Lizzie Crutchfield’s network at the sports betting and gaming company has grown into a group of 160 women in just over a year.
When Lizzie Crutchfield set up a women’s network at her workplace last spring, she didn’t realise it would take off so quickly.
Crutchfield works at Entain, an international sports betting and gaming company headquartered in London and Gibraltar. Entain owns well-known UK chains such as Ladbrokes and operates in around 40 countries overall.
Last April, Crutchfield started Entain’s Women in Power network, a peer-support group for women in the company’s Gibraltar office. What started as a small group of women whom she already knew at work has now grown into a network of 160 women, who are forging their careers in a male-dominated sector.
“I’d like to think that I’ve created quite a safe space, where people do feel that they can speak up and chat and do so without judgement,” says Crutchfield, Entain’s Senior Programme and Planning Manager for UK Digital.
Women in Power hosts quarterly workshops on topics such as communication skills and authentic leadership. The network also has a Teams chat with weekly member-led discussions. In addition, it helps women to find mentors at the company.
Crutchfield had taken part in networking groups throughout her career, but she often felt that such groups focused on quick one-off interactions that didn’t help her in a meaningful way. She therefore wanted to create a group where women could build truly supportive relationships.
“I really believe that, to make a lasting connection, you need to share experiences with somebody and you need to connect regularly,” she says.
The Women in Power group strives to help female employees to boost their confidence and skills, as well as helping Entain to be an inclusive employer. “Our senior leadership team is really receptive…they’ve asked me for insights,” says Crutchfield (pictured left).
Entain’s senior leaders have asked Crutchfield to consult on an HR project and to design a programme for their senior leadership team, due to her expertise and insights as Women in Power’s founder. On a more day-to-day level, the company also quickly put free tampons in workplace bathrooms after she mentioned that this had come up in the group’s discussions.
Next month, Women in Power will host its first one-day live event, which will include speakers, panel discussions and workshops. Entain also runs other schemes to support women in their careers, such as its global network for female employees and its “Returnship” programme for women who have taken a career break.
Crutchfield, who won a gaming industry award this year for her work on supporting women, says she has been struck by her group’s rapid growth.
“I knew that there was a gap there, and that I wanted to fill it. But what I didn’t expect was how much it’s personally affected people,” she says.
“I get messages all the time from women who are in the group about how it’s given them the courage to apply for a role, or the confidence to get up and do that presentation. Or just to know that they’re not alone.”