Women in career ‘danger zone’ to be mentored for success in rapidly growing UK programme

The 30% Club cross company mentoring programme, designed and delivered by purpose-led diversity and development experts Women Ahead, has welcomed 1,550 mentors and mentees from 86 organisations to its fifth year of the scheme at a launch event at Central Hall, Westminster, today. The programme has grown from hosting eight organisations five years ago, to 86 this year, welcoming 24 new joiners including Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, the Financial Times, The British Army, Legal & General, Penguin Random House UK, Bupa, United Utilities and Volkswagen. This massive growth reflects the recognition of and need for mentoring schemes to balance the gender divide in senior leadership in UK organisations. 
Women Ahead recently carried out an extensive research study into the impact of mentoring on gender diversity and it concludes that mentoring is improving gender balance in the workplace.  The research, in collaboration with Deloitte,Turning the gender diversity dial, found that when mentoring is done well it improves gender diversity – and good quality mentoring creates 11 specific outcomes which include enabling time to think, shining a light on privilege, developing confidence and creativity, increasing retention, creating empathetic leaders and developing two-way learning for the mentor as well as the mentee.
Liz Dimmock, CEO and founder of Women Ahead, and 30% Club Steering Committee member said: “Gender balance in the top levels of organisations has been recognised as being critical to success. Having diversity of experience and opinions leads to better, more rounded, business decisions. Mentoring schemes are shown to enable a more inclusive culture by providing the skills and frameworks for more empathetic, accessible, male and female, future and current leaders who understand the challenges, barriers and issues facing women in senior leadership roles.”

The 30% Club cross-company programme is part of a series of 30% Club initiatives aimed at developing a broader pipeline of women and ‘balance the pyramid’ at all levels. It carefully matches senior male and female leaders with high potential female mentees at the ‘pivot point’ of their careers –  the point at which organisations notice a divergence between male and female career paths. Mentors and mentees take part in a nine-month mentoring programme, supplemented by regular learning events and workshops focusing on growth mindset, inclusive leadership and wellbeing and opportunities to build networks.
Brenda Trenowden, Global Chair of the 30% Club and Head of FIG Europe, ANZ, said: “Evidence has shown that the lack of a good mentor (and a good sponsor) is often the reason women don’t attain the same rate of promotion as similarly-qualified men. The programme intends to create a ‘village’ of networking opportunities, leveraging technology, with the ultimate objective of reaching thousands rather than hundreds of women. The ultimate goal is to broaden the pipeline of female talent coming through participating organisations and make a step change to the number of women attaining senior leadership and board roles in their respective organisations.”
Through the 30% Club programme alone, Women Ahead has helped nearly 4,000 mentors and mentees from 140 organisations since it started running the programme four years ago. Organisations interested in joining the 30% Club cross-company movement for positive gender balance through mentoring are welcome to contact liz@women-ahead.org. It’s not too late to join the next intake in February 2018. 

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Notes to Editors
Click here for a short video about the 30% cross-company mentoring programme.
To see a gallery of people describing their experience of our mentoring programmes, search #inspiredbymentoring on twitter.
Moving Ahead is a purpose-led, specialist development and diversity organisation. We believe in the power of mentoring programmes, masterclasses, and research to create positive change. The ‘why’ is simple - diversity of thought, experience, and teams leads to increased creativity, innovation, retention and better business performance. Moving Ahead works not just around the world but also across the spectrum of diversity, for more than 150 organisations including BT, Cisco, Google, Warner Music, Deloitte and Ricoh. We have supported more than 4,500 mentors and mentees.
Women Ahead is Moving Ahead’s award-winning social enterprise arm with a focus on gender. It is where our story started – as a mentoring organisation founded with the belief that parity between men and women will benefit individuals, organisations and society as a whole. Our goals have evolved hugely since start-up in 2014.
The 30% Club was founded in the UK in 2010 and is a global effort with chapters in ten countries around the world. Led by Brenda Trenowden, Global Chair, the 30% Club collaborates with businesses, governments and other campaigns to improve gender diversity and accelerate the pace of change from schoolroom to boardroom. Campaign targets include a minimum 30% women at senior management level of FTSE-100 companies by 2020.

The 30% Club supports research on why women are good for business and what works to ensure more women progress through the executive pipeline. The 30% Club actively calls for companies to take more radical action, including publicly reporting the gender balance in their organisation.  This includes organisations working with the Hampton-Alexander Review to agree and adopt standardised methodology to help monitor female participation in the executive pipeline.

Contact Timma Marett on timma@moving-ahead.org or +44 7901 682219 for more information or interviews.