Bottomley tells aspiring female CPOs to hire childcare

8 June 2011

8 June 2011 | Angeline Albert 

Former UK cabinet minister Virginia Bottomley last night said “hired help” was one of several tools women could use to break through the glass ceiling.

Speaking to an audience of female CPOs and supply chain directors gathered at Odgers Berndtson’s London office, Baroness Bottomley described her six point ‘HEALTH’ plan to help women get into the boardroom.

Hired help First, she said more women should not be afraid to hire help to assist with childcare, cleaning or cooking to enable them to climb to the top.

Education Education was also vital, she said. “The more qualifications you get the better - never be one qualification under.” Energy, in terms of staying fit for work, was also essential. 

Ask Next, “ask (A) for what you want,” the Baroness said. She added women still lag behind men in this key confidence issue, which barred some from the top.

Luck Luck and opportunity also played a part she admitted but said “it’s not what you do it’s what you don’t do” telling the audience to be seize every opportunity available to them.    

Talent Talent has to be nurtured, she added. Mentoring is a great way to develop people to help them progress through the ranks.  

Humour And finally,humour can help get you through working life struggles, she said, adding “you’ve got to be witty about it”.            

Bottomley, who chairs the Odgers Berndtson board and CEO practice, said supply chain leaders have huge potential to help develop women in the profession and said it was interesting to note that a lot of women have already been successful in procurement.

Robyn Wright, principal at AT Kearney and operations global lead for procurement talent management, said: “There are two places you’re most likely to find women readily in the ranks and that is HR and procurement. If you want to find a lady at board level the first place you look is HR, the second place is procurement.”       

Jilly MacPherson, Hays procurement director, UK and Ireland, said: “In my experience there is a great prominence of women in senior positions in Asia and I think the difference is they make great use of childcare which is available.”

Last night’s talk was part of a networking event organised by the Blueprint Club, which runs female-focused events for senior procurement professionals, its founders include former CIPS president Shirley Cooper.

Lucy Harding, the head of practice for procurement and supply chain at Odgers Berndtson which co-hosted the event with Blueprint said: “Last night was a great opportunity for the chair of our board practice to see first hand the female talent at senior level in the procurement and supply chain function.”    

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