Home About usOur History Working Families Pioneers 1979 – 2009

Working Families Pioneers 1979 – 2009

Adrienne Boyle

Honoured for her role as one of the founder members of the Job Share Project, first as a volunteer and then as the first paid worker

Adrienne Boyle was one of the founder members of the Job Share Project and its first paid worker. When more substantial funding was accessed though the Greater London Council, Adrienne felt it was time to pass on the mantle and changed roles to become Equality Officer working at Southampton City Council, Sheffield City Council, and Merseyside Equal Opportunities Project. She then spent two years as an International Service volunteer in Palestine – an experience which changed her life. Adrienne’s work covered women and agriculture projects on the West Bank and a gender and development project with the Gaza Women’s Centre. Since returning home to Ireland she has continued to work on local and global issues. Her one claim to on-going job sharing fame in Ireland was to become the first settled person to job share with a member of the Travelling Community. She has recently completed work as the Director of the Irish Development Education Association.

Fiona Cannon

Honoured for her tireless work on Employers for Childcare, Employers for Worklife Balance, and in the development of the first ‘open to all’ flexible working scheme, Lloyds TSB’s WorkOptions

Fiona Cannon is Equality and Diversity Director for the Lloyds TSB Group and is responsible for the equality and diversity strategy covering 65,000 employees, 15 million customers and the supplier diversity chain. She is also a founder member of Employers for Fathers, which aims to encourage employers to include the role of fathers in policy development. Previously, Fiona worked as a Management Adviser at The Industrial Society’s Pepperell Unit. Her numerous public appointments and external activities include Deputy Chair of the EOC; EOC Commissioner; Chair of the advisory board for the first General Formal Investigation in the UK on pregnancy discrimination; Founder member and Chair of the steering group of Employers for Work-Life Balance; Member of the ministerial advisory team on work-life balance at the DfES; Founder member of the Race for Opportunity Campaign; Member of the Government’s Work and Parents Taskforce looking at introducing flexible working arrangements for parents at work; Member of the Labour Party enquiry team into the development of a national childcare strategy; and Founder member and Chair of Employers for Childcare.

Laura Carstensen

Honoured for her leadership in the City with the City Parents At Work network and for making possible the first research on work-life balance in the City, on which much of Working Families’ culture change work has been built

Among the first generation of women to become equity partners in the elite handful of ‘magic circle’ City law firms, Laura did so whilst a single mother of four. En route, she chaired the Working Mothers Association and founded City Parents At Work to support other City women with children. There followed two more children, consolidation of her leading practice in competition law and a Board seat – the first woman to be elected to her firm’s Board. Today she is an entrepreneur and business angel and holds a clutch of senior appointments in both the public and private sector.

Sharon Coleman

Honoured for her courage and determination in standing up for her rights as a carer, and for the changes this will bring for all working carers

Sharon Coleman’s determined legal action achieved a ground-breaking ruling by the European Court of Justice that an EU Directive which outlaws discrimination at work on grounds of disability is not limited to disabled people themselves but also extends to their carers. Sharon was forced to resign from her role as a legal secretary in a London law firm after she was denied time off work to look after her disabled son. As his primary carer, Sharon had sought flexible working arrangements, but felt pressured into accepting voluntary redundancy when she was not allowed as much flexibility in her work as other parents. The case, backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, could create a significant extension in flexible and part-time working.

Shirley Conran

Honoured for her tenacious campaigning through Women in Management and the Work Life Trust’s Worklife Week

Shirley Conran was the first women’s editor of The Observer colour magazine and women’s editor of The Daily Mail, for which she launched Femail. A pioneering campaigner for equality, she handled the publicity for the Women in Media campaign for legislation against sex discrimination in the early 70s. Shirley Conran is the author of numerous works including ‘The Graduate’s Guide to The Work-Life Balance Sector’ (with Professor Cary Cooper) and ‘The Guide to the Work-Life Balance Sector’. Shirley’s past roles have included Founder and Chair of Mothers in Management; Director of Woman of the Year Lunch and Assembly; and Government Advisor at Ministerial level for DfEE. Shirley was the Founder-President of The Work-Life Balance Trust, which organised the prestigious ‘Work Life Balance Week’ in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and raised over half a million pounds to promote the concept of work-life balance across Britain. Shirley has two sons, Sebastian and Jasper, both of whom are designers. In 2004 Shirley Conran was awarded the OBE for services to Equality.

