NEW: 30% Club Podcast – Episode 2 featuring Penny James & Nimesh Patel

More episodes coming soon!


Coming Soon: 30% Club Podcast

Stay tuned for the new 30% Club podcast, exclusively hosted by Ann Cairns, Chair of 30% Club and Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard. She’ll be meeting some of the leading women.

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Women in Leadership Scholarship Competition 2022


The Women in Leadership MBA scholarship is a collaboration between Henley, the 30% Club and Financial Times.

Now in its tenth year, the Women in Leadership scholarship is designed to offer practical support for the development of strong female talent and reflects the shared mission of the three partner institutions to encourage gender balance in leadership teams.

The competition is open to both women and men who have relevant experience in the workplace either in managing a team, running a project or planning strategy.

Entries need to answer, in no more than 800 words, the question:

“Would efforts to tackle climate change benefit from more women taking the lead?

Entries must be submitted using the official application form, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this article. The winner will receive a fully-funded place worth up to £39,500 on our part-time Executive MBA – Global or Flexible Executive MBA programme starting in September/October 2022.

Deadline for entry: 23 May 2022 at 5pm.

Judging panel

  • Dr Anne Dibley, Head of Post-Experience and Apprenticeshipprogrammes at Henley

  • Laura Whitcombe, Global Campaign Manager, 30% Club

  • Harriet Arnold, Assistant Editor, Financial Times Special Reports

  • Plus additional judges to be confirmed.

Judging criteria

It is important that participants draw not only on data, research and other evidence to support their arguments but also their own personal experience, which could include examples of initiatives they have worked on, or are in the process of designing.

We want submissions which make us think differently – challenge the status quo and demonstrate a real understanding of the dilemmas faced.

Up to 10 finalists will be shortlisted from all entries received by the deadline.

Participants do not need to apply for an MBA place before entering this competition, but are expected to check that they qualify for entry on to the programme

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

NEW: 30% Club Podcast – Episode 1 featuring Sharon Thorne

More episodes coming soon!

Brain tumour survivor on why Mission Include mentoring is so important for her

Jessica Jones

A year ago, commercial banker Jessica Jones underwent a life-saving operation to remove a brain tumour that left her unable to walk unassisted.

Since then, not only has the 38-year-old mum of three from Swansea returned to the job that she loves but she’s also embarking upon a journey of personal development by being mentored on the 30% Club cross-company mentoring programme Mission INCLUDE.

It was important to Jessica to explain this life-changing experience to her mentor at their first meeting in November. Her diagnosis 18 months earlier changed her outlook on life and her career and will be a big part of her mentoring journey.

At its core, Mission INCLUDE is a structured cross-company mentoring programme that expertly pairs senior business leaders with mentors outside of their industry to challenge and help them progress.

Jessica is a relationship director at NatWest with responsibility for financing SMEs with turnovers of up to £50 million. She has been paired with mentor Laura Pingree, a partner at accountancy firm BDO LLP, who specialises in energy and mining.

During their first meeting, Jessica revealed how the excitement of receiving a promotion in March 2020 was overshadowed, three months later, by the devastating news that she would require life-saving surgery.

“I didn’t want sympathy, but I wanted her to know the journey I’d been on and why I was so determined to get the most out of this experience,” she says.

Jessica explained to Laura that after suffering hearing loss, headaches and tinnitus since 2019, she saw her GP in June 2020, who prescribed migraine tablets. But when the symptoms didn’t improve after a couple of days, she was referred to hospital for a CT scan.

While waiting for that appointment, her blood pressure became abnormally high, so she attended Prince Phillip hospital in her hometown of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. After two days of tests – and while sat alone due to Covid restrictions – Jessica was given the devastating news that she had an acoustic neuroma causing pressure on her brain stem.

“I was in total shock. Hearing those words, ‘you’ve got a brain tumour’ was terrifying. I was absolutely petrified and burst into tears,” says Jessica.

Backlogs caused by the pandemic meant she had to wait until January 2021 for surgery.

During a gruelling 13-hour operation, which involved removing a section of skull from behind Jessica’s ear, surgeons successfully removed most of the tumour. They advised to leave a small part of the tumour which had grown around the facial nerve, so not to cause facial palsy. The procedure has left her with single sided deafness and a CROS hearing aid.

She was kept in hospital for two weeks. Covid restrictions meant that Jessica’s husband Mark and their daughters Ella who is eight, and five-year-old twins Emily and Lily, couldn’t visit her.

“I was unable to stand the first few days without vomiting due to the vertigo, and each day challenged myself a little more. Thanks to the support of the team there, I finally left the hospital trundling along on a Zimmer frame at the age of 37,” she says. “When I was home, I paid for weekly sessions with a neuro-physio who helped me build the confidence and strength to walk without the frame.”

