19 February

Perceptions Changed. Skills Shared. Young Women Empowered in 2019's She Can Be...!

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Few Valentine’s Days are as exciting as 2019’s, which saw over 150 young women from across London and as far as Ipswich descended upon the Square Mile to fall in love with the career opportunities the City has to offer, as part of She Can Be...

64% of 17 – 21 year olds believe that employers prefer to hire men over women. She Can Be… aims to change this perception and empower young women to make informed decisions about their careers to see the City as not only a viable, but an exciting option for them.

Co-sponsored by M&G Prudential and #IncludedAWM, a pan-organisation network consisting of Artemis, LGT Vestra, Polar Capital, Quilter Cheviot, Rathbones and Smith & Williamson, She Can Be… pairs groups of young women from charity partners Place2Be, Teach First, The Girls’ Network and Young Enterprise, with City businesses to increase awareness and understanding of how organisations operate and the opportunities available within them for these young women.

This year saw over 25 businesses get involved, including Allianz Global Investors, Liberty Specialty Markets and TP ICAP, highlighting their commitment to targeting the barriers that contribute to the skills crisis and discourage young women from seeking City careers staging a fictional business deal that illustrates what those organisations do and how each employee’s role contributes to making it happen.

Throughout the day, the young women were encouraged to use their communication, initiative and problem solving-skills in real life business settings to build their confidence that they can thrive within the City.    

Chaired by Joanna Abeyie, Managing Director of Joanna Abeyie Consultancy LTD, the day continued at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, where young women met Real Models, learnt from senior leaders, and worked with male allies to demystify the City further.

Joanna said “I am super proud of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and the She Can Be… initiative because it is so important that we show the next generation of women that with hard work and resilience and irrespective of background, they can achieve all they hope to. I wish I had this when I was at school.”

Consisting of three key segments, the afternoon session included a problem solving session, a refreshingly candid panel and an inspiring pledge, designed so that the young women could walk away feeling confident that they could solve the City’s problems; able to communicate effectively with their peers; and comfortable using their initiative to approach a task.

The problem solving session encouraged teams of young women and City employees to work together to find innovative responses to the question ‘how do we encourage women to invest?’ and was hosted by Davinia Tomlinson, Founder and CEO of rainchq. A range of responses, from brand new apps to pop up advertising campaigns were proposed to increase women’s confidence in investing to become future ready. Each group will receive feedback from real business people as a follow up to prove that they truly can contribute to solving the City’s problems.

To close the session, all 300 attendees made a pledge based on what they were taking away from the day to make a change, with one young woman sharing: “I pledge today to never give up no matter how hard life gets and to be true to myself and not change who I am for anyone. In the future, I can be wherever or whatever I want or desire and confident enough to take my own initiative.”

With high-profile women interacting with She Can Be… on social media, including Poppy Jaman OBE and Gina Martin, who both had tables named after them, we’re delighted to say with confidence that perceptions were changed, skills were shared, and young women were empowered.

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