Diversity matters and leadership insights – this event offered it all
Joint event examines what today’s business leaders have learnt on their way to the top.
ACCA, CIMA, IoD Scotland and ICAEW Scotland joined forces in early February to host a leadership event at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University. ‘Leadership: why gender diversity in the boardroom makes commercial sense’ not only looked at the benefits that a diverse board brings to a business, but explored the careers of the panel and the lessons they had learnt on their way to the top.
Meet the panel Prof Sara Carter OBE, Associate Deputy Principal (Learning and Teaching) and Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde chaired the event. Stewart Hastie (MD, The Inclusive Consultancy), Stella Morse (CFO, Genius Foods), Caroline Donaldson (Director, Kynesis and the IoD lead on Women onto Boards) and Alison McGregor (CEO Scotland, HSBC) made up the panel, sharing insights into their careers, advice on developing yourself and others and even exploring how the way that the human brain works can impact on business decisions.
Bias, brains and business… Stewart Hastie opened the talk, sharing statistics that highlighted the commercial benefits enjoyed by firms with women in top level roles and explaining how the brain works, the perils of making snap decisions and the impact of unconscious bias. He even caught out a few of the audience with a maths problem which demonstrated how going with your gut instinct and not taking time to think more deeply can give you the wrong results.
Keeping itreal Genius Food’s Stella Morse talked about her career to date and what prompted some of her decisions, before sharing the Genius success story and discussing how retaining brand authenticity has helped them grow to be one of the leading companies in their sector.
The importance of a diverse board was the key message from Caroline Donaldson who shared examples of the benefits that it can bring to business and discussed how she helps make that happen.
‘Lift as you climb’ Concluding the presentations, HSBC’s Alison McGregor talked about her career, how family life had influenced some of her decisions, and the importance of ‘interfering mentors’ – and why she aspires to be one. She explained that she builds strong teams by looking for people who aren’t like her, ‘picking out the gems and polishing them up’ and helping others make connections. ‘As women we have a huge responsibility to lift as we climb, not pull the ladder up behind us,’ she said.
Exploring the topics raised The event ended with a question and answer session and with so much to consider, the questions came thick and fast, covering everything from how to get others to share your passion and creating a workplace where people can really shine. The buzz in the room at the end of the event was evident, with many guests taking the chance to talk to the panel one-to-one and a huge amount of positive feedback from speakers and audience alike.