West Midland RFCA are supporting female leadership with the 21in21 event run by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce.

We are proud to be sponsoring Coventry and Warwickshire Chambers 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme, which was officially launched, over Zoom, on 8th March 2021.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, the president of the British Chambers of Commerce, was the guest of honour at the launch.

The new scheme has matched 21 mentors with 21 mentees across the region to offer one-to-one support including advice, guidance and inspiration to help drive forward with their ambitions, either within an existing business or with their own venture.

Mentors have been handpicked from a range of sectors and backgrounds – including manufacturing and logistics through to hospitality and professional services.

Baroness McGregor-Smith said mentors played a crucial role in supporting women to achieve their goals in business and praised the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s new programme.

But she said more had to be done to level the playing field.

“There’s nothing acceptable about there being a large gender pay gap and, if we carry on at the rate we are going, it won’t be closed until 2043,” Baroness McGregor-Smith told an audience of businesswomen. “We have to be bolder and we have to go faster.

“It’s not acceptable that we haven’t got 50/50 boardrooms at the top of big business. It has to change.”

She added: “Mentors are incredibly important in helping individuals to achieve their potential in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people who have told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be.

“I’ve had tough times along the way too – I don’t believe anyone who says that it’s all been plain sailing!

“I’d say to the mentors on this programme to be really good listeners and help the person you are mentoring to develop a plan of what you both want to achieve from it. Have some defined deliverables that you can check the progress on.”

Our Association is sponsoring the new initiative which builds on the Chamber’s successful Women in Business network, and has provided networking opportunities and inspirational role models for businesswomen across the region over many years.

Siamha Butt, our Head of Engagement, said: “We strongly believe in female leadership and that’s why we continue to support the Chamber’s Women In Business network through this new 21in21 initiative.

“We want to increase the number of female leaders in our own world and this kind of engagement is key to that.”

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, commented: “We were all truly inspired by Baroness McGregor-Smith’s story and her call to action on achieving parity for women in business.

“We were also delighted to hear from our sponsor – West Midland RFCA – and look forward to seeing how the programme progresses over the coming months.”

Find out more about the 21in21 programme and the roles of our Association.