This year marked my 24th year with IQPC, an achievement I’m really proud of. In my role, I do my fair share of recruitment and in interviews consistently get asked the same question, what has kept you in IQPC for so long?
My answer is always the same. It’s a combination of two factors. Firstly, over the years I’ve genuinely never had the opportunity to get bored. I’ve worked in over 7 different roles, across 5 different continents; doing everything from conference production and commercial management to process redesign, coaching and training.
And the second factor is our people. We truly have great people. They come from very different walks of life, many with specific commercial backgrounds and others fresh from university. But there are some unifying traits that we see across all our team; a positive, resourceful attitude, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an endless drive to set new and higher standards of performance for themselves and the business. It’s inspiring to be around!
Two great reasons to stick around. But just last week I realised there is one more: equality.
While women make up just over 50% of the UK workforce, a recent LinkedIn article shared that only 30% of UK Leadership roles are held by women. It’s disproportionate.
Growing up in IQPC I never once believed that my gender would limit my opportunity, in fact, I took on my first management role at 24 and my first Managing Director role at 27. But it’s not enough as a business to have singular, or even a handful of case studies like mine; we need to provide an equitable workplace where all our employees, regardless of gender, are empowered to be their best.
So, this year we established our UK Women in Business Team and kick started a series of discussions and actions to ensure we are continually evolving and improving as a business. We examined everything from second generational gender bias to benefit policies, from recruitment to performance management; all with the goal of better supporting and developing the women in our ranks.
A year of hard work culminated in our inaugural ‘Women in IQPC Offsite’. This was our opportunity to extend the conversation to all our 120+ female employees and some key male allies, share updates, hear new ideas, and hopefully inspire a little as well.
During the day we heard case studies from employees who’ve accessed our female mind-2-mind mentoring programme, we worked on our networking skills and had open discussions around work-life balance, internal communication and career development pathways.
We also had the opportunity to hear from internal female leaders who shared their career journeys and tackled key topics like managing imposter syndrome, breaking glass ceilings, and navigating power structures.
And I owe a special thank you to my good friend Sarah Jenkins, Managing Director at Saatchi and Saatchi, who graciously gave up her time to join us and share her story. Leading with kindness, finding your tribe, and realising that imposter syndrome is just your brain’s natural reaction to fear, were just a few of the many lessons she shared.
It was a fantastic day, and I am so grateful to work within a company that is prepared to invest in and support, equality and inclusion.
A big well done to all our Women in Business Team who worked so hard to make this happen, and I can’t wait to see what we will all achieve together in 2023.