Action for equality: The time is now conference

The Health and Care Women Leaders Network held their annual conference on Thursday 11 November.

General information

11 November 2021 10:00 - 15:30 GMT
Open to all

As with last year’s hugely successful event, our 2021 annual conference was held on a virtual platform.

The day focused on supporting delegates' personal and professional development. As well as the work underway within the sector and the network to progress gender equality, and to achieve excellence and innovation in our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Delegates participated in an interactive programme which included opportunities for networking and learning and developing. They listened to inspirational speakers sharing stories and (quite literally) their recipes for success, lively debates and discussion on the issues currently challenging our sector and beyond.

During the day we listen to two panels:

  • Taking action for equality: what does this really mean? - with host - Samantha Allen, chief executive, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and chair, Health and Care Women Leaders Network and guests Jacqueline Davies, director of leadership and lifelong learning, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Professor Stacy Johnson MBE, associate professor, University of Nottingham, Ann Francke OBE, chief executive, Chartered Management Institute, Rob Webster CBE, lead chief executive, West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS, Dr Owen Williams OBE, chief executive Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, Group who discussed the part we can all play in supporting others to have an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.
  • Seizing the opportunity - coming through COVID-19 and what it has meant for women with host Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director for Primary Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement and guests Tara Hewitt, Group Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, Dr Navina Evans, chief executive, Health Education England, Julie Budge, chief executive and founder, My Sisters' House Women's Centre, Marie Mallon,hHealthcare leadership consultant, past director of HR and deputy CEO, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and outgoing chair of the Northern Ireland Labour Relations Agency, who highlighted the critical role of women during the pandemic, and the importance of seizing the opportunity to shape a better future.

Delegates heard from key note speakers including:

  • Pinky Lilani, founder and chair, Women of the Future - who cooked up a storm while talking to the audience about the importance of kindness in leadership
  • Sarah Hughes, chief executive, Centre for Mental Health spoke about what we are hearing from women leaders today, and shared some of her own findings into what is needed to support women who have complex leadership roles in caring organisations.
  • Sophie Williams, equality activist and author explored the research-backed reasons behind the rigged test of leadership and how it overwhelmingly affects underrepresented groups.

Throughout the day delegates had the opportunity to attend the following breakout sessions.

  • Remembering – Deborah Poneskis, programme manager, NHS Employers, on 11/11 Debs talked about her journey to becoming a senior officer in the Army during a period of significant change for women in the military.
  • Thriving not surviving - looking after yourself in the long term with self compassion – Dr Amanda Super, chartered occupational psychologist and author shared her insights into how we can look after ourselves in the long term with self-compassion.
  • Mindset, mental health and performance – Jeremy Snape, founder, Sporting Edge explored the impact that this past year has had on us all from a psychological perspective.
  • Starting a social revolution - Kate Jarman, director of corporate affairs at Milton Keynes University Hospital and co-founder of FlexNHS, shared her experience - the good, the bad and the ugly - of starting a social revolution.
  • Taking the next step to a more senior role - Anne-Marie Archard, head of leadership, people & organisational development, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust utilised her experience as a coach and mentor and working in the NHS at national and regional level in leadership development, to share top tips and techniques on taking the next step into a more senior role.

Take a look at some highlights from the day in this video.