International Women’s Day 2015

Make it Happen – “Stepping Up Together”
5 March 2015 | Mayfair, London

IRG, alongside professional services firm A.T. Kearney, are proud to have co-hosted a 2015 event in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event embraced the UN’s International Women’s Day theme for 2015, “Making It Happen,” and explored the theme, “Stepping Up Together”.

More and more companies realise the importance of a diverse workforce, gender equality, female leaders and mentors, but change is still slow. Our high profile speakers and participants stimulated the debate as they gave us their views on how to “step up the game”. We hope that guests left feeling re-energised, inspired to action and equipped with new ideas and connections that can assist their own, and their company’s success in achieving equality. It has been a truly outstanding event and has been exhilarating to see so many capable men and women in one room “stepping up together” to make a change.

The program consisted of quite a jam-packed and varied agenda, and included opportunities for senior leaders who have a passion to be involved in the promotion of the Diversity agenda to interact, network, and reflect on shared experiences.

After a compelling introduction from Robyn Wright, Principal with A.T. Kearney and Inna Baigozina-Goreli, Partner with A.T. Kearney, we heard from Jo Salter, the very first female RAF Tornado fighter pilot, who shared highlights of her story and how she made the first steps-up in a career exclusively male before her.

Helen Pankhurst, Special Advisor on Gender Equality for Care International UK then shared inspirational accounts alongside outlining the campaign Walk In Her Shoes, for which delegates were encouraged to sign up and raise money.

Dr. Liz Mellon, Chair of the Editorial Board of Dialogue Journal, Duke of Corporate Education, and Author and Board Member also took to the stage to share best practice in Diversity management. She warmed up the audience for the facilitated panel discussion, led by Christine Brown-Quinn, Author and thought leader on women in business.

Christine led the discussion to explore Stepping up Together through Diversity Programmes, and the audience directed questions and shared stories with panellists, prompting a captivating debate which became so enthralling, we vastly overran into lunch!

Panellists included:

  • Mark Mclane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion with Barclays PLC
  • Joan Wales and Miles Cudmore, Diversity Programme Leaders with BP
  • Ruth Cairnie, Rolls Royce and Associates British Food Board Member
  • Amanda Philips, City Women Network Talent Development & Inclusion Expert and Board Member

During the lunch and networking period, Gwen Rhys, Founder of Women in the City led short sessions about supporting each other to success, and advised on the most valuable ways to network.

We then heard from Sally Kettle, Adventurer Author and first woman to row the Atlantic from East to West, who gave a captivating overview of her experiences. Sally has since stated that she was “Inspired by so many capable women in the room” (on Twitter).

Marinella Soldi, President and Managing Director of Discovery Southern Europe then spoke to guests about Diversity in Practice, and how we can make change happen.

Panel two, Making It Happen Individually allowed individuals to explore making it happen from a personal perspective. Facilitated by Anne Deering, Executive Coach and former Partner with A.T. Kearney, panellists included:

  • Tania Howarth, COO with Igloo
  • Lesley Sewell, CIO with the Post Office
  • Louise Li, International Tax Director and Board Director with Wells Fargo
  • Angela Morrison, CIO with Direct Line Insurance

Tamara Box, Global Chair of the Financial Industry Group, Member of the Global Board of Reed Smith, and Founding Member of the Steering Committee of the 30% Club drew the day to a close, and moved into further networking opportunities and refreshments at the end of the day.
The day partnered with Care International UK, a charity who fights poverty and injustice in more than 80 countries around the world. Their latest campaign took place on International Women’s Day, “Walk in her Shoes”, where participants united in solidarity with women across the globe whose basic freedoms and rights to live a decent and fulfilling life continue to be in jeopardy. Please click the following link for more information:


If you’d like any further information about the event, or you’d simply like to connect as you’re interested in the topic, please contact Hannah Fairhurst via e-mail (, or telephone (0161 831 0702).
A note from IRG’s Managing Director, Michael Mcloughlin:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the International Women’s Day event at the Westbury Hotel in London. The venue, layout and appearance were exceptional, and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Everything ran smoothly, and it was evident that a lot of planning, thought and care had been put into the preparation of the event.

With regards to the day’s purpose; I genuinely came away with a much more comprehensive knowledge of diversity in the workplace.

The speakers and panellists were all extremely engaging and informative, and each person brought their own individual flair and angle on the theme of the day. It’s rare to attend a corporate function where the program isn’t monotonous, but we really did succeed in this as the agenda was superb!

I particularly enjoyed the interactive element of the day. Audience participation was key to ‘stepping up together’, and gave the event a very inclusive atmosphere”