Happy New Year! It’s another gift of a year, and I want to kick it off by reflecting on the work we’ve been doing; mostly made possible through the engagement and support of our members, champions and partners. Thank you.
We started 2018 with a simple mission, to build a community that connects women in the UK and beyond with opportunities, expertise and partners that support and empower them.
As a business, we want to work with progressive organisations to disrupt the status quo in the workplace, by ensuring that talent is recognised and developed - irrespective of gender.
It is a big mission for a small company from Yorkshire, but we feel driven to accomplish it, in a world where inequality endures and the playing field for women in business is far from level.
We know that everyone will benefit if we work together to develop talent of all genders, who can take on the challenges and find innovative solutions to the problems we face as a society.
This mission has been the foundation of all we do here at Forward Ladies. From our membership scheme, monthly regional networking events, training opportunities and STEM inspired leadership programme. To our female entrepreneur’s growth academy, national awards programme and projects such as the ‘Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM’ survey and report.
When we look back at the past year, we see so much that was achieved and many things to celebrate. Here are a few of our highlights.
The core of FL is women supporting each other through our many services. We are delighted to have attracted a global community of women supporting women from cities in Ghana, Kenya, the UK and Australia. Our community continues to grow organically and you can hear directly from our members here:
This year, we published our second ‘Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM’ report; in partnership with
BASF, NG Bailey, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, GKN Aerospace and Ada, the National College for Digital Skills.
This is a unique study, exclusively tailored to understanding the challenges facing the progression of women in the STEM sector. Before we can create solutions, we first need to understand the barriers and what women themselves are saying about working in the sector.
Our STEM inspired leadership programmes are creating lasting transformations for women, as well as helping organisations eliminate their gender imbalance and progress more women into senior leadership positions.
We are proud that our fortnightly newsletter was recommended by Red Magazine, as one of the few newsletters worth subscribing to for career and business development.
We also fundraised for a fantastic charity, Young Women’s Trust. The charity supports women aged 16 - 30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales, who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. We encouraged our FL National Awards & Summit guests to fundraise for this vital cause and have raised an incredible amount in 2018! Thank you so much to everyone who donated.
This year’s grand final of the national awards saw the crowning of Lara Oyesanya, Klarna’s UK Counsel and Director of Legal, as our overall Businesswoman of the Year 2018. Lara’s win marks the first time the national winner of the corporate leader category has been awarded the title. Congratulations again to Lara and all of our finalists and winners.
We also recognised male agents of change in this year’s programme, as we believe that gender diversity is not a women's issue. Men, as well as women, seek balance and FL is delighted to champion those men who are also working towards this goal.
We are deeply grateful for the impact we’ve made this year and we hope, as always, to build on this in 2019 with your continued engagement and support.
This year, we will be creating more content and tools to support women at work. Kicking off with the publication of our first book Unstoppable Women! We are beyond excited, as this has been bubbling away in the background for a while.
I want to thank the entire FL team, the FL advisory board, as well as our supporters and advocates.
To all of our 20,000 members, thank you for being part of the FL community.
Griselda Togobo began her career as an electrical engineer, she then veered into business having been influenced by the challenges and successes that her parents experienced as entrepreneurs. She trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with one of the BIG 4 professional services firms. Griselda is a mother of two beautiful children. She is extremely passionate about positively impacting the future of women and girls in the workforce. Griselda joined Forward Ladies as a member and was hooked, she is now the owner and CEO.