Talent Fueller Interview with Tracy Groves, PwC.
“Talent Fueller” is our name for individuals who are working to keep, support and fuel female talent whether part of their role or ‘off the side of their desk.’
Something interesting is happening at PwC on the gender inclusion front and Tracy Groves is the catalyst behind it. Tracy is a partner in the Forensic Services Practice, based here in London, a day job that includes leading the business ethics and integrity practice for clients. In addition she is the Chair of the newly created PwC Gender Balance Network, formerly known as the Women’s Network.
Gender Balance Network Replaces PwC Women’s Network
I asked myself, why when the firm is moving towards a strategy of inclusiveness – so recognising and respecting value and difference on a very positive basis – are we focusing the women’s network just on women? When I look at the fantastic development programs I have been on within PwC over the years one of my thoughts/feedback was ‘why are we not embracing men as part of this?’ Because all of us need to be educated and informed and helped to understand if we are different, why is that and why is that a positive asset?
In my day-to-day client work I was observing a real appetite for understanding how better balanced decision making is brought about through diversity of thought, experience, age and gender. Taken together with refocusing our strategy on inclusiveness, moving to the Gender Balance Network felt like a natural evolution.
Responses to the idea of a Gender Balance Network
“The vast majority of women said ‘thank goodness, at last!’ When we attempted to name ‘women only’ issues, in response to some resistance, we saw that there are very few and a forum probably isn’t the place to discuss them. If you want to talk, for example, about childcare issues – which have stereotypically been seen as in the women’s camp – there’s the Parent’s Network.
There are different balance equations in different parts of the firm/regions and there may be a greater journey to go on in some places. I think what reassured some of the nervousness was reiterating that the creation of the Gender Balance Network isn’t us saying that there’s a level playing field and that we’ve got it right. My view is that in order for us to move to a level playing field where both women and men have the opportunity to be the best we can be, we need to do that on a far more inclusive basis and not just for a minority group.
Men and women embracing the Gender balance Network
From a soft launch in January to the latest event, the numbers of participants is up. Board members have been involved in each event with curiosity growing on their part as Tracy tells us they’re now asking ‘when’s the next one? When’s it my turn?”
The most recent event welcomed 135 people to a room designed for 50 (because previous Women’s Network events have usually attracted 30-40) and that included 15 men and 10 clients. And the attraction? The title, “Ambition in the workplace.”
“We used the data from the project 28-40 report that we supported Opportunity Now to do, to explore how men and women individually responded to questions relating to ambition. It brought out a huge amount of synergy as well as some differences which we then really began to unpick and explore. People were still talking about it a week later.”
Carrying the conversation beyond events
“It’s important to realise that the role of the networks within PwC is to really enable our wider diversity and inclusion strategy. They’re there to provide a safe environment where we can debate, challenge, question what we are doing and how we are doing it.
If we are to make any impact and real change, it has to happen within the business itself, so if I think about what I am doing within my own business unit (and this is happening across the firm as well), there are ongoing discussions, round tables, and listening groups taking place which are focusing on all the different types of diversity, not just gender balance.
The more people participate, the better.
We have a shortlist of things that we want to talk about, a list we’ve whittled down to three or four topics as well as lunch with leader events. The topics we are going to be looking at include:
- Power and Politics, including negotiating and influencing.
- Self-Promotion, including confidence and communication, how do you market yourself and how do you sell yourself – what’s your brand?
- Making Life work for you, work-life balance – having something beyond work, making life work for you as opposed to working to live. Doing this in terms of getting flexibility in all of our work, given technology, given the way that we work.