Colin Passmore

During his tenure as Senior Partner, Colin has made gender diversity a priority business issue, leading the firm to greater positive action to progress more women through to the partnership and into senior management positions. Under Colin’s leadership the percentage of female partners has increased from 12% to 18%, and 33% of the elected members on Simmons & Simmons’ Board are female. He is also championing the roll out of firm wide, mandatory Inclusive Leadership & Unconscious Bias training. Colin is the partner sponsor for 3 female partners and mentors 2 trainees. Externally, in March, Colin spoke on a panel at the 2nd annual Women in Finance conference. The session was entitled: “What next? …practices to effectively engage men in implementation of your gender diversity programmes.”, where he used the platform to discuss steps that Simmons & Simmons have taken towards gender balance.

Karl Edge

Since Karl’s return to the Midlands and promotion to Senior Partner, he has personally led the way in championing female talent and crucially has brought the wider partner group along with him. His ‘What Shadow Do We Cast ?’ program has inspired all of the partner and director group to implement new techniques for inspiring and leading their teams. His focus on creating an environment where females can be successful including personal mentoring of female partner candidates has already led to 3 female partner appointments in Watford/Milton Keynes and the strong positioning where by the end of 2019 the Midlands partnership will move from 4 to 10 females. He has led on the female partner mentoring programme as well as driving an external network of senior females in the region to drive opportunities from our Women In Business forum.

Matthew Norris

Matthew’s passion for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has  led to the launch of the Women’s Network at Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS).  He has personally mentored talented female leaders in 2017 as part of the organisation’s Women Mentorship Initiative.  Through his leadership, GBS has witnessed effective roll-outs of Group-level policies that significantly improve gender balance and maximise the potential and retention of female employees.  This included flexible working hours, prolonged maternity leave, Return-to-Work programme amongst others.  Matthew sits on the Standard Chartered Global Diversity & Inclusion Council and is also the chairperson of the D&I Council for the Bank’s Information, Technology  and Operations function.  He is now spearheading the Unconscious Biasness Training Programme in GBS, making GBS the first area of the Bank to pilot this programme.

Alex Atzberger

Under Alex’s leadership, a D&I council was created to shape the diversity agenda for SAP. The purpose of the council is to build and execute diversity and inclusion programs and priorities within the organization. Comprised of five individuals from around the globe, representing diverse geographies and ethnicities, the council advises his leadership team and him on how to further drive and promote diversity in the workplace. In addition, he is the executive sponsor for the SAP Business Women’s Network, which helps women advance their careers by sharing best practices, education and experience. Lastly, Alex is committed to filling 50% of all new leadership positions with women and minority candidates, and has actively set strategic goals to do this. Externally, he is also an active sponsor of Planned Parenthood.

Seamus Smith

Throughout the past year, Seamus has been a key mentor in the Women@Sage Mentoring Program , with both mentees assuming new roles during this period. As a mentor, Seamus offers advice, insights and perspectives to female executives to help them develop their careers. As well as this, half of his senior team in the payments, banking and technology area is made up of women – when historically these have been sectors dominated by men. Externally, Seamus has been a strong diversity champion as part of his role as Trustee of leadership development organisation Windsor Leadership over the last 6 years. He also actively addresses issues of diversity and equality regularly on social media.

Mark Burgess

Mark is responsible for the execution of Columbia Threadneedle’s “Gender Action Plan”, a 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. Mark personally act as a mentor to the female graduates that he hires in the Investments team through Columbia Threadneedle’s partnership with Investment 2020. This early intervention in their careers provides them with the necessary platform and support to set them up for success and opens up a range of opportunities to gain knowledge and experience.

Simon Linares

Simon joined the Executive Committee of DLG in 2014 as HR Director, and set about developing the people strategy which would support the company’s mission to make insurance easier and better value for customers. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Simon saw this as a key part of making the strategy sustainable for the future, and he was instrumental in raising the debate around this to the top table over the last 2 1/2 years, while also accelerating a range of tactical activity to drive immediate benefit, and which built on the organisations pre-existing Diversity Network Alliance activity. In 2016, Direct Line Insurance Group was the first insurer to sign up to the Government’s Women in Finance Charter, underpinned by further investment in their female talent through a series of specific development programmes designed to support the growth and promotion of our female leaders throughout the organisation.

Mark Heighton

As supporter of CMS’ gender initiatives, Mark encourages and supports the development of female lawyers (mentoring and supporting a number of female colleagues), encouraging an inclusive culture and involving clients to support gender initiatives, including organising clients to participate in gender initiatives including the firm’s annual International Women’s Day Master Class for female students delivered in partnership with Career Ready. He advocates for flexible working and maternity coaching and in nearly 8 years of managing the Group, two thirds of Partners appointed were female. Externally, Mark is also a CMS Real Estate representative for Real Estate Balance.

David Hynam

David champion’s strong female representation at all levels. During his time with Bupa, he’s led the launch of a new Code of Conduct in the UK, helping ensure Bupa is an inclusive organisation that welcomes everyone and nobody is treated differently. David has overseen Bupa’s initiatives to support women, including the mums’ returners’ network and Tommy’s pregnancy membership as standard in our maternity offer. David has also encouraged participation in the cross-company Women Ahead mentoring scheme which aims to develop and retain women. Under David’s leadership, Bupa UK also partnered with Business in the Community on the ‘Same but Different’ project to celebrate women from different teams and backgrounds.

Matt Hammerstein

A huge advocate of supporting and promoting women within Barclays UK, Matt annually sponsors a progression coaching programme designed to create our future female leadership talent. He regularly and actively engages with all participants, with over 50% having since been promoted to new roles, a direct impact of his passion and dedication. He understands the benefits of a diverse workforce, making sure half of the seats around his leadership table are filled by females. A true advocate for women, he regularly attends external events so that as a thought leader he can bring an alternative perspective back into the business.