UK markets close in 3 hours 6 minutes
  • FTSE 100

    6,991.41
    +87.50 (+1.27%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    23,571.00
    +169.28 (+0.72%)
     
  • AIM

    1,259.32
    +4.32 (+0.34%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1645
    +0.0010 (+0.09%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3676
    +0.0017 (+0.12%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    31,732.87
    -90.11 (-0.28%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,087.43
    -46.95 (-4.14%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,357.73
    -75.26 (-1.70%)
     
  • DOW

    33,970.47
    -614.41 (-1.78%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    71.01
    +0.72 (+1.02%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,770.60
    +6.80 (+0.39%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,839.71
    -660.34 (-2.17%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    24,221.54
    +122.40 (+0.51%)
     
  • DAX

    15,353.52
    +221.46 (+1.46%)
     
  • CAC 40

    6,548.69
    +92.88 (+1.44%)
     

The HERoes Top 35 Advocates for Women in Business 2021

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·31-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Advocates top 10. Photo: Involve
Advocates top 10. Photo: Involve

Authentic allyship is one of the central pillars of driving change.

For women in the workplace, allies in positions of power — predominantly CIS, straight, white men — are essential to making the world of business more diverse and inclusive. Allyship means lending support, finding ways to use power to equalise the workforce, and making work equitable for women — especially for women of colour.

The 2021 HERoes Advocates list celebrates 35 senior leaders who are advocates for women in business and dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive business environment.

These executives work within at least three levels of the chief executive at large companies, or are the leaders of smaller organisations.

All of the leaders were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward. Nominations were reviewed by the HERoes judging panel, which includes director at Yahoo, Lianna Brinded. The panel scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.

1) Keith Barr, CEO, IHG

Keith Barr, CEO, IHG
Keith Barr, CEO, IHG

As CEO, Keith has been instrumental in defining InterContinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) culture as one of inclusion, and to the sense of belonging colleagues feel and the freedom they have to be themselves. 

A commitment to create a culture in which everyone can thrive is at the heart of IHG’s 2030 Responsible Business strategy, and the company has a set of targets to help achieve this aim, including achieving a gender balanced leadership by this point. At the end of 2020, 38% of IHG’s executive committee and direct reports were women. 

Throughout the pandemic, recognising the pressures it has placed on all IHG colleagues, not least working parents, Keith has ensured that colleagues can prioritise wellbeing and juggle family and work needs with ease, including the introduction of new global flexible working guidelines and recharge days to allow colleagues to recuperate.

2) Shinbo Won, head of Asia ex-Japan, BlackRock Investment Stewardship, BlackRock

Shinbo Won, Head of Asia ex-Japan, BlackRock Investment Stewardship, BlackRock
Shinbo Won, head of Asia ex-Japan, BlackRock Investment Stewardship, BlackRock

Shinbo is co-founder and co-chair of BlackRock (BLK) Singapore's Male Allies programme, a role in which he is tasked with growing the pool of male champions who advocate for the empowerment of female colleagues. 

The position also involves supporting the broader Women's Initiative Network in fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). 

The Male Allies programme is focused around building awareness of biases and behaviours that act as barriers to achieving gender equity in the workplace, while sharing experiences and practices that help build a more inclusive culture. 

In his role at BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship, Shinbo and his team have strengthened the expectation of board diversity, including gender diversity, by newly implementing a voting policy in 2021 which BlackRock holds existing members accountable for a lack of women on the board by voting against the re-election of directors. 

Outside of BlackRock, Shinbo has been appointed as Male Champion of the Financial Women's Association of Singapore.

3) Ivan Menezes, CEO, Diageo

Ivan Menezes, CEO, Diageo
Ivan Menezes, CEO, Diageo

Since becoming Diageo’s (DGE.L) CEO in 2013, Ivan has championed diversity and inclusion (D&I) across the whole organisation, as well as the wider drinks and hospitality industry. 

Along with ambitious 2030 goals to increase the representation of women in Diageo leadership roles and the percentage of suppliers from female and minority-owned businesses, Diageo is also amongst the first companies to have created a clear link and direct accountability for environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments with its senior management community. 

In February 2021, Diageo announced 20% of the Diageo Long-term Incentive Plan will be linked to ESG measures, including D&I, ensuring that every senior leader is incentivised to make progress on this agenda. 

