Celebrating women in the workplace has never been more important. The 2021 HERoes Women Role Model Executives list showcases 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace.
The list has been compiled by diversity and inclusion organisation INvolve, with support from Yahoo Finance UK.
The executives on this list work within at least three levels of the chief executive at large companies, or are the leaders of smaller organisations.
All of the executives — who must identify as a woman at work and can be of any nationality and based in any country — were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward. Nominations were reviewed by the HERoes judging panel, which includes director at Yahoo, Lianna Brinded.
The panel scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
1) Megan Clarken, CEO, Criteo
As CEO of a public company that employees more than 2,500 people across the globe, Megan is committed to using her platform to shine a light on diversity, equity and inclusion.
This year, she has led two major initiatives to help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. The first was a Pay Parity Action Plan launched in March, which closed the pay gap to zero and committed to regular gender pay equity analyses for full pay parity across the organisation.
The second initiative launched this year was a parental leave policy updated to include additional paid time tailored for both parents, ensuring that new parents can spend quality time with their growing families regardless of gender.
In the spring, Criteo hired its first head of diversity, equity and inclusion to help it build a more robust global strategy, and the organisation now has seven active employee resource groups (ERGs) to support its diverse communities.
2) Lisa Osborne Ross, US CEO, Edelman
Lisa’s impressive achievements at Edelman include setting diversity, equity and inclusion metrics for all US offices, which resulted in women and people of colour making up 48% of Edelman’s senior hires since May 2020.
Whilst serving as Edelman’s COO, Lisa achieved her goal of having 50% of senior leadership positions occupied by women by 2020, and her efforts to increase the gender diversity of the Washington, DC office executive committee resulted in a team of 67% women and 33% men, reversing the original balance.
As well as serving as a member and advocate of Edelman's internal women's group, GWEN, Lisa mentors and sponsors women at all levels throughout the organisation and is considered one of Edelman's top external spokespeople on diversity, including gender diversity.
Beyond Edelman, Lisa co-created the E3 Network (Empower, Elevate and Engage) to address the lack of diverse women in the C-suite of communications agencies.
3) Ann Cairns, executive vice-chair, Mastercard
Ann leads Mastercard’s (MA) gender steering committee, presiding over diversity and inclusion initiatives including a mentoring scheme, the Relaunch Your Career programme and enhanced gender-neutral parental leave.
She is sponsor of Mastercard’s Boards for Impact scheme matching female executives with not-for-profit boards, now extended to Black US executives.
Ann champions Girls4Tech, committed to educating 5 million girls in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by 2025, and Mastercard‘s lead in a $100m early-stage venture fund focused on one female equity holding executive.
Ann is active with UN Generation Equality, under which Mastercard has pledged to reach 25 million women-led SMEs by 2025 as part of its drive to include an extra one billion people in the financial system.
Outside Mastercard, Ann is global chair of the 30% Club, a campaign in more than 20 countries committed to boosting female representation at board/executive level.
She is also chair of the Financial Alliance for Women, working with banks and fintechs on the SHEeconomy. Ann is the lead director of BEIS, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
4) Michele Wee, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam
Michele has focussed strongly on improving gender representation in front-line banking jobs whilst driving a holistic inclusive diversity and inclusion culture.
She chaired the D&I Council at Financial Markets Singapore across 40 markets and also served as a council on the Singapore country D&I Council, chaired by the CEO of Singapore.
Under her stewardship, the first Financial Markets LeanIn circle in 2019 was born. The coaching programme for 50 female directors to support their journey to become executive directors achieved 24% senior leadership in front office, up from 19% in 2019.
Michele’s other achievements include introducing a ‘balanced hiring’ for the financial markets early careers programme and a balanced interview panel/candidate slate.
Meanwhile, Financial Markets' annual Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) awards recognised male colleagues who are true advocates of female leadership.
In addition to her previous work at Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) Singapore, Michele has also coached and mentored women on career progression and navigating markets for the Singapore Institute of Management MBA programme, and served as an advocate for women on the executive committee of the Financial Markets Association SG.
5) Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK
Bina made headlines both in the UK and overseas earlier this year by becoming the first woman to be appointed as chair of KPMG in the firm's 150-year history.
Since taking on the role, she has hosted In Conversation sessions with colleagues in multiple networks, including Breathe (the firm's LGBT+ network), the African and Caribbean Network, and the Muslim Network.
Since 2014, Bina has led KPMG's relationship with Women of the Future, ensuring representation from the firm at the annual summit from a diverse group of females across the global network.
She was also responsible for initiating KPMG’s first reverse mentoring scheme, which initially focused on junior female staff, but was so successful it was later expanded to include a scheme focused on Black heritage colleagues too.
Last year, Bina was made a member of the advisory group for the Fawcett Society focused on the pay and progression of women of colour.
6) Kathy Reardon, executive vice-president and chief people officer, Dollar General Corporation
As one of the female executive officers at Dollar General Corporation (DG), Kathy is an active member of the Women's Professional Network ERG, having previously served as its executive sponsor.
Serving as chief people officer to the company’s workforce, which is 68% female, Kathy helped launch a new female leadership programme in 2021, participating in lunch and learns with female leaders to share empowering experiences and mentor numerous individuals.
Her leadership to advance Dollar General’s diversity and inclusion journey extends throughout the organisation and is evidenced by the development of a company allyship guide that helps employees play an active role in creating a more inclusive environment.
Thanks to Kathy’s leadership and the company’s efforts, Dollar General was featured on Professional Women’s Magazine’s list of top LGBTQ+ friendly companies in 2020 and was also recognised by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for ongoing workplace inclusive efforts in support of LGBTQIA+ employees in 2021.
7) Sharon Thorne, chair of the Deloitte global board of directors, Deloitte
Sharon works closely with Deloitte’s leadership to set and meet ambitious goals for the representation of women in leadership roles. She actively promotes and is a sought-after public speaker on the topics of diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellbeing, and sustainability.
Sharon is a vocal advocate for allyship and sponsorship in the workplace, for example through her involvement with Deloitte's Women in the Boardroom report and Deloitte’s global 2021 Pride campaign.
In 2019, Sharon sponsored the launch of an internal sponsorship initiative designed to develop the talent pipeline and bring more Deloitte women through to senior leadership positions, and she personally sponsors and mentors a number of women.
Sharon champions the activities of a variety of internal networks and groups, for example the Deloitte Brazil Women’s network, the Deloitte UK Neurodiversity network and the Deloitte Global LGBT+ network. She regularly engages with groups of women around the world, both at Deloitte and externally, to share her experiences, and understand theirs, and encourage them to pursue their career ambitions.
8) Tricia Griffith, president and CEO, The Progressive Corporation
When Tricia was the chief human resource officer at The Progressive Corporation, she began focusing on the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts through the establishment of several ERGs.
Fifteen years later, Progressive has nine ERGs deeply embedded in its culture, and Tricia’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has continued in her new position as CEO. The firm ended 2020 with 45% of its leadership represented by women, as well as having increased the representation of people of colour.
As an active member of Progressive’s Network of Empowered Women, Tricia works to raise awareness of the unique values women bring and the challenges they may face during their career.
Through her position on the board of the Business Roundtable, Tricia actively works with other CEOs to help promote change at a higher level, encouraging leaders in corporate America to step up to the challenge of promoting diversity by providing greater transparency on their diversity metrics.
9) Masami Katakura, chairwoman and CEO, EY ShinNihon LLC
Since being elected as chairwoman and CEO at EY ShinNihon in 2019, Masami has accelerated her efforts in developing and appointing female talents and nurturing flexible work system.
For example, there are four female board members at EY ShinNihon effective from July 2021, making up 25% of the board, compared to just 7.6% when Masami first joined in 2016.
The company’s recent people engagement survey has shown that female engagement was up 16 percentage points from 2019.
Masami has also demonstrated the power of diversity in leadership. On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, she reiterated the importance of being oneself regardless of gender and expressed her genuine commitment to be an ally of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Masami has served as a member of EY's Global Diversity and inclusiveness steering committee, using the group as a means of advancing diversity and inclusion efforts worldwide.
10) Susanne Schaffert, global president, Novartis Oncology, Novartis
As an executive committee member at Novartis (NVS), Susanne is a driver of the company’s goal of gender balance in management by 2023.
Steady progress has been made, with women in management at Novartis rising to 45%. As well as serving as a member and sponsor on resource groups such as Empowering Women to Impact Novartis (eWIN) and Women in Leadership (WIL), Susanne co-sponsors the firm’s Gender Equality Project and its Disability Equity commitment.
In 2020, she joined an eWIN event focussed on 'The Power of Inclusive Leadership', where she shared her perspectives and experiences of inclusion. Earlier this year, she launched the Novartis Switzerland second-generation Healthcare Businesswomen's Association ambassador group, where she encouraged the community to check personal biases, find the courage to speak up, and unlock inner potential through self-awareness and self-belief.
Passionate about creating inclusive workplaces, Susanne wants everyone to feel safe, respected, and able to be their true selves.
11) Tracy Garrad, CEO, AXA Health
Tracy is the executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion across AXA (CS.PA) in the UK and Ireland, and as part of this role she chairs the D&I Board, which is comprised of senior leaders from across the business.
Over the past year, successes have included getting AXA UK&I listed as a coveted 2021 Times Top 50 Employers for Women, developing and executing an ethnicity action plan, and launching an allyship programme which has been engaged with more than 2,000 times to date.
Additionally, Tracy was able to strengthen senior leadership commitment to diversity and inclusion by ensuring all leaders have two performance-related diversity and inclusion objectives, as well as making it a quarterly standing agenda item at executive committee meetings.
To celebrate 2021 International Women's Day, Tracy starred in a global AXA Group panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on gender equality, which was watched by more than 3,000 employees worldwide.
12) Annette Rippert, group CEO – strategy & consulting, Accenture
As a group CEO at Accenture (ACN), Annette has sponsored and been closely involved in scaling the company's apprenticeship programme to provide under-represented groups access to digital economy jobs.
She actively works across the industry to advance Accenture's agenda with key organisations looking to bring change for women in STEM fields. As part of her efforts to take an active role in helping women shape their careers and enlist the support they need to excel in the workplace, Annette introduced Accenture’s 16-week Return to Work programme, which assists ‘relaunchers’ with training and an opportunity to sharpen leadership skills as they return to a professional environment.
