PRESS RELEASE: Formula One driver Susie Wolff and 30% Club Founder Helena Morrissey talk about the power of mentoring

Press Release | Trailblazing women: Formula One driver Susie Wolff and 30% Club Founder Helena Morrissey talk about the power of mentoring

London, Tuesday 24th November 2015. At the event over 160 leaders in sport and business gathered together at the Google UK headquarters – with keynote speakers Susie Wolff, Helena Morrissey CBE, and Google’s President of EMEA Business and Operations, Matt Brittin, Women Ahead -a social enterprise that supports and develops women in sport and business to achieve at their best -  celebrated the first anniversary of their flagship sport to business mentoring programme.

Susie Wolff said at the event:

"I am going to help the next generation, I'm going to make sure they don't make the same mistakes that I did.  ."
"Women Ahead believes in mentoring for change, and I would just like to finish by saying I'm with you on that one"
"I do believe that women can be successful in motorsport"
"I'm going to make sure everything that I learned, I can pass on"
"I was not there to be the top female. I was there to be the best"
"Everyone told me I had to have a plan B but if you have a plan B you wont be focused on plan A."
"Find your passion in life. Go with your gut feeling. Dream. And dream big, but with a plan.”
"Performance is power"
"Role-models are hugely important: for girls, you've got to see it to believe it sometimes"

Google’s President of EMEA Business and Operations, Matt Brittin said:

"We are data-driven, and we know that the data says that more diverse businesses perform better. "

Helena Morrissey, Founder 30% Club, Founder said:

“One of the 30% Club initiatives I am proudest of is our cross- company mentoring scheme. Women Ahead have been invaluable. We’ve gone up a notch since they came on board, and we’re delighted to be working with them in significantly extending the scheme.”
“We've gone from 12.5% women on FTSE boards to 26.1%.  Not quite 30 get but we're getting there”
“Doesn't matter if you're male or female, black or white, young or old straight or LGBT, we need everybody to have an opportunity for the sake of the business results. “

Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport said in advance of the event:

“I want to see more women leading our sports organisations, providing vision and shaping the current landscape. Just half of national governing bodies are meeting the twenty-five percent target of women on their boards. Mentoring is a key tool in achieving this goal
and benefits both mentors and mentees in developing their confidence and capabilities. I know from personal experience how much impact mentors can have in people’s lives. That’s why Women Ahead is such a fantastic organisation.”

Women Ahead works in partnership with the 30% Club to raise equality, opportunity and aspiration, and to support the UN Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women. Their action-based approach is unique:

“Moving beyond debate and focussing on practical action is crucial, and Women Ahead are global leaders in using mentoring to bring about change for individuals and organisations. We believe that diversity is a competitive advantage, and we work with men and women, as well as bringing together organisations and initiatives with common goals. We have proved that escaping silos and engaging with different perspectives stimulates growth, and creating cross-company mentoring partnerships is a cornerstone of our work.”

Liz Dimmock, Founder & CEO, Women Ahead

With both the recent Lord Davies and Trophy Women reports being published in recent weeks, the case for change is clear:

  • Just 0.4% of UK commercial sports sponsorship goes into women’s sport
  • Women’s sport makes up only 7% of overall UK sports media coverage
  • More than half of UK National Governing Bodies in sport have less than 25% female board representation
  • Women make up 26.1% of FTSE 100 and 19.6% of FTSE 250 boards
  • The average UK full-time female employee earns 14.5% less than her male counterpart

Lady Georgie Ainslie chaired the event, and a panel of experts from the worlds of sport and business highlighted mentoring’s unique capacity to effect change, with case studies including the 30% Club’s sport and business scheme, and the mentoring collaboration between British Cycling and Ricoh.

Women Ahead and the 30% Club work together to support more than 47 organisations, and have created 634 mentoring pairs to help build the pipeline and presence of women onto boards. The scheme is expanding both overseas and in the UK in 2016, and this event will offer a preview of the opportunities being offered for businesses and sporting organisations.


At last year’s launch

“I encourage people to step forward and say ‘Yes I can be part of this, I can be part of ensuring we bring women forward... let me impart my knowledge, my experience, and work with somebody else to enable them to achieve’. We need to ensure that everybody’s talents are given the opportunity to develop, both for that individual but also for the greater good of society and for our economy.”

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, speaking at the Women Ahead launch, October 2014

“In the long term, a more diverse sport will be even richer, healthier and more competitive than it is today.” Susie Wolff

“Having a mentor might just be the difference between you taking sport as a professional career choice and you saying, ‘You know what, maybe I’m not good enough’ Victoria Pendleton speaking at the the Women Ahead launch, October 2014

About Women Ahead

Women Ahead is a social enterprise that supports the development of women in sport and business. Founded with the belief that parity between men and women in the worlds of sport and business will benefit individuals, organisations and society as a whole, Women Ahead creates innovative and mutually beneficial partnerships between and within the worlds of business and sport. These initiatives include designing and delivering world-class mentoring schemes, developing, showcasing and representing inspiring female pioneers from sport and business through their Speaker Academy, and carrying out research and consultancy to help organisations maximise the impact of their developmental initiatives.

About Women Ahead’s Founder & CEO, Liz Dimmock

Liz Dimmock has specialised in the fields of consultancy, coaching and mentoring for more than 17 years, in businesses ranging from 30 employees to 330,000, and has held commercial, coaching and leadership roles at IMG, KPMG, HSBC (Global Head of Coaching), and GP Strategies (Managing Partner). As an athlete, Liz is a passionate cyclist and in 2012 cycled the entire Tour de France route, a week before the men’s professional field, and matching the pros stage-for-stage over 3,479km. This achievement highlighted the absence of a female Tour de France, and ignited Liz’s desire to bring about a level playing field for all women in sport. Liz is a Steering Committee member of the 30% Club and is co-chair of their sport and business working group.

For further information and images or to request an interview, contact Katrina Garnett:  0118 940 6828

For more photos see here