We were delighted to host a recent online event, which focused on ‘How to Accelerate Diverse Representation’, presented by our keynote speaker Debbie Francis.
Debbie opened her presentation by highlighting that accelerating diverse representation is not a quick fix and to achieve it, organisations need to tie up every possible aspect and to influence all relevant stakeholders.
Debbie’s perspective on accelerating representation comes from her distinct viewpoint as both a woman and a business leader. Her direct and very personal experience on ED&I is drawn from an extensive career as an experienced Executive and non-Executive Director leading regulated, large scale and SME, enterprises.
Currently, Debbie’s Managing Director at Loram UK a rolling stock and infrastructure engineering business along with holding a portfolio of Chair and non-Executive Director roles. In addition, she also runs her own training and consultancy business with a strong focus on women’s empowerment. Debbie has achieved several awards for her efforts supporting and promoting ED&I including an OBE for Services to Women in the rail industry.
Debbie’s interest in accelerating representation comes from her experience leading within the rail sector. Gender equality is where her interest started but it quickly led to her realisation, accelerating diverse representation, is altogether bigger.
Currently studying for a PhD, Debbie’s original plan was to focus on senior women in leadership generally but has since decided to draw on her experience of the rail industry, the sector in which she has built her career.
Debbie referenced the organisation ‘Women in Rail’ and their many achievements over the last 10 years, yet the number of women working in the rail sector has fallen from 15% to 13%. Debbie asks, with some exasperation, how will EDI work more widely if, after one hundred years since women achieved the vote, gender representation has not progressed further?
In her presentation How to accelerate Diverse Representation in Organisations, Debbie outlines why diversity matters and defines what is diverse representation. Data and diversity statistics are shared, and the challenges in achieving diversity, outlined. Debbie advised how to embed diversity into the culture as a core value and how the recruitment process is challenged when diverse candidates are not applying. Please clickto How to accelerate Diverse Representation in Organisations.
Remember – If 50% of the population are struggling to increase their representation, what are the chances of increasing representation of ethnicity, LGBTQ+, neurodiversity and disability?
Debbie encourages us to overcome the obstacles, step by step with a sustained effort. Challenge the inadequate recruitment practices, the unconscious bias, the lack of representation in the decision-making roles, mentors, and sponsors.
Whilst the enforced remote working in the Covid lockdown, many feel it should have helped, the reality is, one partner tends to take the lead in the home and with the children.
Today we have more data than ever on the benefits of diverse representation. Use it! Keep communicating the benefits and you will accelerate representation within your business.
Hoggett Bowers are very grateful to all our guests and a special thank you to: