Big Careers, Small Children

Leaders Plus

Too often, ambitious men and women feel they must choose between pursuing a leadership career they love and enjoying their young family. It doesn't have to be this way. Big Careers, Small Children (formerly Leaders With Babies) is a brand-new podcast from Leaders Plus, an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to supporting ambitious parents of young children who want to progress their career whilst caring deeply about being a good parent. Join CEO and Founder Verena Hefti as she interviews inspiring business leaders from all walks of life who have successfully combined a leadership career with raising their young families. Her guests candidly share the challenges they have overcome and the practical solutions that have helped make their vision for their career and family life a reality because no parent should ever have to choose.

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Hopefully none of our listeners have ever had to deal with sexist, racist or power play incidents at work. But if you had, would you know how to take them to HR?On this episode of the Big Careers, Small Children Podcast (formerly Leaders With Babies) Verena chats with Sylvia Opara, the Group Head of Human Resources at Alandale Group of Companies. As a senior HR leader in the male dominated construction industry, Sylvia shares with us her tips for dealing with inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. Plus, why she champions women in the construction industry and how we should applaud the recent progress that has been made in the sector. Sylvia is also a mum of 4 and recently returned to work for the 4th time.  She shares how she has managed to pursue her career aspirations and progress her leadership roles whilst also juggling a large family.They also discuss:Why the best career choice you can make is the partner you chooseWhat Sylvia has learned about negotiationSylvia's top 3 tips for progressing your senior career whilst wanting a big family Enjoy this week’s inspiring episode and if you’d like to connect with Sylvia you can find her on LinkedIn here.Follow Leaders Plus on Twitter @leaders_plus  and find out more about our work, including details of our award-winning Fellowship Programme here. Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.Show Notes:The Authority Gap - Mary Ann Sieghart

Nov 24

39 min 13 sec

We are very excited to welcome you to the Big Careers, Small Children Podcast and our first episode under our new name! (Formerly the Leaders With Babies Podcast) Joining Verena this week is Senior Executive Coach and expert on all things pay, Claudia T Miller.  Thursday 18 November 2021 is Equal Pay Day here in the UK, the day in the year where women effectively stop earning relative to men because of the Gender Pay Gap.It may not shock you to learn that women earn (and particularly women in senior roles) about 15% less than their male counterparts. Whilst the Gender Pay Gap is complex and doesn't exist solely because women aren't asking for a pay rise,  women do need to be bold and push against injustice in the system. In this episode Claudia gives extremely practical tips on how to get the pay rise you deserve. Enjoy this week’s inspiring episode and if you’d like to find out more about Claudia's work head to her website www.claudiatmiller.com. Follow Leaders Plus on Twitter @leaders_plus  and find out more about our work, including details of our award-winning Fellowship Programme here. Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.#EqualPayDay 

Nov 17

49 min 30 sec

Exciting news as the Leaders With Babies podcast is changing its name! You may have heard me to discuss on previous episodes that I've been considering changing the name of our 5 star rated podcast. I love the name Leaders With Babies but I worried it held us back from reaching even more parents. I've really appreciated all of the input from you the listeners on the name and I have taken all of the feedback you've shared onboard. Many of you have been in touch directly, voted online in the social media polls or even brainstormed ideas to send to me - a huge thank you to you all. During the process one name really stood out to me, plus it topped our online poll. So this morning I'd love to introduce you to the (drum roll)...  Big Careers, Small Children podcast.I think this name really encapsulates the ambition of the podcast. It's for parents and leaders who want big things in their careers, without making any compromises about enjoying their young families. I hope you love our new name as much as I do. As I've mentioned before, the content and format of the podcast will remain exactly the same and each week we will continue to bring advice and practical tips to support parents who want to combine ambitious career aspiration with young children. Our next episode will be released this week and is all about equal pay, so do stay tuned and look out for that.Thanks again for all your support - Verena Hefti, CEO & Founder of Leaders Plus

Nov 15

2 min 8 sec

Does your career make you feel alive? Our guest today believes it is critical that we find a job that ignites our passion and shares fantastic tips for working parents looking to change their career. Geraldine Butler-Wright juggles multiple senior leadership roles. As Chief People & Culture Officer for Healthily she is on a mission to help a billion people find their health through self care. She is also a Trustee,  Advisor and Strategic Advisor and for the past year has been a Senior Leader Mentor on our award-winning Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme. Geraldine is also a mum to a little girl and will welcome her second child in early 2022. Having successfully navigated several career changes in her leadership career (including moving across sectors) Geraldine is an absolute goldmine of advice when it comes to ensuring your skills are transferable from job to job and this episode is a must listen for anyone who is thinking about a career change. Our discussion includes:Why it's important to find organisations who welcome fluidity in getting things doneWhy just saying 'yes' might be the best decision you ever make How to learn to sell yourself to a potential new employerHow to choose the right company for youHow to improve and then highlight your transferable skillsGeraldine's best advice for moving to an organisation with purposeEnjoy this week's inspiring episode and if you'd like to you can connect with Geraldine on LinkedIn here.Follow Leaders Plus on Twitter @leaders_plus #LeadersWithBabiesFind out more about Leaders Plus, including details of our award-winning Fellowship Programme here. Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.

Nov 11

45 min 17 sec

Who makes up your professional network and how different to you are they?  Why do you need a diverse network and what's the best strategy to ensure you get one? Plus, what's the best networking advice if you find this skill doesn't come naturally to you? I am delighted to welcome back to the podcast Lee Higgins, the co-founder of DIVERSE TALENT netWORKS and a thought leader who has decades of experience working as a headhunter for senior leadership roles.Lee is particularly passionate about diversity and inclusion and he is an expert when it comes to creating professional relationships with people who are not like you.  In order to progress your career (and in order to get the things you need e.g. flexible working) you need to have cultivated relationships with senior people in your organisation and Lee has lots of practical advice to share on how to do this. If (like myself and Lee) you find networking doesn't always come naturally to you then you'll really benefit from the tips Lee shares. Including: How to create relationships with people who are not exactly like you Why most people find networking difficult Why tone of voice and delivery are your secret weaponsThe best advice Lee has ever been given about networking Why we need to make time for networking Why you should connect with people who have different perspectives How to practically network via LinkedInLee's top 3 tips for diverse networking If you'd like to get in touch with Lee directly then you can connect with him on LinkedIn here. Follow Leaders Plus on Twitter @leaders_plus #LeadersWithBabies Find out more about Leaders Plus, including details of our award-winning Fellowship Programme here. Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.

Nov 4

42 min 13 sec

Carole Robin Ph.D is Co-Founder of Leaders in Tech, a development program for leaders of tech companies. She also taught the legendary Interpersonal Dynamics (aka Touchy Feely) course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the co-author of the highly acclaimed Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues. The book contains the lessons of "Touchy Feely" that thousands of students and executives have consistently described for decades as life changing.Here she talks to Verena Hefti, Leaders Plus CEO and Founder about how to build exceptional relationships. They discuss:- Productive conflict and how to challenge mental models- How disclosure is the building block for developing relationships- The 15% disclosure rule which will help you step put of your comfort zone- Building relationships with people who are different to you

Oct 28

45 min 27 sec

Flora Letanka is Executive Director for Network Development at Teach First, the largest educational charity in the UK. She is  in charge of mobilising high-impact networks of Teach First alumni, schools and others, to ensure that every child gets an outstanding education.She is also a mum to three young children.Here she speaks to Verena Hefti, Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, about being an Exec Director whilst having young children.She discusses:- How to remain visible whilst on maternity leave and keep progressing your career- Working with your maternity cover to ensure the best outcomes- What is needed for an Exec Director role- Failures and challenges she has experienced- Parental guilt

Oct 20

36 min 14 sec

 Dr. Michael Baran is a social scientist and Senior Partner at inQUEST Consulting. He draws on his own research in cultural anthropology and cognitive psychology to inform his current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work–his speaking engagements, writings, consulting, leadership development, workshop facilitation, and digital products. In addition to his inQUEST work, Dr. Baran has taught courses at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He has directed projects aimed at reducing racial disparities in education, health, housing, and criminal justice at the FrameWorks Institute and the American Institutes of Research. He is also the coauthor of the recently launched book Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions, cited in Forbes as one of the “11 Books To Read If You Want To Be A More Inclusive Leader.” Here he talks to Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, Verena Hefti, about tackling subtle acts of exclusion. We discuss:- What are subtle acts of exclusion, otherwise known as micro aggressions- How to have productive conversations about subtle acts of exclusion to ensure you feel heard- Practical tips to being more inclusive

Oct 14

41 min 28 sec

Katie is one of the UK’s leading Performance Psychologists, working behind the scenes and on the big stage with some of the world’s best athletes, leaders and organisations. Here she speaks to Verena Hefti, Leaders Plus CEO and Founder, about how to achieve exceptional performance in challenging circumstances. Katie and Verena discuss the impact of guilt, how lack of sleep affects performance, negative self talk and redefining success. Katie also offers her top tips for success.

Oct 7

36 min 54 sec

In this episode Verena Hefti, CEO and Founder of Leaders Plus, talks to three Leaders Plus Fellows about their honest reflections on career and ambitions, including failures and setting boundaries.  They cover how to manage your own wellbeing whilst holding down a job and having children. They also discuss the value of the Leaders Plus Fellowship and how it has benefited them.

Sep 30

46 min 57 sec

Reverend Carla Maurer, from The Swiss Church London, discusses developing purpose, how to set boundaries and offers top tips for prioritising yourself. 

Sep 23

40 min 13 sec

Verena Hefti, CEO and Founder of Leaders Plus, gives a preview for the new series of the award-winning Leaders With Babies Podcast.Our next podcast is an interview with Reverend Carla Maurer, Minister of The Swiss Church in London, in which we talk about purpose and setting boundaries. Coming up later this season we speak to an Executive Director in the largest education charity in the UK about how she moved to that job when she had children under two. We also speak to Carole Robin Ph.D,  author of the book Connect, which focuses on building exceptional relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Carole was the Dorothy J. King Lecturer in Leadership at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and we talk to her about about how to create deep meaningful relationships at work and beyond. 

Sep 15

4 min 16 sec

Welcome back to Series 5 of the Leaders With Babies Podcast.In this episode Verena Hefti, Founder and CEO of Leaders Plus, discusses her experience of being on maternity leave with her third child, whilst running a social enterprise. Verena is interviewed by Kirstie Brewer, a journalist at the BBC and a Leaders Plus Fellow.Kirstie asks some interesting questions about maternity leave and how you can make it a productive time and plan your return to work. We discuss:The challenges of maternity leave and how to manage it whilst having older childrenWays in which you can prioritise your own wellbeingHow you can communicate with your partner before and during maternity leave, to ensure it runs as smoothly as possibleHow to plan your return to work and how maternity leave can make you a better leaderVerena's number one tip for transitioning from maternity leave back into workFollow Verena on Twitter at @vhefti and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.

Aug 25

29 min 18 sec

Are you interested in becoming a Non-Executive Director (NED)? Do you know what the role involves and where to find the best opportunities? On this week’s Leaders With Babies podcast Verena chats to Non-Executive Director and Leaders Plus Fellow Lucy Walker about why you should consider becoming an NED, diversity on boards, plus Lucy's journey combining two young kids with a board career.Lucy shares her tips including:Why it can help to be a Trustee firstPractical things Lucy did to make her applications stand outHow to structure your CV specifically for a NED roleWhere to look for the best quality roles 2 things anyone keen to become an NED can do today in just 10 minutes Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn here or visit her company’s website www.aminsights.com.Useful Resources Mentioned by LucyWomen on Boards: www.womenonboards.netNurole: www.nurole.com Dynamic Boards: www.dynamicboards.co.uk First Flight Non-Executive Directors: www.firstflightnonexec.com 

Mar 23

31 min

To celebrate International Women's Day #IWD2021 we have a special podcast takeover episode from our inspirational Leaders Plus Fellows. BBC journalist and Leaders Plus Fellow Kirstie Brewer interviews BBC Three and BBC News Assistant Editor Kim Rowell about taking maternity leave, returning to work, and "things I'd tell my pregnant self".They discuss why kindness - or more importantly fairness - underpins Kim's leadership style. How she has successfully navigated redundancy and why all the best things have happened in Kim's career since giving birth to her daughter. Follow Kim on Twitter @KimRowellTVFollow Kirstie on Twitter @KirstieJBrewerWith special thanks to the following Leaders Plus Fellows for producing this episode:Kirstie Brewer, Journalist at BBC News Melanie Sethi, Senior Internal Communications Manager, BTVictoria Moore, Transformation Lead, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Dr Katie Badcock, Health Policy and Improvement Fellow, The Shelford Group This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Mar 8

33 min 26 sec

What if people were truly at the center of organisations? How might a flexible working request work differently if processes didn't hold us back? Our guest today is Michele Zanini, the co-author of the bestselling book Humanocracy, which sets out a passionate, data-driven argument for excising bureaucracy and replacing it with something better. Michele is passionate about building organisations that are fit for the future.  He shares with us the simple steps we can each take to make our workplaces less bureaucratic and more human-centered.Follow Michele on Twitter @MicheleZaniniBuy a copy of Humanocracy on Amazon here.Find out more about Michele's work, including his course 'Hack My Org' which is free with the purchase of the book at www.humanocracy.com. This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Mar 2

53 min 58 sec

We are so excited to share this episode of Leaders With Babies with you as our guest this week is the extremely inspiring Michelle Mitchell OBE.Michelle became Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK in 2018, the world’s leading charitable funder of  Cancer research. She's also a mum to two pre-teen children.  Michelle has been a real trail blazer for parents who are in high level senior leadership roles. Throughout her own career she has always done things a little differently to help balance work and family, and she's always been a big supporter of working flexibly. During our discussion we cover:Sleep deprivation and how hard this can be in the early stages of motherhoodWhy you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone elseWhy Michelle is such a big supporter of working flexibly in senior roles Why having purpose in all you do is so important What Cancer Research UK are doing to support employees with work and home life balanceWhy we need more role models from diverse backgrounds in senior leadership rolesWe hope you'll find our conversation thought provoking, especially if you’re considering your own career development and the practicalities of managing a really high powered job whilst also wanting to be present with your children.You can follow Michelle on Twitter @Michelle_CRUK and Leaders Plus at @Leaders_Plus Find out more about the brilliant work of Cancer Research UK at www.cancerresearchuk.org This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Feb 16

42 min 12 sec

Our guest today is the record breaking ultra runner, small animal vet, research scientist and mother of two Jasmin Paris. Jasmin completely changed expectations of what is possible for new mums when she won the gruelling 268-mile Montane Spine race shortly after welcoming her first child. An incredible achievement, especially as she was stopping at the race break points to express milk for her young daughter along the way. During our chat Jasmin shares with us:How running makes her happy and why she should never have to apologise for thatHow having children has helped her focus more and has contributed to her success as a runnerThe reality of training for competitive racing alongside working as a vet and bringing up her childrenWhy following your passion is so importantJasmin is an incredible role model for many parents and a perfect example of how you can combine ambitious goals with having children.We hope you enjoy our conversation.You can follow Jasmin on Twitter  @JasminKParisRead her brilliant blog here: http://jasminfellrunner.blogspot.com 

Feb 2

36 min 59 sec

Are you thinking about applying for a new senior leadership or director level role? Listen to this episode of Leaders With Babies first! Our guest today is Lee Higgins, who is part of the senior leadership team at the recruitment firm Falcon Brook Search and who has decades of experience working as a headhunter for senior leadership roles.Lee is particularly passionate about diversity and inclusion and he heads up their AVID Leaders programme, which works with AVID (Authentic, Vulnerable, Inclusive and Diverse) leaders to change the way organisations approach diversity and inclusion.In this episode he shares with us:When and how you should raise the question about working flexibly when going for a senior leadership roleHow to successfully diversify your own network and why this is so importantHow to demonstrate your commitment when returning to work after having a baby Why we must confront the elephants in the room and challenge assumptions like you may be less committed to your work because of your childcare commitmentsWhy you need to bring your whole self to workThe 10-minute tips for utilising LinkedIn and your own networks that can really help with your own job searchIf you'd like to get in touch with Lee then you can connect with Lee on LinkedIn here. Follow Leaders Plus on Twitter @leaders_plus #LeadersWithBabies Find out more about Leaders Plus, including details of our award-winning Fellowship Programme here. Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Jan 19

50 min 33 sec

Exactly how do you progress your career whilst working in a part-time role? What do the most successful working parents do to ensure they are strategic about their career progression?Leaders With Babies is back with series 4 and our guest this week is the author, psychologist, coach, and founder of Talent Keep Specialists, Jessica Chivers. Jessica is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to progressing your career after maternity or parental leave and she has written a fantastic book about supporting mothers at work. We talk about the practical steps you can take to progress your career, especially if you're in a part-time role.  Why working part-time doesn’t mean you're part ambitious or part committed. Jessica shares what her most successful coaching clients have done differently, plus the helpful tips that you can apply to your own career (even if time is limited) so your work set up really works for you.Plus, why Wednesday, not Friday, might just be the best day of the week to take off work for anyone working part-time and why Calendly is a fantastic tool for scheduling quick conversations. Useful Links From This EpisodeConnect with Leaders Plus on social media @leaders_plusConnect with Jessica on Twitter @jesschivers The book mentioned by Jessica is 'Busy' by Tony CrabbePlease remember to rate, review, and subscribe and share with any friends, family, or colleagues who may benefit.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Jan 5

41 min 36 sec

Something a little different for the final episode of Season 3 as the tables have turned and I have found myself answering the questions instead of asking them!Kirstie Brewer, a journalist at the BBC and a Leaders Plus Fellow, interviews me, Verena Hefti, the host of this podcast and the founder of Leaders Plus. I share my personal story of combining a senior leadership career with young children and why I set up the award-winning social enterprise Leaders Plus. Kirstie asks fantastic questions and it was really interesting for me to be able to reflect on the journey so far.We discuss:The reality of starting a social enterprise while bringing up two babiesWhy I didn't push out my ambition along with my baby What it's like to leave a stable job to become a pregnant entrepreneurImposter syndrome and how I deal with itSetting priorities and ensuring the long term goals remain in sightHaving a third baby and why this will enable me to step back and think more strategically Follow Verena on Twitter at @vhefti and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.This is the final episode in this season but Leaders With Babies will be back again in the New Year with some fantastic new guests.  In the meantime, if you've enjoyed listening, please do rate and review us on iTunes and tell 5 of your friends about the podcast, it really helps more people to find us. This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Dec 2020

39 min 40 sec

This week on Leaders With Babies we welcome entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Lauren Currie OBE to the podcast. Lauren is the founder of both UPFRONT, a business committed to elevating and encouraging new voices on and off public stages and enhancing the visibility and confidence of women, and Stride, an app that is committed to democratising leadership development for the workforces of the future.  She is also the chairperson of Pregnant Then Screwed.Lauren and I discovered a shared interest - visibility.  We discuss:Just how do you make sure you are noticed after you return to work from maternity or parental leave? How can you be seen as an important contributor even when you’re not physically present in the office?What are the simple things you can do now that take just 10 minutes a day to increase your visibility?Lauren is incredibly passionate about finding a way to make yourself seen and heard that's entirely manageable for you, and she shares so much practical advice that you can apply to your own career today. We hope you enjoy this week's episode.Connect with Lauren on Twitter @_LaurenCurrie_ and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Visit Lauren's website at laurencurrie.coPlease do take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast and even better, share it with 3 friends,  it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Dec 2020

48 min 12 sec

Is your child about to start school? Are you nervous about how you'll manage this important transition, alongside juggling work?In this special episode of the Leaders With Babies podcast Verena speaks to three Leaders Plus Fellows for their advice on managing the transition to Primary School. Including how to effectively communicate with your employer and partner, as well as other practical tips from parents who have been through it themselves.Our guests Dr Suhana Ahmed - Consultant Psychiatrist (NHS), Lucy Duszczak - Digital Marketing Manager (YHA), and Elvira Klimova - Senior Psychiatric Nurse (NHS), have all successfully navigated the transition to Primary School whilst balancing work and family life. They share:the best advice they received for a smooth transitionhow they practically made it work when their child was in the September 'settling in' periodstrategies for communicating your needs to your employer and your partnerPlease do take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast and even better, share it with 3 friends,  it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Dec 2020

42 min 11 sec

Our guest this week is the inspirational Dr Funke Abimbola MBE, a multi-award winning lawyer, C-suite advisor, public speaker, TV contributor, diversity leader, as well as the Chief Executive Officer at the Austen Bronte Consultancy.Dr Abimbola was one of the initial speakers at the 2018 Leaders Plus House of Commons launch event, where she spoke in front of 40 babies and 60 leaders sharing her experience of being a mum whilst at the same time being a General Counsel, the most senior lawyer in a law firm. She champions diversity at work and is very honest about race and her experience of being at the receiving end of unconscious bias, including how she challenges this without losing too much energy.    On this week's podcast she shares her thoughts on:dealing with microaggressions in the workplace and being unfairly judged by othersrace: what white people don't know about race, and how to be a good allyhow to engage people who may have stereotypes against you (e.g unconscious bias and always being mistaken for the secretary)her own inspirational story of becoming a Ted Talker and expert public speakerDr Abimbola was incredibly honest during our chat and we really hope you enjoy this week's conversation. Follow Dr Abimbola on Twitter @champ1diversity and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Nov 2020

46 min 30 sec

It is easy to imagine that post Covid-19 the flexible working argument is solved, however many line managers, senior leaders and employers still have deep-rooted fears around losing control or a perceived lack of performance.So how can we change their minds? What are the right arguments to help them to think differently?Our guest today is HR Director James Lloyd and he is incredibly honest (which makes for a really thought provoking conversation) about the fact that initially, he inwardly cringed when he was presented with flexible working requests. He very quickly did a 180 on this when he started his own family and it’s incredibly interesting to hear more about how he changed his views, and actually, how we can deal with some of the more outdated views on flexible working generally.James shares some of the persuasive arguments and practical tips that will help working parents secure the right flexible working arrangements, plus his expert advice on choosing employers who prioritise diverse working arrangements during this episode.We hope you enjoy our conversation. If you’d like to get involved in the discussion then you can tag us on LinkedIn or via Twitter @leaders_plus.Please do take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast and even better, share it with 3 friends,  it really helps more people to find us.Finally, our FREE negotiating flexible working for senior roles framework is also available by clicking here. We produced this resource especially for senior leaders and it will give you a solid, step-by-step guide for making a successful flexible working request in a senior role.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Nov 2020

34 min 28 sec

Sometimes you need more than a career mentor, you need a sponsor!In this episode of Leaders With Babies, we focus on finding a sponsor and why exactly they are so crucial for your career.So what is a sponsor? A sponsor is a senior leader who advocates for you, believes in you, and champions you at work and the evidence is very clear that having a sponsor makes a massive difference for the career progression of parents. Plus, it's also very helpful for when you need to have those tough conversations around flexible working.I chat with Leaders Plus Mentors Fiona Jackson and Radhika Bajaj to hear their real-life experience of finding a sponsor and how it benefitted their careers. Fiona is an award-winning expert in diversity and inclusion and Radhika is an experienced recruitment specialist team leader and both managed to find senior leaders to champion them early on in their career as working parents.They share practical advice on how parents - especially mothers - can find, manage, and leverage a sponsor to help progress their careers.We hope you enjoy our conversation.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Nov 2020

42 min 35 sec

This week we are delighted to welcome back HR Director and Leaders Plus Mentor Laura Harrison to the podcast. Laura, who previously featured on episode 13  (sharing with us her thoughts on flexible working and building relationships, do check it out if you haven't already), joins us again to look in detail at part time working for senior roles and offer practical advice for listeners keen to cut down their hours.Just how can we make working part-time work effectively? Ensuring we're not working full time hours for less pay, leaving us resentful and exhausted!How can we successfully reduce both our tasks and responsibilities to make dropping down to 4, or 3 days achievable?Laura shares her freshest thinking on part time working, and is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the actionable steps you need to take to ensure you can make the change you want work best for you and the company. We hope you enjoy our conversation.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.Listen now in iTunes | Listen now on Spotify

Oct 2020

34 min 29 sec

Our guest this week is Becky Maxwell, a part-time Emergency Medicine Consultant and Clinical Chair of the Division of Diagnostics and Therapies at the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, as well as the Co-Chair of RCEMLearning (the Royal College of Emergency Medicine e-learning website).Becky shares really honestly the reality of juggling her portfolio career in emergency medicine alongside raising her two-year-old son. Including her advice for leading in a crisis, managing uncertainty, looking after our mental health, and, crucially, influencing senior leaders so that supporting working parents is a top priority.  She also shares her decision-making process when it came to applying for senior roles as a new mum. This is a must-listen not only for any parent working in emergency medicine but also for anyone who is juggling their career and parenthood and looking to take the next step in their career.You can follow Becky on Twitter here. And Leaders Plus at leaders_plus.We hope you enjoy our conversation. Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Oct 2020

42 min 16 sec

Our guest this week is Lori Mihalich-Levin, a US-based lawyer, author, and the founder of Mindful Return, which supports parents on their return to work after having children. When Lori Mihalich-Levin returned to work as a lawyer after having her second child, the stresses of her job combined with the demands of taking care of a baby and a toddler initially proved overwhelming. Determined to channel her experience into something positive, she created Mindful Return to help other parents transition back to work more smoothly. In this week's episode, Lori explains how busy working parents can begin to introduce mindfulness into their day to help them avoid overwhelm. Lori also shares practical advice on how we can better cope with important life transitions, like returning to work after having a baby.We hope you enjoy our conversation. Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Oct 2020

35 min 5 sec

Our guest this week is the writer, tv presenter, and author of the new book “Solo: How to Work Alone and Not Lose Your Mind,’ Rebecca Seal.Rebecca chats with us about how to thrive when working from home, including how to set boundaries successfully and why working long hours actually damages your productivity.She shares the latest research on how best to lead your team remotely, plus why it's essential that all parents get enough recovery time from work AND from parenting.You can buy Rebecca's book 'Solo: How to Work Alone and Not Lose Your Mind' from all good book stores or by clicking here.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Oct 2020

44 min 49 sec

Our guest this week is a trailblazer in the legal profession who has proven that it's absolutely possible to work part-time in a senior role.Chris Bryant is a partner at the international law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, where he has a busy role focusing on Antitrust and Competiton, alongside heading up the firms Brexit task force. He does all of this in 3 days per week, something that is still uncommon in the legal sector. So how exactly does he make it work as a partner in a law firm on a 3-day working week? Chris explains how he effectively sets boundaries so that he never has to miss his daughter's Monkey Music class, plus how he has evolved as a leader since working part-time.Chris also shares some practical advice around preparing to request more flexible working patterns, as well as insights on negotiating pay in a part-time role and learning to say 'no' when it's really necessary.It's a really inspiring discussion which we hope you will enjoy. Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Sep 2020

38 min 42 sec

Our guest this week is the political activist  Sophie Walker, the founding leader of the UK's Women's Equality Party and the current CEO of the Young Women’s Trust, who do brilliant work supporting young women across the UK.Sophie is a powerful change-maker and force for good and in this episode, we discuss how to drive change in the face of adversity and how we can all turn angry energy into real, tangible change. She shares why hope is "the ultimate act of defiance" when it comes to activism, what men can do to further gender equality at work, and why if you're struggling as a working mother, then the problem is never you and always the structural inequality you're faced with.Her book, Five Rules for Rebellion gives advice on how to incorporate activism into our lives, it's available to purchase here. Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown, please forgive the poor audio quality. 

