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Creating Positive Footprints....

BoardAble Seminar

There were outstanding contributions at the autumn BoardAble seminar for Public Appointments, NED and Board roles. 

Firstly David Holmes from the Cabinet Office Centre for Public Appointments outlined the great variety of appointments available, what they entail and how to go about applying for the roles. David explained that over 600 appointments were made last year across a wide range of public bodies; candidates with solid commercial experience have a lot to offer the public sector.                                



Sarah Anderson CBE, who has extensive expertise chairing Appointments Panels to recruit the chairs of public bodies, advised that for a first board experience think locally - a role such as school governor or charity trustee is an ideal starting point. Even for those with more board experience its sensible to start with a public sector board role rather than aim to jump straight in as chairman. Sarah suggested delegates assess transferable skills and see where they match the role; clearly outlining this in the supporting statement - focusing on achievements is key.

Yvonne Thompson CBE then outlined her own personal experiences, most recently on the Honours Committee, explaining about the rigorous process that takes place.Yvonne shared with us the enormous rewards from taking on a public appointment and advised delegates not to underestimate the ime involved!
Maggie Semple OBE took delegates through a personal 6-point check list of helpful advice and the essentials of preparing for both the board appointment itself and for board meetings once in the role. Maggie's key message was to ensure we all live up to our own personal standards as reputation is everything.

Finally, programme director Vanda Green took everyone through a short exercise as delegates considered their own skill sets, sharing ideas on how to map a path to board level and into public life.

Delegates then spent time networking with each other at an informal Aperitivo.




Women in Music

The second of our Pink Shoe Forum ‘Women In…’ series focused on the music industry. A report in January 2018 found women are still vastly under-represented in music. 

The USC Annaberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that from 600 songs analysed only 22% were by female artists and even fewer - 12% - had female song writing credits. Worse, in the group studied, male producers outnumbered female producers by 49 to 1.

The aim of the event was to identify strategies that will create pathways for women to develop their skills, raise their profiles as role models and secure greater parity in the music industry.

Our host Baroness Jenkin opened the roundtable with an inspiring welcome and commented that issues of greater female participation were found in all sectors. Anne Jenkin set up Women2Win with Theresa May to address that imbalance in politics. The picture is now far better with Parliament being better balanced than ever but there is still a long way to go.

Helene Martin Gee thanked Lady Jenkin and welcomed our illustrious speakers, women from all areas of the industry. Before the discussion began we heard ‘Queen’ by Elle Exxe which inspired us all - an amazing track with an all-female team, the video highlighting diverse women from across the world and from every culture and sector.

Elle gave us some valuable insights and an honest account of her time in the business and passion for encouraging and supporting more women. We then shared ideas and observations from other important women from throughout the world of music, including Sammy Andrews, Lara Baker, Helen Bousfield, Angie Greaves, Alex Kerr-Wilson and Yvonne Thompson CBE.

The debate was expertly chaired by Sue Lawton MBE and we gained a wide range of knowledge about the sector and some encouraging initiatives from delegates including Sharon Walpole, Marion Fleetwood and Vanessa Reed.

A comprehensive report on the event and its outcomes will be made available by emailing info@pinkshoeclub.com

The Women in Music report will form part of the Pink Shoe ‘Women in the Economy’ White Paper to be published in 2019 when the current series of discussions is complete. All findings from the Pink Shoe Forum are being combined to create a definitive cross-sector report on the current position and future opportunities for women in leadership.

NB: The overall aim of these PS Forum events is to share ideas from those in the sector – male and female - about how women can build their capacity to engage more effectively. The Forum explores ideas that influence, support and encourage that development both within each sector and across the UK economy. 

Women in Construction

Senior women and men from across the construction and built environment sector met for the Pink Shoe Forum at the House of Lords, to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by women in the sector. The ERSC white paper found that the sector accounts for 30 per cent of male self-employment, but just 3 per cent of female self-employment.



Hosted by the Earl of Erroll along with Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee, our excellent speakers were Sandi Rhys Jones OBE, a pioneering advocate for women in the sector; amongst many roles Sandi leads the national mentoring scheme for the Association of Women in Property. Romy Rawlings, UK Business Development Director at Vestre, a Chartered Landscape Architect and author with 25 years’ industry experience. And Rob Boughton Group Managing Director of the Thakeham Group.


Sandi Rhys Jones is a trailblazer in the industry who leads and contributes to many other initiatives successfully driving forward opportunity for women. As a mentor herself, she highlighted the importance of role models and increasing visibility of women in the sector; urging women themselves to step up - for example by entering awards and raising our own profile by speaking at events and taking credit for our ideas.

Rob Boughton endorsed this and also focused on practical measures firms can take, outlining his firm’s activities and outreach to schools which is proving popular. Romy gave a great presentation, considering some of the potential pitfalls as well as sharing her positive experiences as a leading landscape architect.

We also heard from project management expert Jade Onashoga about Project 13; a new initiative from the Institution of Civil Engineers encouraging construction and infrastructure organisations to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach and work together an enterprise with their respective delivery partners.
Then customer relations and people development expert Brian Simpson - who had the idea for Pink Shoe to focus on this sector - outlined the importance of training and the exciting opportunities available. Diana Chrouch spoke further on the breadth of available opportunities and how the event linked to the work of the UK Economic blueprint for Women.
The debate was superbly chaired by Jill Pay, former Serjeant at Arms and chairman of the Pink Shoe Senate.
Lots of excellent ideas were shared by our speakers and delegates, ranging from working with parents so that school students gain a more accurate picture of the exciting range of jobs in construction, to highlight the range of options from professional to more practical roles; to creating a ‘Dress-Up Friday’ so people can see construction is not just about scruffy builders on site.

Its clear the opportunities are there – and with skills shortages in the sector its common sense to encourage more women into construction

For a copy of the post-event briefing and/or to request a place at future events please email info@pinkshoeclub.com

The Women in Construction report will form part of the Pink Shoe ‘Women in the Economy’ White Paper to be published in 2019 when the current series of discussions is complete. All findings from the Pink Shoe Forum are being combined to create a definitive cross-sector report on the current position and future opportunities for women in leadership.

Women in Business Roundtable with the Turkish Business Minister