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Infl uential industry women | FOCUS


Teresa Arbuckle, MD, Beko UK


I


’ve always been one of the few females among many men throughout my career and, the higher up the career ladder I’ve gone, the fewer women I’ve seen. But this isn’t just a KBB industry issue, this is a broader business issue. We are starting


to see more women coming


through into top roles now though. Even in my own company I’m seeing more women take on leadership roles. But part of that is because women leaders – women role models – will encourage more women to take on those higher positions.


Beko – and our parent company Arçelik – is very strong on equality and diversity, but I also feel very proud that I have helped implement some of the initiatives we have in place.


Some of our efforts are manifested in our gender pay gap report, which like all companies above 250 employees, we are required to publish annually. I am pleased to see that we don’t really have a gender pay gap at Beko, that it is as good to be female as male, with equal leadership representation throughout the organisation. I wouldn’t say that it’s down to me but, perhaps because of who I am, I engender a spirit of hiring for talent rather than hiring to meet a picture in your mind of what that person needs to be. At Beko, this perspective goes beyond gender to ethnic diversity too and that melting pot of diversity not only helps to create a better working environment for our employees but is more representative of the consumers that buy our products. Different views make for a more interesting soup of ideas that become Beko products, campaigns and partnerships. I think a lot of reasons that women aren’t in leadership roles is because women have so many other questions in their mind about what success in their life will look like. There are a lot more swings and roundabouts in a woman’s life – and therefore career. There have been studies carried out by some of


the major recruitment agencies on this too. Most of the time what a mainly male board are looking for from the CV of someone applying for a leadership role is linear progression. Generally speaking, women tend not to have that linear progression because, for instance, they may have taken a career break to have a child. The evidence of this research showed that while all those career changes and breaks may


not necessarily give the woman a disadvantage, they certainly put her in a less positive space when it comes to applying for the big, chunky roles. This then creates


a


cycle; because there are less women in business leadership roles, women don’t have the role models to look up to in order to aim for them. There needs to be women leaders in all rungs of the organisation to get to more 50:50 equality. One of the initiatives we [Beko] are looking at is a programme that reaches out to kids at local secondary schools and explains the different leadership roles there are in companies like Beko, to help them drill down their career aspirations early on. And this programme is much broader than just targeting females, it’s about informing all young people about the leadership opportunities there are in business. That’s why I’m so keen to encourage more women


to take on leadership roles in our industry, because I think a more balanced and diverse team makes for a stronger brand and more relevant products. How do we change the cycle? It’s about having more of these conversations and showing young women what a future in this industry could look like.


What is it like having a female MD as a role model?


Tina Kapoor, head of trade marketing Beko UK


I am very proud to work for an organisation that


has a strong and powerful female managing director, alongside women who sit on our board of directors. Teresa is the champion of leading the charge for female managers within Beko, ensuring that gender equality is always high on the agenda. I am continually inspired by how she has created a community for female managers to support, motivate and encourage one another.


I also believe that having a female leader throughout the challenges of the last year has added a very human touch, where all colleagues alike have felt very protected and understood. Knowing there


are no glass


ceilings within our organisation encourages me to continually progress within our business.


Laura Selton, senior product manager, laundry, Beko UK


Having a woman as the


I’m so keen to encourage more women to take on leadership roles in our industry, because I think a more balanced and diverse team makes for a stronger brand and more relevant products


managing director is inspirational on its own. But what makes more of a difference is that Teresa is willing to share her experience and openly talk about the joys as well as hurdles that


she’s faced along the way. I also


appreciate the time and effort she’s put into creating the opportunity for women leaders in the company to share experiences and inspire and support one another. I can’t say that having a woman in the top position necessarily increased my desire to advance my career, but it certainly gave me the reassurance it’s the right path for me. Women are indeed a big part of our target audience and you could argue that being a woman in my role gives me an edge. However, what I think is more important is recognising that we’re not all the same, we all have different needs and what I prefer might not necessarily be the choice for most people. So, I think having an open mind and being empathetic, as well as having an inquisitive nature and constantly looking for ways to get better insights into consumers’ minds, are what makes a difference.


 March 2021 · 25


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