Lisa Neale is our Director of UK West for Business and Corporate Delivery within Openreach, but she’s had quite an amazing rise through the ranks having joined us 14 years ago as an Openreach Engineer straight out of college.
Having made it this far in her career she’s been looking at what’s really important to her and it’s doing good for her customers, making a difference to the livelihoods of the people in her teams and society along with providing strong leadership and creating environments where her teams can deliver incredible customer experiences.
As part of this she’s really committed to encouraging more girls and women to consider a career in Engineering, having herself worked in a traditionally male dominated industry and still working to fight the stereotype. Lisa’s focussing her efforts in three brilliant things: attracting more women to join BT, sponsorship & mentoring and being a great role model.
But where to start? First off, Lisa signed up with STEMNET, a network that allows individuals to get involved in careers events at schools, colleges and universities. It was a great starting point, but she was quick to realise you need to speak to children before they even start choosing their GCSE subjects to be able to help them consider different career options. When talking about some of the things she’s been involved in, Lisa said “I have supported primary school teachers to get their heads around and build confidence in their ability to teach the new Computer Science curriculum, I have taken part in careers talks in primary schools to open younger children’s minds to the world of STEM careers so they have a reference point right from an early age”.
She also acts as a sponsor and mentor for individuals across the BT Group and outside of the business, having had both sponsors and mentors throughout her career she really sees the values in building these relationships. Lisa says “for some it is a simple introduction to people to help them along their way into a new role or project, for others it is a straight talking kick in the right direction and for some it is more detailed coaching sessions on a specific problem they are trying to work through.”
And when it comes to being a role model? “We’re all role models!” Lisa says. By sharing your career story, whether this is just within the company you work for or on a bigger scale, getting involved in career focussed volunteering or doing talks at events, it all adds up. One of the most key points is that “the issue of gender imbalance in STEM industries isn’t going to be changed by the 10, 20, 30% of the women within the sector or your organisation who are waving the flag for it, it needs to be changed by everyone who works in our sector!” Everyone in the industry needs to work to encourage more and more people to consider STEM careers, by talking about it and creating the right working environments.
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environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
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