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As part of International Women's Day we asked members of our networks how they #ChooseToChallenge, take a look at how finance colleagues in London answered below.
Hannah Witty, Chief Financial Officer, Central & North West London NHS FT - 'Women make up 70% of my Executive Team, and 50% of my ICS’s CFOs. Change is possible. As part of the London Finance Academy Board I’m committed to ensuring that this is not exceptional, and that we work collectively to shatter that glass ceiling.'
Peter Ridley, Group Chief Finance & Compliance Officer, Royal Free London NHS FT - Over 50% of the Board of the Royal Free London, and of the executive members of the board, are women. However the same cannot be said for the senior team in finance. As part of the London Finance Academy Board I’m committed to work with others across London to address this under-representation within both my own organisation and in the wider London finance community. It is only by taking real action that we will make the most of our talent and attract and develop the leaders we need both now and in the future.'
Usman Niazi, Chief Finance Officer, South East London CCGs - 'We have made real progress across London at improving the gender diversity of the senior finance teams however I know there is still much to do including in my own team. I am committed to working with the London Finance Academy and learning from others so that we can address the under representation of women in senior finance roles to ensure we attract, develop and retain the leaders we need going forward'
Ann Johnson, Regional Director of Finance, NHS England and Improvement - ‘This is my inspiration. My mam (yes, regional dialect is ok!) struggled for equality all of her working life and my nieces are just starting out in their careers. If you’re eagle eyed, you’ll also notice a strong feminist man reflected in the glass taking the snap. Our work to ensure equal representation and opportunities for women at all levels in our organisations is simply doing the right thing’.
Bimal Patel, Chief Finance Officer, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust - 'Having worked with many brilliant female leaders in my career, it is important to me that I can do as much as possible to encourage, support, mentor and sponsor as many female finance professionals to senior positions as part of the London Finance Academy. One of the areas that I believe is crucial to equality and equity is the recruitment and retention of our workforce, which includes flexible/agile working, having diversity in our recruitment panels and encouraging open dialogue between staff and the CFO. I share a selfie with someone who has been an inspiration to me in my career in the NHS - Dame Jacqueline Docherty (yes it was Christmas Jumper day, and I’m never too shy for a selfie!).'
Yarlini Roberts, Chief Finance Officer, Kingston Hospital NHS FT - 'I was fortunate to be supported back into the workplace after having a career break to look after a young family. As a member of the London Finance Academy, I fully support flexible and agile working as a way to ensure that we continue to attract and develop all staff in our organisations and improve gender equality.'
Caroline Owusu-Bennoah, Chief Financial Officer, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital - 'I am keen to work with colleagues on the London Finance Academy board, to actively address the gender inequalities in the Senior finance community in London. I would like to see the board as a place where open discussion and strategizing around the bridging of the gap is had and taken further by working with colleagues to provide organisations with the right framework to support this change.'
Sandra Easton, National Director of Operational Finance & Performance, NHS England & NHS Improvement - 'Let's celebrate the creativity of women. Let's embrace their talent and develop their future potential. The challenge of making the world a better place for our daughters will unite us'
Hardev Virdee, Group Chief Finance Officer, Barts Health NHS Trust - 'As part of the London Finance Academy I believe: We have so much untapped potential. We have a glass ceiling preventing gender equality. We all have a role to play to release the potential. Support gender equality. Break the ceiling and be inspired.'
Matthew Style, Director of Strategic Finance, NHS England and NHS Improvement - 'As the father of two boys, I work hard with my partner to ensure they understand past struggles for gender equality and the importance of the ongoing quest today. My commitment this IWD is to step-up my efforts to make a difference to gender equality in my professional as well as my personal life. My children are avid readers of Kate Pankhurst’s books, and have a good grounding in female artists, warriors, scientists, activists, inventors and explorers of the past. While the current edition does not feature an accountant, let’s support our female colleagues across the profession and hope that one of them features in a future edition of Fantastically Great Women Who’ve Changed the World.'
Phill Wells, Director of Finance, Homerton University Hospital NHS FT - 'As part of the London Finance Academy Board I now know that women are sadly underrepresented in senior finance positions in the NHS. That must change. We have to work even harder than ever to ensure there is gender equality in our finance leadership so that, regardless of gender, we attract, grow and develop the very best of the best.'
Laragh Walton, Executive Director of RM Medicines, Royal Marsden NHS FT - We have amazing talent within our finance teams and the work we are doing on gender equality in finance leadership in London will focus on change across the grades which means challenging our recruitment, our talent management, and our behaviours. It is our responsibility to do this at all levels in our finance teams.'
Jazz Thind, Acting Director of Finance, Oxleas NHS FT - 'Many women, including myself, have suffered ‘Imposter Syndrome’, questioning are we good enough, but I can safely say ‘yes…women do belong in the circle of ‘winners’’. As a member of the LRFTB and as a senior leader I must do what I can to support change - I will role model my commitment to gender diversity, actively sponsor women, and try my best to ensure we have in place a more inclusive and flexible workplace. As an accountant I like numbers and I want to make these ones count! '
Jenny Greenshields Deputy Chief Financial Officer & SIRO, North West London Health and Care Partnership and CCGs - For too long women have accepted being the minority in the finance community. For years I struggled to find role models at senior levels and worried that I didn’t have what it takes to be a finance leader as I didn’t behave like the men and couldn’t hold a conversation about sport! This is definitely changing and I am committed to supporting a new generation of female finance staff to believe in themselves and create a new normal in which women are represented in equal numbers all the way through to the top of the profession.'
See the rest of our NHS finance colleagues pledge in our International Women's Day blog post