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Audeliss Announces Latest Addition to our Team

Audeliss Executive Search TeamAudeliss are delighted to announce the appointment of Alasdair Brown as Resourcing Business Partner.

Serial entrepreneur Alasdair previously spearheaded Champions Life Academy, a national social enterprise combining charity fundraising with graduate leadership training. In the last eight years the initiative helped 880 people from a variety of backgrounds into employment, and raised a total of £12million of forecast income for their charity clients.

Alasdair also launched Blue Stern Recruitment in 2011, and will be applying over a decade of business expertise to build on Audeliss’ broad networks and generate new opportunities for success.

Alasdair says of his new role, ‘I am thrilled to be joining Audeliss. Having seen the organisation’s achievements over the past five years, it’s clearly a huge driver for diversity and inclusion and mirrors my own aspirations not just to talk about change, but to proactively champion and support the success of diverse talent. I am looking forward to working with the brilliant team at Audeliss and to making a real difference.’

Suki Sandhu, CEO and Founder of Audeliss, comments, ‘We are delighted to welcome Alasdair into our team. Alasdair’s wealth of experience will prove invaluable in helping our clients and candidates and continuing in our journey to make the business world a more diverse and inclusive place.’


Congratulations to Audeliss Researcher Alex Wyld

Audeliss executive search and interim management teamWe are delighted to congratulate our Researcher Alex Wyld on her one-year anniversary with Audeliss.

In her year with us, Alex has worked on a variety of interim management assignments and executive searches. Her skills have proven invaluable in sourcing senior female, BAME, LGBT+ and other diverse candidates for global businesses and public sector organisations, with successful appointments including:

  • Financial Services – Finance Director
  • Public Sector – HR Director
  • Public Sector – Chief People Officer
  • Business Services – Head of Resourcing
  • Property – Interim Global Head of Learning & Development
  • Public Sector – HR Consultant

Alex says, ‘I am thrilled to look back on my career at Audeliss so far: I feel privileged to have worked with leading organisations and to be able to make a difference to the lives of some truly exceptional diverse candidates. I’m lucky to work with a group of people who are not only genuine, intelligent and creative, but fantastic at what they do. I look forward to the year to come and the opportunity to work with an even wider range of clients and candidates.’

Audeliss CEO and Founder Suki Sandhu comments, ‘We are pleased to congratulate Alex and immensely proud to have her on our team. Her dedication to candidates and diligence in fulfilling client needs helps ensure that we provide services of only the highest standard. We are eagerly anticipating further success from our team and look forward to another fruitful and enjoyable year for Audeliss.’

New Job: Interim Head of Marketing

digital-marketing-1563467Our client is a truly ground-breaking investment management firm who have enjoyed phenomenal growth due to their success and are innovative and disruptive in the market.

We are looking for an exceptional Interim Head of Marketing who can hit the ground running and inspire the talented marketing team, whilst having the creativity to tell the very different story of this business.

The Interim Head of Marketing will:

  • Have a strong background in marketing within an investment management or asset management environment;
  • Be obsessed with the customer and driven by excellence;
  • Possess a history of delivering results, with a demonstrable track-record of working within a fast-paced, demanding environment;
  • Relish the opportunity to be part of this true game-changer with a deep understanding of the customer, in terms of motivations, from a regulatory point of view and how to position the brand;
  • Be pragmatic and diplomatic, with high EQ of equal importance to Financial Services literacy;
  • Have excellent team management skills, with the ability to motivate and inspire.

The Interim Head of Marketing role is ideal for someone to make their mark and be involved with a genuinely different proposition in the market.

To apply for this exciting role please contact Senior Researcher Sarah Haynes at sarah@audeliss.com. 

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Business BAME Role Models: Latest Research White Paper from Audeliss

lack of ethnic minority BAME business role modelsAudeliss is proud to launch our latest research white paper on the shocking lack of role models for BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people in the business world, and explore the way forward to achieving greater racial diversity.

