As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 with the launch of the first Power 50 of inspiring female leaders in the UK events industry, we explore what more could be done to inspire the next generation of female leaders.
Here’s what nine of our Power 50 leaders had to say…
Managing Director, Worldspan
“Things are improving but we still have a way to go for equality and diversity within the workplace. There is more that should be done with equality of pay, affordable childcare, etc, to make it more of a level playing field. And to the next generation of female leaders, I would only say – don’t ever be afraid to speak up – your opinion always matters, and it may make the difference.”
Co-Founder and Director, Freshly Squeezed Events
“Culture: I think that culture can inspire the next generation of female leaders. The past two years have played to the strengths of women. The obstacles we can face both personally and as we work our way up shape our capacity to be brilliant leaders.
Strategy: Recent research found that one in four women is considering leaving the workforce often due to childcare responsibilities. We need strategies to reverse this such as pairing female employees with mentors to strengthen success and retention efforts.
Champion each other: We need cultures that are committed to developing female and diverse talent, and to championing other women in business. This should help to boost women’s representation at all levels. Build bridges to leadership.
Role models: We need a culture that celebrates women’s success. Mentoring by females for females in business. We need more diversity in business and create safe spaces for women to collaborate and learn.”
CEO & Founder, OrangeDoor
“It is so apparent that our industry still lacks the recognition and gravitas that it has earned and deserves. I am pleased to see maybe this tide is turning as we all come together in One Industry One Voice, but I think this is still a long way off.
We are working so hard to encourage female leaders by having very strong role models as is demonstrated by micebook Power 50, but we still have a long way to go. Diversity, ethnicity and inclusivity have to be at the forefront of our ambition. We need to inspire cognitive diversity that reflects our customers, their partners and their audiences more. This is work in progress.”
Managing Director, TTA
“To attract, retain and advance women, we must recognise that work and personal life aren’t mutually exclusive but intrinsically linked. The upcoming generation expects challenging work, opportunities to develop their abilities and confidence, and greater flexibility in how, when and where they work.
The challenge is to balance a workplace that supports career-life fit while maintaining the integrity, availability and consistency that clients expect from professional services firms, but I strive to create an environment and culture in which everyone feels able to thrive and make a difference, which in turn fuels the business.”
Managing Director, Wolf & White
“Guest lecturing at universities has shown me the lack of knowledge and inspiration of the younger generation on what ‘events’ are. Most are there for festivals, sporting events or wedding planning. When I present B2B, B2C corporate events, it’s unknown to them. I believe we have the opportunity as female leaders to also go in and inspire all students, but particularly the female students of what they can achieve.”
Managing Partner, Brands at Work
“I want up and coming female leaders to believe in themselves more. I, and too many other female leaders, suffer from imposter syndrome. It’s a sad reality that women have to work harder to establish their credibility and overcome limiting beliefs – either of their own or those of others projected onto them.
We can get labelled all too easily for being a bit ‘extra’ just for having a strong opinion and assertive personality when in fact, these very same qualities in a man would be leadership exemplars. We have a ‘no pigeon-holing policy’ at Brands at Work and actively invite leaders at all levels to have a say, to find their voice and to gain the necessary experience and exposure to build their self-confidence.”
Liz Johnson Parris
Managing Director, IMPACCT & IMPACCT LIVE
“Female leaders of the future need to be given the platform to speak and be heard. They need to be encouraged to do so and supported to feel confident in doing so whether they come from a large global agency or a smaller events company.
Over the years I’ve often felt like I’ve been the small lady in the corner. Sometimes I’ve had to rustle up all the determination in all 5ft2 of me and be brave. Faced to hold my own opinions in an industry still dominated by male leaders has not always been easy and not always sadly been that accepted. I see many potential female leaders being lost in middle management positions and not being given the opportunity or encouragement to go for the bigger leadership jobs. The next generation of female leaders need to be given a voice, supported and mentored now as our amazing industry grows back out of the pandemic.”
Deputy Managing Director, Noble Events
“For me, the key to developing future leaders, male and female, is balance and diversity. Balance is so important. We want our leaders to be real people, with lives outside of work, with family commitments, with hobbies. We want them to be refreshed and energised, ready to tackle issues as they arise, not burn out and exhausted. So we need to structure our workplaces and working practices to allow this happen, and give our rising stars room to breathe.
And diversity is critical. If we only ever hear our own opinions reflected back to us, our decision-making will be poor. In my view, surrounding ourselves by ‘people like us’ is the biggest mistake leaders make. At Noble Events we’re working hard on both of these, to secure great leaders for the future of our business.”
Director & Founder, The Wentworth Collective
“Give them tools, firstly [to believe in themselves, to find their voice,] gain experience and seek mentorship. There should be focus on the industry creating more opportunities to learn core developmental skills – as well as event management, skills to strengthen their confidence in the workplace.
Give them opportunities to be leaders, not be afraid of leadership embrace it. We need the female influence in business. As a business we regularly attend female focused networking groups lifting other females up and I am a regular mentee for Elevate, which has afforded me numerous opportunities to share my expertise and to nurture to the next generation of industry talent.
As an industry, we can and must create further opportunities to get women who may have left the workplace get back into roles with flexible opportunities so can further increase our contribution to society.”