Episode Two: Feeding the Female Pipeline and Board Diversity

Posted on October 18, 2017

Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity and Founder of Gender Networks & Rising Star Awards and Kate Grussing, Founder and Managing Director of Sapphire Partners, join Julia to discuss recruitment and flexible working, specifically, flexible working patterns, the role of technology, return to work schemes and how best to encourage and curate rising talent to improve board diversity.

Vanessa Vallely

Vanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on a variety of career related topics for over 400 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent.

At the height of her successful 25 year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award winning WeAreTheCity.com in 2008 as a vehicle to help corporate women connect and grow professionally and personally. WeAreTheCity.com now has over 60,000 members and in 2013 launched a sister site in India.

Vanessa is the also the founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. GenderNetworks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from over 120 firms to share best practice.

Vanessa is the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares 13 chapters of tips to succeed in the workplace. Over the past seven years, she has been named Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally & Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs. In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.

Vanessa is also the Pearly Queen of The City of London, a tradition that has been in her family for over 100 years. She is an avid charity worker and sits on the board for for Cancer Research UK as one of its Women of Influence.

You can follow Vanessa on Twitter @WATC_girl

 

Kate Grussing

Kate is the Founder and Managing Director of  Sapphire Partners, a London-based executive search boutique, with a broad reach working with Chairman, boards and CEOs with a unique expertise in searching for senior candidates who are not simply “the usual suspects”, for executive and non-

executive roles. Sapphire Partners was one of the early advocates of a code of best practice for executive search firms and has been quoted in ten books on career transitions. Prior to founding Sapphire Partners in 2005, she held senior roles at JPMorgan and McKinsey where she had a particular focus on strategy and creating high performing teams. She started her career in corporate finance and M&A at Morgan Stanley.

Kate is a thought leader and change maker for her work promoting diversity andmentoring women and regular commentator on the issues of corporate governance, talent management, diversity & inclusion, women on boards, women’s careers and the progress of women in business and flexible working. She was included in Cranfields’ 100 Women to Watch report in 2012 and 2013.

She has recently become a companion of the Chartered Management Institute. She has also recently been appointed to the Gender Equality Advisory Group at City University London. She is said to be one of the best connected women in the UK Kate is a board member of the new Institute of Imagination in London and has recently stepped down after 17 years from the board of an international medical charity, the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association.

She received her MBA with honours from The Tuck School at Dartmouth College where she was a Tuck Scholar. She graduated with honours from Wellesley College with a BA in economics and political science. She spent a year at the London School of Economics studying Economic History as a General Course student. She is a long-time Londoner and also the mother of four stroppy teenagers.

You can follow Kate’s firm on Twitter @SapphirePartner

 

Episode Two Transcript

Julia: Hello, and welcome to DiverCity™ Podcast. My name is Julia Streets and today I’m delighted to be joined by two women who work tirelessly to understand, support and drive change in financial services. It is a great pleasure to welcome two impressive entrepreneurs, Kate Grussing and Vanessa Vallely.

Kate, let me start with you. Your prestigious career that has included senior tenures at JP Morgan, McKinsey and Morgan Stanley. You’ve quickly and effectively built credibility not simply for strategy, corporate governance, corporate finance, talent management, financial services and professional services, but also most importantly in the field of diversity and inclusion. An MBA with honors from the Tuck school at Dartmouth and a BA with honors from Wellesley College has been further complimented by studies at the London School of Economics. A trustee of the New London Institute of Imagination and an active member of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, not to mention a decade of service on the advisory board of Rare Recruitment supporting black and ethnic minority students. Of course, a managing director of your own business, Sapphire Partners, which is all about executive recruitment. An impressive guest and we’re delighted you can join us today, thank you.