Sep 2020

32 min 12 sec

This week on Leaders With Babies we're sharing something a little different - a recent panel discussion on motherhood, work, and identity.Lisa Ford, a Strategic Enablement Director of Nielsen, Jackie Mulryne, a partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter, and Toria Reid, an A&E Consultant at a busy Edinburgh hospital, are all Leaders Plus Fellows.In this honest discussion, they share openly their personal experiences of squaring their identity as women who are passionate about their work and their new roles as mothers, and the impact this has had on their identity. Including, how they have tackled guilt and how they have adapted to change since becoming parents. All 3 have very different experiences but the conversation is hopefully both thought-provoking and enlightening. Enjoy this week's episode.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Please forgive the poor audio quality. 

Sep 2020

36 min 30 sec

Recent figures have shown that significant numbers of highly educated women are leaving paid employment when they have children and our guest this week has written a brand new book examining the reasons why.Shani Orgad is Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and on this week's podcast she shares her research and the real-life stories she has heard of women for whom work simply doesn't work anymore. Having interviewed a range of professional women who quit their jobs after having children, Professor Orgad found that the decision to leave the workforce and become stay-at-home mothers was a decision they made as much as wives as mothers. If you're struggling with the demands of your career and your family then you aren't alone and Professor Orgad reassures us that the problem isn't you but is in fact the system, which she argues needs structural change from within.We discuss how to make changes within our organisations to enable more working mothers to stay in the jobs they love, plus practical things we can do when we feel overwhelmed by work and parenting.To find out more about Professor Shani Orgad's book Heading Home; Motherhood, Work, and the Failed Promise of Equality click here.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Sep 2020

50 min 46 sec

This week our guest is Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, the first female Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Hayaatun shares with us exactly what led to her being seen as a key person of influence, offering tips and practical steps for listeners on how you too can increase your visibility at work. It's clear she has worked incredibly hard to progress in her career and become a confident speaker, unafraid to use her voice to champion others, especially those from underrepresented groups in society. This passion for diversity and inclusion she has brought to the Royal Academy of Engineering.During this discussion, she is extremely honest about the microaggressions and unconscious biases she has sadly been at the receiving end of throughout her career. Offering useful advice for others on how she copes with this day-to-day and why it's important to challenge this kind of behaviour.She also shares openly what went through her head when she first went for the CEO role whilst her kids were still at Primary School, including how she makes things work for her young family. Finally, we learn why we should talk more about self-care and less about balance, which should involve relaxing with some trashy TV! This is certainly one of the most uplifting conversations we've had on the podcast and we really hope you enjoy the episode. Find out more about the #ThisIsEngineering campaign at www.thisisengineering.org.uk. Follow the Royal Academy of Engineering on Twitter @RAEngNews and Leaders Plus @leaders_plusPlease take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Sep 2020

46 min 18 sec

My guest this week is Dom Holmes, Head of Employment Law, and a Partner at the International law firm Taylor Vinters. Dom is one of the few male partners in law to work part-time. As he and his team advise employers with extremely time-sensitive and complex employment issues, it is incredibly fascinating to hear how he manages to balance his incredibly busy role and parenthood, by working 4 days a week. There are lots of helpful reflections and practical tips in this conversation. Including useful tips for ensuring you don't simply end up doing 5 days' work but on 4 days' pay and a glimpse into how Dom structures his day, manages his time and sets his priorities so that he's effective both at home and at work. Dom also shares the quick 10-minute task you can do this week if you're keen to explore flexible working for your leadership role which will be incredibly useful for anyone looking to move part-time. Dom is extremely passionate that you can be a really good and effective parent and have a really rewarding career. He also feels strongly about encouraging more open discussion for parents (male or female) who wish to explore flexible working in a leadership role.A thread that runs through our discussion is how important it is to think about and identify your own personal values when crafting your vision for home life and your career and this is something that will really resonate. Enjoy this week's episode. Follow Dom on Twitter @DomHolmes147 and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Dom is also a mentor on our Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Aug 2020

41 min 57 sec

Could a shorter 4-day working week or a shorter working day boost our productivity, improve our mental health, and increase our profitability?Our guest this week Alex Pang believes so. Alex is a former Silicon Valley tech-consultant and the author of an important new book titled 'Shorter', which is about how working less will revolutionise how companies get things done in the future.Writing from his own personal experience, Alex noticed during how on sabbatical from work he suddenly became so much more productive. This led to him researching globally how resting more and working less could benefit both employee and employer. In this episode, we chat about why exactly you get done more when you work less. About how to set boundaries around time management, and importantly, about why parents are often some of the most productive people out there and why parenthood should come with a premium and not incur a penalty.One of Alex’s revolutionary ideas is that a 4-day working week is what is going to change the future. He has done a huge amount of research to show that trimming down to 4 days does, in fact, make people more productive and crucially, makes companies turnover even more income.He shares how best to approach your employer to advocate for a 4 day week, including how allies will be crucial to help persuade on the benefits. He also shares details of some of the progressive companies that have already implemented the 4 day week or condensed working hours and how they are reaping the surprising rewards of increased profitability and productivity!You can follow Alex on Instagram and Twitter @askpang and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Pick up a copy of Alex's book Shorter on Amazon. Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the Coronavirus pandemic in July 2020.