Earlier this year our UPstanding initiative reported that only 4% of FTSE 100 CEOs are not white, despite the BAME community making up 14% of the UK population.

Our research revealed that:

  • 66% of BAME people have no business role models at all;
  • 30% of ethnic minority role models work in the entertainment industry, and;
  • A miniscule 12% of BAME people can name a single female BAME role model.

Read the white paper here

Visible role models are vital, both to increasing the awareness of opportunities for BAME individuals and in empowering organisations to value diversity and foster inclusive workplaces.

In the coming weeks, we will be following up the ‘what’ with the ‘how’: a thought leadership piece exploring how senior executives can attract and retain excellent diverse talent, ultimately achieving increased business success, through championing diverse role models.

You can download the free white paper here and read more about the impact of diversity and inclusion here.


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2016 Emmy Awards are Most Diverse Yet – But at What Cost?

Emmys Diversity InclusionMonday night’s Emmy Awards celebrated some fantastic wins for diverse talent in the entertainment industry, with female, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Emmy nominees and winners including:

However, whilst the above achievements suggest that actors of ethnic minority background are achieving greater visibility and recognition for their work, and the media and public alike are celebrating with the hashtag #EmmysSoDiverse, the Emmys have also presented some worrying signs that suggest progress in achieving racial equality has stalled – and in many ways is rapidly worsening.

One immediately noticeable trend involving the BAME winners and nominees is that the majority of the actors were nominated and/or won for their role in The People vs OJ Simpson: a television show focused on the criminal trial of a black man suspected of brutally murdering a white woman. This is problematic in itself but also points to wider issues in the entertainment industry.

The People vs OJ Simpson has received a wealth of critical praise and in terms of racial diversity is leaps and bounds ahead of the American television industry on average, with a fantastic opportunity to showcase non-white talent that resulted in a brilliant diverse cast. However, the show is based on real-life events and all characters are based on real people, of whom a large proportion are black or have an ethnic minority background: from the very beginning the show necessitated, and executives specifically sought and cast, non-white actors.

The disappointing element of the increase in racial diversity is that, although inclusion of BAME actors is always a welcome step towards greater diversity, it was not achieved in this instance because of a proactive attempt by businesses to tell original stories of three-dimensional BAME characters or to open up opportunities for diverse actors. OJ Simpson has more black cast members than other shows only because the story could not have been told without black actors. This then begs the pivotal question:  Is diversity still progressive – and beneficial – when lacking in diverse intentions?

The seeming progression of increased BAME representation also stands in stark contrast to the struggles for racial equality throughout the rest of America. The real-life OJ Simpson trial in the early 1990s shone a spotlight on institutionalised racism, and provided a powerful platform for previously unheard voices to raise awareness of criminal justice bias and police violence against the black community. But more than two decades on, what has really changed?

Though people with ethnic minority backgrounds have won increased legal rights and protections, BAME people across the US, UK and the world still face discrimination every day. Activist groups such as Black Lives Matter argue that police violence against the black community has actually worsened – in America, unarmed black people are five times more likely than unarmed white people to be shot and killed by police.

Whilst entertainment businesses are taking positive steps towards diversity and inclusion, there is a still a long road ahead for greater racial diversity across industries: in the UK,  just 4% of CEOs of FTSE 100 companies are BAME. The opportunities available to actors of ethnic minority and the worrying representation of BAME people in the media reinforce the need for visible role models and increased awareness of the importance of diversity. By championing diverse role models from all backgrounds and career paths and by celebrating our differences, we are on the way to making our world a better and more inclusive place for everyone.

New Job: Supply Chain Development Director – Infrastructure

New Job Supply Chain Director InfrastructureLocation: West Midlands

This is an exciting new opportunity for an experienced Supply Chain Development Director to  play a key role in our client’s commercial & procurement executive team, preparing for a high profile multi-billion pound investment programme.

Ensuring the supply chain is engaged and ready for the business’ future plans, planning and analysis of requirements, stakeholder engagement, relationship building and communication are all important parts of the role. Additionally you will be accountable for ensuring that the supply chain strategy is further developed through the use of value chain plans for all key areas. Using these plans you will work through and across the business to ensure support, alignment and delivery of performance, capability and capacity.