This year the firm has continued to empower women and to lean into taboo subjects: in March 2021, global menopause guidelines were launched to offer strengthened support and flexibility and to encourage employees to build their understanding of how the menopause impacts individuals.

4) Mark Read, CEO, WPP

Mark Read, WPP, CEO
Mark Read, CEO, WPP

As CEO of WPP (WPP.L), Mark appointed a new chief people officer and a global head of culture, to continue to improve diversity and build an open and inclusive culture at the firm. 

Women now make up 51% of senior managers and 40% at the most senior executive level.

Last year, WPP launched an updated online ethics training, including unconscious bias modules which are mandatory for all staff, and a new 'conscious inclusion' training programme to embed DE&I into hiring processes, performance management systems and leadership development. 

For the third year running the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index has listed WPP, and last year Forbes ranked the company 16th in its Top 20 Best Employers for Women List. In 2020, of a total $94m (£67.5m) had been spent by the firm on diverse suppliers, 64% of which went to women-owned business enterprises and 14% to minority women-owned business enterprises.

5) Sean Fan, partner/managing director, chairman of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Limited, co-head China Investment Banking Division, Goldman Sachs

Sean Fan, partner/managing director, Goldman Sachs
Sean Fan, partner/managing director, Goldman Sachs

Sean’s actions to foster workplace diversity at Goldman Sachs (GS) include serving as a member of the Asia Pacific Inclusion and Diversity Committee, where he focuses on developing and implementing D&I strategies across the region; ensuring the inclusion of women during recruitment and promotion processes; hosting roundtable sessions with diverse vice-presidents including women to enhance visibility and connectivity with leadership; and serving as an active sponsor for high-potential professionals across Asia to ensure the progress of diverse representation. 

He also sponsors the China Diversity Network, where he is a frequent speaker at women empowerment events, such as ‘When Women Lead – Perspectives on Women in Business’ and the ‘Lean in China Young Leaders’ Programme’, where he shared his belief in gender equality. 

Sean also played a key role in driving Goldman Sachs Asset Management Private Equity’s incremental diversity hiring results.

6) Simon Cooper, CEO, corporate, commercial & institutional banking and CEO, Europe & Americas, Standard Chartered

Simon Cooper, CEO, corporate, commercial & institutional banking and CEO, Europe & Americas, Standard Chartered
Simon Cooper, CEO, corporate, commercial & institutional banking and CEO, Europe & Americas, Standard Chartered

As Global D&I Council chair for Standard Chartered (STAN.L), Simon has initiated a major shift in the organisation’s diversity and inclusion agenda. 

His leadership has accelerated the pace of change, resulting in inclusive leadership workshops for more than 16,000 leaders and in CEOs taking more accountability for the delivery of local D&I plans and objectives.

Simon has also overseen the introduction of initiatives such as a global Fair Pay Charter; the disclosure of the gender pay gap in key markets; and the implementation of safety and security initiatives in 21 markets, in order to support female colleagues living and working in countries with a history of heightened violence. 

His approach to engage the organisation has resulted in a positive trend across several indicators, including female representation in senior roles, which increased from 27.7% in 2018 to 30.14% today, and employee inclusion index scores – up from 78% in 2019 to 82% in 2020.

7) Ron O'Hanley, chairman and CEO, State Street

Ron O'Hanley, chairman and CEO, State Street
Ron O'Hanley, chairman and CEO, State Street

Under Ron's leadership, State Street (STT) has continually focused on female leadership in the companies it invests in, including by launching a Fearless Girl initiative which saw more than 860 companies appoint at least one female board member where they previously had none. 

Ron has introduced company-wide diversity goals which are tied to executives’ compensation, and diverse talent slates for all open positions including on the board. Three women have been added to State Street’s management committee by Ron, bringing female representation to 29%, and last year approximately 68% of promotions at managing director level and above were women. 

State Street has featured on Working Mother's 100 Best Companies and Best Companies for Dads, as well as on the Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index. For seven consecutive years the firm has received a score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

8) David Kenny, CEO, Nielsen

David Kenny, CEO, Nielsen
David Kenny, CEO, Nielsen

David’s achievements as CEO of Nielsen (NLSN) include launching Gracenote Inclusion Analytics in order to identify, including by gender and sexual orientation, groups on TV and in the audiences watching. 

He heads a leadership team in which four of the nine members are women, and this year he appointed a female chief diversity officer. 

In light of the additional pressures being placed on women due to COVID, David launched a mental health and self-care programme including mental health days off and a spotlight on childcare and counselling benefits.

As well as launching a company-wide e-learning session, ‘From Witness to Advocate’, on allyship and recognising microaggressions, David also gave a keynote speech at Nielsen’s Women’s History Month where he spoke about challenging bias and encouraging women at all levels to take on leadership roles. 

For the third consecutive year, Nielsen has featured on Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index.

9) Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO, Dow

Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO, Dow
Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO, Dow

Howard has served as executive sponsor for the Women’s Inclusion Network employee resource group (ERG) at Dow (DOW) since 2017, a role which involves supporting more than 7,000 participants. 

As well as sponsoring a Power Up programme and career portfolio toolkits with over 1,300 Dow women, Howard has also championed 'sponsor to success in finance', advancing women and US minority talent development by pairing participants with a senior leader advocate who enhances exposure and visibility. 

He has a track record of enforcing expectations for recruiting gender-diverse talent across all levels, including transparently posting all roles internally, and he has cultivated a strong female talent pipeline across the organisation by providing external coaches for female employees globally. 

In another of his roles, as executive sponsor of the Total Rewards Assessment programme, Howard has reinforced his commitment to offer equitable opportunities by establishing a global minimum standard of 16 weeks paid time off for new parents regardless of gender.

10) Luke Ellis, CEO, Man Group

Luke Ellis, CEO, Man Group
Luke Ellis, CEO, Man Group

As CEO of Man Group, Luke oversees the diversity and inclusion strategy alongside the group COO. Together, they re-launched Drive, the internal D&I network, which today is comprised of the gender balance network Women at Man alongside several others. 

In his position on the senior executive committee, which is responsible for championing D&I, Luke pushed for the implementation of a policy to incorporate a systematic review of diversity within talent and succession planning reviews. 

Man Group's commitment to the Women in Finance Charter, for which Luke serves as executive sponsor, has seen the proportion of women in senior roles increase from 16% in 2016 to 25% in 2020, meeting their charter target. The firm’s consistent efforts to support and develop women have now led to increased targets to reach 30% female representation in senior roles by 2024, whilst the board achieved gender parity in 2020.

11) Robert Fairbairn, vice-chairman and co-chair of Human Capital Committee, BlackRock

Robert Fairbairn, vice chairman, BlackRock
Robert Fairbairn, vice chairman and co-chair of Human Capital Committee, BlackRock

As the co-chair of the Human Capital Committee and Talent Sub-Committee, Robert has led and sponsored a number of initiatives aimed at increasing gender equality in the workplace. 

He helped launch BlackRock’s Women Leadership Forum, established extended maternity/paternity leave and a flexible time-off policy, and sponsored numerous senior women, through investing in helping them find broader, more impactful careers at BlackRock. 

As interim global head of HR, Robert expanded adoption assistance and new surrogacy and egg freezing benefits for all employees. Robert is also one of the founders of the first chapter of BlackRock’s Women’s Initiative Network based on the East Coast. 

As one of BlackRock Women's Leadership Forum chairs, Robert has been a global executive committee sponsor of the programme for many years and has been instrumental in involving other global executive committee members as sponsors of women in the programme.

12) Adrian Warr, CEO, HK and Taiwan, and market growth Thailand, Edelman

Adrian Warr, CEO, HK, Taiwan and market growth Thailand, Edelman
Adrian Warr, CEO, HK and Taiwan, and market growth Thailand, Edelman

Adrian is a founding member and co-chair of Male Allies, a charity under The Women’s Foundation.  

The raft of policy changes and engagement initiatives introduced under his leadership have led to a reduced turnover from 35% in 2017 to 19% in 2021. The firm has also seen an increase in the percentage of women on the leadership team from 30% up to 50%, and on the management team from 40% up to 55%. Pay has also been equalised, and 100% of working mothers have been retained for the third year running. 

The many DE&I initiatives Adrian has overseen have included a dynamic working policy for all; increased holiday allowances; balanced panels for hiring and reviews; the replacement of paternity and maternity benefits with primary and secondary carer benefits; and a partnership with The Women’s Foundation that provides mentoring and training.