Professor Cary L. Cooper CBE

Honoured for his longstanding contribution to work-life research and new thinking, and for his tireless advocacy

Cary Cooper is Pro Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University and Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health. Cary’s previous roles have included adviser to the UN and to the Defence Committee of the House of Commons. He is Chair of Government think tank the Sunningdale Institute; President of the Institute of Welfare Officers and of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy; an Ambassador of The Samaritans; Patron of Anxiety UK; a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and Fellow of numerous influential societies including the British Academy of Management and The Royal Societies of Arts, Medicine and Health. Work-life balance has been a major interest of Cary’s for many years, as he discovered the increasingly negative effects of the long hours culture in an increasing two-earner society.  He has carried out numerous studies which have highlighted the plight of working families and the difficulties they face in juggling their personal, work and family commitments, and has written several topical books, including ‘Work-Life Integration’, ‘The Long Hours Culture’ and ‘Surviving the Workplace’.

Lucy Daniels

Honoured as the influential founding director of the Working Mothers Association and for her determined championing of new work-life thinking and of parents’ and carers’ rights

Personal experience of managing work and family life galvanised Lucy to help start up the Working Mothers Association. She had previously worked in the electronics industry. As the WMA’s founding director she launched the Employer Awards in 1990 and oversaw the charity’s transition to Parents At Work in 1994.  She went on to be one of the founders of the Work-Life Research Centre, launching the UK’s first Work-Life Manual in 2000. Today, Lucy is an internationally known expert in this field, undertaking research and strategy development with large and small enterprises in the private sector and contributing to local and national initiatives. She writes extensively on the subject and is a qualified coach. Still passionate about the issue, Lucy is a vice-patron of Working Families.

Sir Howard Davies

Honoured for his leadership and influence in the work-life debate, both as a patron of Parents At Work and Working Families, and for his championing of older workers at the Employers Forum on Age

Howard Davies is Director of the London School of Economics, a Trustee of the Tate, and a Director of Morgan Stanley Inc. He first came into contact with Working Families in 1993 via its ancestral body the Working Mothers Association, when he was Director General of the CBI, and was asked to judge that year’s Employer Awards. The organisation attracted him then, with its balance of strong advocacy and practical help. He became a patron, and has been involved ever since, as the organisation evolved into Parents at Work and then Working Families. In this connection, and his role with the Employer’s Forum on Age, which he founded and chaired for ten years, he has pursued a diversity at work agenda for almost two decades.

Duncan Fisher OBE

Honoured for championing equality between men and women at home and at work, and for his visionary campaigning for fathers

Duncan Fisher is a social entrepreneur and expert in founding and developing new organisations. He was one of the founders and previous CEOf of the Fatherhood Institute, and also founded the Travel Foundation and www.dad.info. He is now developing a number of programmes around maternity services, work-life balance and relationship support, all focusing on the role of fathers. Previously, Duncan served on the Board of the Equal Opportunities Commission, working particularly on issues relating to unequally shared caring roles between women and men. He recently served on the Government’s Childcare Strategy Stakeholder Group and proposed a parallel strategy to enable greater sharing of care between two parents. He has written and spoken extensively on the need for men’s working patterns to change. Duncan is the father of two young daughters who scrutinise and declare any emerging difference between the ideals he speaks about and domestic reality!