Together with Springboard Enterprises, Annette marked Accenture's 20th anniversary in October 2020 by honouring four female CEOs for their technological innovation as ‘women transforming industries’.
Her ongoing collaboration with Springboard through Accenture Ventures helps advance their mission of accelerating the success of women-led tech businesses.
13) Jacqui Canney, chief people officer, ServiceNow
Jacqui Canney is chief People officer for ServiceNow, the digital workflow company making the world of work, work better for people.
Jacqui joined ServiceNow in July 2021 and leads all talent strategies for its rapidly growing global workforce of more than 14,000 employees.
Prior to ServiceNow, Jacqui served as the global chief people officer for WPP (WPP.L), a creative transformation company that builds better futures for its clients. In this role, she was responsible for WPP’s global talent organisation, making WPP the destination for the industry’s top talent and for leading all aspects of people strategy, rewards, talent management, recruiting, and leadership development and learning.
Prior to joining WPP, Jacqui was Walmart's (WMT) chief people officer, where she was responsible for attracting, retaining, and developing talent for one of the world’s largest private employers.
Before Walmart, Jacqui worked at Accenture for 25 years where she played a pivotal role in helping support the rapid growth of the business. Jacqui currently serves on the boards of the American Marketing Association and Project Healthy Minds, and on the Board of Trustees at Boston College.
14) Anne Richards, CEO, Fidelity International
As the CEO of Fidelity International and chair of Fidelity’s Global Operating Committee, Anne is responsible for setting the firm’s corporate and strategic initiatives with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.
Under her leadership, an enhanced parental leave policy was introduced, allowing secondary carers to take as much paid leave as primary carers regardless of gender, sexual orientation or working location. Another policy provided all employees who have caring responsibilities with at least five additional days paid leave per calendar year.
In 2020, Fidelity achieved their target of 30% women in global senior management roles and set a new target to achieve 35% women in senior roles by December 2023.
Alongside these achievements Anne also piloted a female leadership programme which resulted in a direct increase in female recruitment to senior roles in India, and expanded the firm’s successful New Horizon Returnship programme, resulting in 23 female returners.
15) Sandra Horbach, managing director and co-head of US buyout and growth, The Carlyle Group
Carlyle's (CG) D&I Council launched in 2013 as one of the first groups of its kind in the investment management industry. As well as being a leader on this council, Sandra plays a pivotal role in ensuring at least half of the firm's incoming classes are diverse.
In the past year, she has led the charge in re-evaluating and refining Carlyle's portfolio board diversity goals, which now includes ensuring that 30% of all directors on the boards of Carlyle portfolio companies are diverse by 2023.
As an active leader in Carlyle's Global Mentoring Program – which has had over 800 participants globally within the last four years – Sandra oversees nearly 100 employees, 50% of whom are diverse. She also started Carlyle's women's ERG to help create inclusive environments that support and encourage women to advance their skills and leadership potential through connection, mentorship, collaboration and discussion.
16) Suzanne Rich Folsom, senior vice-president and general counsel, Philip Morris International
In July 2020, Suzanne joined Philip Morris International (PMI.SW) as its most senior female executive. As an active member of the women's ERG, the Women's Inspiration Network (WIN), she participates in company-wide interactive webcasts to discuss gender equality and integrity in the workplace.
At the Women Who Lead conference in March 2021, the first WIN event, Suzanne engaged with employees, sharing her personal journey, advice and vision. She has also been vocal in her support for gender equality through PMI’s Leaders of Change website.
Suzanne considers it a part of her life’s mission to mentor and sponsor the next generation of women in the workplace, providing opportunities for their own journeys. She has also made a mark on her department, and corporate governance, by hiring female and minority talent to her leadership team, as well as promoting and showcasing the contributions of a diverse team to other senior leaders.
17) Francesca McDonagh, group CEO, Bank of Ireland
At the Bank of Ireland, Francesca set diversity and inclusion targets to achieve a 50:50 gender balance in management and leadership appointments by 2021.
In 2020, the percentage of women represented in senior appointments was already at 41% and by the second half of the finance year this figure had risen to 47%.
Under Francesca’s leadership, a number of initiatives were introduced including a policy whereby colleagues having a baby via a surrogate can take paid leave in line with maternity benefits; a female mentoring pilot to improve the visibility of female talent and support professional development; and the launch of a recruitment charter for hiring diverse talent.
Additionally, Bank of Ireland is the only Irish bank to proactively publish their gender pay gap report ahead of legislation for a second year running, and during the COVID-19 pandemic colleagues unable to work due to childcare or other caring commitments have continued to receive a full salary.
18) Claudia San Pedro, president, SONIC Drive-In
In 2018, Claudia became the first woman and first Latina to serve as president of SONIC Drive-In, a role she is using to foster a culture with more opportunities for diverse talent.
Not only does SONIC Drive-In have many women on its leadership team, but there is gender parity at the level of operators and supervisors within individual franchises too.
Claudia frequently shares her experiences and insights on diversity and inclusion with others in the industry, including being featured in Executive Women's Forums (EWF) International, where she shared her journey and the lessons she learned along the way to help inspire other women.
In December 2020 she was named the 2020 LATINA Executive of the Year by LATINA Style Inc, in recognition of her leadership, commitment to the community, impact to the company bottom line, and her ability to build an environment where employees are encouraged to succeed and reach their full potential.
19) Mel Edwards, global CEO, Wunderman Thompson
Mel began her role at Wunderman Thompson by recruiting female talent, and she now proudly leads a gender-balanced executive committee.
Not only is Wunderman Thompson the only major marketing agency with women in the global CEO, CFO, CMO, and IE&D (inclusion, equity and diversity) officer positions, it is also the first global network to launch an Inclusive Experience Practice, the aim of bringing inclusive design and accessibility to the marketing landscape.
Wunderman Thompson also launched the WT Inspire initiative, including a diagnostic tool, the Inspire Score, which ranks the top 100 inspiring brands in the world today. In 2020, further cementing Wunderman Thompson's commitment to inclusion and diversity efforts, Mel hired Ezinne Okoro as global chief inclusion, equity & diversity officer. The same year saw her speak to Meio se Mensagem, a leading Brazilian advertising and media publication, on the network’s actions for diversity.
20) Terecina Kwong, chief operating officer, HSBC Europe
Terecina is a passionate supporter of driving gender diversity and inclusion. She strongly supports the creation of a nurturing and sustainable inclusive culture, where differences are acknowledged, appreciated and encouraged, as this will help individuals thrive, support innovation and make the organisation a better workplace.
Terecina is the global co-sponsor of HSBC (HSBA.L) Balance (an ERG promoting gender diversity with more than 50,000 members across 48 countries) and HSBC Digital Business Services on 'inclusive culture’.
#Inclusive Europe, an ERG covering more than 10,000 colleagues across 21 countries was also launched in Europe earlier this year.
Alongside sponsoring female talent under HSBC’s talent programmes, Terecina also mentors colleagues around the world and participated in various external events in Europe and Asia supporting wider female talent growth in the community.
Leena Nair, chief HR officer, Unilever
As chief human resource Officer at Unilever (UL), Leena is an executive sponsor on the Global Diversity Board. In this position she has proudly helped Unilever achieve its goal of a 50:50 gender balance in managerial roles worldwide, using historical data to set targets for business functions.
In partnership with Harvard University, the company has also launched a metric called the gender appointment ratio, to present senior leaders with their gender appointment track record and provoke meaningful conversations about gender biases.
Other initiatives sponsored by Leena include MAPS, Unilever’s flagship Maternity and Paternity Support programme, which has achieved a 24% reduction in attrition by supporting employees going through the transition to parenthood.
Outside of Unilever, Leena sits on the World Economic Forum Steering Committee on the Future of Education, Gender and Work and on the Leadership Council at the International Centre for Research and Women.
Anne Erni, chief people officer, Audible
In her role as chief people officer at Audible, Anne has consistently partnered with the CEO to drive diversity in the leadership team, including reaching 55% female representation in the executive team in 2021.
Thanks to Anne’s work to intentionally grow women into leadership roles, the proportion of women at vice-president level and above has risen by 11 percentage points from 2020 to 2021.
As well as informing the creation of a diversity and inclusion strategy which includes targeted, bespoke plans for each business, Anne encouraged the formation of formal affinity groups, renamed ‘impact’ groups, with one key aim being to increase diverse representation in Audible's content offerings.
In April 2021, Anne spoke at the Human Resource Development Virtual Summit and highlighted the large number of women who lost jobs or left the workforce due the pandemic, as well as the critical need for advocacy and policy to address the problem.
Yvonne Garcia, chief of staff to State Street chairman and CEO, global head of internal communications and head of Global CEO Experience Program, State Street Corporation
Yvonne sits on State Street’s (STT) Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council and serves as executive sponsor of the firm’s Latino Professional Affinity Group.
Under her leadership, State Street earned a spot on Working Mother Magazine's ‘100 Best Companies’ and ‘Best Companies for Dads’ lists, as well as the Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index and the ‘Top 10 Companies to Work For’ by Latina Style Magazine.
In 2020, Yvonne helped to define the firm’s 10 Actions Addressing Racism and Inequality, and the same year saw her add three women to State Street’s management committee, bringing the balance to 29% women.
In addition to her work for Slate Street, Yvonne is the chair of the Association of Latino Professionals for Advancement advisory board, and the executive director of Small Business Strong, a coalition of leading firms in Massachusetts supporting women and minority-owned businesses impacted by the COVID-19 economic downturn.
Jane Palmieri, president of industrial intermediates & infrastructure + oversight for Dow Asia Pacific, Dow
Jane leads a diverse global leadership team at Dow (DOW), comprised of 30% women. She has used her senior role to set clear expectations about the importance of diversity and inclusion, emphasising the latter as one of the top priorities in the business segment.
As executive sponsor of the Veterans Network ERG, she has provided advocacy for Dow's active service members and military veteran population, and in her previous position as executive sponsor of the Women's Innovation Network, she advanced the group’s strategic pillars and conducted town halls globally.