Vanessa Vallely, where to begin? More than 200 thousand women each month in the UK and in India connect with Vanessa Vallely’s women’s network, We Are The City. It offers career advice, access to networks and invitations to events, and is the home of Rising Stars, the awards scheme that’s been running for three years seeking out female rising talent across many sectors and fields. She also co-founded The Network of Networks, which includes heads of women’s networks from 125 FTSE firms, including chapters that serve the LGBT and BAME communities. Vanessa flourished in a 25 year career in banking and finance, charting her own course that is well documented in her book, Heels of Steel. It is no surprise that you have won a wide number of awards including Women’s Champion of Women in Banking and Finance, TIAW’s Top 100 Global Women, and many more. GQ Magazine listed you as one of their Top 100 Most Connected Women and the Evening Standard rightly gave you a place in the The Progress 1000 listing of London’s Most Influential People. Vanessa, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

It is really important that when we have these discussions about diversity and inclusion, we don’t run the risk of becoming too salesy or self-serving. However, we do recognise that you both run businesses and you have given time generously today. So we allow each guest one minute to talk about initiatives that you’re particularly focused on. This will no doubt start to inspire some conversation today as well. Kate, I’m going to start with you. You have one minute on the clock and your time starts now.

Kate: Fantastic. Thank you so much for having me, Julia. Sapphire Partners is an executive search boutique that I founded in 2005 and it really came out of a decade of having been a Strategy Consultant and a decade as an Investment Banker, realising it didn’t matter how amazing the strategy was or how amazing the financial engineering was, if you didn’t have the right people in the right roles, you weren’t going to be very successful. At Sapphire, we go out of our way to find candidates who aren’t just the usual suspects and we do more than any search room to promote diversity, both at board level as well as at executive level. My colleagues and I are privileged to meet more amazing, high flying men and women than I think any other search firm, certainly in the City. We go out of our way though to help ‘up and comers’. For example, we don’t have nearly enough black, minority, ethnic board directors so we have to do more in particular to build that pipeline. We won the Women in Finance Recruiter of the Year Award this June, which was fantastic but we feel like our work has only just begun.

Julia: Fantastic. Thank you very much indeed. Vanessa, you’ve got one minute on the clock and your time also starts now.

Vanessa: Thank you again for having me, Julia. We Are The City, what’s it about? It’s about a pipeline up to director level. They’re the kind of women that we look after. There are 100,000 of them. We give them access to news and resources to give them the opportunity to upskill and make an informed choice because I think that’s really important. There are over 1800 women’s networks across London, so you should never marry a particular network, but there’ll be different ones that you’ll need for different periods in your career. We promote their events, we also run two big conferences ourselves – We Are Future Leaders at the start of the year and at the back end of the year it’s all about technology, so we run We Are Tech Women Conference.

The focus on awards was really looking at the awards landscape and seeing the fact that a lot of the awards are for women that are already in senior positions, but this talk around the pipeline, which is something we’ve been championing probably for the best part of six years – how do we give those girls exposure? Those girls that are on their way, that are still what we call, ‘wading through the treacle’ and seeking permission at the moment. The plan was to look across the landscape of many different industries where women are lacking or not progressing at pace, and to give them a platform to shine. With the help of 20 different FTSE firms, we’re able to do that, not just through Rising Stars, but through the end of the year through our new Tech Women 50.

Julia: Amazing. Thank you both very much. That’s really interesting because I think that in the mix of diversity and inclusion, there’s clearly a lot of focus on board appointments. Kate, we’ll come into that in a second if we may. In the meantime, I’m very keen to explore something that you and I have talked about quite a lot, Vanessa. When it comes to feeding the female pipeline, how much impact, how much change is there? Are you seeing some gaps emerge that you look at and think, we just need more focus there? Or is everything rising across the board?

Vanessa: I think there’s obviously been more of an emphasis on women. When I started We Are The City 10 years ago, there were just a few networks that I knew of. I think the Lord Davis Report obviously pushed that agenda a little bit further from a pipeline perspective. I’ve definitely seen a shift in terms of interest coming into our business where they are looking at the lower levels. Previously, even in my own career, you only got onto a women in leadership program and they were just women in leadership. There wasn’t this thing around needing men at the table as well, which I think is really important, because we can’t just keep locking women in rooms full of other women because it doesn’t reflect the world that we live in.

There’s definitely more focus now around that pipeline and what the needs of those individuals are, so it’s not just when you get to VP or Director level that you get access to that training. I’m starting to see a little bit of an uptick from firms saying, “Actually, we need to look lower down because if we don’t look after that generation and we don’t nurture those individuals, how will we ever solve this problem over time?” Again, it doesn’t just start at the Director level. When we see some of the women that we see at our conferences or women that I come across during talks or at events, they’re all asking for the same things. Sometimes when they do get promoted they’ve not had access to that training so they’re like rabbits in the headlights. It’s how do we take away that fear so that they push themselves a little bit further and they’re more likely to take a few risks saying, “Actually, I can only do 50% of that job but I’m going to go for it anyway.”

