Yvonne Orgill, MD at the Unified Water Label, says the transition to more females in the KBB industry will be slow but believes greater diversity will help it serve its customers better.
Q: Why do you think there are so few women in top roles in the KBB industry?
A: I don’t think the KBB industry is any different from many others, with women being under-represented in top roles. Things are changing, but it takes time and the transition from all-male boards and leaders to a more balanced one is slow. However, I am confident that we will see more women taking up top roles in the future. There are more role models and young women have the confidence and expectations that they can reach their goals.
Q: How would the KBB industry benefit from having more women in top roles?
A: All industries would benefit from having more women in top roles. In my experience, women generally approach matters differently, they often have a more holistic outlook and are more open to working around situations and finding solutions.
Q: What do you think women at board level can bring to the industry?
A: Having more women would bring a better balance and reflect the more equal relationship that men and women now have, both in the home and in relationships. Any board needs the right mix of skills and personalities. We don’t just need more women, we need more diversity generally.
Q: As a woman, what do you believe you bring to the industry specifically?
A: I hope I have shown that women can achieve whatever they set out to and that the door is open for others to follow.
We need to do much more to make the industry more diverse. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because a board that includes a diverse mix will be able to understand their customers better
Q: What advice would you give to any women starting out in business?
A: Follow your dreams, everything is possible. It does take commitment and there will be setbacks, but stay on the path, don’t give up and take every opportunity that is offered.
Q: What would you say to women who are aiming for top positions in the industry?
A: The KBB industry is a fabulous place to build a career. There are many opportunities and a diverse range of roles from manufacturing to design to administration – something for everyone. Not many people set out to be in the KBB industry, it usually just happens, but once you are in it, you never want to leave.
Q: As one of the few women in top roles in the industry, do you feel you have a part to play in encouraging women to aim for the top positions?
A: Yes, I hope that I have been leading by example and have been a mentor for others building their careers in our industry.
Q: What do you think is the future of the KBB industry when it comes to diversity?
A: I think we need improve our game and do much more to make it more diverse. Not just because it is the right thing to do, or to make up numbers, but for sound commercial reasons. A board that includes a diverse mix, will reflect the world we live in and be able to understand their customers better.
Q: What can the industry do to encourage more women to join the industry and to aim for leading roles? A: We need to acknowledge that women are no longer tied to the kitchen sink and offer men and women the flexibility they need to build careers and maintain a quality family life. I am hopeful that we can take some positives from the lockdown situation and that there will be a change in perceptions about the family/work balance.
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