In the opinion column of ‘The Future CEO’; the latest in a series of highly respected business supplements by The Times & Raconteur; Margot James raises the topic of challenging boardrooms, bringing about cultural change, breaking bad habits and putting inclusivity at the top of the agenda.

This is a subject that is extremely important to Rachel Pike, Associate Director at Broster Buchanan, who in her formative years attended the girls-only secondary school famous for producing our first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

“From the very early days of my education I was actively encouraged to strive for independence, with the outlook that through a combination of ambition and determination women can and should achieve their full potential. I feel very privileged to be part of an organisation which actively encourages career advancement to all of its employees, alongside offering flexible working practices which enable balancing the demands of work and home.”

Below we explore five recommended books which investigate the themes of diversity and inclusion in today’s workplace, followed by an excerpt of Margot James’ article, with a link to read the full publication.


  1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg

‘Lean In’ looks at the challenges of the modern day working woman; backed with anecdotes by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. It is both a humorous and informative read for women who are looking to advance their careers.


  1. The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School, by Selena Rezvani

A collection of inspiring memoirs by thirty of the most successful women in their respective fields. This book seeks to inspire and elicit the characteristic qualities of today’s female leaders.


  1. The Little Black Book of Success: The Laws of Leadership for Black Women, by Elaine Meryl Brown et al

In this engaging book, three successful black female executives share their strategies around self-confidence, effective communication and collaboration to help all black women, at any level of their careers.


  1. Defying Disability: The Lives and Legacies of Nine Disabled Leaders, by Mary Wilkinson

This book provides a fascinating insight into the lives of nine people who have overcome the potential disadvantage of disability through motivation and sheer determination, to achieve recognition and national acclaim.


  1. Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will to Change, by Jennifer Brown

This book shares proven strategies to empower members of every organisation, whether large or small, to utilise all of their talents and potential to drive positive organizational change and the future of diversity and inclusion in the work place.




Bringing Diversity Into Boardrooms

by Margot James (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)

Diversity in the boardroom matters. From workers on the shop floor to the customers who keep firms in business, now is the time for diversity and inclusivity to be properly embraced so that business represents not only the interests of those at the top.

A chief executive is a leader, a trendsetter, somebody who is ahead of the curve and leads their business by example. I believe the future chief executive is somebody who recognises the huge opportunity we have right now.

It is simply wrong for the news of a woman or a black man or woman being appointed as a chief executive in the future to still be viewed as an anomaly who is defined by their uniqueness and not their business acumen. I have high hopes that the future boardroom will be as diverse as our country, whatever the sector.

As I have seen in the work Baroness McGregor-Smith has been carrying out on understanding why people from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds are less likely to progress in work than their white counterparts, it is her gender and ethnicity that still makes the headlines. I want us to build a society where talented people are celebrated for their ability rather than the colour of their skin, their gender or sexuality.

In today’s workplace, we are missing crucial voices and perspectives as so many people are still being held back. The future chief executive needs to challenge boardrooms to bring about cultural change and break bad habits and put inclusivity at the top of the agenda….


Click here and see Page 19 to read the full article.