Last year, on International Women’s Day, leading offshore law firm Appleby, announced the launch of its Global Female Leaders Network, with the aim to bring together women in senior positions across the jurisdictions in which the firm operates.
The network, which originally started in Jersey in 2017 with Managing Partner, Wendy Benjamin, bringing together a group of senior female leaders in the jurisdiction, expanded in 2019 to also cover Bermuda, BVI, Cayman, Hong Kong and the Isle of Man.
Over the past year, various members of Appleby’s Female Leaders Network have organised and attended events to help support women from various industries and backgrounds. Events have included 1:1 coaching sessions delivered by two female partners in Appleby’s Bermuda office, speaking on a panel at the 100 Women in Finance event held in Cayman as well as Appleby run networking events such as wreath making, tea tasting and a shopping event.
We asked various members of the Appleby Female Leaders Network, what being a part of the network meant for them.
Isle of Man
Managing Partner Faye Moffett commented: “The Female Leader Network initiative has been a really valuable event for us over the past year. The network is an opportunity for Appleby to meet other like-minded women within the Isle of Man’s business community, who all share the same goal of developing talented women within the workplace and to discuss ways we can help achieve this. I think it’s important to remember that women have come a long way in the business world but there is always more we can do.”
Partner Tammy Richardson-Augustus commented: “The ability to forge relationships across differences is a prosocial skill that can be cultivated (with knowledge, intentionality, and practice)- what is more, it has a positive impact on our well–being and drives economic growth, social vitality and innovation. It is against this backdrop that Appleby has focused on diversity and inclusivity initiatives as a mentality and not merely as a strategic imperative.”
Partner Caroline Barton commented: “Our Female Leaders Network is about creating an environment where women thrive, where we start to connect with each other and with our clients to collectively increase our knowledge and skills to gain real power in order to drive change and push the evolution of the culture around us.”
Partner, Fiona Chan commented: ”It’s been fantastic to launch the Female Leaders Network in Hong Kong and provide a place for women across various sectors to network and discuss their experiences in an informal setting. The fashion nights provide the perfect setting for this to take place and we look forward to hosting our annual event again this year.”
Senior Associate Gemma Whale commented: ”The network is important to me because, whether we like it or not, we still work in a male dominated industry. Yes, we may have other calls on our time as our careers progress but we still have a lot to offer – the network recognises and supports this.
It is an opportunity to network with like-minded women, facing similar challenges in their workplace and perhaps even at home, and to be able to speak freely about those challenges and support one another.”
Senior Associate Amy Benest added: ”It’s about bringing together like-minded women, who have been willing to speak freely about the challenges they’ve faced at work and offer advice as to how to counter those challenges. I think women of our generation recognise and appreciate the efforts of those who have gone before us, but also recognise the responsibility we have to future generations of women to make changes, which ultimately benefit us all as a community. Our employment laws are not as advanced and flexible as many of us are used to or would like, yet Jersey has one of the highest rates of working women. Nothing will change unless someone is willing to step up and make it happen.”
Commenting on the network in Jersey, Lynne Capie, Global Head of Business Development and Communications said: “The Female Leaders Network is the only network in Jersey that recognises those female leaders in our local community who have both an appetite and the seniority/ability to support other women in their development and career ascension.”
To recognise International Women’s Day this year, Appleby offices in Jersey and Guernsey are collection donations from colleagues to support The Jersey Women’s Refuge and Guernsey’s Women’s refuge Safer.