The IoD’s Women as Leaders 2016 conference

The IoD's Women as Leaders Conference audience

The IoD’s Women as Leaders 2016 event took place on 17 June, with special guest speakers including previous Director cover star Sacha Romanovich, fashion luminary Kim Winser and Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money sharing their wisdom. Here are some of the highlights from the day

IoD director general Simon Walker opened the event with the statistic that women today make up more than 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards and, thanks to IoD chairman Lady Barbara Judge and many others, the government has listened to calls to shift the focus onto increasing the number of women in senior executive positions.

But while government efforts are to be commended, Walker added that it is only within companies themselves that consistent and far-reaching change can happen, and Women as Leaders is here to recognise the success of extraordinary individuals and the companies they lead…

Women as Leaders 2016 – the best bits…

Sacha Romanovitch speaking at the IoD's Women as Leaders conferenceSacha Romanovitch, CEO, Grant Thornton:

“A leader who thinks they have to be perfect is very dangerous in this world.”

“It takes brave leadership to try to do something different.”

“I’m a business person, and I’m a women – that’s great, but being a woman isn’t my only occupation.”

“I want to be a leader who is progressive and change things, but I know that I won’t always get it right.”

“Create time and space to allow people to express what they are uncomfortable with, but sometimes when they see something that works, that’s when they start to believe.”

To read Director’s article on Sacha Romanovitch and the vibrant economy – click here

Kim Winser with Juliet Morris at Women as Leaders

Kim Winser with Juliet Morris, host of Women as Leaders 2016

Kim Winser, CEO, Winser London:

“Every woman in the room will want something different and have different goals”

“If you want to achieve what you want to achieve there are a few things that make a difference: knowledge; whatever field you are in, just make sure you are good at it. It’s not just beginning with knowledge, its keeping up that knowledge.”

“I’ve never had one mentor in my life – I don’t believe in it. I like to have 50.”

“I insist on employing somebody young in all areas of my business.”

“If you’re feeling confident then everything else should flow from there.”

“Be yourself, but be generous. I’m a big believer in giving more than you take. Just give, because you will stand out and more and more people will notice you.”

To read Director’s interview with Kim Winser on going it alone in business – click here

Jayne-Ann Gadhia speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money:

“Never run away from opportunity – take it, grasp it and run with it.”

“The culture of your company needs to align with your values.”

Sir Richard Branson told Gadhia when setting up Virgin Money that “the most important thing is for people to work from where they’re happy.”

“Understand the people you are managing, not just the business.”

“Boards need balance and diversity to reflect society and customers – It’s not just about more women.”

Edwina Dunn speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount:

“80 per cent of commercial decisions are made by women and yet most of the business leaders are male. Why?”

“$28trn are lost in GDP through not having equal numbers of women in business.”

“Are girls not three-dimensional beings with interests more sophisticated than things that are pink and fluffy?”

“The media must stop associating girls with words like ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’, but instead ‘successful’ and ‘ambitious.”

Kate Robertson speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Kate Robertson, founder, One Young World:

“Young people are the most informed, most educated and most connected generation ever”

“I wish that leaders in government were as good as leaders in business.”

Watch the powerful video of the One Young World Summit 2015 here

To read Director’s article on Kate Robertson on hiring more young workers – click here

Geeta Sidhu-Robb speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder and CEO, Nosh Detox:

“It’s a myth that you need to know what you’re doing when starting up your business. Learn as you go.”

“I found a £2000 overdraft on an old credit card and I used that to set up my business.”

“We have an epidemic of low self esteem at the moment – not just in women but in men too.”

“When starting a business, your weaknesses will be exposed but everything strong about you will shine”

Yasmina Siadatan speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Yasmina Siadatan, founder, Bloc Parc:

“If women set up businesses at the same rate as men, it could add £600bn to the UK.”

“Being a mother has hampered my career and I don’t like to pretend otherwise.”

“80 per cent of millennials want to work for companies that care about impact, and more capital is becoming available in the civil society sector.”

Celia Francis speaking at Women as Leaders 2016Celia Francis, CEO, Rated People:

“Being a CEO is my favourite job, I highly recommend it.”

“The lack of girls studying STEM subjects is causing pipeline issues for women in tech and related fields.”

To see how Women as Leaders 2016 unfolded on social media, click here

About author

Hannah Gresty

Hannah Gresty

Until she left the magazine in August 2019, Hannah Gresty was the assistant editor of Director. She previously worked on a local news website and at a fashion PR company before joining the Director team as editorial assistant in 2016.

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