8th March 2017
Happy International Women’s Day. Gender diversity is a big focus at Virgin Media and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved to date – in 2015 we increased the number of women in leadership roles to 32% as part of our drive to reach 40% by the end of 2018.
However, it’s not just about getting more women into senior roles; Virgin Media has a wider goal to reach a 50/50 gender split by the end of 2025. That’s why, to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I was asked to share details of the Balanced Network we recently launched.
The Balanced Network brings together Virgin Media people who are interested in supporting and developing women across the organisation. Around 200 people have registered to be part of the network so far, 25% of whom are men. Our annual Senior Leadership Conference provided an opportunity to identify how women in Virgin Media can be better supported. The event was a great success, so I wanted to share some of my personal highlights:
Brigitte Trafford, our Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, opened the day reminding us of the key economic and business reasons for having more women at senior levels in business. This included the power which women hold over purchasing decisions (83% of all household purchases, 55% of all home computers and 60% of cars) and how an increasingly diverse workplace will help drive Virgin Media’s success. Our 2020 More Inclusive sustainability goal has a big focus on gender and I enjoyed hearing about the successful steps we’re taking to get there. This includes providing free membership for all - men and women - to the Everywoman Network irrespective of role, location or level providing online development and networking opportunities to help progress their careers.
Next up Cormac Connolly, our Director Northern Ireland Customer and Lightning, shared his personal story and outlined some of the success of the LGBT and Friends Network he set up and chairs. Cormac has set a great example at Virgin Media by building a fantastic group who are having a real impact in that our customers and employees know that, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are included and free to be themselves. This group really is making good things happen for our people and customers.
Heather McGregor, aka Mrs Moneypenny from the Financial Times, was our third speaker who shared many inspirational ideas and tips with the room – drawing on her international bestselling book “Career Advice For Ambitious Women”. She certainly gave the room plenty of food for thought.
The first gathering of our Balanced Network was a great event. I left feeling energised and full of ideas of how to better support myself and the women I work with, irrespective of their level. As we enter into another International Women’s Day the main thing I heard was – let’s just not make this one day, but one long journey to fulfil all of our potential.