International Women's Day 2023: How Oaklin #EmbraceEquity
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year to recognise the significant achievements of women in various fields, acknowledge the progress made in terms of gender equality and as a reminder that there is still work to be done. This year’s theme was #EmbraceEquity and as a firm we spent time reflecting on what this means to Oaklin and the community around us. As a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion at its core, we have committed to channelling the month’s learnings into our future initiatives as part of our ongoing DE&I strategy.
To celebrate International Women's Day this year, our Oaklin Women’s Network organised a jam-packed month of events for the whole firm to be involved in. We heard about female founders levelling the playing field, spoke to a social enterprise bakery that upskill women and learnt how to understand and improve the art of confidence.
The celebrations started early in March with a live stream of FORA's event "Female Founders: What glass ceiling?". We heard empowering stories, tips, and lessons learned about growing a business from an impressive panel of female business owners. Some impactful themes we took away from the session included the importance of being resilient, forging genuine connections with your network, and taking the time to celebrate the wins along the way.
We had the privilege of hosting the Luminary Bakery, who came in to talk to us about the incredible ways they support vulnerable women in London. It was amazing to hear all the opportunities Luminary has provided for women. We learned that of the women graduating from their Employability and Independence Programme in 2022, 83% were in employment, education or further training by the time they graduated. After the talk we were then able to enjoy some of their delicious cakes and brownies; a firm favourite had to be the flourless salted caramel brownie, it was truly a treat!
An important skill for all our people to master is the art of confidence. We invited Maurits Kalff from the School of Life in to Oaklin to deliver an invaluable lesson in understanding and building confidence. Maurits encouraged us to find actionable ways to both feel and appear more confident. We also learned to recognise when our inner voice begins to self-sabotage and how to pause, reflect, and replace these uncomfortable feelings with confidence. It sparked a great thread discussion on Slack!
Throughout the whole month, our book club read has been "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo. We gathered at the end of the month to discuss our key thoughts from the award-winning novel. To hear our colleagues, all from different backgrounds discuss what they learned from the book was inspiring, and really important in improving our understanding and celebration of intersectionality at Oaklin.
As we reflect on a busy month of events, our main learnings include:
- The importance of having a supportive network: “power comes not from knowledge kept but from knowledge shared”
- That we must take care to listen to and support those from all backgrounds and walks of life; and
- That as far as women have come, the glass ceiling still exists. We commit to do all we can to avoid unconscious biases to shatter it!
It was a fantastic month of celebrating women, empowering our colleagues and sharing openly with each other. Events like these help us to improve our knowledge and awareness and ultimately build a more inclusive workplace. We look forward to sharing our learnings with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team to further our aim of harnessing a vibrant array of backgrounds and perspectives for the benefit of our employees, clients, communities and society.
Claudia is an HR and Talent professional who excels at future-proofing organisations for growth. She has over 18 years’ experience working in a variety of businesses and sectors, spending the last 7 years setting up HR functions in growing consulting businesses as she studied for her CIPD qualifications before joining Oaklin. Claudia most enjoys developing talent and enhancing businesses by getting the very best out of people.
Prior to this, Claudia spent 11 years as a Business Manager at Christie’s auctioneers, where she managed a portfolio of departments from Luxury Handbags to Pop Culture. Claudia studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and outside of work, loves collecting cheap art prints and arranging her collection into ‘gallery walls’ in her home.
Ellie is a dynamic and creative consultant who has worked in user experience design as well as Agile change and project management across both Public and Private sector clients. She is committed to producing high-quality, human-centred solutions and enjoys working collaboratively in a team to solve client problems in innovative ways. Ellie is deeply committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion, both in the workplace and in wider society. Prior to joining Oaklin Ellie has worked in the areas of Consulting, Administration, Hospitality, and Care. She also has a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Sheffield.