13) Christoph Schweizer, CEO-elect, Boston Consulting Group

Christoph Schweizer, CEO-elect and chairman of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, managing director and senior partner
Christoph Schweizer, CEO-elect, Boston Consulting Group

In his current role as chairman of the Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East (CEMA) region at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Christoph has made Women@BCG one of his four top priorities.

Christoph has set clear goals related to the hiring, promotion and retention of women, working closely with leaders and teams in the region to advance this critical agenda. Not only has there been a rise in the percentage of female entry level hires for BCG in CEMA, from just over 30% in 2019 to over 40% in 2021, the firm also continues to uphold equal men and women retention rates, with the ambition to continue to advance BCG’s women representation in the region. 

In May 2021, Christoph was elected as BCG’s next CEO, effective 1 October 2021, and DE&I in particular is a strong pillar of his global agenda going forward.

14) Andrew Williams, group CEO, Halma

Andrew Williams, group CEO, Halma
Andrew Williams, group CEO, Halma

Andrew’s work to improve the gender balance in leadership positions at Halma has resulted in more diversity at all levels of the organisation. 

From July this year, the executive board will be made up of 78% women, including one Black woman. Additionally, 46% of graduates in the last four years have been women, and more than 50% of Halma’s senior leadership team are women, including on the plc board, the executive board and the divisional chief executives. 

As part of Halma’s commitment to building inclusive businesses, last year the firm launched its first ever global paid parental leave policy to support new parents to look after their new family, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or the market in which they live or work. The policy aims to remove career impediments for mothers, and to enable fathers to enjoy more time with their new family.

15) Christian Edelmann, managing partner Europe, Oliver Wyman

Christian Edelmann, managing partner Europe, Oliver Wyman
Christian Edelmann, managing partner Europe, Oliver Wyman

When promoted to managing partner Europe earlier in 2021, Christian enacted two policy changes. 

The first was aimed at talent acquisition, allowing business leaders to go beyond their hiring targets if they managed to attract female talent. This initiative allowed Oliver Wyman to hire five additional highly talented female colleagues.

The second policy, which was implemented after a strong correlation was observed between the sponsorship of women and their career progress, asked each member of the European leadership team to sponsor two female colleagues. 

Christian has also been working closely with the HR team to ensure Oliver Wyman creates a ‘back to office work’ policy, which allows employees to retain the benefits of hybrid working. 

The Men4Change programme he co-founded two years ago has run workshops with many clients on the topic of gender balance, as a forum to share experiences and as an opportunity to get to know like-minded peers.

16) Claudio Gienal, CEO, AXA UK & Ireland

Claudio Gienal, CEO, AXA UK & Ireland
Claudio Gienal, CEO, AXA UK & Ireland

Claudio has placed gender equality as a key, strategic priority for AXA (CS.PA) UK&I with the result that the organisation has been listed on the 2021 Times Top 50 Employers for Women list, and the gender seniority gap has been significantly reduced. 

Under his leadership, female representation on the executive committee has increased from 19% in 2018 to 50% in 2021, and the percentage of women in executive roles has risen from 32.1% in 2020 to 39.9% in 2021. 

Claudio is actively involved in the sponsorship of female talent across the AXA Group, and on International Women’s Day 2021 he used his LinkedIn platform to spotlight three AXA female future leaders he is currently supporting. 

He regularly participates in internal diversity and inclusion initiatives, which in 2021 have included an internal panel discussion to celebrate International Women's Day and a virtual speed mentoring event hosted by AXA UK&I’s gender equality network.

17) Julio Bruno, CEO, Time Out Group

Julio Bruno, CEO, Time Out Group
Julio Bruno, CEO, Time Out Group

Throughout his career and at Time Out Group (TMO.L), Julio has always surrounded himself with a team of mixed genders, races and ethnicities. 

The leadership team Julio currently heads at Time Out has a 50:50 gender split. In addition, 58% of the whole workforce is female and there is no gender pay gap. 

The company’s HR recruitment process involves practicing blind recruitment, to avoid unconscious bias around hiring men over women, and insisting on a 50% minority candidate long list from any agencies used. 

During 2020, in response to the issues faced by working parents over the pandemic, Time Out created a family resource centre as a support to help with mental health and the time off needed while working and caregiving simultaneously. 

