Boardroom diversity is a big topic to take on, but when Gary Lumby of Focus on Success asked Linda Hitman to deliver an event on this very subject she took up the challenge.
As a subject it raises more questions than answers but at the event held on the 7th November the very diverse cross section of panellists delivered great insight and personal experience both of challenges they have faced and successes they have had in achieving greater diversity across their business sectors.
The panel was chaired by Dr Joanna Berry of Durham University Business School who did an exceptional job at presenting tricky questions to the panel and extracting further comment that prompted more in depth discussion in the room.
The event was well attended by a mixed audience in terms of business sectors represented and also in diversity, one third of the delegates were men from senior roles in their companies.
Hearing from our panellists in turn, Andy Armitage, Regional Director of TSB, Herb Kim, Board Director of Tech City, Gary Lumby of Focus on Success, Katie Marshall, Head of Corporate (Legal) & Company Secretary at Virgin Money and Kerri Wilson, Assistant Chief Constable, Lincolnshire Police.
Each speaker outlined the strategy within their own sectors; there was honesty about failings and challenges and a sense of pride where real success has been achieved but their was definitely an overriding sense that change is on the agenda and being supported across every sector.
One common theme from each speaker was the importance of role models, not just of females inspiring other females but of men in positions of a senior level demonstrating their support to develop women into senior and board level positions. All agreed that positive role models at the top of an organisation is a key contributing factor that supports women to reach for the key roles within a company.
At question time the audience had the opportunity to pose their questions to the panel, a very diverse range of subjects were covered including shared parental leave and the impact of this on career aspirations, the impact of the menopause and the on-going problem of equal pay.
The event was highly informative and proved that diversity is a topic that still needs a lot of conversation. Thank you to Dr Joanna Berry for being such an excellent chair, to all of our speakers for sharing their insight and to everyone who attended for sharing their thoughts and opinions. This conversation has just begun.
If you have any feedback you would like to share with us or would like to suggest specific topics to continue this conversation please do get in touch.
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