Aug 2020

47 min 5 sec

This week we welcome back Avivah Wittenberg-Cox for Part 2 of her insightful discussion on gender balance and increasing your impact at work.Avivah is an author, speaker, and CEO of 20-first, a leading global gender-balance consultancy that works with multinational firms on modern leadership approaches, supporting them to be more gender-balanced.In this follow up episode Avivah shares how she deals with perfectionism and workload, why being lazy and having a high impact really aren’t mutually exclusive and why your 40's and 50's could just be your best years when it comes to your career.She also discusses why the partner you choose can be one of the most important influences on your career. Plus details of the method she swears by to keep her on track with her quarterly professional and personal goals.Follow Avivah on Twitter @A_WittenbergCox and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Her latest graphic book is available on Amazon now.  Avivah is also a mentor on our Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded in February 2020 prior to the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Aug 2020

23 min 9 sec

This week on Leaders With Babies, Verena is joined by the author and acclaimed speaker Avivah Wittenberg-Cox to discuss influencing senior leaders on gender equality at work.Avivah is the CEO of 20-first, a leading global gender-balance consultancy that works with multi-national firms on modern leadership approaches, supporting them to be more gender-balanced.With so many important discussion points it was impossible to cut the conversation and not lose any of the brilliant insight, so instead, we have split it into two parts. In part one, you'll hear Avivah's freshest thinking on the best way to convince senior leaders who don't care about gender equality to take action today and support parents.Including the best way to engage those colleagues who are least interested in gender equality at work, the most powerful arguments to use for why this really matters, and why data is always a girl's best friend. Follow Avivah on Twitter @A_WittenbergCox and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Her latest graphic book is available on Amazon now.  Avivah is also a mentor on our Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.

Aug 2020

26 min 37 sec

This week we welcome back Dr Maja Korica, Associate Professor of Management and Organisation at Warwick Business School to the podcast.In a follow up to episode 28 of Leaders With Babies, Dr Korica delves even further into what it takes to get ahead at work in the context of the new socially distanced, virtual environment. Including the best way to establish trust online. In this episode, you'll learn how to apply key research on networking to ensure you make a positive impression in a virtual environment, how to influence senior leaders when there is no water cooler conversation and you can't meet face-to-face, the best way you can approach someone senior for a favour when they don't know you and how you can ensure you're fully listened to in a virtual context when you (potentially) have children bursting in on your Zoom calls!Dr Korica is an anthropologist of the Business Elite, she researches how CEOs, Boards, and Senior Leaders really behave and why analysing in-depth the drivers behind their decision making processes.She was recognised by Thinkers50 in 2017 as “one of the management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organisations are managed and led."You can follow Dr Korica on Twitter @DrKorica and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the Coronavirus pandemic in July 2020.

Jul 2020

37 min 26 sec

Our guest this week is Dr Maja Korica, Associate Professor of Management and Organisation at Warwick Business School. An anthropologist of the Business Elite, she researches how CEOs, Boards, and Senior Leaders really behave and why analysing in-depth the drivers behind their decision making processes. She was recognised by Thinkers50 in 2017 as "one of the management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organisations are managed and led."In this episode, Dr Korica shares valuable insight into managing workplace politics with integrity, what you really need to do to get senior leaders to listen and take notice of your ideas and the practical steps you need to take today to further your career. Including why networks and sponsorship are crucial to reaching the senior leadership positions.You can follow Dr Korica on Twitter @DrKorica and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us.This episode was recorded during the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. 

Jul 2020

45 min 20 sec

Our guest this week is Dr Sue Black OBE, Professor of Computer Science at Durham University. Sue is a passionate advocate for more women in tech and has spent the last 20 years campaigning for more recognition and support for women in computing. This led to her founding BCS Women the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise that empowers mums and their families through technology.  On this week's Leaders With Babies episode, Sue shares her remarkable and often inspiring story, offering plenty of practical advice you can apply to your own career today.  Having left home at 16 (after dropping out of her grammar school with no A-levels) she went on to marry at 20, before becoming a stay-at-home mum to 3 small children. At 25 she fled her husband and sought shelter in a women’s refuge, and from there she transformed her life, going from barely being able to afford to eat to becoming an acclaimed University Professor. Throughout Sue's career, one thing has been constant - she has always put herself forward for opportunities and promotion. In this episode, she shares advice for anyone who is stuck in their job and unsure how to move forward. Including how to successfully shape your own career so that you can truly love the work you do.We hope you enjoy our conversation. Follow Professor Black on Twitter @Dr_Black and Leaders Plus @leaders_plus. Find out more about the #techmums initiative here.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to our podcast, it really helps more people to find us. This episode was recorded during the Coronavirus pandemic in June 2020.

Jul 2020

50 min 8 sec

This week Verena is joined by Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director of Strategy and Engagement at YHA.Anita is passionate about calling out inequality and has had an interesting and varied portfolio career in the charity and education sectors, moving effortlessly between consultancy and senior leadership roles.In this episode, she shares her expert advice on going freelance and charging what you're worth, as well as her best tips on how to lead authentically, particularly in the charity sector.There's a frank and interesting discussion on the impact of class on career progression, including advice on being authentic and challenging prejudices in the workplace and why diversity and inclusion in leadership really matters.She also draws on her own experience bringing up 4 children alongside her leadership career, with particular focus on the practicalities of bringing up children with significant learning difficulties, offering insight for other parents doing the same. Finally, she shares why chickens have been critical to her family's lockdown experience!Anita is a Mentor on the Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme. Find out more here.You can follow Anita on Twitter @anitakntweets Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe, plus make sure you’re following us on social media @leaders_plus.This episode was recorded during the Coronavirus pandemic in June 2020.

