In her own words
It is critical for people creating teams to question if their hiring criteria truly aligns with what is needed to do the job.
In one organisation where I have a board role we absolutely shifted from saying ‘to be a credible employee in this organisation you need to have 25 years’ experience as a rail engineer’ to saying ‘the real skills we need are analytical problem solving, stakeholder management, report writing’ and while we absolutely need access to a certain number of people who have good technical skills, not everyone in the organisation has to have this experience. Within a very short period of time you could see the organisation’s profile changing, particularly by gender and age.
Leading the change
Creating a modern, diverse and inclusive transport industry will demand leadership of senior people in transport, both men and women. The National Women in Transport initiative is important because it supports and connects our women. We need to break down stereotypical perceptions of what a person in transport looks like. We need to profile role models which weren’t around when I entered the industry.
Another fact I like to highlight is because transport has traditionally been a male dominated sector it is better paid and that presents a real opportunity for women.
The safety dividend
I believe diversity leads to better safety outcomes because good safety management is about good risk management and good risk management is about being very aware of not just technical and operational risk but also human risk. Human risk is about human factors; it’s about people. So if you have a very narrow view because you don’t have a diverse or inclusive workforce then you are not going to have a clear view about the human factors involved in safety and what leads people to behave in certain ways. I firmly believe in the link between diversity and safety, as well as all the evidence that shows those organisations with diverse Boards outperform those with non-diverse leadership.