The Development Director will:

  • Lead the roll out of the strategy, ensure full business support and report progress to the Executive and the Board
  • Contribute as a member of the commercial and procurement executive team and the broader senior leadership team to deliver a changed supply chain capable of delivering the aspirational business goals across safety, customer service and delivery of the investment programme
  • Develop and lead relationship building at all levels and in relevant industry bodies
  • Lead relevant aspects of the business commitment to equality and diversity and skills development
  • Contribute to and fully support the development of procurement plans and specific commercial strategies to support the delivery of the business objectives
  • Deliver the efficiencies targets relating to  development and category management across the business.
  • Lead the Strategic Supplier team and create a go to resource that is called on by the business as an essential part of delivering its plans for the future
  • Contribute to the maintenance and development of appropriate risk review and management across Commercial and Procurement and the business
  • Embed a business partner culture in the team integrating support into the businesses operational teams with aligned objectives and collaborative and supportive culture.

Person Specification:

  • Experienced professional with a demonstrable track record of delivering supply chain change to support business imperatives
  • Experience of working in complex or infrastructure supply chains across all phases of asset life cycle
  • Proven success in building and leading cross-business and multi-functional teams delivering real business change
  • Highly developed and experienced communication, facilitation, networking and influencing skills combined with an ability to make decision and motivate teams
  • Experience of working within a safety critical environment
  • Technically competent and credible – experienced and/or technically qualified in a relevant discipline.

Key Competencies:

  • Translate strategic priorities into clear outcome-focused objectives for managers and provide the energy and drive in achievement of these objectives
  • Build high performing teams within own area, aligned around common goals
  • Articulate options and large-scale reputational risks and impacts, including economic, environmental, political and social, and recommend plans to manage and mitigate.
  • Manage strategic commercial relationships and delivery arrangements actively and effectively to provide ongoing value for money
  • Lead from the front, communicating and motivating people towards stretching goals. Actively promote the business’ reputation externally and internally – publicise successes widely. Inspire staff and delivery partners to engage fully with the organisation’s long term vision and purpose, supporting them to make sense of change

To apply for the role please send your CV to Louise at louise@audeliss.com. 

New Job: Interim Head of Marketing

Technology Interim Head of MarketingThis is an opportunity for an experienced Interim Head of Marketing to join an innovative company who manage a global network of collaborative industry communities, allowing trading partners to share quality, structured data. Using cloud-based technology, they act as a trusted independent partner to enable buyers to manage risk in their supply chain, and suppliers to increase market reach in their target sector. For the right candidate, permanent employment is available.

Location: Madrid, Spain

The Interim Head of Marketing will:

  • Manage of a team of 4 direct reports based in 3 countries across multiple time zones
  • Own a non-people budget of circa £160k per annum
  • Drive activity across 10 countries, 24 communities and supporting 6 different languages
  • Deliver circa 15 exhibitions per annum
  • Execute 450+ campaigns per annum
  • Manage 200 plus translations per annum
  • Deliver 3300+ leads and £1m+ income per annum

Previous Knowledge and Experience

  • Minimum of 8+ years’ experience in a marketing management, external communications, campaign management or similar
  • Experience owning and delivering income and revenue targets in multiple countries and across different regions
  • In depth knowledge and experience operating in business to business markets
  • Experience of operating in the relevant markets, languages, sectors, geographies and cultures
  • Experience of operating in a multi-channel customer facing environment is essential
  • Project management experience, including the ability to effectively deploy resources and manage multiple projects of diverse scopes in a cross-functional environment
  • Management, development and leadership of teams
  • Planning, financial and budget management.

Essential Skills of the Interim Head of Marketing:

  • Relevant Language skills (critical Spanish, French, English) – both written and spoken
  • Technical marketing skills incl. HTML, Social media, Google analytics
  • Strong communication & presentation skills
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Analytical, research orientated. solving, research orientated
  • Strategic thinking & planning
  • Commercial acumen and judgement – justifying investment
  • Customer engagement/focus
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Influencing and stakeholder management
  • Project management – delivery focussed, results orientated
  • Presentation preparation and delivery
  • Comfortable with change, and particularly leading it

Personal Specification

  • Hands on approach to marketing and running campaigns
  • Happy in the detail and operational aspects of executing marketing as with team leadership
  • Comfortable with being highly visibility across the entire organisation
  • Highly accessible and approachable to the Regional Directors, sales, operational and IT development teams in order to answer questions and resolve issues quickly
  • Able to influence senior-level management and key stakeholders internal and externally
  • Able to deal with high levels of potential ambiguity and change
  • Resilient, has a flexible approach and is a self-starter – able to devise, run and implement activity with little support of guidance where necessary
  • Highly collaborative and works well in a fast paced environment, yet challenges thoughtfully
  • Gravitas – personal authority, ambassadorial stature and presence to quickly establish personal credibility with senior management
  • Execution focused and have a proven record of success in complex environments
  • Motivational and inspiring communications style, with sincerity, humility and integrity
  • Results-driven, high-performing, high-quality work attitude can do attitude, backed up by the activities to makes things happen in a reliable manner
  • Able to demonstrate the maturity to work independently on a day-to-day basis and have the wisdom to know when to collaborate, delegate and/or escalate
  • Responsible and dependable – does what he/she says he/she will do.

To be considered please email Louise Gore at louise@audeliss.com with your CV and a covering letter explaining why you are an ideal candidate for the Interim Head of Marketing role.

We are hiring!

recruitment consultant HR researcher jobAre you a:

  • Dynamic self-starter motivated by making a difference?
  • Entrepreneurial high achiever who relishes a challenge?
  • Champion of diversity who embraces the inclusion of BAME, LGBT+, gender, disability and all individual differences?

We want to hear from you!

At Audeliss we pride ourselves on delivering excellent services to each and every client and candidate and we constantly strive to improve even further, meaning we are always open to new talent.

Whether you have a background in executive search or interim recruitment, possess dedicated HR expertise or specialise in research across Financial Services, Retail, Public Sector or any number of industries, Audeliss offers the opportunity for phenomenal career success and the power to make a real difference to the lives of diverse candidates.

Get in touch with us to find out more – contact Chris Bernard, Managing Director on 07958 673455 or chris@audeliss.com. You can find out more about our current team here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Audeliss Voted Top Interim Provider

winner-1445797We are delighted to announce that Audeliss has been named one of the top 80 Interim Service Providers of 2016.

The Institute of Interim Management (IIM) Annual Providers Survey ranks the top 80 interim recruiters across the UK, voted for by interim managers themselves. Audeliss was a new entry in 2015 at no.74 and we are thrilled to return to the list for a second consecutive year in an even higher position as 71st and as a Bronze Provider.

As a boutique interim and search provider and small business the market recognition means a lot to us, and as a diversity-focused business this achievement evidences both the growing awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion and the outstanding success of diverse interims across industries and functions.

Chris Bernard, Managing Director at Audeliss, comments, ‘We are delighted to be included on the list once again and want to thank everyone who kindly voted for us. At Audeliss candidate care is our top priority, so it means even more to us to be recognised by our candidates. We are committed to further improving the recruitment experience for both candidates and clients, and next year aim to become Silver Service Providers.’

enei Awards 2016 reveal Shocking Diversity Statistics and Inspiring Progress

enei_logo-e1453056380793We at Audeliss were delighted to attend the Employers Networks for Equality & Inclusion (enei) Awards last week. Hosted by The Law Society, the awards aim to celebrate the achievements of organisations that proactively challenge discrimination and demonstrate inclusivity across their workforce.