Joanna Foster CBE

Honoured for putting work-life balance and family-friendly employment practices onto the National agenda and developing practical action at The Industrial Society, the EOC and the National Work-Life Forum

Joanna Foster was Head of the Industrial Society’s Pepperell Unit’s women’s development work in the 1980s when one of the key barriers to women developing their careers was the lack of family-friendly or flexible working conditions.  During the following years, as both Chair of the EOC and later President of the EU Commission’s Equality Committee, Joanna vigorously campaigned for better family-friendly policies and practice and pushed for fathers and carers to be included in the provision. The experience, policies and practice in other EU countries was significant in influencing the situation in the UK. During the 1990s Joanna founded The National Work-Life Forum. She went on to integrate the work-life balance issues into leadership training and into the organisations where she subsequently worked. Joanna now chairs the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust in Oxford and the National Crafts Council. Both organisations are acutely aware of the advantages of supporting their employees as they try to balance their working lives with their personal and family lives. She is also a leadership coach where the issues continue to loom large. Joanna is herself still struggling with the work-life balance issue and how best to organise her diary in order to leave enough time to be with her two granddaughters.

Charles Handy CBE

Honoured for his visionary writing about the need to change the way we work

Charles Handy is a writer who specialises in organisational behaviour and management. His main concern is the implication for society of the dramatic changes which technology, demography and economics are bringing to the workplace and to all our lives. Among his ideas is the ‘Shamrock Organisation’, in which professional core workers, freelance workers and part-time/temporary workers each form one leaf of the ‘Shamrock’. He has been rated among the Thinkers 50, the most influential living management thinkers. Charles Handy’s business career started in marketing at Shell International. He co-founded the London Business School in 1967 and in 1972 he left Shell to become a full Professor at the School, specialising in managerial psychology. From 1977 to 1981, Handy worked at a study centre in Windsor Castle looking at ethics and values in society.

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP

Honoured for her committed campaigning for gender equality and also for her personal support in the early days for New Ways to Work and the Working Mothers Association

Harriet Harman is Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal, Minister for Women and Equality, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Labour Party Chair. Harriet has been a key campaigner for women and families throughout her career, fighting for more women MPs through ‘all-women shortlists’ since the 1970s. More women in Parliament has meant issues which make a real difference to families’ lives have been moved firmly on to the mainstream political agenda, such as childcare, maternity and paternity leave, domestic violence, and flexible working. Since becoming Minister for Women in July 2007, Harriet has made it a Government priority to support families as they earn a living while caring for children and older or disabled relatives. Since then numerous measures have been announced, including extended flexible working rights, more childcare and early years education, support for families who care for older or disabled relatives, money and support for women to set up their own business, and a tough new Equality Bill which will increase transparency in the workplace so women can see if they are being paid fairly. Harriet was first elected as an MP in 1982, when Parliament was 97 per cent male.

Sue Harvey

Honoured for her campaigning work as a leading private sector employer for tax deductions on childcare and for Childcare Vouchers

In 1989 as MD of The LV Group (now Accor Services UK), Sue Harvey developed and launched Childcare Vouchers, the first initiative of this kind in the UK with a budget of just £50k. Over the next 11 years she was a leading supporter and sponsor of the voluntary sector, helping both childcare and carer lobbies to promote the needs of working families and raising awareness among political parties towards finally achieving the tax exemption in 2005. Since the exemption the market has grown significantly and in 2007 the UK spend on the Childcare Voucher market was over £600m. She also developed the first Employer funded help line for working parents, Familylife Solutions. Sue has now retired from corporate life and in her spare time is an informal Mentor for individuals and small businesses.

Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP

Honoured for her leadership in the campaign for parents’ rights at work and for championing the Work and Parents legislation which has underpinned so much change for families

Patricia Hewitt has been Labour MP for Leicester West since 1997. She served in Tony Blair’s Government from 1998 to 2007 and was a member of his Cabinet as Secretary of State for Health from 2005 to 2007, and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Cabinet Minister for Women from 2001 to 2005. She is a non-executive director of BT Group plc and a senior adviser to Alliance Boots Ltd and Cinven Ltd. She was appointed to the Privy Council in 2001 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School in 2004. An Australian by birth, Patricia Hewitt is married and has two children.

