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Members only: One club I’m happy to join

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  • 09/09/2013
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Members only: One club I’m happy to join
Trade magazine editors are quite rightly challenged regularly on the choices they make.

Why run one story but not another? So, since the launch of the Ladies Executive Club, in association with Mortgage Solutions and Your Mortgage and Remortgage, I am always happy to kick that one about too.

This is about opening up the discussion. One criticism regularly levelled at the press is that we always use the same spokespeople, so this is one way of hearing from a broader group. Of course we already have female commentators on Mortgage Solutions – but like the makeup of the industry, just not as many as our excellent male commentators.

As a title, Mortgage Solutions is also always looking for editorial firsts. In the same spirit, my editor-in-chief Paula John and I launched the Ladies Executive Club two summers ago and scudding along on the generosity of our sponsors – thanks Tenet Lime and the Council of Mortgage Lenders – got together for the third time last week.

Networking is critical in any market. From sharing broader market experiences and trade tips to simply having a laugh with like-minded people – this is how our industry does business.

More often than not, industry get-togethers are informal, say, a quick drink before an awards evening or tagged on to a sports event of some kind, which can work a treat sometimes. But these are not always inclusive. In the same way as the Tweet Meet brings together Twitter-savvy brokers whose paths rarely cross, why not do something similar for top executives who happen to be ladies we thought?

I won’t offer a spoiler for the round table debate coverage from Julia Rampen, but in a poll, 83% of Club members answered yes when asked if ‘they had ever felt uncomfortable at work because of gender.’ That percentage fell to 60% when asked ‘have you ever been discriminated against because of your gender?’

Those responses resonate loudly in this day and age. No-one likes to admit they have actively been discriminated against, just as no-one wants to admit they have been bullied. But that grey area between discrimination and discomfort is the issue here. If you’re in the minority you stand out and if you are singled out for exclusion that’s unpleasant and feels personal. It’s a type of bullying that no-one should have to tolerate in any professional or personal situation.

However, from small acorns great Oak trees grow. The Club concluded with two clear aims including creating a mentoring scheme to bring on younger executives and an educational focus on accessing non-executive directorship roles.

We didn’t all agree but the importance of getting together more regularly and in ever-increasing numbers got the first unanimous consensus of the lunch.

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