Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership

There were few women in the workplace when Diane Bates started her career in Corporate Finance during the mid 1970s in the City of London. There were women with typewriters or tea trolleys in front of them but none, like Diane, had a calculator in front of them. Diane has excelled in an environment where the demographics are stacked towards the male gender.

Diane remembers as if it was yesterday when an engineer approached her during her “working” lunch and asked her to type an urgent letter for him. Diane looked around her work space and replied “Well, would you look at that! They forgot to give me a typewriter!” Diane could see the penny drop as he realised that, although she was a women, she was not a secretary.

In the early days of her career, Diane faced  many instances of prejudice, gender bias and social exclusion. Diane’s attitude has always been to “step up”. She does not espouse the popular mantra to “lean in”. In Diane’s opinion, the term “lean in” infers a lack of acceptance and inclusion. It is not strong enough.

While working as an assistant-Financial Accountant for P&O in London, Diane and her boss spent the day at a freight forwarder in Tilbury Docks. Just before lunch, her boss told her that she would be eating at noon with the women (the secretaries) and he would be eating at 1pm with the men (the management). Diane pointed out that they had traveled together, were working together and, as far as she was concerned, they were eating together. So she gave her boss a choice: either to eat at noon with her (and the women) or she would eat at 1pm with him (and the men). He chose the latter.

The men in the cafeteria would not speak that lunchtime as there was a woman in the room. The only conversation was between Diane and her boss. Diane stepped up!

Diane worked for twenty years in Corporate Finance for companies in the Shipping, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications and Banking industries. Diane left the corporate world and began working in Executive Search with her partner, Alan Davis. This decision was made for a better work-life balance coinciding with the birth of their fourth child.

Diane has held leadership positions since being elected Head Girl at the Sixth Form College she attended in Hampshire, England. She has taken many leadership positions within both her business and local communities. From participating in the “Distinguished Speakers Program” for her local Chamber of Commerce to leading a Lobby Group to improve the French program at her children’s school to producing the musical “The King and I”, Diane has stepped up. More recently, Diane was asked to be Vice-President on the Leadership Team of a B2B Corporate Business Network.

Diane understands leadership from the context of being female. Although the workplace has changed considerably over the last forty years, some things remain the same. Diane considers her niche to be coaching women who are, or want to be, in leadership positions. Particularly if these women are a minority in their peer group. Diane has been there; Diane has had fun and flourished.

Diane also understands the challenges of balancing a career with raising a family. She helps her clients to understand what is most important to them at this particular time in their life and how to act on this knowledge.

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