What went through your head when you heard your name read out as the Winner of the Promotion of Gender Diversity Award?
It is a complete cliché, but I was really surprised! I didn’t think I had done anything particularly special, just followed my heart to do the right thing.
What work were you nominated for? Was there a specific achievement that resulted in your nomination?
I was nominated for the work I did in Portsmouth Naval Base to promote a more inclusive culture, particularly towards women. I also started some initiatives to increase gender diversity in our Maritime Services workforce, including instigating a WISE People Like Me pilot in the Portsmouth area. People Like Me is a powerful workshop born out of some research done by WISE as to why girls don’t chose STEM subjects – because they believe it is not for people like them. The workshop gets girls to complete a personality quiz, and then links their personality with STEM jobs where they are likely to excel.
Can you provide a brief overview of your role and responsibilities?
I am currently the Chief of Staff to the BAE Systems CEO. This means that I act as his advisor, deliver strategic projects, support his day to day tasks and manage the relationships needed to ensure his success.
If you were judging the category, what would you be looking for in a nomination?
I would look for someone who has delivered tangible results in promoting gender diversity within their sphere of influence. These may not necessarily be measurable, as it could include things like cultural change. I would look for evidence that they understand the reasons behind why gender diversity is so important to the Defence community – that it is so much more than balancing numbers. It needs to be about improving results by attracting from a broader talent base, and having the best outcome for our country by embracing diversity of thought.
What does winning the Promotion of Gender Diversity Award mean to you?
It was great to raise the profile of the incredible work that BAE Systems does to promote gender diversity. Winning the award has shown me that even small, local contributions can be recognised, and that awards aren’t just about big impact national schemes. It shows that everyone can make a difference!
If you had a piece of advice for future promotion of gender balance nominees, what would that be?