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP

Honoured as the champion of the National Childcare Strategy and also of the Government’s influential Worklife Balance Campaign

Margaret Hodge became an MP in 1994 and was appointed to Government in 1998. Until September 2008, Margaret was Minister of State for Culture, Arts and the Creative Industries. Her previous roles have included Minister for Trade and Industry; Minister of State at the DWP; Minister for Children, Young People and Families; Minister for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education; and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DEE. Margaret has held a range of offices including Chair of the London Group of Labour MPs; Joint Chair of the Education and Employment Select Committee; and Chair of Labour’s Task Force on Under-5s policy. She was also attached to the Home Affairs Team and was a Key Campaigner on Women. She is a former Chair of the Fabian Executive Committee. Margaret’s main areas of policy interest are Education, the reform of public services, equality issues, gender issues and democratic renewal.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote CBE

Honoured for her tireless work on gender equality, not least in the early days of Opportunity 2000 and at the EOC

Elspeth Howe is a Crossbench member of the House of Lords, appointed in 2001. She has previously held roles as Chairman of the BOC Foundation for the Environment; President of UNICEF UK; and Vice-Chairman of Council of the Open University. A member of the Parole Board, she chaired an Inner London Juvenile Court; the Broadcasting Standards Commission; and Business in the Community’s Opportunity 2000 initiative. From 1975 to 1979, Lady Howe served as the first Deputy Chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission. In 1990 she chaired the Hansard Society’s Commission, which led to publication of the report ‘Women at the Top’. In 1992 she co-authored ‘Women on the Board’. Lady Howe has served as a Non-Executive Director of United Biscuits, Legal & General and the Kingfisher Group. She is married to Lord Howe of Aberavon and they have three children.

Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Honoured for championing a modern Conservative commitment to equality and work-life balance

Theresa May was elected Member of Parliament for Maidenhead in May 1997 and has been living and campaigning in the constituency since then on a range of issues including over-development and trains.

Having worked in the City before becoming an MP, Theresa has experience of life outside Westminster and understands the demands that a busy career places on women. She has been involved in politics at all levels for many years, starting out stuffing envelopes at her local Conservative Association before going on to be a Councillor in the London Borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994. In the House of Commons Theresa has held a number of different ministerial positions ranging from Shadow Spokesman for Schools, Disabled People and Women in 1998 to her recent appointment as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. This breadth of experience has allowed her to bring unique knowledge and insight to her role as Shadow Minister for Women which she has held since July 2007.

Jo Morris

Honoured for the influence and practical contribution of the TUC’s Changing Times website and for championing the work-life balance agenda within the trades union movement

Jo Morris has campaigned and developed policy on working time organisation for more than 30 years. She developed the TUC’s innovative Changing Times work-life balance process, mutually benefiting both employee and employer. She has led social partnership implementation programmes in the public and private sectors. In 1997 she was a member of the EU negotiating team that drafted the Part-time Work Directive. She first worked with Working Families in the 1980s when developing local authority job share policies. Jo left the TUC in December 2008 and now works as an independent researcher and policy adviser. Jo is a Visiting Fellow at Warwick University.

Baroness Prosser OBE

Honoured for her influential championing of work-life issues, gender equality and quality part-time work, within the trades union movement, the EOC and at the Women and Work Commission

Baroness Margaret Prosser is the deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Her previous positions include Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union; Chair of the Women and Work Commission; Chair of the Women’s National Commission; Member of the Equal Pay Task Force; Chair of the ICEM World Women’s Committee; Equal Opportunities Commissioner and Chair of the Trade Union Congress Women’s Committee. Baroness Prosser’s roles have taken her across the world where her work has included leading delegations to assess various female employment issues. In 1995 she represented the British Trade Unions at the United Nations Decade for Women Conference in Beijing. In 2003 and 2004 she led the UK NGO delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York.In 1997 Baroness Prosser was awarded an OBE for services to Industry and Women’s issues.

Rhona Rapoport

Rhona Rapoport – 29th January 1927 – 24th November 2011. Obituary.