Every year, Time Out celebrates International Women's Day, both internally and through the company’s media megaphone, and Julio actively encourages his editorial team to spotlight female owned businesses as well as minority-owned businesses.

18) Jon Holt, CEO, KPMG UK

Jon Holt, CEO, KPMG
Jon Holt, CEO, KPMG UK

Since being elected as CEO of KPMG in April 2021, Jon has put diversity and inclusion at the heart of his strategy. He is responsible for the firm's progress against inclusion, diversity and social equality (IDSE) targets, as well as pay gaps and action plans, and ensures that these are regularly discussed and challenged by the executive committee in order to drive action and progress. 

He also sets the tone for all people processes, making sure that colleagues apply a gender and ethnicity lens to achieve the right outcomes and drive sustainable change. 

In his previous role as head of audit, Jon developed IDSE goals for all audit partners and directors, and initiated IDSE awareness sessions for all 7,000 of audit’s employees.

Since 2017 he has been a member of the KPMG inclusive leadership board, which serves to challenge the firm on progress and bring in external views regarding best practice.

19) Gerald Yao, chief strategy officer and co-founder, FiscalNote

Gerald Yao, chief strategy officer and co-founder, FiscalNote
Gerald Yao, chief strategy officer and co-founder, FiscalNote

Gerald has driven a number of initiatives to improve gender diversity at the company. Last year, after speaking with over 25 DE&I experts on how to shape the company’s programmes, he launched the first diversity and inclusion company-wide survey and led the creation of the 2020 State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report, which was released internally to the entire international organisation. 

Gerald also built the structure and recruitment of the company’s DE&I Task Force. Furthermore, he organised the senior leadership team enablement sessions around diversity, integrating incentive goals for leaders. 

This year has seen him sign onto the CEO ACTION for Diversity and Inclusion, bring women on to the advisory board, and coordinate with the head of CSR to create monthly themes related to DE&I.

20) David McCormick, CEO, Bridgewater Associates

David McCormick, CEO, Bridgewater Associate
David McCormick, CEO, Bridgewater Associates

David has spearheaded Bridgewater Associate's diversity and inclusion initiative as a top priority since 2017. He appointed Bridgewater’s first chief diversity officer and full-time team, reporting directly to him. 

Under David’s leadership, the firm instituted pay equity reviews; launched affinity networks, including the Women's Influence Network; implemented equal parental leave; publicly released representation and pay equity data; ensured gender representation was a key consideration in designing a new governance structure; and increased the number of women in senior leadership. 

Throughout David’s career the advancement of women has been deeply personal to him – as a public servant focused on getting the best out of his team, as a business executive responsible for developing the next generation of leaders, and as a father of six daughters with his wife Dina Powell McCormick. 

David is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, has a Ph.D. from Princeton, and is a veteran of the First Gulf War.

Lou Maiuri, chief operating officer, State Street

Lou Maiuri, chief operating officer, State Street
Lou Maiuri, chief operating officer, State Street

Since 2017, Lou has served as executive sponsor of State Street's Professional Women's Network (PWN), an ERG providing professional development opportunities for women across the company. 

He regularly encourages colleagues and peers to participate in the network’s events, as he strongly believes that networking and conversations are critical to help to foster a strong pipeline of female talent. 

As well as launching and continuing to lead the PWN's global advisory board, which advises on policies that drive diverse hiring and promotional practices, Lou has made a number of female leadership appointments at the senior vice president and executive vice president levels. 

In 2020, the firm reached 30% female representation across leadership roles, and approximately 68% of promotions at manager director level and above were women. 

PWN initiatives Lou helped with in 2020 included authoring a blog on ‘Allyship and Equal Pay Day for Black Women’ and hosting an event focused on women in IT.

Georg Beyer, managing director and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group

Georg Beyer, managing director and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group
Georg Beyer, managing director and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group

Under Georg’s leadership over the past two years, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has defined a clear business case as to why gender diversity is important for the company, and has ensured that this is constantly communicated to leaders and to all staff. 

As well as setting goals on the hiring and retention of female talent, Georg and his team have stated their ambition to continue to advance BCG’s women representation in the region. The programmes they have implemented include family support, extended paternity leaves, women leadership programmes, and participation in external thought leadership publications.  

