G15 Development Group holds Women’s Mentoring Network breakfast

On Tuesday 7 December, we were delighted to hold our second G15 Development Group Women’s Mentoring Network breakfast.

We launched the mentoring network in late 2019 to support women in the early stages of their development careers across the G15 members.

Participants are matched with women at Director or Head of Service positions across the G15, forming mentoring networks providing guidance and career advice.

The first year’s cohort involved 22 mentees from 10 housing associations members, 90% of whom have continued their mentoring relationship beyond completing the programme. 28 mentees signed up to take part in the second-year cohort, which launched in Autumn 2021.

We heard from some fantastic women at the top of the development sector, including Jo Jamieson, Chief Executive, Partnerships North at Countryside, Sarah Odell, Managing Director of Silver DCC, and Wendy Hegarty, Partner at Redloft.

They shared their experiences of being women in a male dominated sector, juggling work and family commitments, and tips on career advancement.

Vicky Savage, Group Director of Development and Sales at L&Q and founder of the network chaired the event, and Geeta Nanda, Chair of the G15 and CEO of Metropolitan Thames Valley gave a special address.

Vicky Savage said, “The development industry is a fantastic place to work, but when it comes to female representation, we still have a long way to go – from construction sites to executive level in the boardroom. It was wonderful to hear from Jo, Sarah and Wendy, three inspiring female leaders, about their journeys to the top of the sector.

“I truly believe that those of us who have climbed up the ladder have a responsibility to also lift and help the next generation. The G15 women’s mentoring network is about just that – women supporting women, providing advice and confidence building to the leaders of tomorrow.”

Geeta Nanda said, “I have seen first-hand how effective mentoring programmes can be in accelerating young people’s careers. To be able to aspire to senior positions, you need to be able to see people like yourself there already and that’s exactly what the G15 women’s mentoring network does.

It provides a unique opportunity for women who are more established in their careers to share their experiences and provide advice to women who are just starting out in development.

I am really pleased to be a part of this network and to be able to welcome a second cohort of women on to the programme. I can’t wait to see where they go in the future.”