic but they use a very robust process to select around both skills and competencies, in particular behaviours. He is a regular speaker on panels, and internally, about the importance of gender diversity. Most recently he was on a panel with Liz Bingham OBE with the British American Business Women’s Network, where he spoke to an audience of around 200 senior women about diversity in the workplace, and how both companies and individuals have a responsibility.

Christopher Stirling

Chris has more than 20 years’ experience advising clients in the Life Sciences sector across the globe, including overseeing large, complex transactions. Chris is passionate about creating an environment where women thrive, and raising awareness of the benefits of an inclusive business. Chris has been central in driving the firm’s Exceptional Women in Life Sciences initiative, raising the profile of female talent in the firm globally. He is passionate about accelerating career progression for the best talent, and he coaches and mentors men and women at all levels at the firm to ensure that gender parity is reflected in his team and the wider firm. He has also been key in the development of women’s networks and events within KPMG.

Mark Burgess

Mark has overall accountability for improving gender diversity and inclusion in Columbia Threadneedle’s EMEA business. He is responsible for achieving the gender targets set out in their “Gender Action Plan”, which aims 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. He has made great strides in this area, with 33% of the company board, 29% of the regional Executive Committee and 29% of the investment professionals being female. Externally, Mark is a trustee of Access Sport, which aims to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, inactivity and obesity in areas where help is most needed. He is also a trustee of LIFEbeat, which aims to improve the emotional wellbeing of young people – giving them the skills and inspiration to overcome challenges and lead confident, healthy and purposeful lives.

Chris Allington

Chris is an active sponsor for both the UK and US Women’s Networks and provides support, mentorship and direction to the committees. He is also a passionate champion for gender equality and was instrumental in rolling out improved Parental and Maternity Leave Policies across the bank to ensure employees could access the same benefits across the globe. His active engagement has encouraged a number of men to get involved in the Women’s Network and pushing the gender equality agenda further. He regularly speaks at both internal and external events on the importance of a strong gender mix to an organisation and is part of the Corporate and Institutional Banking management team, actively pushing to ensure they have higher numbers of women in senior positions in Financial Markets. Externally, Chris also speaks at events and to special interest groups on the importance of gender equality, as well as regularly taking part in mentoring.

Andrew Pearce

Andrew has been a prominent feature in promoting Inclusion and Diversity initiatives throughout United Kingdom and Ireland. Globally he is one of Accenture’s Cross-cultural leads, tasked with educating and setting best practice examples for working across cultures. With most Accenture Operations employees based in India, this is an integral role when dealing with women in the workplace. Accenture is committed to building an inclusive environment for its employees that has mutual respect at its foundation and empowers individuals to seize opportunity. It is Andrew’s duty to look at ways in which they create an environment that champions women in the workplace and continues to grow an inclusive culture. Andrew is a member of the Executive Leadership Council and has been actively engaged in a number of the events and initiatives that the UK chapter are running. He often speaks on diversity, and encourages senior managers to support coaching and volunteering efforts with local communities. He is committed to offering a platform for female leaders to thrive within a business environment and currently mentors three professional women outside Accenture, providing career guidance and helping them to maximise their potential within the challenges of their diverse organisations.