Sarah is the Group Head of External Communications. Based in London, she is responsible for our brand and PR. Her role is to lead Lloyd’s Register’s communications with external audiences to build and protect our reputation globally in support of our strategic and business objectives.
Why did you join?
I actually joined as an interim senior PR consultant for three months to work on the Annual Review and few ad-hoc social media and PR projects. I was offered a permanent role shortly after joining.
Why did you stay?
For two reasons. Firstly, my passion has always been to help organisations identify their true social purpose and I have been privileged to work on issues-based campaigns as diverse as FGM, human trafficking and serious youth violence to fraud and safer driving. So, working for a safer a world felt like too good an opportunity to miss. Secondly, the people. In any job, who you work with and for can make a big difference to how happy you are in a role. Genuinely people at LR want to do the right thing and they have a good sense of humour or they at least laugh at my jokes – the ultimate combination in my eyes!
What is your proudest moment at LR?
I haven’t been here long but I think it would have to be the launch of the Annual Review, I was new in post and new to the maritime, shipping, energy, assurance and certification sectors so was absolutely reliant on teams across the globe to help me launch it on time and to budget. Again, I was really impressed with how so many people stepped up to help and get involved – a real team effort across business streams.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
IWD gives us the opportunity to celebrate how far we have come and acknowledge how far we still must go to achieve genuine equality. I am 100% behind this year’s theme of ‘An equal world is an enabled world’.
Growing up in an all-female household where money was scarce and, in an area where girls were expected to achieve very little, had a lasting impact on me. While my path in life has not come without its struggles, I am grateful to all the women, the #changemakers, that came before me. Their bravery, combined with my own efforts to banish my ‘imposter syndrome’ has enabled me to be brave enough to live the life I have always wanted to lead, forging financial independence, breaking down barriers and using my voice wherever I am able.
We all have a role to play to make it easier for the next generation of women to progress. We can’t stop now. I believe in #payitforward and if you can find the time, I would urge all women to join a board, be a role model, a mentor, a coach or sponsor other women - just don’t pull the ladder up after you’ve reached the top.
Which women are you inspired by?
As Vice President of Women in PR, a strategic advisor for a carer’s charity that has a female CEO and with two female bosses in the shape of Group Corporate Affairs Director Kate Delahunty and Chief Marketing Officer Elaine Roberts I am inspired daily by the real women I meet and work with on a regular basis. Maya Angelou has always been a huge inspiration to me and her readings kept me going as a young woman when I sometimes felt quite isolated in my own thoughts. Destiny’s Child, Madonna and even the Spice Girls have all played their part in keeping me focused!
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Flexible working. It’s not a secret that the lack of flexible working provision is the reason why many women are unable to progress in their careers or ‘break the glass ceiling’. It’s why Women in PR are focusing our efforts this year on our flexible working campaign ‘What the F?’. With 87% of the UK's full-time workforce wanting access to flexible working the PR industry desperately needs to change its attitude towards flexible working provision. The younger generation expect flexible working to be a given and to be treated equally. To retain the best and the brightest talent organisations, PR or otherwise, need to be alert to the changing needs of the workforce.
How does your work positively impact the local women in your network?
Women in PR’s mission is to increase the number and diversity of women in leadership roles in our industry. As the first women of colour to join the Committee in 2018, Ebony Gayle and I were acutely aware that this was Women in PR’s first step in publicly demonstrating its commitment to increasing the diversity of its network.
Over the past couple of years, as a committee we have made every effort to show that Women in PR is not an exclusive club and it welcomes everyone, including men, to join our network and support our work in sharing expertise and encouraging more women to reach their full potential.
The network was created almost 60 years ago for women in the industry to share experiences and support each other, often in relation to tackling discrimination. Sadly, some of the barriers to career progression that plagued the industry back then still exist today. This is what makes Women in PR as relevant now as it was then. As well as being the new Vice President, I am also a mentor on the WPR and PR Week mentoring scheme – I make every effort to make a positive impact on everyone I meet in work and out of work….as well as continually enlisting new members, ambassadors and #changemakers!