Senior business leaders say shift the focus from women on boards - Business Works
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Senior business leaders say shift the focus from women on boards

Karen Gill, co-founder of everywoman Senior business leaders have recently recognised too much focus on the issue of the number of women on boards and not enough on developing up-and-coming female talent, both in corporations and the entrepreneurial sector. In respponse to this, the everywoman Navigator is the definitive guide for women that will help them plan their careers and business ventures and address the stymied UK female talent pipeline.

Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers; Chris Browne, Managing Director of Thomson Airways, Larry Hirst CBE, former Chairman of IBM EMEA and Perween Warsi, CBE Founder and Chief Executive, S&A Foods are among those who support the guide which offers expert advice and insight into the barriers that often hold women back in their working lives.

The everywoman Navigator has been created by the everywomanClub, a membership group of senior women in business. Dame Mary Perkins, an advisory board member of everywomanClub, says, "If we are to get more women into senior positions and running large businesses then we need to support the flow of talented women to the top. We hope the guide will go some way in doing this. We need to help women plot their business course so they have the support and skills in place to achieve their goals."

Composed by this very successful group of women from all areas of business, the guide is a 'living' document that will grow over time and includes advice, tips, self-diagnostic tools, research and thought leadership on the challenges women face in business including: roadblocks to promotion, returning to work, self-esteem, confidence to lead, and the reality of 'having it all'.

"As a leader, you are only as good as the team you have around you," says Chrissie Rucker MBE, founder of The White Company. "To build a great team you must seek out the right people and give them ownership of what they are managing."

"Women can be extremely harsh critics of themselves and in that way we are generally different to men," says Claire Scott-Priestley, Partner at Squire Sanders. "For your self-esteem, it is important to remind yourself of what you have achieved so far, instead of letting yourself fall into a spiral of negativity."

Rebecca Salt, EVP of CEVA Logistics, says, on being a manager, "One of the biggest challenges for anyone promoted to a manager role is, in general, they are not given training in management and leadership skills. Iíve looked at the differences between managers I have enjoyed working with and those I havenít and incorporated these into the way I manage. To be a successful manager and leader of people is a key skill for women looking to succeed in business and we should actively be helping these women develop the right skills in this area."

"You should have a plan," says Helen Kelisky, Vice President at IBM UK. "It is important to have the next two or three steps ahead planned out and in your sights, but be prepared to change your plan to take advantage of opportunities as they arise."

Karen Gill, co-founder of everywoman, says, "We know we have a problem with the number of women on the boards of UK businesses. But putting all the focus simply on board numbers is a very short-sighted view and also excludes women in enterprise."

"The UK female pipeline is broken. Until it is fixed, there will not be the women ready to move up into senior management in a constant stream or more women setting up their own businesses Ė if women started businesses at the same rate as men there would be 150,000 more businesses a year."

"Addressing this problem is not just a nice to have, it is an economic imperative and like any business situation if we want to affect change we need to give it some focus. We hope that with the everywoman Navigator we have created a useful guide for women in business. It is both cohesive and practical and tailored to the needs of women operating either a business or in the workplace."

To download a copy of the everywoman Navigator, visit:

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