Thursday 26 June 2008

Breakfast with Cherie

Well, it was Sarah Brown last night and Cherie Blair for breakfast. I thought I would not mention the encounter when I was talking to Cherie though.

I also met the new CEO of Cherie's new Foundation; (Connie Jackson) she used to be an acevo member and told me she was digging out her old papers to join again. I give her my card!!

Cherie was speaking at a City Breakfast on 'Women in Business'. I had a good chat before she spoke. Frankly Cherie was one of the few people there I knew. The rest were bloated capitalists (well perhaps less bloated these days). She was pleased when I told her I had been reviewing her book on my blog!

Cherie made a powerful speech arguing we may have more women in senior positions but we do not have equality. She made the point that she believes in appointment on merit but How do you define merit?

One of the keys to equality is work life balance. Oh dear, I thought, I'm not good at this. Indeed I was puzzled this point was being made at a breakfast meeting! But people tend to think work-life balance is only working 9 to 5. Nonsense. Indeed Cherie made the point - she will often work a 12 hour day if she needs to work on a brief at a trial but the key is flexibility. Doing that each and every day would be killing. And she said "I like my sleep". It is absolutely my approach and why I do not resent working on a Sunday or Saturday if I need to. But if I need to be late in or off early I do that too. Acevo certainly does not get short changed overall!!!

And I am glad to say Cherie has agreed to give a lecture for acevo members on diversity. And on diversity acevo has an extremely good record across the piece in its own staffing which is both diverse and hugely talented - making the point that Cherie was arguing. You need a diverse team to prosper as a business. And we do!!

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