Jul 2020

39 min 38 sec

The Coronavirus crisis and period of prolonged lockdown has posed some unique challenges for dual-career couples, many of whom are now juggling two busy workloads as well as homeschooling.To help couples manage their family's needs both at home and work and grow together during this stressful time we welcome back to the podcast Dr Jennifer Petriglieri. Jennifer is an Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD in France and the author of the brilliant book Couples That Work.Regular listeners may remember that Dr Petriglieri first joined us back on episode 16 for discussion around the impact of relationships and how they can support career progression.Following on from this the latest conversation focuses on times of crisis, like the current Coronavirus pandemic, and examines how dual-career couples can best support each other when juggling work, relationships as well as homeschooling demands when all under one roof 24/7.Jennifer shares the practical steps that can be done this week to cope as a couple during this stressful period of change and insecurity, including the 3 essential things every couple must do if they are to thrive.Enjoy the episode and please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe, plus make sure you’re following us on social media @leaders_plus.Visit Dr Petriglieri's website here.This episode was recorded in June 2020 during the Lockdown.

Jun 2020

39 min 19 sec

It's fair to say our guest on this week's episode has been on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.Dr. Suhana Ahmed is a Consultant Psychiatrist who leads an inpatient ward for the elderly. Sadly many of her patients have caught Covid-19, and some tragically have lost their battle.In this frank discussion, Dr. Ahmed shares how leading in a crisis such as the Coronavirus Pandemic has forever shaped her as a leader. The key learnings she has discovered during the past 8 weeks, as well the practical advice she would give to someone leading during a crisis right now.There is also an honest chat about postnatal depression, the feeling of mum guilt, and how she juggles such a demanding and high profile role around her young son, Daniel. Finally, Suhana shares why small and simple acts of kindness - like buying hand cream or a tin of biscuits - can make all the difference to the team during such times of crisis. We hope you enjoy this week's episode, despite the tough subject matter it is an incredibly empowering and uplifting conversation. Suhana is part of the 2020 Cohort of the Leaders Plus Fellowship, her place has been partly sponsored by the NHS London Leadership Academy’s Women in Leadership Network. Find out more about the Fellowship Programme here.Follow Dr. Ahmed on Twitter @SuhanaAhmed10And please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to the Leaders With Babies podcast and make sure you’re following us on social media @leaders_plus.This episode was recorded in June 2020 during the Lockdown.

Jun 2020

47 min 15 sec

This week on Leaders With Babies Verena is joined by Professor Rosie Campbell, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King's College London.Professor Campbell shares her insight on parenting whilst in a leadership role, plus we explore what the latest research tells us about career progression for women.There's also an important discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on gender equality at work, including the potential negative impact of Lockdown on working mothers and the importance of evaluating performance during the crisis fairly.Plus, how to set boundaries at work, increase your visibility and tips for setting yourself up for career progression. Follow Rosie on Twitter @profrosiecamp.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to the Leaders With Babies podcast and make sure you’re following us on social media @leaders_plus.This episode was recorded during Lockdown.

Jun 2020

41 min 16 sec

It's fair to say that Paul Fisher, Associate Fellow and Programme Director of the Oxford Programme on Negotiation at the Saïd Business School, is an expert when it comes to the art of negotiation and persuasion.Paul kindly shares his expertise when it comes to successful negotiation at work, including how best to structure your argument when requesting things like pay rises, flexible working, and training opportunities.He also shares the clear framework you can use to improve your chances of receiving a pay rise and advises on how you can set clear boundaries to support your negotiation.Please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to the Leaders With Babies podcast and make sure you're following us on social media @leaders_plus. This episode was recorded during Lockdown.

Jun 2020

45 min 36 sec

Managing workloads in senior roles can be challenging at the best of times, but with the added stress of full-time childcare during the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown, ALL parents are feeling the strain.To launch Series 3 of the Leaders With Babies Podcast we are sharing our recent panel discussion (hosted by Leaders Plus and Doyenne) where we discuss managing teams, managers, and home life during lockdown.Listen to a range of inspirational speakers who each have taken a different approach to manage their own workload whilst combining senior careers with bringing up children.You will walk away with concrete ideas to tackle your own workload, strategies to cope during the pandemic, plus expert advice to ensure your career can flourish in the future. Thank you so much for listening and please don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe, it really makes a difference.

May 2020

53 min 24 sec

This past week has been life-changing for all of us and like many other parents, we wish to ensure that our children do not bear any long term scars from this turbulent and unsettling period. On this week's podcast, we are doing something a little different and we are sharing the audio from our recent webinar with Dr. Martha Deiros Collado, which focused on talking to young children about Coronavirus. Dr. Martha is a clinical psychologist supporting children who go through severe illness and trauma. During the discussion, she tells us honestly about how young children express anxiety, what we should say to them and how to deal with it when you yourself are experiencing strong emotions in front of the children. The session focuses mainly on toddlers and preschoolers but is also very relevant to primary school-age children. We hope you find it useful. You can find the resources mentioned in this episode on the Leaders Plus website www.leadersplus.org.uk/coronavirus

Mar 2020

1 hr 28 min

Our guest this week is Alexandra Marks CBE, Deputy High Court Judge and Retired Partner at Linklaters LLP. In this powerful discussion, we look at maternal instinct and whether pursuing a career impacts your maternal bond with your children. We talk about social expectations of mother's, as well as the realities of being a female partner with children at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country.Plus, Alexandra shares the best advice she has ever received and her top tips for managing workload. Alexandra is a mentor on our Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme and has previously been named one of Debrett’s 500 most influential people in Britain.

Mar 2020

42 min 39 sec