© 2015

The Rise of the Female Executive

How Women’s Leadership is Accelerating Cultural Change


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 1-4
  3. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 5-30
  4. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 31-56
  5. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 57-77
  6. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 78-103
  7. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 104-124
  8. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 125-144
  9. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 145-163
  10. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 164-177
  11. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 178-202
  12. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 203-222
  13. Peninah Thomson, Clare Laurent, Tom Lloyd
    Pages 223-240
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 241-263

About this book


Provides a timely review of gender equality in the boardroom, and through interviews with mentors and mentees it illustrates how mentoring can play a part in helping women stay engaged in their career. This book includes international comparisons and an examination of the UK and EU political environments.


Women Leadership Mentoring Boardroom Equality Gender Executive Female cultural change environment learning rating success

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.UK Foreign OfficeUK

About the authors

Peninah Thomson is CEO of the Mentoring Foundation, the company that owns and manages the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Programme. Peninah's early career was in the UK Foreign Office. After Doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, she joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, working for eight years in Government Services and Economics Division, and at Cabinet Office level in India, Africa, Singapore & Hong Kong. Seconded for two years to the UK Cabinet Office and to the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, she was then promoted Director, and spent four years in PwC's Corporate Transformation Practice working at Board level in FTSE 100 companies. Peninah is an International speaker & broadcaster, and has published four books and refereed articles on women's leadership, corporate governance & business ethics. She directs the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Programme, in which 51 FTSE 100 Chairmen & CEOs mentor senior women from just below the Board to become credible Board candidates. This highly successful Programme has been running for nine years and has been emulated in France, The Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Hungary, Germany, the Middle East and South Africa. She is co-author of The Changing Culture of Leadership (2000); A Woman's Place is in the Boardroom (2005), A Woman's Place is in the Boardroom: The Roadmap (2008) and Women and the New Business Leadership (2011). For the last 14 years Peninah has worked exclusively as a Board level executive coach with individual male and female senior executives, and with Boards and senior teams as groups, on strategy, organisational change, and leadership. Peninah served on the Strategy Group of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. She was a member of the UK Commissioner for Public Appointment's Advisory Board, & an Advisor to the Center for Work-Life Policy, New York. 
Clare Laurent is an Associate with the Mentoring Foundation, where she helps Peninah in the running of the FTSE Programmes and related activities. Clare's career began in the City as a lawyer. After 15 years and a short career break in Hamburg, Clare obtained a Masters degree with Distinction from the University of London in Career Management and Coaching. For her Masters thesis she examined women's career journeys and how mentoring helped them overcome their obstacles to success. Alongside her work at the Foundation, Clare is now continuing her research into mentoring processes as a doctorate student at Birkbeck, where she also assists with the teaching of post-graduate Coaching modules. Previously, Clare worked as a Solicitor in the City from 1990, specialising in internet law and regulation. She was General Counsel and SVP, Public Policy for AOL Europe from 1998-2002, with a diverse portfolio from supporting multi-million pound commercial advertising deals, acting as company spokesperson for regulators, government and in the media and representing the industry as Chairmen of the Internet Service Providers Association. She then joined Hutchison 3G as its Director of External and Regulatory Affairs for Europe where her work included renegotiating critical roaming deals and representing Hutchison before national and international regulators and the Competition Commission. It was her experience both of professional services firms and the dynamics of international matrixed organizations that gave rise to her interest in organizational behaviour and how coaching and mentoring might bring about change. 
Tom Lloyd is a former editor of Financial Weekly and Management Today, was founding editor of Gemini Consulting's quarterly management journal Transformation and wrote the 'Working Brief' column in the Sunday Telegraph for several years. His published books include Managing Knowhow, with Karl-Erik Sveiby (Bloomsbury, 1987), The 'nice' Company (Bloomsbury, 1990), Business at a Crossroads and The crisis of corporate leadership (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). He was also the co-author of the successful A Woman's Place is in the Boardroom and A Woman's Place is in the Boardroom: The Roadmap with Peninah Thomson and Jacey Graham (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, 2008), and of Women & the new business leadership with Peninah Thomson (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). He is a visiting fellow at Northampton Business School.

Bibliographic information


'This book, by Peninah Thomson and colleagues at The Mentoring Foundation, is very timely as a breakthrough is now occurring in terms of female representation on boards, and it needs to be sustained by mentoring a growing pipeline. I am delighted to see that, having set up a process with Lord Davies and his team, a voluntary approach based on the self-interest of companies in tapping into the female talent pool is now bearing fruit.'

-The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

"The great value of mentoring, and cross company mentoring in particular, is the opportunity to help women to better assess how to progress in their career, and to discuss issues more independently and objectively. I believe mentoring has an important role to play in helping us ensure that we fully harness the capabilities and potential of the UK's enviably large population of talented women. This wise book makes a compelling case for redoubling our efforts. Our businesses and the wider economy will be the beneficiaries.'

-António Horta Osório, Chief Executive Officer, Lloyds Banking Group plc

'FTSE 250 companies need to ensure they equip themselves to be competitive in an international marketplace as business culture evolves in the 21st century. In my time as a Chairman Mentor on the FTSE® 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Programme. I believe that encouraging women to join boards is crucial to modernising organisational culture, improving how both companies and boards function.'

-Nigel Rich CBE, Chairman, Segro plc

'In my nearly 25 years of training and development in the civil service, the last 18 months working with my mentor have been the most precious, the most interesting and the most challenging. He shifted my way of thinking; we had different sorts of conversations.'

-Sharon White, Chief Executive, Ofcom

'Our collaboration with the Mentoring Foundation has helped to stimulate great discussion and debate across our business, the FTSE 100 and beyond. As well as preparing senior women for board appointments, it has been very positive to focus on the development of women at an earlier stage in their career. The Next Generation Women Leaders Programme, described in this book, ensures that these talented women are gaining from the valuable experience of others to help them to achieve success and take ownership of a fulfilling career. I strongly believe that they will encourage diversity of thought which will have an impact on the culture of organisations as they progress.'

-Nigel Wilson, Group CEO, Legal & General Group plc