Her diagnosis left her fatigued and sometimes unable to walk more than 2,000 steps a day, but in September 2021, Jessica was keen to return to the job that she loves.

Jessica's surgery scar
WhatsApp Image 2022-03-02 at 10.50.17

“Natwest has fully supported me since the moment I was diagnosed and on the path towards rehabilitation,” says Jessica. “We spoke about both my personal and career development and I explained that I thought that being mentored by someone outside of banking would help develop me as an individual. They recognised what I had been through – and the journey that still lies ahead – and I’m grateful they gave me special approval to take part in Mission INCLUDE.

“In the 14 years I’ve worked for NatWest, I’d previously been on excellent courses that were bank focused and I have always been very passionate and committed in taking responsibility for my career progression. I knew that I would benefit from having an outside mentor challenge me, hold me accountable and offer external perspective on my development.”

Jessica admits she was initially surprised by who she was paired with.

“When I first read Laura’s/my mentor’s profile, I was unsure as to why we’d been put together as our experience looks so different on paper. But I soon realised we are so well matched. Our personalities are very, very different but whatever algorithms Moving Ahead use to match people, it definitely works!

“We are very open with each other about our lives and our experiences. You need that openness, otherwise the mentoring would be very scripted.”

At their most recent meeting in January, Laura challenged Jessica to apply to sit on a non-executive board during the nine-month programme – something that would help give her exposure to other business issues that could be of use to her in NatWest.

In preparation, she’s also been tasked with gathering 360° feedback from colleagues to see if the areas that Jessica thinks that she needs to develop align with those they suggest.

“I questioned who would want me on their board, but by sharing her own experiences, Laura was able to reassure me that I have transferable skills and that businesses in sectors outside of banking – and outside of my comfort zone – would welcome,” she says. “And I now realise the experience would greatly aid me in my development within NatWest.”

Aside from the one-to-one mentoring, Mission INCLUDE offers other benefits.

“The programme includes regular Zoom events with participants from around the world, masterclasses to get the best out your development, networking sessions with other mentees, and the opportunity to hear from fantastic, thought-provoking expert speakers,” she says.

A recent talk by coach Holiday Phillips on pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone resonated with her.

“On Christmas Eve, I received the news that the remainder of my tumour is stable and I’ll have yearly scans to monitor what is left of it,” she says. “Having the tumour has taught me is life is too short to be taken for granted and to keep pushing yourself, developing and reflecting. Sometimes that means doing things that you’re a little uncomfortable with, but you may never get the opportunity to do again if you don’t do them now. I want to push myself and do things that perhaps make me feel a little bit uncomfortable.”

Jessica can already see the benefits that the Mission INCLUDE programme will bring to her and NatWest.

“I am already learning lots that I can apply to my current role and future development. Having a mentor share their expertise and encouragement will also help equip me with new skills that I can bring to the bank to assist others,” she says.

And it’s not only at the bank that that Jessica wants to help others. Last month, she embarked on an ambitious 10,000 Steps a Day challenge to fundraise and raise awareness for Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure for the devastating disease as a way of thanking all those who helped her. She raised more than £2,500. If you would like to donate, click here for more information.

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

FTSE Women Leaders Review Launch


UK closes in on 40% women at board level

The UK has climbed to second in the international rankings for women’s representation at board level. 

Almost 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, compared with 12.5% just ten years ago. And there are almost 38% women on board across the FTSE 350.

The data has been published in a new report by the Government-backed FTSE Women Leaders Review, which monitors women’s representation in 24,000 positions on FTSE 350 Boards and in Leadership teams of the UK’s biggest companies, building on the success of the previous Hampton-Alexander and Davies Reviews.


What this new data from the FTSE Women Leaders Review reiterates is that we don’t need mandates - aspirational targets change not just the numbers but also the culture inside companies.

Ann Cairns, 30% Club global chair

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Almost 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, putting the UK second in international rankings for board representation.
  • FTSE 100, 250 and 350 all improved the number of women in Leadership roles in 2021, with the Government’s and 30% Club’s voluntary, business-led approach paying dividends.
  • The new review also sets out bold recommendations to build on this progress, including a voluntary target for FTSE 350 executive leadership teams to achieve 40% female representation by the end of 2025. It is currently less than 20%, according to BoardEx data.
  • It is also asking FTSE 350 companies to have at least one woman in the Chair, Senior Independent Director role on the Board and/or one woman in the CEO or CFO by the end of 2025. There are just 18 and 48 at present, that’s 5 and 14% respectively. 
  • The Review has also increased in scope beyond the FTSE 350 companies to include the largest 50 private companies in the UK by sales.

