March 8th, 2018 is International Women’s Day, a day described by the official campaign as the celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
#PressforProgress is the theme of this year’s campaign, which is incredibly important and topical following the #MeToo and TIME’s UP campaign in response to numerous allegations of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination of women. Primarily coming from those in the film and media industry, this has shone a light on the systemic behaviour of men in top positions who have abused their power to intimidate women. Thanks to the actions of many actors and crew, different women at different levels of this industry but also across the whole of the working space (as this affects women all over the world, in every country and working in every sector), this will be identified and allowed to happen, no longer.
At Imperative Training Ltd, the business that houses the successful brands of imperative training, defibshop.co.uk & thedefibshop.com, CEO David Howarth has always recognised the importance of women in every level of power throughout the business. Going from 1 employee 14 years ago to now over 30 staff across the UK and US offices for defibshop and imperative training, of which the ratio of men to women is 3:7. For every 3 men in the business, we have 7 women right alongside, working together to drive the business forward to reach our goals.
Underneath the CEO, in the UK there is a 4-strong female only Senior Management Team; an MD and 3 Department Managers. In the US the Vice President of Sales is female with 3 female employees in sales-orientated roles.
David also owns another business in the UK which has women in senior positions as well as being Chairman for charity Hand on Heart who only have female employees. "I think it's incredibly important to have a healthy balance of men and women in the workplace and have been very fortunate to have strong, intelligent women fill the senior management positions in my businesses. In the UK, the TUC has found that most women work over 2 months for free each year, in relation to their male colleagues. I strongly believe in having the right person for the role, regardless of whether they are male or female and I can guarantee that in all of my businesses, there is no gender pay gap. Every individual is paid for their role and equal to their colleagues in the same role. I urge other businesses to do the same and to do it now."
Not only is the business focused on ensuring fairness and quality, but also on developing employees to their full potential by giving them the tools and support needed to progress in their roles – regardless of their gender.
Looking at statistics gathered for 2015-16, 28.5% of key management personnel positions were held by women in 2015-2016 yet one-quarter of organisations had no women in those positions in the previous year. Though there have been improvements; women held 34.1% of senior management roles and represented 24.7% of board directors in 2015-16 (Catalyst, 2017).
Managing Director, Lyndsey Hope has been with Imperative Training Ltd for over a decade and after joining as a Sales Executive all those years ago has risen to the top position in the business. With expert knowledge of the inner workings of every single department and solely responsible for the management of our most important clients (Starbucks, Selfridges, Wilkos and H&M to name a few), Lyndsey is an inspiration to the rest of the team, both male and female.
Lyndsey said: "I am a big believer in leading by example and have strived to create a working environment where both men and women are encouraged and developed to their true potential. For me, it's all about promoting from within; having worked my way up, I see the invaluable value of having team members that stay with us, grow with us and help us to drive the company forward. Culture is incredibly important and I'm proud of what we have created and continue to cultivate."
Jenny Brannan, who joined us as a Creative & Marketing Assistant 18 months ago has progressed to Creative & Marketing Co-ordinator, exclusively supporting the Creative & Marketing Manager (one-quarter of the Senior Management Team).
About working for defibshop, Jenny said: “Being in an equally diverse company that celebrates both men and women in different, empowering roles is so important to me. Having a female manager and a woman-led management team not only creates a positive impact on the business but inspires me to continually push myself in my job role, every day.”
This is widespread across the business, resonating in each department and across each brand. Dariane Moore, one of our Account Managers who has been with us for 1 year and half said: “I feel empowered to work in a company where both women and men are encouraged to develop and gain their full potential.”
In 2016, defibshop partnered with a Brand Ambassador to bring more awareness to the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and the importance of defibrillators in sport and all public places. After striking up a relationship with Olympic Athlete & GB Snowboard Cross No 1 Zoe Gillings-Brier on Twitter, we were incredibly honoured for her to join us in our campaign to raise awareness. As as a female at No1 in her sport, we are always inspired and motivated by her drive and talent. In 2017, we gained another Brand Ambassador in the form of Léa Brier, Zoe's gorgeous little girl with her husband and agent Dan Brier!
Following Zoe's journey back from motherhood to training for the 2018 Winter Olympics was an incredible journey and an absolute testament to what female bodies are physically capable of! You can read more about her journey of training after becoming a mother in her diary post here.
Sarah McLoughlin joined us as the newest member of our Creative team last August and has already been given key responsibilities such as solely managing and support the defibshop USA social media platforms and their marketing strategy, from the UK Head Office.
Sarah said: “It’s great to see that women continue to make great strides in the workplace and I find it inspiring to be around such a strong team that is predominantly female, showing that female success has no limits.”
The VP of Sales is responsible for the day-to-day running of our US arm of defibshop and was originally the defibshop Sales Manager in the UK. Again, Lindsay Atherton started in a Sales Administrator role but quickly progressed to a Sales Manager role after her expertise and talent was recognised. Millie McDonagh, defibshop Sales Manager who joined us in March last year as Lindsay worked on our new venture, said: “For me personally, I think it’s great to see that women are succeeding in a historically male-dominated sales industry.”
Keith Webb, Sales Executive and AED Product Specialist with the business for over 4 years said: “I have worked in other companies that have a very male-dominated managerial team and to now work with a team that has a strong female dominance does not feel any different. The drive and determination are the same as they want what is best for the business and strive to get the best out of the employees and the company.”
Faye Thetford, Training & Quality Manager joined us as a Training Administrator 3 years ago and has excelled in the opportunity to manage the training department, which is the backbone of the business. Faye said: “It is inspiring to work with so many amazing women who have helped me to progress to my current position and have shown me so much support and mentoring along the way.”
With an accounts team headed up by Accountant Kath Parr, another female in a mangerial position who has been with the business for nearly 6 years. Managing the finances across all of the businesses, Kath has excelled and transformed our financial procedures in a role typically held by men.
The Creative & Marketing Team is headed up by Creative & Marketing Manager, Emma Lloyd who again joined the business as a Marketing Assistant nearly 6 years ago, and was given the opportunity to progress and mould her own team.
Now 4 strong based in the UK, James Brierley, Graphic Designer and the only male in the Creative & Marketing team for the UK office said: “I haven’t worked somewhere before where all the management team are women and I think it has a positive impact on how things are handled and rolled out.”
To find out more about us and how we have come to be who we are now, visit our Meet the Team page.