Frankly, a York-based leadership and culture consultancy have been enlisted by global telecommunications business, VM02 to support the business in prioritising diversity and inclusion.

The leaders of the VM02 Women’s Network invited Frankly to consult and support their latest strategic initiative to help sustain organisational change in gender equality.

The first opportunity identified by Jennifer Potter, Founder of Frankly was reverse mentoring. This would see up to 12 female leaders reverse mentor senior leaders from across the business.  Reverse mentoring was established as a key strategic tool for inclusion challenges, thanks largely to millennials and technology firms, creating a shift in perceptions between different age groups, stronger relationships and greater innovation.

Jennifer Potter said:


“With more women leaving leadership positions in larger corporates than ever before, SME and large organisations face a crippling talent crisis if they don’t do more to address gender equality.  Organisations led by more balanced boards in terms of diversity (gender, race, sexual identity and ability), demonstrate greater success in their markets than those with less diversity. Decision-making around culture and workplace performance are typically more inclusive, meaning less staff turnover, absence, and sickness issues. A cracking counterbalance to the great resignation”

To ensure the programme was a success, Frankly designed the reverse mentoring programme to address three challenges; Unite the volunteers as a community, to ensure they felt they were part of something with others and not in it alone. Establish alignment around expectations, definition of success and clarity on a process that could be followed. And thirdly, supporting empowerment around the skills and beliefs needed to face into such a challenge. Ensuring all volunteers felt resourced, resilient and capable of achieving their goal. Frankly offered 121 coaching as optional, for anyone wanting further support.

Head of VM02 Women’s Network Vanessa Kilburn said:

“We needed an approach to create a shift at board and Senior leader levels in terms of progress towards our gender equality goals. There was a choice point for us. We decided with the help of Jennifer and her team to hit the pause button, prepare our volunteer leaders and bring them together as a united community. We believe that together and well-prepared, we are more powerful. In achieving greater gender equality, the business can make far better decisions, create more efficient innovation and increase intersectionality.

The programme has already ignited some early conversations having had a really positive impact on some of our business areas. We are continuing with it over the coming months, to ensure that the gender equality mission continues to keep its voice and inspires organisational change from the inside out.”

Jennifer Potter added:

“The ripple effects of the programme are far-reaching – more empowered women combined with greater awareness and change at board level around the intricacies and challenges of achieving gender equality for all, will generally make for even more effective performance at a company level as well as happier leaders at home. It’s surely a win-win for all.”