Jane’s other speaking engagements have included: a notable keynote speech at the 2019 P.O.W.E.R. Up leadership development conference, co-sponsored by EY and attended by more than 200 women; an executive-level industry panel at the March 2019 AFPM International Petrochemical Conference on 'How Inclusion Ignites the Workforce in the Petrochemical Industry'; and a company-wide special event, ‘Women and Financial Wellness: Demand More from Your Money’, which she co-hosted.
Jane Geraghty, global CEO, Landor & Fitch
Jane is a member of WPP’s Stella network, which aims at addressing barriers that could prevent women from progressing their careers to senior levels within the group.
As well as founding the Building to Belong community, a group within Landor & Fitch designed to promote an inclusive workforce, Jane is a regular participant in London's 'Design Doula' group, a community of mothers from within the firm’s London-based team.
In each of the leadership roles Jane has taken on at Landor and Fitch, she has put mentoring in place to support women across the company, prioritised leadership training for women, and actively sought to redress the gender balance through the active recruitment of female talent.
She has also promoted internal and external campaigns to celebrate International Women’s Day. Today there is a gender balance across all levels of the company including within global, regional and local leadership.
Jennifer Bell, regional managing director, Central USA, Aon
As co-chair of the Global Inclusive Leadership Council, Jennifer drives the group’s efforts to provide advice, recommendations and accountability for D&I strategy and actions at Aon (AON).
Her achievements in the role have included the formation of a new Aon sub-committee to the board for diversity and inclusion which she now regularly reports to, and the launch of a global ‘D&I Scorecard’, which has clear goals for gender diversity and is linked to leadership remuneration.
Part of Jennifer’s work with the board sub-committee led to the recent announcement of a 50:50 gender balance within the Aon executive committee. She has also worked hard to ensure that female representation on her leadership team is higher than average, and she remains connected with Aon’s business resource groups in order to drive equity at all levels of the firm, not just at senior leadership. Over recent years she has mentored a number of female colleagues and clients.
Beth Ann Kaminkow, global CEO, VMLY&R Commerce (formerly Geometry)
Beth’s actions to promote gender equality on behalf of WPP include serving on the company’s SeeHer committee, mentoring across the organisation, and sponsoring black women as part of the Safe Space programme.
Within VMLY&R, Beth ensures commitment to pro-bono work supporting women-run businesses, and works hand-in-hand with the HR department to ensure that there is always a focus on gender diversity across the hiring and promotion of talent.
The World Woman Hour she created, showcasing 60 female stories for one minute each, received millions of views on Facebook Live and YouTube where they aired, whilst VMLY&R’s partnership with Luminary has produced content allowing women to hear from others and learn from their stories.
During the pandemic, the organisation took a very personalised and flexible approach to work hours and locations, and in doing so achieved its goal of retaining women and talent disproportionately impacted.
Lily Xiong, head of corporate solutions, Asia Pacific, BlackRock
Sitting in the Talent and Culture Taskforce at BlackRock, Lily has been leading efforts to achieve gender equity for the Asia Pacific region via three key pillars: hiring, developing and retaining talent; developing a culture of female sponsorship at all levels, from early career to executive; and upskilling managers to equip them with essential tools.
As an executive sponsor for BlackRock’s (BLK) Analyst Ally and WIN China, Lily sponsors several women’s development and career growth programmes.
This includes ‘Taking the Stage’, an activity which helps female directors and vice-presidents build confidence around public speaking and developing a leadership voice.
In 2019, Lily created a programme called the WIN Power Hour, which features the most talented and accomplished leaders from across the industry, with the aim of forming a roundtable for them to share their industry knowledge and career advice and how they drive gender equity.
Sarah Morris, chief people officer, Compass Group
Since joining Compass (CPG.L) in May 2020, Sarah has sponsored and led the activation of a number of programmes and interventions to promote gender diversity and women's inclusion.
As well as introducing the LBS scholarship for senior executive women in June 2020, she also launched ‘Babies with Love', which helps Compass colleagues celebrate new mothers and also offers support to a childcare charity. The initiative was introduced alongside a new annual maternity leave policy to help new mothers in their first year back after birth.
For International Women's Day 2021, Sarah encouraged hundreds of colleagues in 45 countries to demonstrate their support of women, publishing the results both internally and externally, and also led a conversation on women’s gynecological health to educate the organisation’s leaders at all levels.
As an active member of the 30% Club, Sarah this year introduced the network’s mentoring programme at Compass.
Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt Technology Services
Keri is CEO of Colt and a champion for inclusion and diversity. On her very first day at Colt, she hosted an event for the women's network, Network 25, and she’s been a strong supporter of it ever since.
Becoming CEO in May 2020, Keri has built Colt’s inclusion and diversity strategy and placed it front and centre. Under her leadership, Colt has launched initiatives such as company-wide inclusivity and bias training, a new mental health and wellbeing policy, and a domestic abuse support policy.
The business has signed up to the Race at Work charter and introduced ally training for the LGBTQ+ community. Keri was responsible for forming Colt’s Inclusion and Diversity Council, bringing together all employee groups to drive real change.
In 2020, Keri was made chair of the TM Forum's Diversity and Inclusion Council, a global collaboration project focused on making the telecommunications industry the most diverse and inclusive it can be.
Nicola Shaw, executive director, UK, National Grid
Nicola’s efforts to drive gender equality at National Grid include progressing women into senior roles, including at the electricity division, where women now outnumber men on the executive team.
She is an advocate of the Women in National Grid ERG, and has championed initiatives including Strategies for Success, a development programme helping women navigate the unwritten rules in business, managing the political landscape and maximizing career success; and Lean-In circles, where women collaborate to share experiences.
In addition, Nicola encourages regular dialogue between ERGs and the executive, participates in diversity lunches to hear directly from women on the challenges of working at National Grid, and is a role model in storytelling sessions for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.
Nicola also mentors senior and middle ranking women within the energy and rail industries and in the police. She also appears regularly on discussion panels and at conferences discussing the merits of diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace.
Ana Dutra, board director, CME Group, Eletrobras, Harvest Inc, First Internet Bank
Throughout Ana’s career she has been an advocate, mentor and sponsor for women, immigrants, Latinos, leaders of colour and LGBTQ+ people.
She was the board member sponsor for the first Women’s ERG at CME, and today sits on the board of the Women Business Collaborative, where she chairs the Women of Boards initiative, the Latino Corporate Directors Association, the Latino Corporate Director Educational Foundation, and the Women’s Empowerment Network.
She has previously served on the boards of the International Women's Forum and the Committee of 200, and remains very active in these organisations to this day.
Ana is also a frequent speaker on women and diversity, equity and inclusion at organisations like the Federal Reserve Bank, Beta Gamma Sigma, Kellogg business School and others. She has published dozens of research-based articles on topics such as women’s empowerment, leadership development, innovation, succession planning, diversity, equity and inclusion, and culture transformation.
Caroline Rainbird, CEO, Financial Services Compensation Scheme
As CEO of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Caroline sponsors and supports the firm’s work on gender diversity and women's inclusion including the Women@FSCS group and the RISE Women's Development Programme.
In 2021, FSCS was listed as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women in recognition of the organisation’s commitment to gender equality and was highly commended in the FT Adviser Diversity in Finance Awards for Championing Women’s Equality.
By signing the Women in Finance Charter, Caroline committed FSCS to promoting greater gender diversity and setting internal targets for progression. The firm exceeded its first target by reaching 60% women at board level this year and 75% at executive level, making the board and the executive team predominantly female for the first time ever.
The RISE Women's Development Programme is another FSCS initiative sponsored by Caroline. Now in its second year, the scheme enables delegates to articulate their strengths and contributions and explore the challenges they face that hold them back.
Stephanie von Friedeburg, senior vice-president, operations, International Finance Corporation
Improving diversity and inclusion has been a top priority for Stephanie throughout her 30-year career at the World Bank Group.
A passionate advocate for advancing women in information and technology, Stephanie has founded two global women’s IT networks to further that goal. Under Stephanie’s leadership, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has made steady progress in diversifying its workforce at all staff levels, increasing the number of females in managerial and technical roles, and also in boosting the number of female nominee directors on boards where IFC is a shareholder.
While she served as IFC’s interim managing director and executive vice-president, the organisation appointed respectful workplace advisors and launched the hiring process for IFC’s first-ever diversity, equity, and inclusion manager.
Stephanie serves as co-chair of IFC’s diversity & inclusion council, is an active advisor in IFC’s sponsorship programme, and participates in IFC’s reverse mentoring scheme, which has a strong focus on developing millennial staff and boasts 65% female participation.
Danny Harmer, chief people officer, Aviva
Throughout the pandemic, Aviva (AV.L) continued to pay colleagues, regardless of hours worked, supporting parents balancing work with childcare and home-schooling.
And, as people return to offices, Danny has championed the female agenda in Aviva and externally; encouraging business to consider the potential future impact of hybrid working on carers and especially women.
Aviva’s diversity and inclusion strategy includes many initiatives supporting women. From its equal parental leave policy and advertising all roles with flexible working, to including diversity targets in executive reward and monthly reporting on gender diversity metrics.
Danny sponsors and champions several initiatives including Aviva’s approach to domestic abuse for colleagues and customers, Aviva’s Menopause Support Group, the introduction of the Peppy menopause app for colleagues and their partners, and also its Pride Network.
She is a mentor for the 30% Club, and was, until recently the co-executive sponsor of the Aviva Carer’s Community – a global network of predominantly women who support each other to balance working with caring responsibilities.
Catherine 'KitKat' Mijares, head of HR operations Asia Manulife and chairperson at Women Inter-Industry Network
Kitkat considers gender diversity and women's inclusion as key to achieving any organisations' purpose. In 2015, leaders from ANZ, Thomson Reuters, HSBC, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank established the Women’s Inter-Industry Network (WIN) believing that a much bigger impact could be made if organisations all worked together.
Kitkat co-founded this network to foster a corporate industry that would enable and support women’s inclusion and empowerment. The network has grown from five organisations in 2015 to more than 50 organisations today, and continues to expand creating an environment where more people will have the opportunity to be involved and take action.
Serpil Timuray, CEO, Europe Cluster, Vodafone Group
Since 2014, Serpil has chaired Vodafone’s (VOD.L) global Inclusion for All Committee, which has led a pioneering agenda to improve employee rights. The global domestic violence policy the committee launched in 2019 offers affected colleagues HR support, specialist counselling and up to 10 additional days' paid leave, and has been adopted in 27 markets.