Julia: It’s a classic thing, isn’t it, where you hear this time and time again. Again, I want to kind of caution about stereotypes quite massively, but where men will go, “Yeah, I can do that, that’s fine I’ll take that job.” Where a woman will go, “I’ve got to be 80% of the way there before I’ll even consider saying, ‘yes’.” The whole, fake it until you make it. And you talk about the fear of progressing in career. Where is the fear? Where does that come from?

Vanessa: I think there are still a lot of perceived barriers. From a role model perspective, if you look up the organisation – which was the problem in my own career – they don’t see role models. If they do have role models in their organisation, the question has to be, are they accessible role models? Are they so busy in their jobs, are they putting their hands down, or being accessible or visible to help those girls on their way? There’s that side to it. I think the barriers, are those old wives tales that get passed down from woman to woman, without generalising, “oh it’s tough at the top”. Some people will incubate that opinion more than others.

I do a lot with kids in schools, and it’s beautiful to see because they have no fear, they have no barriers yet. I took to young girls and they’re like, “There’s nothing we can’t achieve.” Then they get into organisations and bit by bit through things that they see, that gets chipped away. I think the sweet spot is making sure when they get into the organisations they’re seeing that good behavior, they’re getting that nurturing from other role models, male or female, in their organisations, to make sure that doesn’t happen and you end up on the cynical end. We recently published an article saying that a really high percentage of people under the age of 35 are unhappy in work. You have to ask the question as to why that is.

Julia: Yes, definitely. There’s a lot in there around leadership, inspiration, role modelling, and having male champions. If you think about looking at the wave, or continued change that needs to be driven, a lot of that clearly points to the board. Kate, I come to you on that. Boards are constructed…. particularly in financial services, and I’m thinking of very large, financial organisations that are embedded in centuries of behaviour…..They have to really rethink ….how when a board looks largely identical but yet have to fulfil this role of being a role model, being champions, driving change, etcetera, where does the mindset shift come? At what point does a board sit and say, “We know we need to be more diverse, but that’s going to really challenge how we do everything.” Can you share some insights on what you’ve seen around that?

Kate: Well, I think the impetus has to come from the top. The chairman has to not just talk the talk, but he has to walk the walk. I agree completely with Vanessa in that having a diverse board is not nearly enough. I’ve seen the dial move, finally, to focus on the subsidiary boards and the ExCo’s. The chairman has been on this bandwagon, I’d say, for the better part of five years. The challenge now is getting the CEO’s, and their HR Director’s, and their ExCo’s effectively on this bandwagon. That’s where, if you look at an organisation the size of an HSBC, or a Prudential, these are massive.

Julia: And any other large, financial institution…

Kate: Absolutely. Obviously, the only, the tippy, tippy, tippy top of the pyramid is going to get on those boards. But they’re going to have many boards for the different divisions, and their subsidiaries, and their different geographies. That’s where I see a lot more potential for companies to take a risk on appointing someone who doesn’t have previous board experience and where I suggest most organisations – certainly in financial services – are focusing… it is on, how do we give our senior women, especially, stretch assignments and opportunities that give them that initial experience?  Most of the big institutions are happily encouraging their senior women and ethnic minorities, as well as their men, to go on charity boards for example. I think charity boards are a fantastic way to learn, but to be honest, I’d much rather see that high flying young woman on the board of a new special project or a new merger integration, or a special task force set up internally, because there are only so many hours in the day.

Julia: This raises a very interesting question because for me, change is always driven by achieving a business objective. If you’re talking about commercial performance, a task force around a particular project (and because in the mix of all this, because there’s this message of “It can’t be that hard, surely.)…We’ve got rising talent we’ve got people coming through, we’ve got leaders who want to inspire change.” But actually boards have an enormous amount to deal with whether that’s around regulation, competitive pressure, changing customer behaviour, not to mention cyber security. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about to what degree can diversity and inclusion of minds come together around solving some of these central challenges. It’s interesting you say task forces because do you see examples where people are going, okay so let’s tackle a cyber security challenge and let’s construct a team around that, or a board around that? That is very different from anything we’ve done before. Are you beginning to see some evidence of that come through?

