Dame Helena Morrissey DBE

Dame Helena Morrissey DBE

City CEO, Founder, 30% Club

Synopsis

After serving as CEO of Newton Investment Management for fifteen years Helena wrote A Good Time to be a Girl, a call to women to stop trying to get ahead in an outdated corporate world and instead change it for the better. The founder of the 30% Club considers how important a diverse workforce is to a successful business, and as a mother of nine she considers the meaning of work-life balance.

Biography

Helena Morrissey is one of the best-known woman leaders in the City, having served as CEO of Newton Investment Management for fifteen years. She is the author of A Good Time to be a Girl, a call to build on existing achievements to drive towards a truly inclusive and equal society. She is also founder of the 30% Club which campaigns for equality in the boardroom and champions equal opportunities for women in business.

Before joining Newton, Helena started her career with asset management firm Schroder’s in New York. She returned to London with Newton, working as a fund manager before being appointed CEO, during which time she oversaw a doubling of their asset portfolio. She is now on the board of UK Trade and Investment, serves as Legal & General’s Head of Personal Investing, and is the Chair of the Investment Association, the UK trade body for fund managers.

Helena draws on experiences from throughout her career to talk about the financial sector, gender equality, and change. Witness to the lack of women in boardrooms for many years, Helena founded the 30% Club in 2010, based on research that minority groups will only be heard once their voices represent at least one third of those in the room. Since the Club’s inception the number of women on the boards of FTSE100 companies has doubled, and Helena has become a prominent voice in combating gender imbalance in the corporate world. The 30% Club has expanded globally, with branches across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and has incorporated schools in an attempt to improve gender balance “from schoolroom to boardroom”.

Having raised a family of nine children, Helena addresses how to maintain the balance between a professional and home life. It’s a theme she considers in A Good Time to be a Girl where she considers the pressure to sacrifice the personal for the sake of a career. She believes that, rather than trying to fight for a place at the top of an outdated system, we need to change the system. She also examines the implications and challenges of this change, but also argues that diversity can only serve to strengthen an organisation.

Twice named by Bloomberg as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Helena’s influence has spread beyond finance and the City and she was also listed by Fortune magazine as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders. As well as regularly contributing to print and broadcast media on women in business and gender equality more widely, she has been a guest editor on Radio 4’s Today programme.

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