This year the committee launched a package of support, assistance, training and awareness to help Vodafone employees feel comfortable seeking support when going through menopause.
Serpil is also passionate about increasing the proportion of women in Vodafone's workforce and management, and she has set a target of reaching 40% female leadership by 2025 in the European Cluster countries she manages.
In March 2020, Serpil led the development and launch of Vodafone's #ChangeTheFace initiative, which saw the company publish groundbreaking research into the lack of racial, gender and age diversity within the technology industry.
Deborah O'Neill, head of UK and Ireland Digital, Oliver Wyman
Deborah is the executive sponsor of Oliver Wyman’s Digital Women's Network and, is one of Oliver Wyman’s certified inclusion and diversity champions.
She was responsible for leading and sponsoring Oliver Wyman's inclusion in the Tech Talent Charter, which resulted in the executive team increasing data collection and monitoring of gender diversity progress, and implementing a targeted female recruitment approach.
The flagship sponsorship programme Deborah is a sponsor for, Inspiring Leaders, works with employees from historically under-represented communities over 12 months to deliver a leadership spotlight project, and has been successful in helping participants secure promotions.
Meanwhile another programme led and sponsored by Deborah is Oliver Wyman’s relationship with WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen, which has resulted in the recruitment of more women to the firm through connections made via conferences and awards ceremonies, as well as creating more opportunities for the women on the current team to gain exposure and experience.
Natasha Harrison, deputy chair, Boies Schiller Flexner
Natasha is a leading international disputes lawyer, one of few women running a major international law firm, and the only British woman currently running a US law firm.
As is reflected in the London office Natasha built from scratch, she cares passionately about equality – the office topped AmLaw’s UK A-List for diversity and female equity partner representation and was on the 2021 Global Inclusion Index.
Diversity is integral to the firm-wide strategy Natasha introduced last year. She has formed a diversity council and appointed a dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion officer and external consultants to ensure cohesion in addressing DE&I at the firm, setting firm-wide diversity targets and introducing a budget to ensure these are achieved.
Mandatory diversity training for all staff, and bias interrupter training for evaluations and promotion have all been introduced under her leadership.
Natasha also supports The Brokerage, a charity creating internship opportunities for disadvantaged candidates. She has also been invited to join the Changemakers Board from September 2021.
Dr Bijna Kotak Dasani, executive director, Morgan Stanley
Through her leadership on more than a dozen committees internally, Bijna makes an impact with a focus on age, gender, ethnicity, race, LGBT, social mobility, mental-health, domestic abuse, intersectionality and empowerment – her effort spans the Americas, EMEA and APAC.
Bijna advocates consistently to raise awareness of the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda and to bridge maturity across different regions in order to obtain consistency in the firm’s approach across the verticals.
Forming strong alliances with external partners has been a creative means for Bijna to proactively strengthen awareness and focus across the diversity, equity and inclusion umbrella.
Externally, to support DE&I strategies, Bijna serves the boards of The Inclusive Companies Network, Generation Success, Cajigo and Restorative Justice for All.
Bijna is featured in the following books: Aspire To (2021), The Ultimate Professional Networker's Guidebook Volume 1 (2019) and Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting women (2018).
In 2020, Bijna received an MBE for services to diversity and inclusion in financial services.
Sue Fox, CEO, HSBC
Sue is the lead executive sponsor of the D&I Allies Group at HSBC. Through this role she raises the profile of the group’s work and helps to cement an inclusive culture at the bank.
In bimonthly Ask Me Anything town halls hosted and sponsored by Sue for more than 1,200 colleagues, she regularly raises issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, actively encouraging people to discuss and ask challenging questions about gender bias in the workplace.
Since 2018 Sue has also been a global ambassador for Balance, HSBC’s gender diversity ERG, made up of more than 48,000 members across 20 countries. For International Women’s Day 2021, she hosted a virtual panel event and wrote an internal thought leadership article about gender equality, sharing her own experiences of trying to climb the executive career ladder in a male dominated sector and highlighting the struggles women still face today.
Melissa Di Donato, CEO, SUSE
Melissa is SUSE’s (SUSE.DE) first female CEO and has driven transformational change for the company since her appointment in August of 2019.
In addition to becoming the first woman in the 21st century to take SUSE, a multibillion-euro company public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, representing the largest software IPO in Europe in 2021, Melissa has focused on enhancing SUSE’s inclusive culture.
As a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion, Melissa created two ERGs, the Women in Technology Network and Pride @ SUSE, to foster inclusion at the company.
She has also made a concerted effort to increase female representation in leadership positions in addition to focusing on developing and nurturing the growth of SUSE employees.
Beyond her work as CEO, Melissa is the co-founder of Inner Wings, a charity she created to help girls aged six to 12 build confidence and to create a world with more determined women and more gender balanced leadership. She is also the author of three children’s books.
Souad Benkredda, global head of strategic investor group sales, Standard Chartered
When Souad first joined Standard Chartered, she was the first female head of financial markets in the UAE.
Despite the fact that all her peers and superiors were male, she set herself the aim of increasing the absolute number, as well as the influence, of women at the organisation. Souad achieved this goal in part by chairing talent reviews, implementing career sessions and becoming a mentor to over-25 female colleagues.
Her efforts saw the percentage of female MENA financial markets promotions rise to a record 54%, and Souad’s suggestions for diverse interview panels and exit interviews when women resign were both implemented globally.
Souad is a regular speaker at global events, and often intentionally chooses to use her voice on topics typically considered ‘male’ – at SCB’s 2021 CreditConference she moderated an entirely male Islamic finance panel. Amongst numerous external engagements, Souad serves as a girls’ STEM role model for the non-profit GLAM.
Mairéad Nayager, chief HR officer, Diageo
As the executive member of Diageo (DEO) responsible for the design and implementation of the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy, Mairéad has been instrumental in driving numerous gender diversity initiatives.
Diageo’s 'Society 2030: Spirit of Progress' 10-year sustainability plan included the bold target of having 50% female representation across leadership positions by 2030.
In addition, for the first time the organisation’s long-term incentive plan included gender diversity as one of its selected measures, ensuring every senior leader is incentivised to make progress on the diversity and inclusion agenda.
Under Mairéad’s leadership, Diageo has also improved the balance of its executive leadership team: whilst 11 years ago, Diageo's executive committee was all men, it is now made up of 38% women.
In March of this year, Mairéad led the introduction of menopause guidelines, which offer strengthened support and flexibility and encourage all employees to build their understanding of how menopause impacts individuals.
Debbi Vandeven, global chief creative officer, VMLY&R
Debbi credits VMLY&R’s 2020 revenue increase in part to the strong female creative teams she has built.
In December, she added two female chief creative officers to her ranks, each charged with leading one of the agency's most important and high-profile accounts, the latest in a long list of senior female appointments she has made.
As well as being a champion of creativity and a mentor for women across VMLY&R and the industry, Debbi is proud to serve as a founding member of Time'sUp/Advertising, leading and paving the road for women in her industry.
She consistently drives her teams to create advertising that makes a difference, particularly in the crusade for gender equality, and has been recognised by Ad Age as their 2020 chief creative officer of the year. She has also featured on Business Insider's 30 Most Creative People in Advertising and Adweek’s Creative 100.
Julie Page, CEO, Aon UK
Through her position on the Aon Global Inclusive Leadership Council, Julie drives the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy. Her belief in the importance of a diverse workforce is reflected in the gender diversity of her leadership team, which she continues to build upon with senior female appointments, including most recently to the position of chief broking officer.
By sponsoring and coaching other female leaders in her team, Julie has supported them to grow and realise their potential, helping them into external roles on the board of British Insurance Brokers' Association and the Confederation of British Industry London Committee, enabling them to extend their influence across the industry by taking up external roles with business influencing bodies and associations.
The implementation of a diversity dashboard based on aggregated, anonymised colleague self-identification data has been a game changer for Aon, enabling the company to identify and improve opportunities for diverse talent. Julie further contributes to these efforts through regular touchpoints with leaders in the business, introduced to identify and support high potential female talent.
Joanne Ross, chief of staff to CEO, Centrica
Joanne cares about improving diversity and inclusion, both at Centrica (CNA.L) and more generally, due to often having been the only woman in the room in a male-dominated industry.
Having always admired the great work done by the Centrica’s Women’s Network (CWN) to support women and drive change, Joanne was delighted when she was asked to become the group’s executive sponsor earlier this year.
Since then she has taken part in a panel event for International Women's Day as well as participating in the CWN ‘Empower’ series, where she spoke about her own personal career and life journey.
Joanne has mentored three women in Centrica over the past three years and has also been a mentee as part of a reverse mentoring programme, from which she learned a lot about the challenges some women face which can hinder their development and career progression.
Outside of Centrica, Joanne has served as a mentor for the 30% Club and also has been a strong advocate of the importance of mental health awareness and support in the workplace.
Jaine Mwai, chief information officer, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya
Jaine is a champion of diversity within the Standard Chartered Bank in Kenya and also within the technology function.
In Kenya, she serves as a member (and former leader) of the women's ERG, a position which has seen her mentor many women throughout the organisation resulting in more women being promoted into senior roles.
Over the last two years, she has been active in ensuring her team continues to hold virtual events to enhance career progression and improve colleagues’ wellness and work-life balance. Within SCB’s Technology Function, Jaine has supported increasing African female talent, including championing 12 women from the region to join female leadership programs since 2020.
Last year, Jaine became the first woman to be voted as East Africa's CIO Of The Year at the 2020 annual CIO100 Symposium and Awards, an accomplishment which served as a major coup for women technologists in the region.
Marian Salzman, senior vice-president, global communications, Philip Morris International
As a long-time advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion, Marian has made smart use of her global platform to advance positive change.
Notably, she been active in two Philip Morris International ERGs: EMBRACE Global (focused on racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity) and the Women's Inspiration Network (WIN). One of her roles within these groups has been hosting and serving as a panellist on several company-wide webcasts devoted to diversity and inclusion issues, including in November 2020 an EMBRACE Global Inclusive Conversations event ‘Delivering on Race Delivers Results’.
