Balance for better

Published just in time for this year’s International Women’s Day, the latest issue of Observe: The Odgers Berndtson Global Magazine took women and equality as its central themes, pushing progress along the path to greater inclusion in the boardroom.

I was honoured to be asked to write two pieces for this edition – both of which gave me the opportunity to speak with and discover the truly awe-inspiring commitment, efforts and wisdom of two leading ladies.

Following a childhood spent in the US projects, Valerie Rainford rose to become the highest-ranking African American woman at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and now heads up the Advancing Black Leaders strategy at multinational investment bank and financial services firm, JPMorgan Chase. Much of her time, both within this role and outside of it, is spent supporting women of colour to build a successful career – and encouraging them to become positive role models for young girls.

Jude Kelly CBE, who last year left her role as creative director of London’s Southbank Centre in order to focus on her WOW – Women of the World Festivals, works tirelessly to help women across the globe to achieve their potential – and, indeed, to develop a society in which they can do so.

The festivals are a key platform for women – and men – to share their experiences, support each other, and campaign for a brighter future. Having attended one myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the buzzing atmosphere and the sense of community and motivation they instil in all those who attend.

In line with the International Women’s Day theme, 2019 is a year of #BalanceforBetter. And with strong, intelligent, dedicated women such as Valerie and Jude leading the way, I’d say a brighter, gender-balanced future is well within our grasp.