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Balanced boardrooms will deliver better value for business and society, says IoD Chair

Businesses must strive for a balance which places equal value on the presence of men and women in the boardroom, the leader of one of Britain’s top business groups says.

Panellists during the Q&A session at the Women As Leaders Convention in Nottingham
Panellists during the Q&A session at the Women As Leaders Convention in Nottingham

Charlotte Valeur, the chair of the Institute of Directors, spoke out at the organisation’s annual Women As Leaders Convention, which was held in Nottingham and sponsored by Nottingham Business School.

Charlotte has been a powerful advocate for increasing the numbers of women at the top table in business, having worked at board level in a number of major companies. She also founded Board Apprentice, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increasing boardroom diversity.

She told the Convention, held at the Crowne Plaza: “We might need to change the language in this debate. Women have been excluded and still are and though progress has been made the pendulum needs to swing further.

“But let’s start talking about balance and put that pendulum back in the middle. When you have male and female leadership working together you get more than one plus one because it creates additional value.”

She said ‘valuism’ – measuring success through a better quality of life, standard of living and happiness across society – was going to become increasingly important for business in years to come.

“We want to get to a place where there is space and respect for everybody,” she said. “That is not about gender or ethnicity or belief. It is about focusing on human talent and everything that flows from that. As leaders, we come with a responsibility to be role models for the wider society we’re all part of, and if you can’t do that you can’t be a leader.

“The IoD’s membership is changing. If you look at members aged over 50, it’s around 75-25% in favour of men. But under 40 there is pretty much a balance. And within five years, we will all be living in a world which is more than 50% millennial-raised. So that is a new generation of customers, buyers, voters who have been raised on values.”

The Women As Leaders Convention is now in its fifth year and attracted an audience of more than 150 mostly women decision-makers.

Besides the keynote speech from Charlotte Valeur, the audience also took part in a question and answer session with a panel of business and organisational leaders – Melanie Currie, the Deputy Dean of Nottingham Business School; Susan Hallam MBE, founder of Hallam Internet and chair of Nottingham Creative Quarter; Caroline Killeavy, CEO of YMCA Lincolnshire; Bill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police; Karen Smart, MD of East Midlands Airport, and Lisa Wainwright, technical director of International Volleyball.

Karen Smart, who enjoyed a distinguished career in the RAF before she moved into business, said: “Being a role model is really important, and as a female in a male-dominated world that is about letting people see the real you.

“You can’t do leadership via email. The only way you can give direction and show people where you want to go is by getting out there, talking to them, and getting feedback first-hand. That is what builds trust and respect.”

Reflecting on her own success in rising to a senior position at one of Europe’s top 100 business schools, Melanie Currie said: “In higher education, we work with some fantastic students and colleagues who have a real passion for learning and moving forwards. What has always been inspirational for me is being a part of those journeys.

“I work on the basis that the pathway will always be there. If someone tells me that the door to an opportunity is closed and I should come back later, I’m going to be coming back sooner.”

Nottingham Business School’s sponsorship of the event is part of a programme of activity related to the School’s 40th anniversary, which will be celebrated later this year.

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    Image: Panellists during the Q&A session at the Women As Leaders Convention in Nottingham

    About Nottingham Business School

    Nottingham Business School is internationally recognised as a business school which combines academic excellence with impact on business and society. It creates globally responsible leaders through ethical, responsible and sustainable management education.

    NBS is also amongst the top 30 UK schools by ranking according to Guardian University League Tables 2018, and amongst the top 20 for both graduate level employability (DLHE) and for student satisfaction (NSS) and as part of NTU holds the TEF Gold award.  NTU has was named as Modern University of the Year 2018 by The Times and Sunday Times and University of the Year by Times Higher Education in 2017.

    NBS was nominated for the Business School of the Year award in the Times Higher Education Awards 2018.

    It holds international AASCB, EQUIS and EPAS accreditation. NBS has held 4* overall QS Stars rating since 2013, with 5* in five categories for the quality of its curriculum, teaching, research, business connectivity and international links.  

    It is ranked in the top 95 of the Financial Times European Business School Ranking 2018 and its MSc in Management has also been ranked by the Financial Times as the 97th best Masters in Management in the world (MiM).

    NBS provides a transformational experience for its students through personalised and experiential learning. Each and every one of its students has their learning experience increasingly tailored to their aspirations through the use of academic and industry mentors, analytics, and a comprehensive range of personal development and experiential learning opportunities.

    A leader in integrating experiential learning into the fabric of all courses at all levels, NBS’ pioneering in-company degrees benefit some 200 students through direct sponsorship by blue-chip companies. NBS courses are also accredited by all relevant chartered professional bodies.

Published on 17 April 2019
  • Category: Business; Nottingham Business School