At the company's Women Who Lead event, Marian and three other female members of the senior management team discussed their personal journeys, offered advice, and shared their visions for gender equity and diversity.
Another means by which Marian promotes the advancement of women in business is through regular local and international bylines, interviews and columns for Forbes and Medium, offering her insights and guidance for the next generation.
Vivienne Artz, chief privacy officer, London Stock Exchange Group
As gender business sponsor at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG.L), Vivienne supports all aspects of the organisation’s diversity and inclusion strategy regarding gender.
She has been responsible for leading for legal and compliance on the new global inclusion initiative, and was this year successful in securing LSEG as one of the three Women in Finance Charter sponsors.
As well as providing leadership, sponsorship and privacy advice on a new initiative to collect and analyse diversity and inclusion data globally to enable deliberate interventions, she has also been involved in supporting and speaking at gender network events, including contributing to a series of senior leader role model stories for International Women’s Day.
Outside of LSEG, Vivienne is an advisory board member and former CEO of Women in Business and Finance, a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation connecting, challenging and inspiring individuals and institutions across the industry to increase women's visibility, participation and engagement in financial services at all levels.
Morag Watson, senior vice-president digital science and engineering, BP America
Morag is the executive sponsor for the BP America (BP) Women’s International Network and the global Women in IT Network, as well as serving as a member of the diversity and equity steering committee.
She mentors numerous women at bp, offering them practical and tangible actions to advance their career progression, and was a key leader in the inspiration and creation of the bp Group Disability Forum, an assistive technology portal providing technologies to increase productivity for workers of all abilities.
Morag’s team is one of the most gender diverse in BP, with 50% women in leadership positions and a high percentage of women across the wider team. Morag is a founding member of the Women's Innovation Council and Curated Pathways, which developed a web-based app designed to create an opportunity for students, particularly for young women and minorities, to unleash their potential to pursue careers in STEM and computer science.
Sue Unerman, chief transformation officer, MediaCom
Sue has been involved in a number of major initiatives to drive greater gender diversity and inclusion at MediaCom.
These include serving as executive sponsor of the gender ERG and serving as a member of the new Global Belonging Council, a diverse mix of senior people from different areas of the business who meet on a regular basis to drive sustainable change in all areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
She is also actively involved in the company's Leadership Reverse Mentoring, a programme which sees junior employees act as mentors to senior global leaders.
On International Women’s Day, Sue hosted a Safe Room discussion, and she has been a frequent participant in, and promoter of, the company’s ongoing learning initiatives around allyship and microaggressions.
MediaCom’s work on gender equality has had the result of bringing their gender pay gap down to 3.08% compared to 6.59% a year previously, and against a national average of 15.5%.
Julie Lilley, CEO, Federation of Small Businesses
At the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Julie founded a new cross-organisation Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Steering Group, which includes both leading staff and a set of elected FSB volunteer members, including female business owners and staff.
Last year she created a new full-time EDI coordinator role, which means that for the first time FSB has a specific person charged with looking after each diversity strand and community, advising the elected board and supporting staff, volunteers and members.
Meanwhile, Julie has also been building a programme of activity across the business which involves collecting data, drawing together what internal reforms are required, and deciding what policy work should be looked at externally.
Julie is proud to lead a majority female senior management team, recognising that this sends the message throughout the organisation and beyond that women succeed at FSB, and reach the very top.
Carmel McKinney, chairperson and non-executive director, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
Carmel drives the gender diversity agenda within the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS). She is also an equality commissioner for Northern Ireland.
Carmel spearheads the NIFRS equality subcommittee, which is chaired by her board member colleague who is a committed male ambassador for the DE&I agenda.
Her profile as a female role model has involved close collaboration with her colleagues and has resulted in NIFRS achieving the Diversity Chartermark and receiving a nomination at the 2021 National Diversity Awards.
Carmel has also won numerous accolades nationally and internationally for her work as an inspirational female leader who promotes and encourages others to reach their full potential.
Her other activities include serving as a member of an internal NIFRS working group, which aims to promote a female pipeline of aspiring leaders through mentoring and coaching.
In her capacity as an ambassador with Women in Business (WIB), she is a volunteer coach and mentor to a number of rising star female entrepreneurs and leaders, and she was recently recognised for her work by winning the 2021 WIB’s Mentor of the Year award.
Marissa Andrada, chief diversity, inclusion and people officer, Chipotle
Marissa has always prioritised inclusion and fostered a culture of well-being at Chipotle. The listening sessions she conducts across the organisation help with understanding how Chipotle could evolve as a company and provide equal opportunities for all.
She helped develop its multicultural ERG called UNIFIED (United Network of Influencers Furthering Inclusion and Ethnic Diversity) and is activating a company-wide minority mentorship programme, conversing with inspirational speakers for her Real Scoop series, developing partner relationships with aligned mission and values, organising roundtables, leveraging data for change and ensuring compliance and communication around diversity and inclusion training.
Marissa has also spearheaded a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to build a pipeline of diverse talent, and has expanded the debt-free degree programme to include a HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Paul Quinn College.
Marissa was this year named one of Business Insider's Most Innovative HR Leaders.
Jennifer Rademaker, executive vice-president – global customer delivery, Mastercard
Jennifer is executive sponsor and co-developer of a women’s mentoring programme at Mastercard, which aims at developing junior female talent.
Now in its second year and with 2,000 participants, the Mastercard Women's Mentoring Series is delivering statistically significant improvements in the retention, promotion, development, and engagement of participating mentees. The men and women who serve as mentors in the programme report higher levels of engagement as a result of their participation.
Jennifer also leads work to support the advancement of more senior women at Mastercard, including a drive towards flexible work locations for senior roles.
Providing women (and men) with the opportunity to advance without requiring a physical move opens more potential career paths, supporting growth and retention.
In addition to these initiatives, Jennifer sponsors and participates in several business resource groups, a women's leadership development series, and a programme that readies women for non-profit board seats. Outside of Mastercard she regularly speaks about gender issues at external events.
Caroline Frankum, global CEO, profiles division, Kantar
As part of Kantar's most senior inclusion and diversity steer committee, Caroline is responsible for ensuring a culture that embraces diversity.
In her senior executive leadership team, she has increased senior female representation by over 40%, and tripled ethnic minority representation – including recruiting Kantar's first Black, female C-suite leader in the UK.
Caroline is also a senior mentor for Kantar's 'Empowering Growth For Women' mentorship programme, which sits at the heart of the diversity and inclusion strategy, supporting and empowering Kantar women across the globe to positively progress in their careers by building a strong, authentic personal brand in the workplace.
Caroline also serves as the global executive sponsor of the Pride@Kantar ERG, inspiring Kantar’s 700+ LGBTQIA+ employees and allies across the globe to flourish at work by embracing and celebrating their individuality.
She is also a founding member of Kantar’s 360 mentorship programme with Special Olympics, supporting people with intellectual disabilities to build successful careers in paid jobs.
Frances Taplett, chief people officer, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
When the pandemic resulted in childcare and many offices shifting to remote work, Frances realised that working parents would suffer and that working mothers would disproportionately shoulder the burden.
Partnering with Bright Horizons and their own clinical testing lab, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard opened a childcare facility for all employees and affiliates. By testing all teachers and parents every three days for COVID-19 they were able to run the childcare centre all summer with zero transmission. The fees were heavily subsidised in light of the fact that many parents had other childcare costs they were still paying.
In addition to providing flexible working models and a supportive culture to keep women in the workforce throughout the pandemic, the organisation has also been looking at promotion decisions and pay equity to ensure that women are not disproportionately impacted.
Externally, Frances speaks regularly on the topic of diversity and inclusion and particularly on women in the workplace.
Teresa Ko, partner and China chairman, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Teresa has long been a leading proponent of diversity, including gender diversity, in all walks of life.
After initiating the process that led to mandatory disclosure of diversity policies by listed companies while serving as the first female to chair the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s Listing Committee in 2009, Teresa recently issued a call for gender quotas for the boards of Hong Kong listed companies.
She continues to lobby for mandatory diversity requirements to help accelerate the pace of change.
As executive sponsor of Freshfield’s Asia Women's Network, Teresa is passionate about supporting and developing Freshfields’ colleagues both professionally and personally to maximise their potential.
She is also a staunch believer in using one’s influence to bring about positive change, whether as trusted advisors to clients or mentors to colleagues and business partners.
Teresa is a co-chair of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s Listing Review Committee, a vice-chair of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, a founding member and steering committee member of the 30% Club Hong Kong, as well as a member of the advisory board of Women in Law Hong Kong.
Susan LaMonica, chief HR officer, Citizens Bank
Susan LaMonica is the chief HR officer and head of corporate social responsibility and serves on the bank’s executive committee.
She is responsible for developing and driving people strategies to further Citizens’ growth plans while working to enact sustainable and systemic change leading the company’s ESG efforts.
As the executive sponsor of Citizens’ business resource group, Women’s Impact Network, she understands the challenges that exist for female colleagues, customers and community members while advocating for efforts to attract, retain and support women inside and outside of Citizens.
She led the development of initiatives aimed at increasing accountability in Citizens’ hiring process and the deployment of programs such as TalentUp which focuses on talent acquisition, reskilling/upskilling, and expanding the talent pipeline.
Outside of Citizens, Susan is a board member of Oasis, a non-profit whose mission is to change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty.
Catherine Yuile, executive vice-president, data & intelligence, Canada & Latin America
A marketing, communications, and media research industry veteran, Catherine oversees research, analytics, and performance and paid media teams that drive business intelligence, activation, and impact.
Catherine is passionate about supporting women in the workplace, volunteering as a member of Edelman’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN) global steering committee that helped the firm achieve parity of senior women leaders.
Catherine also leads GWEN regionally, promoting events and initiatives across Canada which help women from all backgrounds lead and succeed.
In 2021, Catherine volunteered to champion a new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative for Edelman’s global data & intelligence unit of 400 employees, establishing a new DE&I vision, team and plan to promote equality across four strategic pillars: education, community & inclusion, recruitment, and retention.
Catherine is also a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Council Working Group for Women’s Advocacy, bringing the voice and perspectives of women to national policies and advancing the gender equality agenda to drive meaningful action.