Honoured for her sustained and influential research and new thinking in the field of work and family life

Rhona Rapoport is a thought innovator whose work spans over 60 years and generates a better understanding for the work, life, gender, equity and diversity dilemmas of our time. Rhona has written numerous groundbreaking, pioneering works including ‘Work and Family in Contemporary Society’ (1965) and ‘Dual Career Families’ (1971), both written with her husband. During the 1970s, it became clear that Government policy and individual efforts were not enough to create change, so Rhona began working with organisations to transform the way they managed employees’ work-life intergration. Rhona also developed a training program on organisational change and work-family issues for advancing diverse groups in South Africa. For over twenty years, she was an international consultant to the Ford Foundation working on affirmative action research programmes and on work and family issues in the USA and in developing countries. Until recently, Rhona was Director of the Institute of Family and Environmental Research in London. She currently works as a part-time freelance consultant in the hope that others will continue this work. Rhona’s recent collaborative works include ‘Beyond Work-Family Balance: Advancing Gender Equity and Workplace Performance’ (2002) and ‘Work and Personal Life Integration: Looking Backwards to Go Forward’ [in ‘The Myth of Work-Life Balance: The Challenge of Our Time for Men, Women and Societies’] (2006).

Richard Reeves

Honoured for his challenging writings around work and life issues, and for creating a climate for open discussions about being a working father

Richard Reeves is Director of Demos. He is the author of several books, including a biography of John Stuart Mill and several books on work-life balance and wellbeing, and a regular contributor to the New Statesman Magazine, Guardian, Observer and Prospect, as well as national radio and television. Richard is a former Director of Futures at The Work Foundation; Society Editor of The Observer; principal policy adviser to the Minister for Welfare Reform; Economics Correspondent and Washington Correspondent of The Guardian; research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research; and a postgraduate researcher at the University of London.

Dr Surinder Sharma JP

Honoured for hislongstanding and influential championing of diversity for all in many challenging work sectors, including retail, manufacturing and the Department of eHealHealth

Surinder Sharma is National Director for Equality and Human Rights at the Department of Health and has worked in the diversity field for over 30 years. Surinder began his career with the Commission for Racial Equality in 1983. He has been a Councillor on Leicester City Council, chaired Leicester Racial Equality Council and was a Chair in Leicester Magistrates Court. He has worked in a number of different organisations: BBC Television, Littlewoods, Ford Motor Company and Novartis. He was a Commissioner at the Equal Opportunities Commission and chaired their Legal Committee. He is a member of the Ministry of Defence Diversity Panel and a Trustee of the National Space Centre.

Susan Smith

Honoured for her voluntary contribution to the Clapham Working Mothers Group and then as first Treasurer of the Working Mothers Association

In 1996 Susan Smith set up the computer training company ZAPP Computers, which provides one-to-one on-site training to micro-businesses and individuals. Since then the organisation has helped over 1,500 people communicate better with their computers. Susan feels that working for oneself is probably the ultimate goal in work-life balance. Susan also employed her husband and two sons, taking the concept of a Working Family literally. Prior to that Susan worked in International Banking for twenty years, where it seemed that work and children didn’t mix, and that work-life balance was an unknown concept. Susan’s first child was born in December 1979, and she became a founder member of the Clapham Working Mothers Group in 1980. The group inspired and assisted other groups to establish themselves, and this led directly to the foundation of the Working Mothers Association, of which she was a founder member and first Treasurer.

Madeleine Starr

Honoured for her sustained and successful campaigning for carers’ employment rights, and for her influence in establishing Employers for Carers

Madeleine Starr is Strategic Projects Manager at Carers UK, which she joined in 2000 to lead on employment issues. From 2002 to 2007 she managed the ACE National partnership, which developed and tested support in and into work for carers. ACE was instrumental in establishing Employers for Carers, then an interest group lobbying for better awareness, now a membership platform for employers committed to developing and promoting workplace support for carers. This is a passion for Madeleine, who, like so many people with caring responsibilities, had a period out of work to care and faced significant barriers to returning. She found herself in a rewarding second career, many others do not. She has no plans to retire!

Michel Syrett

Honoured for his groundbreaking journalism and writing on new ways of working in management

A business journalist for over 20 years, Michel Syrett has been published in The Times, The Sunday Times, Financial Times, Asian Business, Human Resources and People Management. He has undertaken extensive academic research into international strategic HR management in London, Paris and Hong Kong and has published research on strategic HR management, innovation, strategic communications and innovation management. Michel is the author of two Business Intelligence reports ‘Redefining Strategic HR: How to Integrate HR with Corporate Strategy’, and most recently ‘World-Class HR: the new measurement agenda’. Michel was a co-founder and director of the Pricewaterhouse Cranfield Project into International Strategic HRM (now CRANET).

