Meet Alison Maitland
Chair of Cass Global Women’s Leadership Executive Board is an expert in inclusion, leadership and the changing world of work
Alison is an international writer, speaker, adviser and coach, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass. A former long-serving Financial Times journalist, she is the co-author of two books, Future Work and Why Women Mean Business. Her expertise spans the changing world of work; building inclusive organisations; new models of leadership; and gender balance in business.
Alison, who was an inaugural member of the Programme’s Executive Board and who became Chair just in time for International Women’s Day in March, said she wanted the Programme to continue to encourage and support Cass women into leadership.
“The programme already has a track record for showcasing different styles of leadership, forging new connections within and beyond Cass, and supporting Cass women to realise their leadership potential through scholarships and skills development. As Chair, I will support, advise and facilitate our talented director and board members in the next important steps.”
She said that women’s development programmes of this kind are still needed in workplaces across the UK and beyond.
“Despite progress, many companies are still structured in a way that disproportionately favours a particular type of, usually male, leadership. Women often do not see themselves reflected in current leadership, lack equal access to career sponsorship, and are hampered by a lack of transparency in organisations. They are looking for support and inspiration to develop the leadership style that works best for them,” she said.
The good news for Cass women is that there is plenty of support for them within the School to help them achieve their goals, develop their leadership skills and progress their careers.
“Our Programme inspires, equips and connects Cass women to define success on their terms, and this in turn supports change in organisations and society,” said Alison. “My advice to women is to be clear on your values and goals and really think about why you want to be a leader. Work out what your core values are, what you stand for, and what impact you want to make in the world. Who are the leaders, at all levels of society, who inspire you, and why? And how will you enable others to succeed? A majority in our recent survey of Cass women said that sticking to their principles was crucial to their success, and I’ve found this to be true in other contexts too.”
Of course, leadership is an issue that affects us all and Alison said she believes that an understanding of leadership is important for everyone in an organisation – not just those formally 'in charge'.
“I really think we have to embrace the idea of collective leadership, and stop fooling ourselves that one person can run the whole show, whether it’s an organisation or a country. We need to collaborate, break down barriers and include as many perspectives as we can to solve the massive challenges facing us. Each one of us has an impact, whether we choose to act or to do nothing.”
Alison is currently co-writing a new book about inclusion at work which is due for publication next year. She says inclusion is a topic on which many companies are looking for guidance.
“Organisations have a lot of unanswered questions about how to create an environment where everyone is valued, able to be themselves, and participate and contribute fully. The book, including our innovative approach to help organisations make progress, is our response. Inclusion can have a tremendously positive impact on business and society, and we want to help bring that about, especially in these divided times.”
Find out more
The Cass Global Women’s Leadership Programme inspires, equips and connects women throughout their career – from undergraduate to postgraduate to alumni and beyond. It inspires by supporting ambition through events with stimulating speakers. It equips by helping women develop skills, competence and resilience, either through workshops or by offering financial support to study at Cass. It connects via networks, groups and communities supporting each other.
Find out more about the Cass Global Women’s Leadership Programme here.
Find out more about Alison and her work here.
Sign up for the third event in the Programme's Female Founders Breakfast Series here.