Lanaya Irvin, CEO, Coqual
Lanaya is the CEO of Coqual, a 17-year-old global think tank that conducts research and advises corporate companies on diversity, equity and inclusion. Coqual’s research aims to bring visibility to the barriers and inequity faced by women and other underrepresented groups in the workplace.
A global thought leader, Lanaya promotes gender diversity and inclusion outside of the organisation as well. Not only do they serve as co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Advisory Council, they also sit on the advisory board of the Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Inclusion, the board of directors of Outright Action International and the Board of Lesbians Who Tech.
Lanaya’s thought leadership has been featured in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Marketplace, and Business Insider.
Amanda Murphy, group general manager, head of commercial banking, HSBC UK
Appointed as HSBC UK’s first female head of commercial banking in 2017, Amanda has initiated a number of gender diversity programmes that have since thrived.
This includes the re-design of job adverts to ensure that they now attract both men and women, changing the recruitment process so that there is a requirement for gender-balanced interview panels, and embedding a new practice whereby the shortlist for every senior role includes both male and female candidates.
Amanda has also focused on HSBC UK’s ERGs, which she considers instrumental in opening up awareness of the issues that impact colleagues and creating a more inclusive workplace.
Meanwhile, UK Commercial Banking’s flagship cultural programme continues to promote the benefits of a gender inclusive workforce and the importance of developing colleagues so that they can be at their best and over the last 12 months, more than 100 female colleagues across UK commercial banking have achieved promotions
Naina Bhattacharya, chief information security officer, Danone
Naina is the chief information security officer at Danone where she is responsible for developing cybersecurity strategy and delivering transformation.
She is the co-sponsor of inclusive diversity for the IT and data team and has worked with the CIO, IT leadership and HR to develop the first-ever transversal strategy for diversity for IT and data with a strong focus on getting leadership roles to gender parity.
For the first time, inclusiveness targets have been a part of the annual leadership team objectives, and an Inclusive Diversity Engine is being developed to drive forward this global initiative.
Naina is also the winner of the Financial Times, 30% Club and Henley Business School Women in Leadership Award, 2020.
Before arriving at Danone, Naina was the founder of the cybersecurity diversity and inclusive initiative for EMEA at EY. There, she set up a new network of Diversity Champions in each region for cybersecurity. This work earned her the EY Inspirational Role Model Award in 2020.
Sharon Marcil, managing director and senior partner, chief marketing officer and global chair of the client team, Boston Consulting Group
In 2000, Sharon became the first ever head of the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Women's Initiative. Working hand in hand with the firm’s leadership, including the CEO, she set a global ambition for women's inclusion and promotion.
This included leading fundamental research regarding why women stayed at BCG and why women left, with the findings resulting in increased training and support for women as well as gender bias coaching for male colleagues.
As a consequence of setting clear recruitment and retention targets, and developing a strong female talent pipeline, 23% of the BCG's leadership are now women, with the number of female managing directors and partners growing at three times the rate of male managing directors and partners over the past five years.
2020 marked the tenth year that BCG has retained women and men at equal rates at all career steps in the consulting team.
Charlotte Duerden, UK managing director, American Express
As an executive sponsor of American Express’ (AXP) Women’s Interest Networks, Charlotte has championed the company’s Ambition Project as a means of raising awareness of the role ambition plays in women's professional success.
She has also overseen initiatives including the roll out of self-identification amongst colleagues to help drive changes across the company and the introduction of diversity and inclusion training to more than 5,000 employees in order to combat unconscious bias.
As colleagues moved towards working from home during the pandemic, American Express also initiated a range of company-wide internal communications and initiatives intended to support colleagues, particularly those shouldering caring responsibilities.
By signing the HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, Charlotte pledged American Express’s commitment to achieving a 50:50 gender balance in senior management, a target which was reached this year.
Under her leadership, American Express has been recognised over the past two years as a top employer by the Financial Times, LinkedIn, Working Families and Glassdoor.
Mariquit Corcoran, group chief innovation officer, Barclays
Mariquit is a senior steering committee member of the Women in Technology group at Barclays (BARC.L), a group whose aim is to recruit, retain and empower women in technology across the company.
In this role, she hosts both large- and small-scale talks and events to inspire the female population across Barclays to progress in their careers, and leads a workstream to identify opportunities for external recognition of female talent at Barclays, including helping leadership identify top candidates.
Her representation of the Women in Technology group externally includes speaking regularly at events where she actively supports efforts at recruiting female talent.
Mariquit is also executive sponsor for the Barclays and Anthemis Female Innovators Lab, which has a mission to identify female founders at the earliest stage of their journey, provide them with an initial investment, and match them with the resources and mentorship required to bring a business concept to market.
Christiana Riley, member of the management board and Americas CEO, Deutsche Bank
Christiana is a leader of the Schneider-Lenné Cadre at Deutsche Bank, a group of senior women at the firm who are selected to act as role models, drive cultural change, and help develop diverse talent.
Her actions to promote gender equity have included announcing equal parental leave for primary and non-primary caregivers, signing the CEO Action Diversity & Inclusion pledge and the UN Principles of Responsible Banking, and implementing changes in hiring practices with immediate results.
In a reflection of the changes Christiana has pushed for, Deutsche Bank's regional graduate intake for this year was 41% female and 10% Black, a 13 and six percentage point increase from last year respectively.
Deutsche Bank’s other recent diversity and inclusion efforts include partnering with 11 minority-, woman- and service-disabled veteran-owned underwriters to issue a $750 million D&I bond to help finance the business in the US.
Lucy Dimes, chief strategy & transformation officer, Virgin Money
As a member of Virgin Money’s Balance Network and its Gender Balance Committee, Lucy has participated in numerous internal events, ranging from podcasts to focus groups, deep dives, jams, inclusion events, discussions and panels.
In addition to mentoring and coaching a long list of senior women at the company, she has also sponsored female rising star talent across different functions.
Her active involvement in promoting diversity has led to the deployment of targets for gender and ethnic minority inclusion on executive and business unit scorecards, as well as several significant internal promotions for talented women, and an external hiring process for ethnically diverse female talent.
Outside of Virgin Money, Lucy has been passionately and actively involved in a long list of groups, events and actions addressing gender inequity for over 20 years.
Mayra Souza, global head of trade, Solvay
Mayra has been part of numerous gender diversity initiatives at Solvay . These include Solvay-X, an ERG aimed at improving the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion by ensuring the company attracts, retains, and enables women; Solvay One Dignity, a programme that sets ambitious diversity targets; and the former Women Leaders@Solvay, a group responsible for developing proposals aimed at strengthening the visibility of female talent.
Externally, Mayra is the Belgium leader for the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Network, which aims to enable community building, to advance the understanding of local issues, and support the work of women and gender nonconforming individuals.
In February 2021, Mayra hosted a conference on leadership with Solvay’s CEO, in which they discussed the role of women at Solvay and beyond. In addition, Mayra is an instigator at Trade Experettes, a global network with more than 200 individuals committed to shining a light on women working in trade, whilst also aiming to empower them to achieve their goals.
Aisling Ryan, managing partner and global consulting principal at The Sustainability Practice, Ogilvy
Since 2020, Aisling has been a founding member of Ogilvy parent WPP's Diversity and Inclusion Practice. Alongside this commitment she has been heading WPP’s relationship with the United Nations and acting as the WPP executive sponsor for UN Women.
For the past year, she has led the Ogilvy team in working with UN Women and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop #ActForEqual, the official campaign for the Generation Equality Forum, which brings together cross-sector stakeholders to secure commitments to gender equality.
Aisling was also responsible for coordinating the process to make WPP a GEF Commitment Maker, specifically to champion diverse voices in media through technology innovations.
Since 2012, she has mentored a number of female CEOs of conservation and climate NGOs and advised them on strategy, communications, fundraising, career development and maximising their impact. For the past two years she has spoken at the Women in Smart Energy Forum.
Aimie Chapple, chief executive Capita Experience Division
As an executive committee member at Capita, Aimie takes mentoring seriously, supporting many leaders including the mentoring of women in the organisation.
She is co-sponsor of Capita’s wellbeing network and has highlighted topics such as mental health and support through the menopause.
In addition to her work for Capita, Aimie also advises start-ups such as TechPixies, a digital learning organisation that helps women to change jobs or start businesses using digital technologies. Aimie has previously been recognised as a Business Woman of the Year 2012 and Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights from Women of the Future in 2018.
Kathryn Koch, partner and co-head of fundamental equity, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
As a senior woman leading an investing team at Goldman Sachs (GS) Asset Management, Katie organises a lot of her time and efforts around ensuring that more women will have the opportunity to lead investing businesses in the future.
She is a member of the steering committee for the Asset Management Division Diversity and Inclusion Council, where she has responsibility for substantially improving the diversity of senior hires, and she has been successfully pushing for more diverse representation in the C-Suite and on the boards of companies in Goldman Sachs Asset Management portfolios.
Additionally, Katie sits on the advisory board of Launch With GS, a $1bn capital commitment from Goldman Sachs to invest in diverse entrepreneurs and fund managers.
Katie is a passionate believer that diverse teams outperform, and has consequently built and led one of the industry’s most gender diverse investing teams: female portfolio managers in the fundamental equity group manage 40% to 50% of assets under management, up from 30% in 2016 and compared to an industry average of 11%.
Sally Moore, executive vice-president – head of corporate development and strategic alliances, IHS Markit
Sally founded the Women’s Affinity Network at IHS Markit 10 years ago. Her efforts to improve gender equity at the firm include maintaining a 50% female gender balance in the Strategic Alliances business line she manages, in accordance with firm-wide recommended KPIs.
The company saw female promotions at vice-president level rise by 7% in 2020, whilst those at senior vice-president level increased by 3%.
As well as participating in collaborative mentoring as a partner mentee, Sally has chaired the VP Promotions Committee for the last two years, with a specific focus on equal opportunity promotions.
During Sally’s time in her role, IHS Markit has been recognised as a top employer by Mogul, the Human Rights Campaign and Forbes, who included the firm on their list of America’s Best Employers for Women. Outside of IHS Markit, Sally is a member of an informal CEO female leadership group which helps promote gender representation in finance.
