Inspired Selection: Women in Leadership Seminar

As many of you are now aware, this is our 20th year in the industry and what better way to kick off the celebrations than with a campaign at London Book Fair this year where we had the opportunity to sponsor the People Development Seminar stream. Whilst we covered many subjects in the stream, one of the most notable, and sell out events was our Women in Leadership seminar which was standing room only!

We had a fantastic panel chaired by Suzy Astbury, MD, Inspired Selection featuring Lis Tribe, MD, Hodder Education; Rebecca Smart, MD, DK; Samantha Burridge, Director of Strategy and Transformation, Web of Science, a Clarivate Analytics company; and Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK. These inspirational women started by giving us a background on their journeys and how they got to where they are today, including the challenges of juggling their career, home life and motherhood. What was clearly apparent from all of these women was the sheer drive, and tenacity they have harnessed to get them to these very senior, influential positions.

Perminder Mann talked passionately about how authenticity is so important, particularly for women – in order to be successful, you still need to be yourself! If you are not authentic, people won’t want to work with you and you won’t have the opportunity to work with a great team. Authenticity will give you the opportunity to become role models, at every level.

There has been a huge amount of press about gender in-balance, and of course the gender pay gap – our industry is 70% women and one of the key points that came out of this talk was the need for the industry to support women. Publishers need to celebrate women’s successes, not just at the top but across every level. As well as this, it is becoming increasingly important that the policies companies choose to develop apply to everyone - both encouraging women in leadership as well as encouraging men to consider different ways of working. This is what will drive change.

Samantha Burridge talked us through her background, and what has driven change for her in each role she has been in, and then moved on from. She highlighted the importance of being in a company, and environment where you thrive in – if the company doesn’t feel right for you, go out and find the one that does. Success doesn’t always look the same for everyone.

Lis Tribe talked about company policies and the importance of auditing these policies – she said “every company must have a policy and they must audit that policy. We count the things that are important: we count sales, profits, user clicks, shares and likes, because they’re important. We should count how many women we have in leadership, how diverse we are. If we audit it, we will care about improving it. I think flexible working policies and mentoring are key”.

Rebecca Smart followed this with a strong affirmation and encouragement to the audience to go out and take every opportunity to be mentored! Ask for help. With so many women offering their time, she told us not to be afraid to take it up. There are some fantastic mentoring schemes out there, and you have absolutely nothing to lose by asking the question – the worst you will get is a polite no.

A huge thank you to our brilliant panel, and to over 150 people who attended the seminar at the London Book Fair last week. Remember, we are part of an industry that is 70% women and the industry owes a huge amount of success to those women. Be proud of what you do, be authentic, be the driver for your own success, be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We can’t wait to see what the next generation of women in this industry have in store for us..!

Click the link below to listen to the entire Women in Leadership seminar, which was recorded live at London Book Fair, this is not to be missed: