Diversity and Tech: Our 2017 NED Events in Review
As a recruitment and search firm, Russam GMS are at the centre of so much intelligence brought to us by our clients and candidate communities, and from that we’re able to listen and learn and make our own contribution to the organisations we support as they navigate today’s challenges.
Back when Russam GMS launched the NED group in 2005 the focus for NEDs was typically on governance and compliance. The issues faced by board members led us to build an outstanding network of Non-Executive Directors, aspiring NEDs, trustees and Chairs. In addition, our deep interest in serving the boardroom by finding great candidates led us to partner with Bates Wells Braithwaite and NCVO in order to create Trustees Unlimited and our Step on Board Programme.
And now the assumption that our boardrooms are made up of people identified and nominated by the boards itself, leading to a high degree of self-perpetuation is changing. We are witnessing recognition that if the Chair, Directors, NEDs and trustees have led similar careers and lives organisations will miss out on the skills, experiences and fresh and dynamic thinking that can take a business forward. New perspectives in the boardroom gives greater understanding of the people you are leading and the businesses they serve.
We are also experiencing a technology revolution that is changing the way organisations operate and leading to opportunities for professionals from technology backgrounds to take their seats around the boardroom tables at a typically younger age than before.
At the start of 2017 we set out on an events programme to reflect that kind of fresh thinking, attract additional members to our NED and aspiring NED community, educate and inspire.
These events were different to any previous events we’ve held and attracted new candidates from within the technology world, BAME, LGBTQ, Disability. In 2017 Russam GMS consciously changed. We were encouraged by our Diversity advisor Henry St Clair. And Jon Daniel who sadly passed away months after he supported us with our goals. We are thankful to Jon who gave us the confidence to speak out and commit to our Diversity event.
Here is a reminder of last year’s events:
Ian Livingstone, CBE
Co-Founder Games Workshop, BAFTA Award winner, and Fantasy Author.
Ian sits on many boards and uses his 40 years in the games industry to support innovation, entrepreneurialism and great business. Ian’s presentation appealed equally to our charity clients and our private sector clients as he epitomises the value of creativity.
Founder of 10X Future Technologies
Mr Jenkins, who ran Barclays between 2012 and July 2015 and last year set up 10X Future Technologies. He talked to us about the banking of the future and led a most interesting discussion which, like Ian Livingstone, gave us a fresh and inspiring approaches to consider.
Motivation and Self-Evaluation
Russam GMS are privileged to work with aspiring Non-Executives, and as an organisation we currently lead 2-3 workshops a year for Cranfield University. In 2017, we invited our community to join us for a full-day event to hear speakers and experienced leaders talk about their own experiences as a NED, reflect on behaviours, and discuss tools in order to help our NED Community reach their goals.
We also offered a CV workshop to those who chose to take part. One attendee said of the event, “I was impressed with the culture of Russam; their philanthropic business focus, and running an event such as this that invests in their community and builds long term sustainable relationships on both the client and candidate side. I will maintain my relationship over the long term!”
Board Diversity: Inspiring a new generation
In our full-day Diversity event, we gave our stage to leaders who are actively engaged in promoting diversity and inclusion within their workplaces, specifically at boardroom level. We took the opportunity to make public our journey to take the commitment to diversity and inclusion seriously and invite discussion– even debate– on the question of how we inspire people to recognise the challenges and work together to discover the actions they can take immediately. Among the speakers were Dr Yvonne Thompson, Rob Neil of the MoJ, Christopher Nurko of FutureBrand, and Malcolm McCaig of Umum, and the result really was inspiring.
As we enter 2018 – we are pleased to announce that we are partnering with Winmark, a development programme and peer-to-peer network for senior executives looking to start a Non-Executive career portfolio, to bring our community exciting and engaging events through the sponsorship of the Winmark NED Programme. Winmark are celebrating 20 years’ working with FTSE 100 Companies and major institutions. Details to be announced shortly.