Susan Jurevics, executive vice-president, head of international, Audible
As executive sponsor of Women@Audible, Audible's largest global impact group, Susan has had the opportunity to guide future leaders in their commitment to career development. In addition to the US and London-based chapters, this year the group grew stronger after launching a Berlin-based chapter, Women@Audible EU.
In heading up Audible in nine marketplaces outside the US, Susan and her team have been intentional and purposeful with their responsibility as a content creator. In the past year, they established a multi-million dollar fund designed to identify, produce and elevate local, diverse voices.
Despite the challenges of producing under COVID-19, every international Audible marketplace delivered highly-rated titles under this initiative.
In addition to her work for Audible, Susan is co-chair for the NYU Alumni Association's Awards Committee, a role in which she oversaw the implementation of a diversity and inclusion metric for awards deliberations, and updated the language in materials to take representation into consideration.
Lindsay Pattison, chief client officer, WPP
Lindsay sits on WPP’s Inclusion Council, a body which gives a voice to under-represented groups, advises on appropriate diversity, equity and inclusion goals, recommends new systems and strategies and identifies barriers to progress.
The group’s impact has included introducing diversity goals into the annual bonus plans of leaders across WPP, a critical step forward in the push for gender equality at the top of the industry, which is expected to have a ripple effect through all levels of seniority.
Lindsay also sits on WPP’s Diversity Review Subcommittee, which set up an alert mechanism for WPP's 100,000+ employees to report harmful stereotyping, and also created the Inclusivity Playbook, a best practice industry guide for marketers.
Since 2007 Lindsay mentors between five and 10 women annually, and in June 2020 she launched WPP’s inaugural Next Gen internship programme with a talk on gender equality. The programme reached 850 participants, and over 50% of applicants were women.
Roni Savage, CEO and founder, Jomas Engineering & Environmental
As CEO of Jomas, Roni is committed to ensuring her employees achieve their full potential, and that the company provides an inclusive environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive and excel, irrespective of who they are.
She recently set up an internal buddy system, which aims to support new graduates as they build their careers with the company. The system is particularly commended by women who receive mentoring and support by other women who are further along in their careers.
Roni also offers herself as a mentor, and has created strict company policies ensuring there is no discrimination and that the recruitment process is not biased. Her other efforts to promote diversity include running events and getting heavily involved in outreach programmes. Roni’s approach has resulted in a 40% female workforce at Jomas, in a sector where only 12% of the workforce is female.
Jennifer Fleury, global vice-president of cloud services, SAP
As a fierce advocate for equality, Jennifer served until 2020 as the global head of SAP’s Business Women’s Network, an ERG boasting more than 14,000 members and over 85 chapters.
She is a member of the North America Diversity & Inclusion council and mentor for SAP’s (SAP) corporate social responsibility pro-bono programmes. Jennifer helped foster economic equity for Black-owned businesses and worked to fight poverty and build capabilities with vocational training institutes to skill the youth of Uganda.
Her accomplishments in these roles include encouraging children and women in the poorest countries to join STEM; increasing the number of women in leadership roles; and expanding the impact and influence of women across the company. In her current organisation, Jennifer has increased female talent from 9% to 23%.
Jennifer is also a mentor for the Global Give Back Circle. In this role, she provides at-risk adolescent girls with support to move from a mindset of marginalisation to one of empowerment.
Tamara Box, managing partner EME, Reed Smith
Tamara is a member of Reed Smith’s WinRS Business Inclusion Group. She has chaired two female legal leader roundtables for General Counsel, as well as the opening panel of Reed Smith’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit.
Tamara is responsible for the firm’s gender pay gap reporting, and in 2019 she made Reed Smith the first UK law firm to voluntarily report its equity partner pay gap. It was also one of the few firms to report that the mean pay for female equity partners was actually greater than for men.
As well as serving as an active advocate, mentor and sponsor for the career advancement of female associates, counsel and partners, Tamara has been instrumental in achieving a 40% female executive committee and 50% female representation in senior management.
Several Reed Smith women Tamara has nominated have been shortlisted or winners of female leadership awards including from Rising Star, Citywealth PowerWomen, and Asian Women of Achievement.
Seema Bains, partner & head of D&I Leadership Group, DWF
Seema is one of just 13 female partners at the highest tier of DWF, and she is the first person from an ethnic minority to hold this position. Seema is also a partner director on DWF's Plc Board.
Over the past two years Seema has grown the D&I Leadership Group into a global group with more than 50 members across all DWF's offices. She has pioneered diversity and inclusion best practices – such as the implementation of blind CVs and inclusive hiring training – to increase the recruitment of underrepresented groups. In addition, she has designed and obtained board approval for gender and ethnicity targets for the Plc Board, the executive board and the senior leadership team.
For her intersectional approach to advancing women's careers, Seema’s gender equality roundtables were recognised by The Times Top 50 Employers for Women report, and in March 2021 she was invited to speak at the United Nations live conference ‘Target Gender Equality, Target Ethnic Diversity’.
Patricia Alvim, chief financial officer, LATAM, BNY Mellon
As CFO, LATAM, Patricia leads a high-performing team made up of 70% women. Her efforts to further gender equality have included leading the LATAM chapter of BNY Mellon’s (BK) Women's Initiatives Network (WIN), as well as serving as a member of the LATAM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council and the DEI Champions Award Council.
Patricia has also acted as a mentor for women as part of the finance mentoring programme, which supports the development of younger professionals from different regions to include LATAM, EMEA and APAC.
Externally, she has represented BNY Mellon in such groups as BE TOGETHER that focus on increasing female inclusion and empowerment in the Brazilian financial industry.
Susan Revell, EMEA deputy chair and general counsel, Bank of New York Mellon
Susan serves as the global co-chair of BNY Mellon’s Women's Initiatives Network (WIN), having been its EMEA executive sponsor.
She is responsible for developing and executing the strategy for furthering the WIN mission of advancing female potential.
In 2020, Susan initiated the EMEA Business Inclusion Council at the bank, and she currently sits as its executive sponsor and chair. The council brings together over 30 volunteers to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of the firm’s talent experience and embedded in all strategies.
Alicia Arias, vice-president wealth sales, BlackRock
Alicia is co-founder of Mujeres en Finanzas (MEF), the first network of women in the financial industry in Mexico. It is a non-profit organisation with the aim of empowering women to achieve a more diverse, inclusive and equitable Mexican financial sector.
Over the past eight years at BlackRock, Alicia led the efforts of Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and Allies Network for the Latin America region. In this capacity, she has helped launch numerous initiatives enabling women to advance their careers.
The group’s efforts have expanded outside the firm too, connecting with the local community. Last year, through the launch of a sustainable local fund, the business and WIN donated around $1.3m to a local organisation focusing on women’s development, which funded technical training for 250 Mexican women. She is currently pursuing a new adventure in fintech, as she believes that through technology more people can experience financial wellbeing.
Shimna Sameer, national operations executive and Northeast division executive, Bank of America
At work and in her communities, Shimna has built an exceptional track record for advancing women’s careers, mentoring and developing women leaders, and working to dismantle the barriers built by unconscious bias.
She founded the Preferred and Consumer Banking & Investments Executive Women's Forum in 2020, bringing together senior executive women from across the country, providing them exposure to education, expansion and advancement opportunities.
She has served as executive sponsor of the company’s Consumer Banking & Investments Employee Engagement and Inclusion Council, and founded the Consumer Investments Women's Forum where she served as executive sponsor for two years.
Widely known for her passion for women’s parity and gender equality, she has addressed global audiences and has served as a keynote speaker at various forums and events to discuss inclusion and women’s empowerment. In 2021, she featured in the INDIA New England News List of Outstanding Women and in 2020 in the EMpower/Yahoo Finance Ethnic Minority Executive Role Model List.
Carol Ward, president, Man Group
Carol is an active member of Drive, Man GLG’s D&I network; the Women at Man (WAM) network; and the LGBT+ network Pride@MAN, which she co-chairs.
During 2020, she introduced Man Group to Girls Are INvestors (GAIN), which resulted in the firm supporting their first internship programme and a number of colleagues to speaking at their events. As a panellist at Drive's event on leadership, which featured the firm's female COOs, Carol shared insights on what makes a good leader, how to lead teams through difficult times, and the importance of diversity.
In 2020 she held a firm-wide virtual talk based on LGBT+ facts and figures which resulted in increased engagement with the internal Pride@Man networking channel.
As well as leading the diversity and inclusion efforts aimed at hiring, promoting and retaining talented, diverse individuals, Carol also serves as a mentor to two women as part of Man Group's mentorship programme, an initiative which aims to develop the talent of high-potential female individuals.
Vaishali Rastogi, global head - technology, media and telecommunications practice, Boston Consulting Group
As BCG's global leader of technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice, Vaishali is passionate about creating a gender-balanced business world and has been intentional in recruiting and retaining female talent.
A quarter (25%) of her global leadership team, and 25% of TMT managing directors and partners in Asia are female. During Vaishali’s tenure as BCG's head of Southeast Asia, the number of women hired increased by 40% and the female attrition rate dropped by 10 percentage points.
Vaishali is proud to have enabled an environment which allows employees (male and female) to manage their work-life balance, with more women taking up flexible working hours under her leadership.
Her position as part of the global executive committee at BCG has seen Vaishali mentor senior women across the organisation, and in 2018 she formally set up the Women@BCG sponsorship programme for Southeast Asia, a programme in which more than 30 senior women have participated in over the last two years.
Casey Ryan, global head of legal personnel, Reed Smith
In her position as the global head of legal personnel at Reed Smith, Casey has responsibility for the firm's diversity, equity and inclusion programme; the Women's Initiative Network; and recruiting, retention and hiring programmes for lawyers and staff.
In 2021 she oversaw the launch of the Family Network, which included the introduction of benefits such as childcare, tutoring, and peer-to-peer networking, as well as resources to achieve a work-life balance across all family stages.
Meanwhile the Family Support Initiative, which was launched in 2020 to address COVID-19 family challenges, was also enhanced.
Other policies implemented under Casey’s leadership include a global flexible working policy to provide for agile work; expanded maternity and adoption leave policies; and a declared pronoun policy focused on communicating preferred pronouns. Of the firm’s partner promotions in 2021, 42% have been women and 22% have been ethnic minorities.
Melíosa O'Caoimh, country head – Ireland, Northern Trust
As the country head for Northern Trust Ireland, Melíosa is responsible for driving strategy across the business.
Under her leadership, the executive gender balance group – a subset of the executive leadership group focused on ensuring gender parity – have developed a number of programmes and interventions to support female development and to remove biases from all levels of the employment lifecycle.
As of May 2021, 51.85% of the Irish workforce was female, along with 40.4% of senior leadership.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Melíosa has connected regularly with the firm’s Women in Leadership Business Resource Council to share advice on how women can continue to progress their career and network effectively whilst working from home.
In addition, recognising the challenges that diverse women face, Melíosa is driving an initiative via Northern Trust to support refugee and immigrant women who are looking to obtain employment within financial services.
Jessica Rascionato, executive vice-president, head of underwriting & portfolio management, Citizens Bank
Jessica has served in leadership roles in the Citizens Business Resource Group, Women's Impact Network, since its inception in 2017.
From 2019 to 2021 she served as the chairperson of the group, growing the organisation to reach 2,000 members, aligned under the mission to help women advance their careers through professional development and networking opportunities.
Jessica also helped initiate the development of the Women in Commercial Banking Group, an internal organisation at Citizens that provides networking opportunities and encourages local connections in the Greater Boston area and across Citizens' footprint in North America.
Externally, Jessica is involved with the Center for Women and Enterprise, a 501C3 organisation that provides education and support to female and minority business owners throughout New England. She is also co-chair of the Boston chapter of 50/50 Women on Boards, a global advocacy organisation that promotes gender diversity for corporate boards.
This year Jessica was named by FinTech Magazine as one of the Top 100 Women in FinTech.
Lisa Eggerton, chief marketing office, BigCommerce
As well as serving as the executive sponsor of BProud, BigCommerce's ERG supporting LGTBQ+ employees, Lisa is actively involved in the women's ERG BEmpowered, where she has spoken to the group about the value of diversity and the importance of investing in mentorship and sponsorship relationships.
Lisa has also played an integral role in shaping the company's approach to diverse recruiting: she routinely looks for ways to attract more diverse candidates – one of her first moves at BigCommerces was to have her team remove education requirements where possible for candidates applying to marketing roles, a decision which significantly broadened the pool of qualified candidates.
Additionally, Lisa served as a core member of the team that built out the diversity, equity and inclusion framework for the company. She is a frequent speaker on issues of passion for her. As a parent of a transgender child, she is increasingly involved in organisations that support LGBTQIA teens.
Claudia Parzani, global business development and marketing partner, Linklaters
Always hugely passionate and a supporter of the value of the diversity at every strand, within Linklaters Claudia acted as global champion for gender and has sponsored internal initiatives and programmes to support female talent.
In 2021, Claudia ran for the role of senior partner for the firm, representing an example for women inside and outside her organisation.
Claudia is the founder of Breakfast@Linklaters, considered by many the largest female business community in the country, and the Italian ambassador of Inspiring Girls, a project launched in Italy with the Ministry of Education.
In the past she was president of Valore D, the largest Italian association of companies for gender inclusion. Claudia serves as sponsor, mentor and role model for women and young people and she is often invited to deliver inspirational speeches to support and motivate. In 2020, Claudia published with Il Sole24Ore the book Meravigliose. Tour guidato all’interno di noi stesse dedicated to gender issues, young women and talent.
Helen Redfern, group HR director, Kier Group
As a leader at Kier, Helen has been instrumental in promoting diversity and inclusion as a strategic imperative, resulting in full, active support from senior management, who are committed to making a real difference and driving change across the industry.
Her achievements in this position have included appointing Kier's first head of diversity and inclusion; upskilling and mentoring women to encourage career progression; and leading the creation of the Kier Inclusion Network.
The Future of Work workstream Helen sponsors aims to drive an agile approach in a historically traditional employer, encouraging more flexibility in working patterns for those with caring responsibilities. As well as chairing the Kier D&I committee, where she helps to steer the agenda at the company while championing employee voices, Helen is also the executive sponsor of the firm’s newly created Gender Inclusion Network, and was heavily involved in the introduction of Kier's first D&I audit.
Danielle Ofek, founder, GenddeX
Danielle is a tech and social entrepreneur and a champion of inclusion and diversity in the workplace and beyond. She advocates and supports the recruitment and retention and engagement of a diverse body of talent, mentors colleagues globally and organises company-wide initiatives to drive inclusion.
As the founder of World Crisis Forum (WCF) she puts the values of diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of any activity and as a constructive value from day one.
Outside of WCF, Danielle founded Parliament51 (P51), a non-profit organisation which inspired Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to publish a statement pushing for gender equality and the alleviation of discrimination in the workplace. Following further guidance from Parliament51, the MFA later published an implementation guide.
Danielle is working to ensure that the partner companies of P51 are a model employer for women through the hiring, retention and promotion process, as well as the provision of support on best practices designed to create an inclusive workplace.
Danielle hopes that this will pave the way for more companies and other governmental and international organisations to follow their lead and adopt the same approach towards creating an equal and safe working environment for women.
Emer Timmons, founder and CEO, ET Solutions
Emer was very proud to receive an OBE in the recent Queen’s birthday honours for her services to equality and diversity.
Emer is co-chair of Leaders as Change Agents, a UK Government Diversity and Inclusion Board, which represents the FTSE 350 (^FTLC) chair’s and CEO’s as well as the 150 largest privately-owned businesses, to lead the change in promoting diversity and inclusion across all businesses.
At ET Solutions, Emer leads the women's mentor and sponsorship programme. During COVID-19, she allocated time every week to host internal and external calls and workshops.
Anna Mascolo, president Shell Aviation, Shell
Anna is responsible for Shell's (RDSB.L) global sales of fuels and lubricants to the aviation industry. Her career spans a wide spectrum of leadership roles and she is an inclusive and inspirational leader with international experience.
Anna serves as a mentor and has been an active participant to a number of women’s networks and she has spoken at events to raise awareness on gender issues and to share her personal experience (most recently at the International Transport Forum during International Women's Day 2021).
Anna has had a positive impact on mentees’ next career choices, their chances at promotion and their work-life balance. She has inspired many women within Shell and beyond to be confidence that change is possible.
Anna takes pride in leading gender balanced leadership teams and has taken courageous steps to drive gender balance throughout the organisations she has led.
Sara Michael, vice-president and general manager, Verywell Health, Dotdash
Sara's main contribution to diversity and inclusion at Dotdash has been as the chair of the events committee for the organisation’s Women's Council. Sara has helped see this group through its infancy, growing from 30 to nearly 160 members in under two years.
One of her roles within the council has been to lead monthly roundtables on a range of topics relevant to women, including exploring imposter syndrome; the impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace; how women can better support each other; and a recent panel in collaboration with the Dotdash Pride ERG around family planning, which centred the experience of trans women and folks.
As a result, women have been provided with an empowering space to connect, raise their voices, and share experiences. The discussions have established a forum for women's perspectives that wasn't present at Dotdash before, and has helped carve out a meaningful model for diversity, equity and inclusion programming across the organisation.
Bo Zhou, partner and senior vice-president, Asia Pacific account management team, IHS Markit
Partnering with IHS Markit Academy and the marketing & communications teams, Bo Zhou initiated the global IHS Markit Academy ‘Women in Leadership’ series.
This series invites external female leaders to dialogue with IHS Markit internal female leaders and male advocates. Since its inauguration in December 2020, the series has had over 50 external and internal D&I advocates involved globally.
Bo’s other roles include serving as a sponsor of IHS Markit’s internal leadership discussions and initiatives such as mentorship and sponsorship programmes. In addition, her position as a woman in one of the top posts at the organisation has allowed her to serve as a role model for other women at the firm.
This year, Bo has served on the judging panel of the event ‘Kindness and Leadership - 50 Leading Lights in Asia Pacific’, in order to support the broader diversity and inclusion conversations happening in the region.
Tracey Dovaston, partner, Boies Schiller Flexner
Since joining Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF) in early 2020, Tracey has played an integral role in bringing inclusion, equity and diversity to the very centre of the firm’s business strategy.
She has led on multiple initiatives in the past year, including committing BSF to the Law Society Women in Law pledge, which involved setting meaningful and sustainable targets that will address issues relating to gender equality within the firm; committing BSF to the Equal Representation in Arbitration pledge to promote women's appointments as arbitrators on an equal opportunity basis; and developing the BSF women in law video series in order to promote and assist women rising up through the legal profession.
In addition to initiating monthly meetings for all BSF women, Tracey has also arranged spotlight panels for women from different backgrounds across the firm to talk about their career aspirations, and has organised fireside chats and presentations with senior female clients and renowned motivational speakers.
Cassandra Illidge, vice-president of partnerships, Getty Images
For the last five years, Cassandra has grown the Getty Images content partnership business to add authentic, diverse and inclusive content, so that all communities are accurately represented in the visual content on gettyimages.com.
In June last year, as Getty Images grappled with how to address systemic racism in support of the black community, Cassandra worked tirelessly, taking a leadership role to support employees. She received the Getty Images Leadership Principle Award, nominated under the principles ‘We are inclusive of different voices, perspectives, and experiences’, and ‘We care, are kind, courteous, and respectful’.
Cassandra is co-chair of Getty Images' first ERG, The Multiculture Network, which is open to those who are considered a minority based on race or ethnicity within the country they reside. The group was formed last summer as a grassroots effort to build a community of support for those who were impacted by racism or discrimination.
Cate Luzio, founder and CEO, Luminary
Cate founded and self-funded Luminary in 2018 with the mission to uplift, upskill and propel women forward through all phases of their professional journeys. In order to achieve its purpose of gender diversity and women's inclusion, Luminary has led more than 1,500 events, sessions and workshops; built a digital library with over 400 hours of downloadable content; and set up a work and social space in New York, together with a virtual platform, so that members can connect.
The company has grown to include more than 2,500 individual members in 36 countries, as well as boasting over 40 corporate members. Luminary also runs a fellowship programme which supports both women-owned businesses and women impacted by the 'She-cession'.
Last year the company acquired Declare, a premier leadership platform for women, and partnered with Bolster, to make it possible for more women to join private boards.