You are currently reading Issue 90: Womanthology Thought Leaders, November 2017

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Womanthology Icon

Speeding up progress towards gender balance at work: Five things we can all do to make a difference each and every day – Fiona Tatton, Womanthology Editor

Womanthology Diversity-Thought-Leaders-event-speakers
Fiona Tatton - Womanthology
Fiona Tatton – image © Liz Drake Photography

Inaugural Diversity Thought Leaders’ event

Hello and welcome to issue 90 of Womanthology. This issue follows the inaugural Womanthology Diversity Thought Leaders’ event which took place at Warwick Business School in The Shard on Monday, 20th November 2017. First things first, a massive thank you to our headline supporters, Amazon, and to our sponsors, Warwick Business School and our drinks sponsor, PROCAT.

Karen-Barker---Warwick Business School
Karen Barker – image © Liz Drake Photography

The event itself has been a long time coming. I’d first had the idea of gathering together innovators and thought leaders in the diversity and inclusion space more than two years ago but it has taken until now for it to come to fruition in this form on this scale.

Early adopters and innovators in the gender space

Dr-Maja-Korica - Warwick Business School
Dr. Maja Korica – image © Liz Drake Photogrpahy

The event gathered together early adopters and innovators in the gender balance space. We were welcomed by Karen Barker and Dr. Maja Korica from Warwick Business School.

I then shared the background to Womanthology and the #IDidItAnyway campaign that ran over the summer. I was followed by Fatima Benkhaled, the recipient of an Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary. We then heard from Lynne McBurney from Arnold Clark, one of our corporate partner organisations, who talked about the importance of the female workforce to them in the automotive sector.

Dr. Chengwei Liu from Warwick Business School talked us through behavioural economics and “Nudge” theory, before we heard from our expert panel, chaired by Caroline Moore from Sage. Nicknamed the “Diversity Justice League” by one of our tweeters in the audience, Amber Villegas-Williamson, the panel shared their thoughts about the ways where we might be able to pick up the pace by using innovation in the diversity space, whether this is by nudging, building diversity into supply chains or using strengths-based recruitment and potentially abandoning CVs.

We rounded off the event by a session led by Claire McCartney and Dianah Worman of Inclusive talent, where the audience was split into two and thoughts were gathered about ways in which they might start to innovate in the diversity space and create pilot case studies using the areas we discussed during the rest of the session.

Read all about it

You can read about the session from some of our speakers, panellists and also some of our audience members so you get a 360 view of the ways in which we might pick up some of these ideas.

For me, something I wanted to emphasise to all our readers in that we can all make a contribution to speeding up progress towards gender balance each and every day. Even the smallest micro actions, when well all take them, can add up to make a big difference. Here’s some suggestions of ways you can help:

1. Read

Take an interest in the issues and read about them, whenever you can. Set up a regular time to do this, whether it’s five minutes a day or 20 minutes once a week. We’ve all got busy lives so this isn’t about magically finding extra time. It can often be about squeezing in a quick read on your mobile whilst you’re waiting to do something else.

2. Tweet

Following on from this, I’d strongly recommend setting up a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one. If you’re not confident about going straight out there and tweeting then don’t. I spent at least a year or more just using it to find interesting people and read about their ideas.

Twitter is one of the best places to learn about new ideas and keep in touch. It can help you to find your tribe. (See below.)

3. Find your tribe

My background is in marketing, which is all about segmenting markets. You can segment a market in numerous ways, including demographically e.g. by age, location, your education or your income. You can segment by consumers and organisations.

Psychographics looks at segmenting markets by psychological attributes such as personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. When you’re looking to effect change in the diversity and inclusion space, this is a great way to think.

Womanthology is about finding like-minded people, female or male, who believe that gender balance isn’t just the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do. It doesn’t necessarily matter where in the world they’re from or what their profession is, although Twitter is excellent for building professional communities of interest too.

4. Commit

The message of the event was about committing to take away the ideas explored in the session in order to do something with them. How many times have you been to an event where there is talk about making change but then there is little follow through?

I’d like to change that by bringing a regular cohort together on a recurring basis so we’re able to explore and pick apart new ideas in the diversity space, with a view to adopting best practice to push things forward and pick up the pace of change.

5. Spread the word

Some of the ideas we explored at the event were existing ideas – “nudge” has been around since 2008. Strengths based recruitment has been around since at least 2000, an early adopter organisation being Standard Chartered. We also explored ideas around the opportunities for organisations to build gender diversity into their supply chains as a way to differentiate themselves.

© Stephen Buckley Photography

Most of the ideas discussed are already in existence, but what is unique is the action of bringing together innovators in the diversity space with a view to leveraging these ideas. Attendees were asked to consider ways in which they might start to apply these ideas in their own organisations. Over the coming months we will keep you informed as to progress and we will share what we learn. If, like us, you’re tired the glacial pace of change then join us. We will keep you informed every step of the way by sharing what we learn.

As ever with Womanthology, our contributors are sharing their ideas with you, our community, because they care about making a difference and they believe our readership is a valuable audience with which to engage. The diversity of our readership is part of our strength so I hope you enjoy the ideas shared in this issue and that they spark some ideas of your own about ways to effect positive change.


Main image – from left to right:

Kevin Poulter, Employment Law Partner at Child & Child – panellist

Ruby Steel, Ruby Steel, Senior Design Strategist at Smart Design and Fixer on BBC2’s Simon Reeve’s Big Life Fix – panellist

Professor Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – panellist (back row)

Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion – ‎High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd – panellist (front row)

Fiona Tatton, Womanthology Founder and Editor in Chief – speaker (back row)

Lynne McBurney, Head of People at Arnold Clark Group – speaker (back row)

Fatima Benkhaled, Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary recipient – speaker (front row)

Dr. Chengwei Liu, Associate Professor of Strategy and Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School – speaker (back row)

Caroline Moore, People Director for Sage in the UK and Ireland – panel chair


As ever, sincerest thanks to all our contributors to the magazine.

In addition to all our sponsors, panellists and speakers, special thanks go to all the staff at Warwick Business School in The Shard who made us so welcome, and also to our photographers, Stephen Buckley and Liz Drake, as well as Michelle Leahair, Natalie Rodgers at Scala, Daley Robinson and Cat Oldham.

Diversity Thought Leaders issue

Share this article