Georg personally oversees the retention and career progression of CEMA’s senior women including a strong focus on female share in succession planning for leadership roles. Alongside that commitment he also sponsors 14 senior women to ensure they are successful in advancing through the ranks, by making regular check in calls and advocating for them internally.

Kevin Hogarth, UK chief people officer, KPMG UK

Kevin Hogarth, UK chief people officer, KPMG
Kevin Hogarth, UK chief people officer, KPMG UK

In his role as chief people officer at KPMG UK, Kevin has executive accountability for the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy and policies, and in this capacity has set clear expectations about the proportionality of all promotions, and the outcomes of performance reviews and reward processes. 

Since joining, he has initiated a review to ensure that annual D&I targets and associated plans are sufficiently stretching, and that KPMG is on target to achieve its publicly quoted gender targets. 

As well as requesting the organisation develop more ambitious gender targets that go beyond current 2022 goals, Kevin has also required a D&I review of all new policies being implemented as part of the transition to hybrid working, to ensure there will be no adverse gender impact. 

He has been a member of the KPMG UK inclusive leadership board since starting at the firm, and along with the CEO he sets the agenda for this group of external advisers.

David Stone, partner, global head of intellectual property, Allen & Overy

David Stone, partner, global head of intellectual property, Allen & Overy
David Stone, partner, global head of intellectual property, Allen & Overy

David is an active force in promoting diversity and inclusion at Allen & Overy. 

In 2019, he established a Women in Intellectual Property (IP) initiative among partners and staff globally. The group, which David still sponsors, hosts events for women clients; runs continuing professional education sessions with women-only speaker panels; encourages women to publish thought leadership; and promotes women's achievements within and outside the firm. 

As a result, lawyers at Allen & Overy have felt empowered to take the spotlight and talk on topical IP issues in front of clients and peers. 

The group also runs a mentoring programme connecting female lawyers across offices and seniority levels, which benefits not just the junior staff but also the mentors, who gain valuable experience and insights. 

David was also responsible for organising a study of the language used in quotes for legal directories. With the findings, he published guidance on avoiding gendered language when providing feedback on barristers, which is now used across the firm’s London litigation department.

Matthew Krentz, managing director and senior partner, global DE&I and leadership chair, Boston Consulting Group

Matthew Krentz, managing director and senior partner, global DE&I and leadership chair, Boston Consulting Group
Matthew Krentz, managing director and senior partner, global DE&I and leadership chair, Boston Consulting Group

Matt is the DE&I and leadership chair for Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He is responsible for the firm’s global Women@BCG programme whose purpose is to increase the recruitment, retention, advancement, and satisfaction of women. 

The programme is focused on outreach, increased flexibility and mobility offerings, bias reduction, pipeline planning and customised professional development. 

Under Matt’s leadership, BCG has increased women as a percentage of entry level hires from 29% to 42% and has retained men and women at equal rates over the last eight years. The number of female managing director and partners (MDPs) at the firm has also grown at three times the rate of male MDPs, resulting in the percentage of female MDP representation doubling since 2013. 

In order to support caregivers at BCG during the pandemic, Matt worked with his team to develop a flexible work model that has provided caregivers with a 70% salary while working at 60% capacity across all cohorts and levels of the company.

Osman Ershad Faiz, chief information and operating officer, AMTD Digital

Osman Ershad Faiz, chief information and operating officer, AMTD Digital
Osman Ershad Faiz, chief information and operating officer, AMTD Digital

Osman personally mentors several mid-career women leaders within the banking and fintech industry and serves as sponsor for the Women in FinTech initiative, which offers graduating students educational visits and internships to fintechs to connect them with other women in tech and give them access to AMTD's Digital SpiderNet ecosystem. 

Bangladesh was one of the first Muslim markets to launch a HeForShe network through Osman, and the Singapore HeForShe network he kickstarted currently has more than 200 senior male leaders committed to helping hundreds of female executives pursue their personal and professional ambitions.

Osman has also been supporting the Lead the Women initiative in Singapore, which reviews the hiring of women at each grade and identifies opportunities to drive progress towards a target of 30% women in key leadership roles.

Lee Moore, US Midwest market unit lead, Accenture

Lee Moore, Midwest market unit lead, Accenture
Lee Moore, US Midwest market unit lead, Accenture

Lee serves as senior managing director and US Midwest market unit lead at Accenture, and has been a driving force behind the company's partnership with Women in Cloud (WiC), a community-led economic development organisation dedicated to advancing gender equity in the technology industry. 

