And just like that my first year as president and CEO of Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF) is coming to an end. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started.
2021 was, of course, another extraordinary year for WIBF, as it has been for the whole world. With more lockdowns came the overwhelming increase in participation across all our programmes, whether they were events, setting up mentoring relationships, keeping communities going or recognising those who have gone above and beyond to progress gender equality.
Highlights for me include:
The hugely successful 23rd Awards for Achievement, in March 2021 which were held in the digital space for the very first time and saw a record 1,200 register and over 600,000 views of our shortlists, winners, and sponsors on social media. Our recognition of talent event in October - Proudly Ambitious - saw Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, and the first woman CEO of a British bank, pick up our first ever President’s award. Many thanks to Karen Bennett, Emma Kerr, Julia Smith, plus our lovely Operations team, Rachel Radford and Paula Foreman.
WIBF’s proactive response to events such as COP26 and the Bank of England/FCA/PRA DP21/2 request for input, as they consider how they should best steer diversity and inclusion (D&I).
Kudos goes to former WIBF president Vivienne Artz OBE, Liz Hughes, Elise Badoy, and a host of WIBF volunteers, as well as a distinguished Advisory Board, including Alice Gaskell, for the tremendous success of the Accelerating Change Together (ACT) research programme. This partnership with The Wisdom Council (TWC) and the London School of Economics resulted in Dr Grace Lordan delivering the GOOD FINANCE Framework in June, garnering huge interest across the industry and the media and a place on the short list for PIMFA’s inaugural D&I Awards.
The mentoring and PEP teams led by Sally McFall matching up 220 mentoring pairs and running nearly 50 personal development events with record attendance.
The central events and thought leadership team delivering over 40 themes and highly topical events in partnership with our many corporate members.
I wanted to close out 2021 with some other thank yous.
The first go to those who have stepped down from the WIBF management board this year. Gabi Doyle, Liz Hughes, Natalie Gill, Sally McFall, and Stacy Lamb have all provided significant support and will be missed. I would also like to thank those who have joined WIBF as advisory board members – Andrew Pitt, Camilla Stowell, David Holton, Lorna Hinds-Sotomey and Vivienne Artz OBE – and on the management board Karen Bennett, Neeta Mundra and Sarah Woodard.
Our corporate awards sponsors without whom WIBF’s awards programme would not have been possible: Citi (our overall partner and headline sponsor); Credit Suisse; LSEG; Cynergy; Goldman Sachs; HSBC; and the TEN Lifestyle Group.
All of our wonderful institutional partners, associate members and Individual members.
And, of course, our fabulous Patrons, Advisory Board, Management Board and Shadow Boards and all WIBF volunteers for whom this Steve Jobs quote seems so very apt:
“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
This year we are donating to Girls Are Investors (GAIN) instead of sending cards. The charity is made up of a network of volunteers dedicated to addressing the lack of senior female representation in investment management – by visiting schools and universities around the UK to raise awareness of the many benefits of investing as a career. It’s an organisation that is very aligned with WIBF’s mission to ensure better gender balance in financial services and a cause I am personally very passionate about in my ‘day job’ at TWC where we launched Yes She Can, a programme dedicated to tackling the critical gender pensions and investment gap. You can find out more about GAIN here https://www.gainuk.org/.
Last but not least, I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
I hope you have a restful holiday period.
President & CEO of WIBF