Leaders Plus enables talented women and men with young children to continue to develop their leadership careers while enjoying looking after their children. Too often talented parents feel they have to choose between being a good parent and a fulfilling leadership career – Leaders Plus wants to change this.
They do this through high quality training, mentoring and sponsorship, access to inspirational role models and building a peer support community focusing on career development in the context of being a parent. Because Leaders Plus believes that you can be both a committed leader and loving parent, they are very happy for members to bring their babies to many of our events.
Founder Verena Hefti previously ran successful leadership development programmes in Switzerland, Denmark and the UK, most recently as South East Director at Teach First. In her spare time, she volunteers as Chair of Trustees at Lewisham Citizens Advice. After giving birth to baby Naira, Verena decided to help more new parents stay on the leadership trajectory and founded Leaders Plus.
Tulip Siddiq MP, herself a mum of a toddler, is the patron of Leaders Plus.
Career interruptions due to family responsibility and the related lack of confidence contribute to women dropping off the leadership pipeline. Public perception changes once a woman has had a baby: more than four in 10 people believe she is less committed to her work after having had children. Together with structural factors such as limited flexible working and uninformed line managers, this can be enough to make women drop off the leadership pipeline.
To have more women in leadership roles, we need to make it a new normal for parents to be able to combine looking after children with a leadership career. To achieve that, we need alternative ways of working, invest in growing inspirational role models who show what is possible and in turn influence their organisations and wider society. We also need to create a strong alliance of high profile individuals who have been influential as employers and commit to making a difference for parents at work, not just pay lip service.