The 30% Club welcomes the extended focus of the Review. 
Deloitte web post graphic (6)

30% Club Global Chair Ann Cairns said: 

“The 30% Club, The Women in Finance Charter, Hampton Alexander (now the FTSE Women Leaders Review), the Parker Review and most recently 25×25 and the FCA/Bank of England white paper all have similar and complementary aims. Strategic collaboration will make all the difference in seeing the progress we’ve seen in the boardroom play out at executive committee level and result in more female CEOs and significantly more leadership opportunities for women of colour. We are a multi-racial society, and it’s high time our boards an executive leadership teams reflect that. 
“What this new data from the FTSE Women Leaders Review also reiterates is that we don’t need mandates – aspirational targets change not just the numbers but also the culture inside companies.” 

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: 

“UK businesses have made enormous progress in recent years to ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can succeed on merit – and today’s findings highlight this with more women at the top table of Britain’s biggest companies than ever before.

“However, we should not rest on our laurels, and the FTSE Women Leaders Review will build on the success so far of our voluntary, business-led approach to increasing women’s representation on boards and in leadership, without the need for mandatory quotas.”

Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, said:

“It is excellent to see the progress being made, but we know there is more to be done. This Government is committed to levelling up all parts of our country, working to tackle inequality and promoting equality of opportunity, including at senior level, so everyone can thrive.”


Here are the four new recommendations of the FTSE Women Leaders Review in full:

The voluntary target for FTSE 350 Boards & for Leadership teams is increased to a minimum of 40% women’s representation by the end of 2025

  • FTSE 350 companies to have at least one woman in the Chair, Senior Independent Director role on the Board and/or one woman in the Chief Executive Officer or Finance Director role by the end of 2025
  • Extending the scope of the FTSE Women Leaders Review beyond FTSE 350 companies to include the largest 50 private companies in the UK by sales

These recommendations aim to increase gender balance further, bringing new focus to the appointment of women at the highest levels of British business, particularly in those companies that are still lagging behind.

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

Deloitte and 30% Club reveal latest global women in the boardroom stats

Deloitte web post graphic

Progress but it's slow

Deloitte, in collaboration with the  30% Club, today released the seventh edition of  Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective. 

It includes updates from 72 countries on representation of women in the boardroom, exploring insights on the political, social, and legislative trends behind these numbers. 

It found that nearly all countries have local organisations or governments committed to increasing the number of women serving on company boards.

While these private and public sector efforts demonstrate steps toward achieving parity, the pace of collective progress needs to pick up.

People often ask why the 30% Club is not the 50% Club given that our aim is parity. I think this report answers that question, we are still far from the 30% tipping point in many geographies

Ann Cairns, 30% Club global chair

Key higlights from the report include:

Globally, only one in five board seats are held by women           

A smaller group of women are taking on a large number of board seats – referred to as the ‘Stretch Factor’

Report reveals a disconnect between women holding roles on boards and in the executive.

Globally, only 6.7% of board chairs are women, and even fewer CEOs – 5% – are women

A global average of 19.7% of board seats are held by women, an increase of 2.8% since 2018 compared to a 1.9% increase in the period from 2016 to 2018

Companies with women CEOs have significantly more balanced boards than those with male CEOs: 33.5% vs 19.4%

Only three in 10 board seats held by women in UK behind leaders France, Norway and Italy in boardroom diversity

However, UK enters into top 10 global ranking and could reach boardroom gender parity by 2027.

Deloitte web post graphic (6)

Commenting on the report, which includes commentary from 30% Club chapters, global chair Ann Cairns said: “With the FTSE 100 on the brink of attaining 40% women in board roles, I am encouraged by Deloitte Global’s finding that UK parity could be reached by 2027. 

“People often ask why the 30% Club is not the 50% Club given that our aim is parity. I think this report answers that question, we are still far from the 30% tipping point in many geographies.” 

She added: “One of the report’s most interesting findings is the real balance that female leaders bring. If women CEOs can have more balanced boards, there’s no reason that male CEOs can’t.

“Finally, on the stretch, this speaks to the fact that women have a harder time being appointed if they don’t have previous board experience. Chairs and CEOs should be encouraged to give women their first board seat. 

“There is plenty of talent out there who would make great directors. This is very true for people of colour too, many of whom would welcome the chance to make a significant contribution at the top of the corporate world but remain significantly under-represented.”


Sharon Thorne, Deloitte Global Board Chair and member of the 30% Club, said: “While it’s heartening to see that the world continues to make progress towards achieving gender parity, with the exception of a few countries, overall progress remains slow and uneven.