Kate: Absolutely. Many a company, for example, has really had to look hard at the new legislation coming in this coming April where any company in the UK with over 250 employees has to report on what their gender pay gap is. Well, if you do that properly, it’s going to uncover a host of challenges within an organisation. Rather than just leaving this to the ‘comp and ben’ team and HR to come up with what those numbers are, the most forward thinking companies are setting up task forces. I would point to TSB who I think has done a particularly good job of this trying to say, “All right, what do the numbers tell us? “How can we get out in front of all of our competitors, and what can we do on the 10 different things to try and advance the portion of women at TSB who are underpaid?” Some of it is stretch assignments, some of it is the roles they’re in, some of it is perhaps flexible working, or maternity leaves, or career breaks, but there’s no one silver bullet. I think a task force is also a great way for a rising talent to get some profile and some senior attention in addition to their day job, that can then help their internal mobility.

As a headhunter, the most important thing for me is to see a candidate join a company and then effectively take off in many different directions in that company because they’ve proven themselves and their opportunities multiply. But not nearly enough companies are good at that mobility and are good at helping people do things out of their little silo or piece of that jigsaw puzzle. If you’re a rising talent, it’s by broadening your skills that you’re going to be of better value to the company. Sometimes it can be easier to broaden your skills by replying to a headhunter instead of having the right conversation internally and saying, “Mr. Boss, I really want to stay at the company but I’d like to move to a different division or I’d like to move to a different role.” That’s where sometimes we see particularly women and black and ethnic minorities perhaps be a bit too loyal and keep their head down and focus on doing their day job really well, which they’re fantastic at….but may not be what’s going to help them progress in their company.

Julia: And thinking about not only the job they want tomorrow, but the job after that job in order to reach the heady heights of management as well. Within that, you were also talking about different working practices. Vanessa, one of things I know you’ve been thinking about a lot, and I think you’ve run some initiatives around this, is maternity and paternity and flexible working. Can you share some thoughts around how organisations – if they can harness that really well – can drive change?

Vanessa: I wish I could tell you that I think anybody’s got it right. I think when the paternity laws came in a couple of years back, that everyone was saying, “Well, will the guys actually take the paternity leave?” It’s a no-brainer that if you give flexible working, it’s not a women’s issue. If you give it to the men and the women, if the men take flexible working or they take extended paternity leave, you’re certainly giving the women more flexibility anyway. I think there’s a huge cultural shift without generalising; For men, I think when you talk to the younger generations of men, they are more keen because they’ve got more outside interests. The millennials are saying, “Well, why isn’t this the norm anyway, that I can go off and do that?” The older generations of men, perhaps that’s not the norm for them to take extended paternity leave because they’d be worried about their careers.

Flexible working, in the organisations that I’ve worked in, there were men working flexibly all the time, it was just called golf! No one put a label on it or put it in their diaries. When you get to that senior level, having been there, I didn’t have to seek permission if I finished at four, because I was at that level and I knew that I was on conference calls with the States later on that night anyway. This is when I talk about still seeking permission. I think there’s a level of flexibility that’s already going on in organisations anyway – we just haven’t put a label on it.

Back to my role model point, I was talking to a organisation most recently about getting their senior men to start working flexibly but to also advocate it and be open about it. Then people within their organisation will look up and say, “Well actually, if they do it, it’s okay for me to do it.” Then even if you have got the sticky middle management layer that says, “This is always way we’ve done it”, …..presenteeism, etc.” Eventually they’ve got no argument because the senior individuals are doing it, the younger generations want to do it and expect to do it, so sooner or later you’re going to push them back into a corner where it has to happen.

The only way our organisations will flourish is when we have flexibility for all. I think again, I always feel like we’re paying a price for our generation. Being mid-40’s, I’m looking at my children thinking ‘when she goes to work probably in the next five years she still won’t see it’. But I think in her lifetime of work, she’ll look at flexibility in the same way as we do beta max videos, as that kind of legacy.

Julia: The tools are there to empower that.

Vanessa: We’ve got technology. There’s no excuse now why you can’t work from home.

Julia: Absolutely.

