International Women's Day 2022: Oaklin's reflections
This month, we have taken the opportunity to reflect on March, a month of celebrations, knowledge sharing and open conversations in alignment with International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month.
“One of Oaklin’s core values is inclusivity; extending our reach and making everyone feel included is an integral part of who we are.”
This is Oaklin’s first year with an established women’s network, having made significant strides on the commitments we made last year to create a supportive workplace for women. The Oaklin Women's Network (OWN) aims to empower and support our women to reach their fullest potential, whilst also empowering our men (and others) to act as allies. The theme for this year’s IWD was “#BreaktheBias”. Women continue to face challenges in the workplace and society due to biases, both deliberate and unconscious. Our OWN strives to encourage everyone to be considerate and inclusive of all genders, both inside and outside of the workplace.
This year we celebrated IWD in numerous ways. Alongside a firm-wide breakfast event with a focus on what IWD means for those at the firm, we hosted two speaker events, providing the opportunity to hear insightful and thought-provoking ideas and reflections from a variety of women at different stages of their careers, plus held an IWD themed book club to round off the month.
For our first speaker event on 9th March, we were delighted to host Mary Ann Sieghart, in partnership with FORA, who shared ideas and research from her recent book, ‘The Authority Gap’. Mary Ann provided an overview of her academic analysis of the ways in which women continue to be denied respect and authority in comparison to men. Later in the month, Oaklin got together as part of our regular book club to share views on the 140 practical solutions within Mary Ann’s book and discussed concrete actions we can take, no matter how big or small, to increase our inclusion and celebration of women.
On 10th March we hosted a digital panel session in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute, to discuss the topic “how do women manage pressure and presence in the workplace?” (find the recording here). We were joined by 200+ virtual attendees on the day, from various backgrounds, including males and females highlighting how this topic is not specific to any one person or gender. Armed with an abundance of questions from attendees, our amazing all-female panel – Stephanie Meehan, Shikha Goyal and Katie Kelly from Oaklin, Niki Avraam from Howat Avraam Solicitors, and Freddie Hampel from JMAN – provided an array of helpful and thought-provoking tips and tricks on this topic, the importance of which cannot be understated.
Looking forward, our key takeaways and ideas on a renewed set of actions for this year include:
- Common themes throughout the month included the significance of celebrating others, promoting positive re-enforcement and supporting colleagues to build a presence at work. At Oaklin, we plan to introduce more opportunities to celebrate the success of our colleagues, and particularly encourage women to celebrate themselves and each other.
- The shift to hybrid working due to Covid inevitably means fewer interactions with colleagues. At Oaklin, we will continue to embed our “families” as a core part of our inclusive culture. Maintaining connections with colleagues is one of Oaklin's priorities and our Oaklin families help us stay connected with those we don't normally work with as our firm grows.
- Throughout the month, we were frequently reminded of the fact that bias is often invisible to the people who do not receive it – without calling out bias, many of us do not notice its presence and impact. This emphasised the importance of creating a space and culture where men (and others) feel comfortable and empowered to provide support to close the authority gap. At Oaklin, we plan to continue embedding our male allyship programme of events, aiming to hold various informal workshops to educate each other on gender bias, providing a space for open and honest conversation.
One of Oaklin’s core values is inclusivity; extending our reach and making everyone feel included is an integral part of who we are. Join us in celebrating and empowering each other and promoting inclusion and diversity in all aspects of life – we look forward to sharing more as these initiatives take shape over the coming months.
Sophia is a consultant at Oaklin, with experiences ranging from business analysis, business process design and service design to digital and technology implementation across scaled Agile projects. She is motivated by solving complex problems and is able to manage competing and changing priorities through strong organisation and dynamic personable skills. Sophia is deeply involved in the Inclusion and Diversity team within Oaklin and is passionate about taking bold steps towards creating an inclusive and diverse culture both inside and outside the workplace.
Melissa is a highly driven and dynamic Consultant who has been delivering large scale technology transformation programmes, focusing on the people side of change. She has worked across a range of sectors, including petrochemicals, energy and utilities and telecommunications. Melissa also co-leads the Oaklin Women's Network and is passionate about Inclusion and Diversity inside and outside of the workplace. Prior to joining Oaklin, Melissa has worked in Product Management at Vodafone and has a graduate degree in Management from the London School of Economics.