‘Too much focus on women on boards’

There has been too much focus on women on the boards and not enough on developing up and coming female talent, according to senior business leaders.

There has been too much focus on women on the boards and not enough on developing up and coming female talent, according to senior business leaders.

Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers; Chris Browne, Managing Director of Thomson Airways, Larry Hirst CBE former Chairman of IBM EMEA and Perween Warsi, CBE Founder and Chief Executive, S&A Foods are among business leaders who are supporting the launch of the everywoman Navigator, a guide which aims to offerexpert advice and insight into the barriers that often hold women back in their working lives.
The everywoman Navigator has been created by the everywomanClub, a membership group of senior women in business.
Dame Mary Perkins, an advisory board member of everywomanClub, says: “If we are to get more women into senior positions and running large businesses then we need to support the flow of talented women to the top. We hope the everywoman Navigator will go some way in doing this. We need to help women plot their business course so they have the support and skills in place to achieve their goals.”
Composed by women business leaders, the guide is a ‘living’ document that will grow over time and includes advice, tips, self-diagnostic tools, research and thought leadership on the challenges women face in business including: roadblocks to promotion, returning to work, self-esteem, confidence to lead, and the reality of ‘having it all’.
Chrissie Rucker MBE, founder of The White Company, says on leadership: “As a leader you are only as good as the team you have around you. To build a great team you must seek out the right people and give them ownership of what they are managing.”
Claire Scott-Priestley, Partner at Squire Sanders, says on self-esteem: “Women can be extremely harsh critics of themselves and in that way we are generally different to men.  It is important to remind yourself of what you have achieved so far instead of letting yourself fall into a spiral of negativity.”
Rebecca Salt, EVP Marketing and Communications of CEVA Logistics Ltd, says on being a manager: “One of the biggest challenges for anyone promoted to a manager role is, in general, they are not given training in management and leadership skills. I’ve looked at the differences between managers I have enjoyed working with and those I haven’t and incorporated these into the way I manage.  To be a successful manager and leader of people is a key skill for women looking to succeed in business and we should actively be helping these women develop the right skills in this area.”
Helen Kelisky, Vice President, Comms and Media Industry of IBM UK and Ireland, says on planning: “You should have a plan, it is important to have the next two or three steps ahead planned out and in your sights, but be prepared to change your plan to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”
The everywoman Navigator is free and available to download from everywoman.com from 8 March 2012.

Karen Gill, co-founder of everywoman, says: “We know we have a problem with the numbers of women on the boards of UK businesses. But putting all the focus simply on board numbers is a very short-sighted view and also excludes women in enterprise”.
“The UK female pipeline is broken. Until it is fixed, there will not be the women ready to move up into senior management in a constant stream or more women setting up their own businesses – if women started businesses at the same rate as men there would be 150,000 more businesses a year.
“Addressing this problem is not just a nice to have, it is an economic imperative and like any business situation if we want to affect change we need to give it some focus.

">“We hope that with the everywoman Navigator we have created a useful guide for women in business. It is both cohesive and practical and tailored to the needs of women operating either a business or in the workplace.”

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