Sophie Ugle

Honoured for her passionate and committed campaigning for the rights of parents of disabled children

Sophie Ugle is the sole carer of her youngest daughter, who is eighteen and who has a profound and multiple learning disability. She has been a single parent since 2000 and has two older children who have both now left home. Sophie has campaigned for the development of childcare for disabled children and young people, to enable their parent/carers to have the opportunity to work. In 2003, Sophie persuaded her local authority to develop specialist after school and holiday clubs and increase funding for support in mainstream childcare. Sophie also works full-time for a voluntary organisation as a registered nurse and child protection link worker with drug and alcohol users.

Professor Susan Vinnicombe OBE

Honoured for her sustained work around gender equality, and not least the challenge to the business world that is the female FTSE

Susan Vinnicombe’s particular research interests are women’s leadership styles; the issues involved in women developing their managerial careers; and gender diversity on corporate boards. Her Research Centre is unique in the UK with its focus on women leaders and the annual Female FTSE 100 Index is regarded as the UK’s premier research resource on women directors. Susan has written numerous works including her latest book ‘Women on Corporate Boards of Directors: International Research and Practice’ (2008). Susan has consulted for organisations across the globe on how best to attract, retain and develop women executives. She is regularly interviewed by the media for her expert views on women directors. Susan is Chair of the judging panel for the annual Women in the City Awards. Susan was awarded an OBE for her Services to Diversity in 2005.

Imelda Walsh

Honoured for championing flexible working for parents of older children and making possible the extension of the Right to Request Flexible Working

Imelda Walsh joined Sainsbury’s in October 2001.  She is Group HR Director and a member of the Operating Board.  In 2008, Imelda led an independent review of the proposed extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of older children, on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.  She recommended that the right to request was extended to parents of children up to the age of 16.Prior to joining Sainsbury’s, Imelda has held a number of senior HR roles, in Barclay’s, Coca Cola and Schweppes Beverages and Diageo.Imelda has a degree in Modern History and Politics from Manchester University and a Masters in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics. Imelda is married with three children and lives daily with the challenges of two boys and one girl, covering the full age spectrum of five to fifteen.

Pam Walton

Honoured for her sustained contribution to the work-life world since the early days of the Job Share Project to her continuing influence on new thinking today

Pam Walton is a freelance writer, researcher and consultant on flexible working options and work-life balance. She has worked in this field for almost 30 years. She is also a Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Organisation and Management at Sheffield Hallam University. She was a founder member of New Ways to Work (NWW), where she worked for 19 years.  She is the author of a range of publications, including Hours to Suit, Working Flexibly at Senior and Managerial levels for Working Families, ‘Balanced Lives: Changing Work Patterns for men’ (NWW) and ‘Job Sharing: A Practical Guide’. She was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Work-life Balance between 2000-2002, when she also worked for the Government’s Work-Life Balance Team.

Anne Watts CBE

Honoured for inspiring leadership in support of the equality agenda at work and in the development of workplace nurseries

Anne Watts CBE is Chair of the Appointments Commission where her aim is to appoint more women, BME, disabled people and diversity onto the boards of the NHS and other government departments. She has helped establish all the main employer campaigns for diversity and continues to sit on the board of Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity. A founder and Chair of ‘Women in Banking and Finance’ in 1980, Anne went on to become a pioneer for women’s development at Natwest Bank. In 1988, she moved to Midland Bank and became the first ‘Equal Opportunities Director’. This led to fifteen years of leading edge work in all areas of diversity, and she notably created over 850 nursery places around the country to allow parents to combine work and family. Anne continued to push the boundaries through policy and practice, becoming Workplace and Diversity Director for Business in the Community in 2002. In this role she challenged corporate Britain to become more employee-focused and strove to develop an environment in which the work of Working Families could thrive.