The network brings together a group of senior women in business, to meet on a regular basis to discuss a variety of topics including how to develop talented women within an organisation. Appleby places great emphasis on diversity within their workforce. Research proves how diversity in the workplace has a positive impact on performance and decision-making, particularly when women are strongly represented at senior levels. For example, research by McKinsey & Company shows that there is a statistically significant correlation between a more diverse leadership team and financial outperformance (Delivering through Diversity, 2018).
Faye, Claire and Caren discuss the Female Leaders Network and why it is different to other networking events on the island.
Why did you want to be involved in the Female Leaders Network?
Caren: “It’s great to meet with like-minded women and discuss business matters, family life and everything in-between. It’s a brilliant opportunity to learn from other leaders too and share different experiences.
“When you look at the working population, more women are working now than before. Today, over 70% of women aged 16–64 are employed, this percentage has increased from 53% in 1971. There is also more boardroom representation from women than in previous years. There are an exceptional number of fantastic female directors and leaders on the island, and this should be celebrated more.”
Faye: “I think it’s important to remember that women have come a long way in the business world. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. For example, the gender pay gap report from April 2018 demonstrated the gap in median pay has narrowed by just 0.4%, from 11.8% to 11.4%. That’s why I think this Female Leaders Network is important; it continues to promote diversity and equality. After all, a diverse workforce brings many benefits to an organisation.”
Claire: “By being involved in groups like this you learn more, not just about other people but about other industries. My main sector is technology and regulation, so having the opportunity to speak with other women outside that sector allows you to see other perspectives, making you a more diverse thinker.”
What type of events will the network host?
Faye: “We want to keep events informal and make the network feel like a group of women meeting for a ‘catch up’ as opposed to going to a business meeting. We plan to have wine tasting, dinners, or even panel discussions, to get people talking to each other and grow their network on-island.”
Claire: “There are a lot of brilliant business networks on the island, and we certainly don’t want to replicate events that are already taking place. Ultimately we want the type of events we host to add value to the members. Feedback is important and we will grow and develop the network based on feedback of those involved.”
What makes this network different to others of its kind?
Caren: “I think the fact we’re trying to keep it informal and light-hearted makes it different. This isn’t just another meeting; it is a gathering of women who can discuss business, life and everything else.”
Faye: “The intimacy of the group also adds a point of difference as the network is made up of a small group of women which ensures each person has a greater opportunity to get to know everyone. With large networking events it can be difficult to meet everyone so as this is a small group it allows the members to build more meaningful and beneficial relationships.”
What do you personally hope to achieve from the Female Leaders Network?
Claire: “I enjoy meeting new people and building on existing relationships. The more people you know, the more opportunities arise so attending networks like this can be incredibly valuable.”
Appleby continues to put diversity at the heart of their employee strategy, not only from a leadership perspective, but across the entire organisation. Diversity and workplace inclusion is becoming increasingly important, particularly to the workforce of the future. This is evident from PwC’s 2016 Millennial Survey of more than 10,000 millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 1995). Over 80% of those surveyed said that an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is an important factor when deciding whether or not to work for them.
As a firm that has a global network which spans 10 jurisdictions, Appleby is naturally a diverse organisation. Females account for more than half of the business as a whole, which is similarly reflected across its senior lawyers and other leadership positions.
In addition, four out of Appleby’s 10 offices have a female Office Managing Partner. In addition, Appleby has employees from over 30 different countries.
Appleby will be hosting its first Female Leaders Network event on the Isle of Man in the summer.