Kate: The data shows that employees who work more flexibly are more loyal, happy, and productive. The facts are there in a way that arguably they weren’t 10 years ago. I do think companies are going to see a great return on this investment.

Julia: Coming back to the sticky middle that you talk about there, change is terrifying. There are people who have come through, they are at that age range, they’ve come through various working practices, presenteeism – they will stay until the boss is gone and then they’ll leave….. All of those kind of behaviors. They are feeling enormous pressure, both from above, and exactly as you’ve described it. Are you seeing how organisations are helping those exec’s think differently? I mean, we’ve tried not to be terrified by it and actually to realise that when the light bulb goes on, everybody’s happier …. because as you say, when everybody works flexibly then that’s when change will really come. It is a terrifying place to be.

Vanessa: Again, it goes back to the point earlier on. You’ve got the youngsters and the new generations coming through organisations that have got a voice and have got an opinion. Then they try to put that voice up to the top and it may get stuck in the sticky middle. The senior ones who get this stuff anyway, but they’re not hearing it. Back to my point earlier on, you’ll always have people saying, “This is always the way that we’ve done it”. Is anybody shifting that needle massively? A lot of the companies that we talk to and we promote jobs for, that we’re seeing more and more flexibility being promoted on job specs and things like that. We know that it’s out there but it’s a slow, and I don’t know what you think, Kate, it’s a very slow burner I think.

It’s a huge cultural shift, and when you look at companies like the size of what Kate was talking about, how do you get that shift? Also, if you’re a global company, what are the attitudes towards some of that stuff globally? It’s alright if we’ve got that right in London, but take that on to France or take that into a different country. You’ve got a whole set of different parameters that you have to think about.

Julia: And yet these are the rising middle that ultimately are going to become the board members, or are hoping to become the board members for tomorrow. Kate, your advice with boards is saying, “Don’t recruit the same kind of people that recruited you or displayed similar sort of behaviors.” This organisation will be more successful if you look for the ones who are merging as the advocates of change because they’ve got the pressure from beneath and then also the pull from above. Are we seeing any of that at the moment or is that a few years out?

Kate: Boards have been the most open-minded in recruiting younger, less experienced people have been in the areas of technology and digital. The average board member in the UK is 58 years old on appointment, so imagine then they’re on that board for seven or eight years, they leave that board in their mid to late 60’s. You can imagine, these are not digital natives. The good news is, the boards know they lack that skillset and they’re embracing bringing in people to either be shadow board members, or board apprentices, or possibly a new, full board member because that’s a skill that any board worth it’s salt knows it needs to have today.

Julia: Right. Particularly if we’re talking about cybersecurity or data privacy. There are big pieces of regulation coming next year around GDPR, which is about how you manage your data. It’ll be interesting to see to what degree those sort of skills will be encouraged onto boards just by dint of the challenge in hand.

Vanessa: The people that I speak to, sometimes the question comes up around being on a board and I’ll ask the question, “Do any of you aspire to that?” and they all say, “Well, we’re too young.” There’s a wonderful organisation called Young Charity Trustees, because some of these boards need to look at things through a different lens, and the millennials and the technologists of the future can provide that. So back to Kate’s point, but there is the appetite there, and I think an appreciation that we do need younger generations to add that lens. There’s the old adage of “If you always do what you always do, you always get what you’ve always got”.

Julia: In this sort of sticky middle, there is one element to that, which in my mind can drive great change, which is about returners from maternity leave, having having had their children, coming back into the workplace. They’re coming back bringing experience but a slightly different appetite and mindset as well. Do you see, Vanessa, some initiatives around that?

Vanessa: Definitely a rise, I’d say in the last three years, of all sorts of guises of return to work programs. Whether it be a formal returnship, so think of it like an internship or just a general program where companies would invite women in to up-skill or get their skills back and then they work with them over the long term to find them a role. Sometimes there are roles already available at the end of that kind of relationship. There’s definitely an appreciation that we’ve lost this huge talent pool of women that have gone off to have children, perhaps have been out for a year, and then lose a little bit of their confidence in terms of coming back.

I see it a lot in technology, and there is an exceptional shortfall of technology returnship programs because that community, things have moved on – programming languages. The core skills are still the same but when it’s a technical role, things have moved forward so fast in the last few years. So there was a lot of that. We already have shortage of women in tech anyway that are looking at it going, “Oh, if I go back how can I transition the skills that I’ve got back into those kind of roles?” Definitely an uptick in different guises of returners programs, some of them very successful as well, but I think what was missing for me initially was the flexibility at the end of those programs.