“The pandemic has further challenged progress in achieving equality, making it even more important to move past discussion and take concrete actions to ensure inclusion within and beyond the boardroom including gender, ethnic and racial diversity among other characteristics.”


She adds: “Increasing the number of women on boards is only the first step on a larger journey.”

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries

CnetG Asia wins the UN Women Award in the Gender-Responsive Marketplace

Congratulations to CnetG Asia on winning the UN Women Award in the Gender-Responsive Marketplace category at the 2021 Malaysia Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards virtual ceremony recently.

Its managing partner Raj Kumar Paramanathan said “When we empower women, we empower the society, minorities and marginalised communities. The journey is challenging not because of resistance, but lack of awareness, education and measurable data on benefits to the business.

“This award underscores the two decades of efforts and silent work we have been investing in diversity and inclusion, particularly gender diversity,” he said.

Raj Kumar is a member of the steering committee at 30% Club Malaysia, a business led campaign that promotes diversity on boards. As a key strategic partner of the 30% Club Malaysia, CnetG Asia, an executive search and, people advisory firm, supports members with executive and board sourcing code and board profile writing masterclass for mentees of the Board Mentoring Scheme, which is one of the pillars of the 30% Club Malaysia.

“Our executive recruitment process is governed by our Diversity Statement which is a set of 5 principles that ensure an inclusive approach with gender lens to ensure a wider pool of talent are considered, eliminating unconscious bias and gender stereotyping in the decision making process. CnetG Asia engages and coaches women through the recruitment process to ensure they succeed in the career transition. We advocate these principles with our clients to support them in their diversity agenda,” he said.

United Nations Women Representative for Asia and the Pacific Sarah Knibbs, commended the efforts made in the country’s business community overall. “The surge in WEPs signatories in Malaysia over the past year is an impressive demonstration of commitment,” she said. 

“The UN Women WEPs Activator Campaign with LeadWomen is helping companies translate this commitment into action empowering women across the value chain. We are proud to celebrate the first WEP Awards in Malaysia to make these efforts visible, showcase best practices, and inspire others to act and create a more gender-inclusive world.” she added.

The Gender-responsive Marketplace category recognised corporations for embracing a gender-lens throughout their value-chains from sourcing to disposal. This includes championing supplier diversity, gender-inclusive distribution and selling, and gender-responsive marketing and advertising. It also includes supporting women entrepreneurs through capacity development or market access opportunities, implementing progressive programmes and/or policies to incentive procurement from women-owned businesses or other gender-responsive companies. 

The award was also given to companies with actions or programmes that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in advertisements and other sales and marketing activities.

Women are the most likely changemakers for climate action

Oliver Wyman web post graphic (5)

Stronger together

Diversity and climate are top priorities for CEOs and boards of directors, but almost none have considered how linking the two management priorities could accelerate their transition to net‑zero emissions.

As the Oliver Wyman Forum and the 30% Club prepared for COP26 in Glasgow, we set out to uncover what can be achieved when diversity, and specifically gender representation, is included in companies’ climate change plans.

The question was more difficult to answer than we had anticipated. For example, starting with large data sets, we looked at how corporate diversity and climate outcomes might be correlated. Relationships were positive but statistically weak. However, with so many factors at play, we felt that focusing solely on these high‑level numbers was a red herring.

As our research and interviews with more than 20 companies progressed, it became clear that not only are women often excluded from many high-level government and corporate discussions on climate, their role as climate-action changemakers is largely unrecognized and underestimated.

Yet businesses need to include female colleagues, customers, and investors if they are serious about meeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We consider this report as just the beginning of research on what can be achieved if a greater mix of people — including women — is more explicitly included in companies’ attempts to reach net-zero emissions.

This report talks about action from corporations deliberately. Clearly, this must be taken together with action from governments, the third sector, civil society, and beyond.

Oliver Wyman web post graphic (6)

We are grateful for your understanding over this report’s limitations — for example, our focus on women in Western countries and a binary view of gender that is not inclusive of all identities and experiences.

We recognize that we do not cover intersectionality or other dimensions of difference, such as race and ethnicity, primarily due to a lack of data.

Despite this, we felt it important to continue and hope the report will have some impact in driving greater awareness and understanding of the critical linkages between these issues.

We thank and are grateful to the many colleagues who were willing to share their expertise and the companies we interviewed. We hope you find our initial research helpful as you consider your transition plans and look forward to continuing the conversation and research.

Rupal Kantaria
Partner, Oliver Wyman Forum

Ann Cairns
Global Chair, 30% Club and Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

Where we are

The 30% Club has come a long way from when it was set up in the UK in 2010.We now span six continents and more than 20 countries. We’re actively expanding into more G20 countries