Seven women in leadership making a difference this International Women’s Day
Happy International Women's Day 2021! IWD is an annual celebration to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. This year’s theme is #choosetochallenge. “A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” In the UK “eight out of 10 British companies pay men more than women” this highlights the work needed in achieving gender equality. IWD also marks a call to action for accelerated gender parity and to raise awareness of these issues.
Here at Concirrus, we thought we’d mark the occasion by highlighting seven inspirational women in leadership making a difference within their industries. From the technology world to the charitable sector. Read on as they share what IWD means to them, what advice they would give to the next generation of leaders and how they are choosing to challenge all year round.
Madeline Bailey, Co-Head Technology Consulting at Norton Rose Fulbright.
“International Women’s day, for me, is about celebrating diversity and inclusiveness in all its forms. We are all unique and have something valuable to contribute. Empowering, and enabling women (and all other underrepresented communities) to self –determine, is vital if we want to work together to solve many of the challenges, we face in the world today. Remember, we all have a voice – it’s up to us how we use it.”
Jasmin Julia Gupta, Cancer Hair Care Director of Information & NHS Clinical Services.
Jasmin is The UK’s leading cancer hair loss expert and a regular consultant to the NHS. Cancer Hair Care is the only UK charity solely dedicated to offering guidance before, during, and after hair loss due to cancer treatment. It is also the only charity to offer clinics within NHS hospitals offering support to women and men of all ages, hair types, and ethnicities.
"Having an opportunity to shout loud for other women who don't have a voice is an important part of what International Women's Day means to me and all the women at our charity Cancer Hair Care. Having volunteers who know what it feels like to be overwhelmed during cancer and hair loss, gives us strength and depth to our work. TOGETHER we are making hair loss one less worry and that's worth shouting about.”
Kirstin Duffield, CEO at Morning Data.
Morning Data provides software and service solutions for the global insurance industry. As CEO, Kirstin is passionate about the London Market, helping organisations from start-ups to fast growth SME's while tackling efficiency and process change through technology.
"Having landed in my role, in part by birth, not design as Morning Data is a 4th generation family business and so I have been on a constant path of learning. Starting with a product and a small client base we have grown year on year in a specialist niche market. With each day comes new challenges. Whether it is leading on the educational path and sitting my CII exams so the rest of the team know it’s possible (no excuses) or giving out a “Covid bounce back” bonus to get the team to invest in a local struggling supplier. I strive to live true to the mantra “people before profit” which includes a zero gender pay gap with 45% of the team being female – at all levels and ages ranging from 21 to 78! This has resulted in low staff turnover, client loyalty, and steady growth year on year. I operate in a predominantly male industry – IT, for a predominantly male industry – Insurance – never did I assume I had to be like the men in either of these, but to be myself, continually learning from both men and women. I always try to play to my strengths in nurturing and supporting my team to be the best version of themselves."
Liz Churchman, Account Director, and Partner at Emmett & Churchman Ltd.
Liz Co-Founded Emmett & Churchman a B2B PR company in 2016 with Lorraine Emmett. EC-PR design and deliver smart, outcome-focused campaigns that deliver real results. They are on a mission to change the perception of PR and challenge the status quo.
“I’m always torn on my feelings towards IWD because on the one hand, I think it’s incredibly important to recognise and celebrate women’s achievements, but shouldn’t we be doing this day in, day out. That being said, having this type of flag in the sand does give us a fantastic opportunity to cut through the noise and bring to the forefront some of the women that have inspired or motivated us. For me, it’s not just simply recognising and celebrating how far women have come in the workplace and the progress that’s being made on gender equality and inclusion – it’s about celebrating the agility, determination, and resilience of every single woman out there regardless of whether they’re in work or not - particularly after the challenging year we’ve just had. Let’s take a moment to remember that no matter how difficult life can get, we have an amazing ability to push through and keep smiling – sometimes it’s simple things like these that need to be celebrated.”
Patrizia Kern, Head Marine, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.
Patrizia Kern is Head of Marine at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions provides a range of traditional and innovative commercial insurance products and risk-transfer solutions through a global team of commercial insurance experts. She also sits on the IUMI executive and is chair of the organisation’s big data and digitalisation forum.
“To be more transparent about our achievements, gaps, and further actions, Swiss Re has committed to significantly increase transparency on I&D topics both internally and externally: We commit to improve I&D data collection in order to drive outcomes and we set clear accountability goals. This is one of the many reasons why I am so proud to be a manager at Swiss Re!”
Rosie Turner, Co-CEO, Co-Founder at InChorus Group.
“We need to choose to challenge the biases and subtle everyday behaviours that keep us tethered to a norm – one where leadership is seen as white and male. When we look deeply at microaggressions that might previously have been dismissed as ‘not a big deal’ and challenge these – we will build leadership teams, companies, and products that better reflect and serve a diverse society. My advice for the next generation of leaders is to not only have compassion for your team but yourself. If you fail you will learn from all those horrible experiences where you mess up or make the wrong decision. We put so much pressure on ourselves, we live in a hyper-connected world where it is so easy to compare ourselves, fuelling our anxieties.”
Kerry Baldwin, Managing Partner at IQ Capital.
Kerry is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of IQ Capital, a Cambridge & London-based early-stage deep-tech venture capital investor. She Co-founded IQ Capital, in 2006 and has over 20 years of deep-tech venture capital experience.
“When I started in deep-tech venture capital 22 years ago, there were less than a handful of women in venture capital and even fewer in investment roles. All those who work alongside me and the thousands of founders I have met over my five funds will agree I give my energy and encouragement to every meeting. I shaped my approach to venture back in the 90s. I chose to play to my strengths in what was then a male-dominated industry by using my strong Emotional intelligence to connect and read a room. I can find out what isn’t being said which enables me to undertake deeper team and customer diligence whilst evaluating deals and challenge assumptions as companies progress. This is also valuable in meetings – by focusing on what isn’t being said, I understand conflicting agendas around the board room and harmonise dominant voices to ensure I bring through diverse thinking from the team to bring different perspectives to a discussion. My advice is to be the go-to person the team needs to work constructively through problems together. It’s going to be a tough ride in the early years, so be supportive, challenge thinking not bluntly criticise, be trusted, reliable, positive, and courageous. Be generous with your time, network introductions, and mentor new joiners to your industry.”
A big thanks to the above women in leadership and more for joining us for our Concirrus Women’s Network lunch celebrating International Women’s Day! During the meet-up, we discussed our shared experiences, how we can empower each other, how we can help women find their voice and how we can go about turning our words into action while supporting women entering the working world.
To learn more about inspirational women in tech head over to our #SheFounders blog series here.