Five Key Takeaways from Dame Helena Morrissey

The WCCN were privileged to host an evening with Dame Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club and Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Group.


  1. The communications function should be included at Board level. It makes sense to have someone who is an expert on reputation (and much more) representing your company at the table. In any case, a person’s job title should not stop them getting a foot in the door before they have had an opportunity to prove their worth.
  2. In the fight for women, you have to involve men. Quite often they are the ones with the power and influence to make change happen, and it’s hugely beneficial to have champions and allies to assist you. Plus, you need a view from the other side to have a balanced approach.
  3. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help or time out if you need it. And don’t try to suppress attributes that you think will be perceived negatively as ‘feminine’. A big part of the battle requires women to be human, act like women, enjoy being women at work and promote their differences in a positive way.
  4. Recruiters have a big part to play in diversity. They are the gatekeepers to many career opportunities. Not only do they need to ensure they eradicate conscious and unconscious bias in the hiring process, they also need to reevaluate and improve their own practices. This could mean taking a risk and putting in the extra work to fish in a bigger pond outside of their usual list of candidates.

Recruiters and headhunters should be trained to not only look for diversity of characteristics, but also diversity of thought in candidates, and keep themselves and their clients up to date on the latest research and achievements in diversity that prove its worth from a business perspective.

  1. The job is far from finished. The UK government has recently changed focus from gender equality at board level to focus on helping those in more junior positions. You can’t truly succeed unless you have a steady and even stream of talent coming from these roles. The same way you need allies in more senior roles to champion the cause and do the hiring.

And attitudes are changing elsewhere. Younger generations have different priorities and different views of what success means. Men are increasingly seeing time spent with their families as an indicator of success. Men also do not want to see their female relatives, friends or partners treated unequally. And the next generation want to work for a company whose values align with theirs.

Ellwood Atfield is the Communications and Advocacy Headhunter. Contact us to speak about all aspects of Corporate Communications, Internal Communications, Public Affairs, Policy, Digital & Social Media, Consumer PR, Financial PR, Sustainability & CSR.

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