Wickes to sponsor Diversity in Retail and WiHTL Ethnic Senior Leaders Programme
Diversity in Retail (DiR) and WiHTL, the Collaboration Communities devoted to increasing diversity and inclusion, have announced that Wickes will sponsor the third cohort of its Ethnic Senior Leaders (ESL) Programme.
The Programme is open for nominations and companies are invited to nominate participants for this cohort which will launch on 18 October 2023.
Aimed at upcoming Ethnic Senior Leaders who are preparing to progress into more senior leadership positions, senior level leaders in functional roles and high potential mid-career talent with significant managerial responsibilities, the programme is designed to prepare the participants for promotion to Executive Board level.
Diverse leadership is widely recognised as key to building high performing businesses with a positive culture and strong customer and colleague engagement. Whilst ethnic diversity in UK business has increased over recent years, WiHTL and DiR’s latest reporting of ethnic representation on Boards and Executive Committees in hospitality, travel, leisure and retail* shows that in HTL, more than half of companies have all-white Boards, and more than half have all-white Executive Committees and in Retail, this figure drops to around a third.
Creating diverse leadership is therefore a priority for businesses looking to attract and retain the best talent. The ESL Programme aims to equip leaders with the skills and confidence to navigate the corporate environment, have honest conversations about barriers to success in the workplace, build productive networks and develop strategies to reach their career goals.
Working as part of a Peer Accountability Group and supported by a C-suite mentor, participants in the programme will benefit from insightful and facilitated discussions as well as new insights and approaches that will enable them to grow as leaders and become Board ready.
Tea Colaianni, Founder and Chair of DiR and WiHTL, said: “We are delighted to be embarking on our third cohort of our Ethnic Senior Leaders Programme and we are looking forward to companies submitting their nominations. The benefits of diverse leadership and having role models at the top of industry are overwhelming. Whilst there has been progress over recent years there clearly remains much to be done to achieve diverse ethnic representation in the higher echelons of business. That is why we are so grateful to Wickes for sponsoring this important programme and working with us to develop the next generation of senior leaders. Without their commitment and support this would not be possible”.
David Wood, CEO of Wickes, said: “As a leading retailer, it is critical that our leadership reflects the communities which we serve and we are proud to support Diversity in Retail and WiHTL on the Ethnic Senior Leaders Programme in helping leaders of all ethnic backgrounds rise to the top of industry. We firmly believe that diverse teams deliver higher performance, generate greater innovation and build resilience so it is critical that we work together cross-industry to drive change.”
The impact and value of the Programme was further reinforced by delegates from the last cohort who highlighted the benefits in the following feedback.
Lianne Coriette, Global Talent Director – Culture and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at IHG, commented: “An energising programme that can kick-start a journey of self-discovery provoking you to continue to think about the leader you want to be, the legacy you want to create and to re-think traditional career routes, options and timings.”
Natasha Suliman, Regional Manager at Kingfisher, said: “A thought provoking programme which has given me the confidence to believe in me and push myself in ways I didn’t know I could.”
Manjusha Patil, Application Development Manager at Scott Dunn, said: “The overall experience was extraordinary. My journey in this programme started with me not knowing basic terminologies of boards and how a board works. Graduating from this programme with real life board experience was phenomenal.”
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