In addition to sponsoring and empowering a female managing director at Accenture to serve on WiC's board of directors, Lee serves on a core team of advisers and influencers helping the not-for-profit organisation drive its mission to generate $1bn in net new global economic access for women entrepreneurs by 2030, through partnerships with corporations, community leaders and policy makers. 

He spearheaded the creation of Accenture Midwest’s partnership with The Mom Project to provide career opportunities for people from that organisation, and is also a champion of Accenture's Women's ERG with nearly 6,000 members who participate in networking, work/life balance, recruiting and community access opportunities.

Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director, Shell

Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director, Shell
Huibert Vigeveno, downstream director, Shell

As a passionate advocate for D&I, believing that diverse teams are better in conversation, decision and outcome quality, Huibert has set clear expectations with his leadership for creating gender balanced teams, with lasting improvements to gender diversity increasingly evident across his organisation of 32,000 people. 

Operating in 150 countries, with revenues of $150bn in 2020 and net earnings of $7bn, women now hold almost half (44%) of all senior roles in downstream, up from 23% in the 18 months since Huibert was appointed. 

Under his leadership, women now run many of Shell’s (RDSB.L) leading and largest businesses, including lubricants, aviation, marine, low carbon fuels, customer operations and several trading divisions.  

Further, women also lead the mobility retailing businesses in Europe and the US as well as some of Shell’s largest and most complex chemicals plants and refineries in Asia and the US.  

Huibert’s other actions have included pushing Shell's brand campaigns to advocate for greater personal mobility for women, with messages of empowerment, support and celebration for achievements.

Mahesh Zurale, senior managing director, lead – Accenture's Advanced Technology Centers in India

Mahesh Zurale, senior managing director, lead – Accenture's Advanced Technology Centers in India
Mahesh Zurale, senior managing director, lead – Accenture's Advanced Technology Centers in India

As the executive D&I sponsor for Accenture’s Advanced Technology Centers in India (ATCI), Mahesh has taken bold steps to create an inclusive and barrier-free culture. 

In order to champion continuous learning and help women technologists achieve fulfilling careers, Mahesh spearheads several strategic women-centric initiatives across ATCI. He is deeply committed to achieving a gender-balanced workforce and growing the percentage of women directors in the team to 30% by 2025. 

Mahesh believes in technology being an equaliser and has been instrumental in developing path-breaking programmes, such as the Apex Leadership Crescent Program, Cloud Elevate, Grow Women in Leadership Program, Quantum Impact and High-Tech Women Edge, which are collectively geared towards enabling 25,000 women across career levels to build their technology skills and become stronger leaders of tomorrow.

As the Accenture Technology Accessibility co-sponsor, Mahesh has also launched a virtual accessibility centre, a dedicated place with a suite of assistive technologies to empower colleagues with disabilities.

Colin Passmore, senior partner, Simmons & Simmons

Colin Passmore, senior partner, Simmons & Simmons
Colin Passmore, senior partner, Simmons & Simmons

Colin has used his 10 years a senior partner at Simmons & Simmons to ensure that improving gender diversity is a key business priority for the company, with a focus on progressing women through to the partnership and into senior management positions. 

He has sponsored two female managing associates in their route to partnership; chaired quarterly gender balance meetings; sponsored the cost of two film screenings to mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act; supported the launch of email signature guidelines for the inclusion of personal pronouns; and started reverse mentoring with the firm’s female race and ethnicity partner lead to gain an insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by ethnic groups across the firm. 

Since Colin became a partner, the percentage of firmwide female partners has increased from 11% to just below 25%. This year, six of the 13 new partners at the firm were female. 

More recently, Colin has been a lead male advocate for demystifying menopause.

Edward Chidsey, partner and senior vice-president, IHS Markit

Edward Chidsey, partner and senior vice president, IHS Markit
Edward Chidsey, partner and senior vice-president, IHS Markit

At IHS Markit, Ed is lead adviser to the DE&I team and a participating sponsor within the Women's Sponsorship Programme. 

As well as contributing to the programme's panel events, he has sponsored a budget in 2021 supporting the launch of three new women’s career development and retention programmes, covering almost 300 women across all titles. These programmes have since contributed to a meaningful increase in female promotions. 

