Businesswomen urged to become supportive role models

More than 60 delegates turned out for a panel event entitled ‘Leading by example: Diversity in business’, which was co-hosted in Edinburgh by legal firm Morton Fraser and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).
Female delegates were encouraged to act as supportive role models for other women and take courage from their own abilities at the event, which was held as part of Morton Fraser’s Business Women’s Network and the IFoA’s work on promoting diversity.
The panel, which was chaired by Morton Fraser’s Linda Urquhart OBE, included Lady Susan Rice CBE, chair of Scottish Water and Business Stream; Fiona Morrison, president of the IoFA and a partner in Lane Clark & Peacock LLP, and Tanya Castell, chair of Changing the Chemistry, a charity promoting diversity of thought in the boardroom.
Urquhart said: “Diversity in business is an important issue for both Morton Fraser and the IFoA. We both wanted to create an interactive platform where issues such as how diversity can help individuals and businesses succeed, the benefit of role models and the issue of unconscious bias could be discussed. In joining forces to host this event, Morton Fraser and the IFoA brought together a panel of leading business women to share their thoughts and best practice. We were delighted with the extremely high interest in the event and wish to thank those who attended as well as our expert panellists on the night.
Lady Susan Rice said: “There’s so much analysis, target-setting and wishful thinking around the issue of diversity and specifically women’s’ place in positions of power and influence. It all helps, but I think there may be nothing more helpful than the chance for women to hear from other women directly, openly, honestly, about how they do it. It’s one matter to agree things should change.  It’s quite another to help women begin to see themselves there. Congratulations to IFoA and Morton Fraser for creating just that space.”
 Fiona Morrison said: “There is a crucial role for professional bodies, such as the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, to promote diversity as part of our duty to act in the public interest.  An increasing percentage of IFoA students are women, thirty eight percent at last count. We hope that the growing number of female students will convert into increasing the number of qualified female members in the years to come, and that they will work their way up the corporate ladder.  Most companies consider profitability a main priority.  With such strong research in existence showing the clear benefits of having more diverse teams at senior management levels, the IFoA hopes that progress continues to be made on all types of diversity, including gender diversity.”
Tanya Castell said: “Having been recently appointed Chair of the IFoA’s innovative new Quality Assurance Scheme sub-committee, I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this event and provide suggestions on practical steps people can take.”
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