The enei event revealed interesting new insights into diversity and inclusion, and presented a wealth of shocking findings, which included:

  • The talent is out there, but it’s not being discovered. Career opportunities are not being promoted to some communities, resulting in a low level of awareness across minority groups: diverse communities are either not realising the potential in themselves or do not have the visibility of potential opportunities open to them, but both of these factors should act as catalysts for change;
  • Despite the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities releasing statistics earlier this month showing an increase in gender diversity in the Boardroom, progress for getting more women onto UK Boards has actually stalled. David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who spoke at the enei Awards, announced that the organisation aim to set a new target for FTSE350 companies to achieve an employee base comprised of at least 50% women;
  • Maternity discrimination is still rife across the board, with 1 in 9 pregnant women forced out of their job due to pregnancy.

The enei winners and shortlisted organisations have delivered incredibly inspiring achievements, some of which included: proactively recruiting multiple ex-offenders, instilling flexible and agile working across global organisations, work placements for individuals with mental health challenges, outreach programmes for disadvantaged young people, setting and exceeding gender diversity and BAME targets, and topping the Stonewall Equality list for LGBT+ inclusive initiatives.

The wide range of winners stretched across the public, private and third sectors and across a variety of industries, and included EY, Bank of England, Sodexo, Pinsent Masons, the Civil Service, Surrey County Council and Royal Mail. Congratulations to all those awarded the coveted highly commended and winning positions.

You can find out more about enei and the awards here.

Breakthrough with PwC

On 5th July, I was asked to be a guest speaker at the PwC Breakthrough Programme Relationships and Networks session. Breakthrough aims to increase the diversity of PwC’s leadership and uncover biases whilst working to create new attitudes and behaviours.

I worked alongside senior PwC leaders and their clients in sharing my experiences of creating and building networks. We also discussed the importance of being authentic in the workplace and overcoming barriers to effective networking particularly in terms of gender and culture.


Other guest speakers included Jonathan Howe from PwC and Nicky Moffat CBE. Helen Beedham from Cityparents was also a guest speaker and thoroughly enjoyed the experience:

The discussion was lively, wide-ranging and constructive and the participants’ clients added another valuable perspective to the mix.  PwC is one of 79 City firms who have corporate membership of Cityparents, so I was delighted to collaborate again with them and support their efforts to promote female progression within the company.

The session was organised by PwC’s Inclusive Leadership and Breakthrough Leader, Nicola Caldwell: “I’m really proud of our Breakthrough community who are making a tangible difference to the everyday experiences of their colleagues and clients. Our aim is to truly be able to value difference to enable all our people to flourish.”

We are looking forward to future Breakthrough events!

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What Will Brexit Mean for Diversity?


What will Brexit, Britain leaving the EU, mean for Diversity

Last week’s referendum vote to leave the European Union has sent shockwaves up and down the country and leaders across the UK are debating the possible consequences for our industries and economy. Brexit has the potential to significantly impact diversity and those who identify as part of a minority group, not only in the UK but across Europe and around the world – and in some cases people are already being affected:

  • EU citizens working in the UK contribute significantly to our economy, business and public services; we don’t yet know how much they will be affected, but hope that their contribution will continue to be recognised by industries, the public sector and the government. As the Leave campaign has not officially called for deportation those from the EU already living in the UK will likely be able to remain indefinitely, and if we negotiate to keep freedom of movement the 3million EU citizens in the UK will be unaffected. However, the Leave campaign’s promise to reduce immigration will see the UK government under intense pressure to withdraw from the freedom of movement law, which may require EU citizens to obtain legal documentation before being able to live and work in the UK.
  • Pro-Leave politicians have long been in favour of withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights and scrapping the Human Rights Act in favour of a newly-drafted British Bill of Rights. If created and passed, the new legislation would likely incorporate many of the revolutionary rights and protections afforded by the European Union. However, as demonstrated by California’s turbulent history with LGBT rights governments are often influenced by public opinion and can forcibly remove rights from its citizens; regarding those laws likely to be upheld, there are no guarantees around the extent to which rights covering workplace discrimination and maternity pay would be protected.
  • More than 100 racial hate crimes have been reported in the few days since the EU referendum and with immigration reportedly a leading factor in the Leave vote these racist attacks are believed to be directly linked to Brexit. Whatever the outcome of the freedom of movement negotiations, EU immigrants, non-EU immigrants and UK citizens of ethnic minority could continue to suffer increased levels of prejudice, discrimination and racially motivated violence.
  • And lastly, what will Britain’s Leave vote mean for the rights and freedoms of women, LGBT+ citizens, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities in EU member states? European LGBT rights activists fear that without the UK’s voice as a long-standing proponent of equality and human rights progression, the remaining EU members will find it harder to support minorities in European countries with poorer human rights records.

The uncertainty of the current political climate reinforces the need to continue supporting and championing diversity and inclusion everywhere. By exercising our rights to vote for party leaders, defending those under attack from discrimination and promoting unity and equality, we can protect diverse and minority groups whatever the outcomes of Brexit.

Minority Women Leaders Series: Jean Lee, President & CEO of MCCA

Jean Lee is a Korean-American lawyer who was recently appointed as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Prior to her new role, Jean was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

I was on the MCCA board for a few years and now it’s fantastic to be in a position where I can focus on my MCCA work full-time,” she says.

Since coming into her new role, Jean is rapidly developing MCCA into a global leader in all issues of diversity:

Diversity looks different across the globe. Our vision is to be a global thought leader. We already have members outside of the States and 2017 will be our year focusing on working internationally and developing what we do.”

Jean is also keen to reach out to younger diverse candidates. “I’m keen to develop strong pipeline programmes for diverse law school candidates. We are working with law schools on specific programming as you need to start the discussions around diversity and inclusion as early as possible. We need to be proactive rather than reactive.”

The MCCA prides itself on being a holistic diversity and inclusion association and not just a minority network. The internal make-up of the organisation has changed and grown accordingly with its members:

Over the years, I’ve seen our board really diversify. We don’t just have African Americans and Caucasions, we have Asian Americans, Hispanic and LGBT leaders. The MCCA encompasses more than race: we also champion women, LGBT and generational diversity. We recently conducted a study on how milennials embrace diversity of thought and also examined the different approaches to diversity around thought, age and people.”

Focusing on diversity of thought and the millennial generation is a very interesting area. Research from the latest consensus in the USA shows that by the year 2040, the USA will be majority-minority for the first time. Millennials now number 83.1 million and have surpassed Baby Boomers at 75.4 million.

Milennials are the most diverse generation in history: “Diversity is a rapidly-changing and growing issue. Soon, we will need a new term to refer to ‘minorities’ and our research is already placing us in a position to take on these issues and launch ourselves as a true global diversity leader,” she says.

For more information: http://www.mcca.com/

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Happy Pride Weekend…


Audeliss LGBT London Pride Week 2016


Our diversity-championing team have always been proud to support Pride since our inception and this year we are wearing our rainbow wings: our logo has been specifically enhanced to reflect the LGBT+ flag to celebrate Pride Week.

The still-raw devastation wrought by the Orlando shootings last week is a poignant reminder of the importance of Pride and its meaning for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world. Embracing diversity and uniting against homophobia and transphobia are even more vital in the wake of Orlando and recent set-backs in the struggle for equality worldwide, including research from London Pride revealing that 74% of LGBT people feel the need to hide their sexual orientation and the uncertainty of what Brexit will mean for the UK’s diverse workforce.

However, the LGBT community and straight allies still have many reasons to celebrate. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the legalisation of same-sex marriage in America and organisations across the globe are strengthening their efforts in the battle against prejudice and discrimination, with small businesses in New York working to become more inclusive of diverse employees and trade unions actively fighting homophobia.

Every single step of progress including small victories for trans students proves that when we work together to celebrate diversity and champion our differences, we make the world a better place for everyone.

Enjoy your weekend and have a very Happy Pride!

Launch of inaugural UPstanding list

26th May 2016


The under-representation of people from a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background in corporate diversity programmes is a long suspended issue. That’s why at the end of May, in partnership with the FT, we published the inaugural UPstanding Executive Power List of the top 100 BAME business leaders in the UK, US and Ireland to shine a light on this underrepresented issue.

The inaugural list features the inspirational Muhtar Kent, CEO The Coca-Cola Company at No. 1. It also highlights those impactful individuals who have smashed double-glass ceilings like Manjit Wolstenholme (No. 2) who is the only female BAME Chair of a FTSE 100 company and Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO TaskRabbit (No. 8) is the only female BAME CEO in Silicon Valley.

As initiatives like UPstanding are so important and the sheer brilliance of those placed on the list was at such a high level, we were ecstatic to launch this first of it’s kind, global list at UPstanding founding sponsor, Slaughter and May’s London office in their executive dining suite overlooking the city.

We had the honour of being joined by inspirational and impactful business leaders from all over the world to celebrate our launch and were very fortunate to have addresses from Sarah Lee, Partner-Dispute Resolution at Slaughter and May and listed No.55, Carola Hoyos, Editor, Executive Appointments and Non-Executive Directors’ Club at The Financial Times and UPstanding judge and Ashok Vaswani, CEO-UK at Barclays and UPstanding judge.

The evening brought to life everything that UPstanding is about; rallying impactful diversity champions to influence real change. We are so happy to have had such a successful launch to UPstanding’s journey and are so excited for the coming months.

Thank you to everyone that joined us.

New Google emojis tackle gender stereotypes


The technology sector is particularly affected by gender inequality. Last year, McKinsey’s study on recruiting and retaining women in technology organisations revealed that the number of young women completing engineering and technology programmes has dropped significantly over the past 30 years. The National Centre for Women & Information Technology also found that a little more than half of all US women who do enter technology fields leave their employers mid-career.

Naheed Afzal, Co-Founder of Contracts IT recognises the deficit in public perception and commented, “The world is moving on and we all have a role to play in changing unfair perceptions” These studies also show that the issue is not just recruiting and retaining women in science and technology. The problem is also how these careers are perceived.

In March 2016, Always – one of Proctor and Gamble’s biggest brands – noted:
Data from the most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Survey shows that more than half of girls surveyed (54%) feel that female emojis are stereotypical, and 75% of girls would like to see female emojis portrayed more progressively, including professional female emoji options.”

With the likes of Michelle Obama also tweeting that she would like to see the emoji of a girl studying, female emojis turned into a mainstream discussion. Earlier last week, four Google employees proposed creating a new set of emojis that ‘represents a wide range of professions for women and men with a goal of highlighting the diversity of women’s careers and empowering girls everywhere.

Funke Abimbola, General Counsel & Company Secretary, Roche UK welcomed Google’s proposal saying, “Being the largest search engine used globally means that Google’s market dominance leads to it being uniquely placed to influence perceptions and realities on a global scale.” The proposed emojis planned to tackle institutionalised stereotypes across the following sectors; Business, Healthcare, Science, Education, Technology, Industry, Farming, Food service & Music.

But is this a positive step in the right direction or too little, too late? Miranda Brawn, noted diversity champion and city barrister, said, “I think the proposal for gender equality is great, however I would like to see this applied to other forms of diversity such as race, same-sex, disability and age.” Naheed Afzal continued, “By making these available, they [Google] will impact all of our natural biases so that the image of a woman is more nuanced, in line with current day thinking, and able to impact young children who won’t balk at the idea that a woman can be a scientist or an electrician.”

Whilst this step forward is potentially raising a large public profile for these ingrained unconscious biases, it is important to not let it away from the bigger and more pressing picture of creating talent pipelines for STEM jobs for women. Roberta Liebenberg, Founder of DirectWomen and Partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black, said, “While I think it is wonderful to have emojis that depict women in STEM jobs, what we really need to work on is ensuring that women are applying and being promoted in these occupations and are having the same opportunities to succeed as their male counterparts. I hope the same creativity, energy and imagination that is being devoted to the creation of women emojis will be devoted to developing bold and innovative programs that will help create a real level playing field for women.”


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