In addition, Ed also plays an active role in early careers and IHS Markit’s campus recruiting programmes, which have led to encouraging results including some of the highest female representation in IHS Markit’s 2020 intern class. 

Ed and his team’s efforts have resulted in numerous diversity and inclusion awards for IHS Markit, including recognition from Mogul Top 100 Workplaces, Human Rights Campaign, and Forbes. 

Outside of IHS Markit, Edward is an active participant as a coach, teacher and fundraiser with several organisations focused on improving educational programmes and career development opportunities.

B Pagels-Minor, vice-president, board of directors, Young Women's Christian Association of Metropolitan Chicago

B. Pagels-Minor, vice-president, board of directors, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
B Pagels-Minor, vice-president, board of directors, Young Women's Christian Association of Metropolitan Chicago

B sits on the board of directors of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), an organisation whose entire purpose is to empower women. In 2020, B and their team acquired an additional YWCA location that was in danger of closing, ensuring that women and children in a more suburban area of Chicago had their programmes maintained. 

The YWCA also acquired Streetwise, an organisation that allows individuals to become independent workers and develop their own income. With COVID, those individuals were given additional training that supported programmes like vaccination registration, food assistance programmes and childcare. 

The YWCA also stepped up and provided thousands of meals to Chicagoans who had lost their jobs due to COVID, as well as providing grants to support housing assistance. 

Outside of the YWCA, B speaks nationally and internationally on gender diversity and women's inclusion including talks with companies such as British Airways, McMaster University and Crunchyroll so far in 2021.

Larry Tomei, head of wealth and personal banking Canada, HSBC

Larry Tomei, head of wealth and personal banking Canada, HSBC
Larry Tomei, head of wealth and personal banking Canada, HSBC

Larry has championed three-year diversity and gender objectives for HSBC Canada and has managed to achieve a gender balance of 50% in his own leadership team.

One way in which Larry promotes diversity is through his advocacy and engagements with the bank’s ERGs. As well as being involved in numerous networks including Balance and Nurture, which he promotes through company-wide emails and participation in events, Larry has also introduced an annual rotating ERG chair in D&I Council meetings in order to bring the employee voice to strategic leadership conversations on inclusion. 

His support for women’s career development has led him to sponsor senior female executives for key external awards and to host frequent exchange sessions with women to facilitate feedback, identify opportunities for improvement, provide exposure to key executives and create a pipeline of talent.

Dean Curtis, group managing director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Dean Curtis, group managing director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group
Dean Curtis, group managing director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Dean believes an inclusive culture is a true differentiator and a fundamental pillar of a high performance organisation, overseeing two organisations which together have a 45.7% female representation across the workforce, and a 50/50 gender balance at leadership level. 

Dean has championed diversity and inclusion initiatives including unconscious bias training for employees, gender balance leadership, psychological safety along with mentoring and sponsorship initiatives for women, all of which have driven employee engagement, retention and employee satisfaction.

He believes that for diversity to be sustainable, first you must have inclusion. The diversity of backgrounds, experiences and beliefs drive the best decisions, innovation and results as the business continually strives for everyone to bring their best authentic selves to work. 

Dean regularly sits on panels and promotes the business’ ERGs. He is currently working with industry leaders to set up a D&I forum for the energy and chemical markets.

-Andrew Eisen, senior vicepresident and partner, financial services solutions, IHS Markit

Andrew Eisen, senior vice-president and partner, financial services solutions, IHS Markit
Andrew Eisen, senior vice-president and partner, financial services solutions, IHS Markit

This year, Andrew and the rest of the executive leadership team at IHS Markit launched and sponsored three new women’s career development and retention programmes, which saw hundreds of women enrol for mentoring, sponsoring and 1:1 coaching. 

In addition to directly mentoring 10 women as a participant in those programmes, Andrew has also placed a focus on building recognition of female members of his team and encouraging them to take on a more public persona. 

In 2020-2021, IHS Markit has seen a significant increase in female promotions at the vice-president level and senior vice-president level. 2020 also saw an increase in female hires, specifically in the intern programme that reached an all-time high of female participation. These outcomes have received public recognition from Mogul Top 100 Workplaces, the Rewards & Benefits Association and Forbes’ list of America's Best Employers for Women.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting