According to the most recent FTSE350 just 1-in-25 of the CEOs of publicly listed companies in Britain are women; although in better news 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women. In 2022, the United Kingdom placed 22nd on the World Economic Forum Global Data’s Global Gender Gap Index. The low percentages of women in higher positions contribute to the GPG in the UK, which registered a score of 0.78 in 2022 out of 1. While things might be changing for women in the UK, there is still work to do which is why we are thrilled at FoodCycle to say that our Senior Leadership Team is 100% female!
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, we thought we’d ask our brilliant leaders…
“What is the secret to being a successful leader (and does it have anything to do with being a woman)?”
Mary McGrath MBE, CEO
Putting FoodCycle at the heart of everything I do means thinking strategically about how the charity is going to grow. It also means I have to be multi-disciplined. To run a successful charity there is no point being good at just one thing; you have to have the right strategy to source the income, gather the resources and get people through the door. It’s vital to have a purpose and then ensure you respond to any market conditions creatively while simultaneously planning for what you want to achieve. If you don’t have an end goal, you are lost.
Being a woman has allowed me bring empathy and understanding into my working environment which I’ve been able to balance with being firm and making tough decisions. I’m proud to be part of the charity sector with plenty of women in the top roles but ultimately what has mattered to my own career is that I have the right skill set to succeed regardless of gender.
Carly Shutes, Communications Director
For me, it’s about the team around me, whether its my direct reports or the wider team and really making sure I listen to them, get their feedback and take their ideas on board. I can’t know or do everything all the time so its really important to have those relationships and for people to feel that their opinion is important and valued, no matter their seniority. I don’t that this has any relation to my gender but I think that my determination to succeed is definitely related to me being a woman. I’ve always been a strong believer in equality – I remember when I was 15, I considered training to be a mechanic just to proveI could do a ‘mans’ job!
I’m quite pleased I didn’t chose that route now, but I’ve definitely always had that mindset of if he/she/they can do it, so can I – gender should not be a factor.
Victoria Meier, Head of Fundraising
I think listening skills are key to being a successful leader and understanding what motivates members of your team. Whilst not exclusive to women, I do think women tend to be strong on these so called ‘soft’ skills around sensitivity and empathy.
Sophie Tebbetts, Head of Programmes
I think my skill set of being a good leader is acknowledging I am only as good as the team I have behind me, and ensuring I listen and make people feel heard. I believe this brings a resilience to my leadership style and the wider team. The ability to multitask, create open dialogue and a sense of communal responsibility, is a unique strength and one I believe women uniquely possess. I personally have seen this strengthen since having children and are attributes that I strive to bring to FoodCycle through my leadership style.
To learn more about the FoodCycle team visit here