Representatives from leading organisations such as Pret a Manger, Cisco UK, British Airways and CMS gathered on March 10 to explore the value of ‘An Equal World is An Enabled World’, to support female talent.
The event, held by MyKindaFuture to mark International Women’s Day, aimed to tackle the most prominent challenges holding back gender diversity and offer insights into attracting, retaining and supporting female talent, including those returning to the workplace after having children.
The event was opened by Stephanie Warren, Head of School Partnerships at MyKindaFuture, who explored the company’s commitment to the idea that equality is not a women’s issue, but a business issue.
Stephanie stressed the urgent need to accelerate gender equality in the workplace by hearing from diverse female talent across all stages of their careers: “We have come so far but there is still a long way to go in supporting female talent across businesses in all sectors across the UK. It’s vital that we work together to open up the conversation around women in the working world and make it our mission to tackle gender equality.”
Guests were treated to a packed agenda of expert insights and breakout sessions run by key UK employers who shared best practices for supporting female talent. Panellists with experience of returning to work after a period of time away, such as Emma Waltham, a careers after maternity specialist, also shared details of what makes mums feel supported and empowered when returning to work, and how important a sense of belonging is in the workplace.
Daksha Stancilas, Learning & Development Manager (Apprenticeships) at Pret a Manger spoke about the organisation’s apprenticeship pipeline, and how its recruitment process is void of gender bias as it focusses its attention on applicant behaviours.
Discussing the programme, Daksha said: “When we developed our apprenticeship scheme, the plan was never to target specific groups. At Pret, it’s not important what your background is or what you look like, it’s whether you have passion. This is something that cannot be taught, but technical knowledge can. Because of this approach, Pret successfully attract a diverse workforce, and is proud that 60% of its global leadership team is female.”
Kathryn Baddeley, Head of CSR at Cisco UK, the worldwide leader in IT, networking and cybersecurity solutions, then took to the stage, along with Becky Lowe, Head of Talent Acquisition at CMS, the international law firm, to offer insights into how to diversify work experience programmes and graduate talent pipelines, respectively.
Rachel Morar, CEO at MyKindaFuture commented on the success of the event: “In celebration of International Women’s Day, we were proud to host an event that started so many interesting, inspirational, and necessary conversations on how businesses need to be better supporting diverse female talent.
“We heard plenty of insights from leading female talent, and it was uplifting to see the attendees leave with so much information and best practices that they can immediately deploy within their businesses. These conversations and insights need to turn into action, but this event was another positive step on the road to change.”