March 8th 2022 was International Women’s Day, and in our London Business we marked the day with a show of purple and by fundraising for the Wonder Foundation, an incredible charity that focuses on building a better future for women and girls through education.
But we also wanted to show a longer lasting commitment to the equality and empowerment of women inside our our ranks, a sentiment that is expressed best by our Managing Director, John Geenty…
“As we all celebrate International Women’s Day today in the office, it seems a good opportunity to share with you some of the discussions that have taken place in our recently formed Women in IQPC Group.
Emerging from the pandemic one of the main ambitions for the Senior Management Team in IQPC has been to create a better business off the back of all the challenges and changes that Covid has thrown at us. A key pilar of this process has been to enhance and improve our business when it comes to the issue of Diversity and Inclusion. While IQPC has long been a D&I employer – there is so much more that we can and we want to do – to show that we’re a modern business that is helping all of our staff reach their maximum potential. The starting point of this D&I focus has been to form working groups who can share their thoughts on what the business can do to improve and really make sure that we are an industry leader in this area.
The Women In Business (WIB) group formed last year with a simple goal, to help empower our female employees and ensure a workplace free of gender bias. To date the group have begun to address topics from recruitment to retention, code of conduct to careers and I am encouraged by the progress we are making. Already every single manager in the business has signed up to a new Manager Code of Conduct that emerged off the back of discussions in the WIB group – showing the broad commitment to having the highest standards culturally across Exchange and Conferences.
Another of the topics on the agenda was career growth. As a business it’s key that we provide developmental support to all our people; but we also need to recognize, that for the women in our ranks, there may be specific challenges that need specific help.
External data points show that women may be less likely to put themselves forward for a new role or promotion, if they don’t meet each and every criteria. They are four times less likely to ask for a review than their male counterparts, and if they display more typically “masculine” traits like assertiveness and ambition, risk being labelled, not as high potential, but as “unfeminine” or “aggressive”. And while I’d like to believe we have already been making significant strides to ensure these issues are not present in our ranks, it would be naïve to ignore them completely.
One valuable source of help is through strong, effective mentors. For women in the early stages of their careers, or making a career transition, an experienced senior mentor can be of enormous benefit, providing the opportunity to discuss candidly and confidentially concerns, difficulties, and aspirations with an empathetic experienced person. An effective mentoring relationship can help develop leadership skills, increase self-confidence, improve emotional intelligence, and navigate any gender-specific obstacles to career advancement.
I am therefore delighted to announce the launch ‘Mind-2-Mind’. This programme presents an opportunity for all our female employees to access mentoring from an experienced manager who is passionate about advancing the careers of women in IQPC. It is important to be clear about why were are doing this – encouraging a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only ethically the right thing to do – it is also better for business performance to ensure that we get the best people moving forward in their careers and helping to move the business to the next level. Our focus on the D&I agenda has only just started and more will come in the months and years ahead – but this is an exciting and really positive start.”
We are really excited about the launch of ‘mind-2-mind’ and would like to say a huge thank you to all our amazing mentors for their support, we simply could not do this without you.