They’d invite women in, they’d do a six to eight week program of work, perhaps rotating around different departments, and at the end of it they wanted them to just fit back into a 9-6 job with no flexibility options for the children. Alright, that’s great; even just organising to be away for six weeks and to find care for your children is difficult enough, let alone know that the job at the end of it is going to be a lifetime that looks like that. Definitely an interest in returners programs and return to work programs from the corporates, and definitely seeing that spread out as well. I think Goldman Sachs was the first one to bring them in, and I think they own the trademark ‘returnship’. Other industries have followed suit but I think tech was the last one to pick up the baton on that. It is so important because we talk to a lot of returners at We Are The City and they want to get back to work, they want to get those skills back in, but it’s just seeing the opportunities and the companies want them.

Kate: I think I’d add that a career is a marathon and not a sprint. So for the men and women listening to this who’ve had a career break, they need to persevere. You don’t need a returnship or a returners program to get back to work. It will take a lot of hard work, it will take a lot of resilience, but they will be stronger professionals by virtue of having persevered.

Vanessa: You know, being off and keeping in touch with people so that you can just pick up that conversation. Having had two children myself, I had very short maternity leaves purely for that fear. But one of the things I did do was keep in touch with people I worked with and the pulse of the company while I was off. I think that’s really important, but again there’s a big focus on mums, I think you’ve got CEO mums, you’ve got mums in work, you’ve got all of these different organisations focusing on that talent pool. There are perhaps a lot more opportunities now than when I had my children.

Julia: This is a perfect time to turn to Robert and Cynthia who have been looking at what the industry has to say.

Cynthia: A recent Gallup study showed that employees who work from home three to four days a week are far more likely to feel engaged and far less likely to feel not engaged than people who come to the office and report to the office each day. Gallup has consistently found that flexible scheduling and working from home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.

Robert: The study also showed that remote workers are more productive and that the additional flexibility can help to close the gender gap.

Cynthia: There’s a link about this on the website.

Robert: In a Deloitte millennial survey released earlier this year, nearly two thirds of millennials said they prefer full-time employment to freelancing.

Cynthia: Millennial’s anxiety about world events and increasing automation may be partially responsible for them wanting to remain in their jobs, so they’re really thinking about job security.

Julia: One area, which I think really does deserve some focus because I hear this time and time again, is about representation of ethnic minorities on boards as well, Kate. You published some research last year looking at that. Are we seeing improvements in that area or do we still have a long way to go?

Kate: I think sadly, we still have a long way to go. Sir John Parker did a fantastic report, which was launched in November 2016, looking at the progress of black and ethnic minorities on both boards and executive teams. The challenges facing the female pipeline are small in comparison to the challenges facing the BME pipeline. The great news is, there are organisations, so for example, Deloitte has just done a fabulous program for up and coming BME leaders that it has done, really on the back of the work that they have done on their women and board. I’m optimistic that companies are serious, but I guess it goes to the heart of my advice for any senior man, woman, asian, black aspiring executive – you have to focus on your day job. Being really good at your day job is what’s going to get you that next opportunity, be it on an ExCo or on a board. I think the focus of Sir John Parker’s work is looking back at the pipeline and that’s where organisations like We Are The City and Sapphire Partners are working hard to make sure that pipeline feels supported, mentored, sponsored and better networked.

Julia: Well, I would love to have you both back on in whatever time span that’s going to be and actually sort of see to what degree this change continues to drive. We could talk forever. I’m so grateful you gave up the time. Thank you so much for joining us, Vanessa and Kate. Thank you.

Kieron: This episode of DiverCity™ Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. Thanks to Cynthia Akinsanya and Robert Pinto-Fernandes for their insights. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, DiverCityPodcast.com. Whilst you’re there you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates. To be sure of catching all our future podcasts, subscribe to our feed in iTunes or your favourite podcast app. If you’ve enjoyed this episode of DiverCity™ Podcast, remember to give us a rating or review in iTunes. It all helps promote the show to a wider audience. Finally, our Twitter handle is @divercitypod. Thanks for listening.