Annapurna introduces: Ellevate

This week, we had a chat with Becky, Associate Director at Annapurna. Becky is a big personality in the office and is well known for her sporting skills and hosting Workout Wednesdays in the office gym. We discussed with her the female opportunities within Annapurna and the story behind the setup of Ellevate.

Annapurna Recruitment was founded by Nigel Fox, Charlie Appleyard and James Ballard in 2008. When Becky first joined Annapurna in 2014, there were not many females in a higher position than her. Becky considered that as much as she was comfortable and always felt welcomed within this environment, she struggled to relate to the male founders.

‘We are in a historically male-dominated industry.’

Becky decided that she would take advantage of free external mentoring for females, Women in Recruitment (WiR), through APSCo (The Association Of Professional Staffing Companies). The programme enables female mentees in the recruitment profession to access experienced mentors (male or female), equipping them with the skills, guidance, motivation, emotional support and a role model to help them climb the career ladder or develop their business.

This sparked an opportunity for Becky to create a women’s network within the company. Ellevate was then established in 2020, following the idea to build a female support initiative. In 2022, Ellevate has moulded into an informal mentoring scheme and an intervention for females to connect with each other in a consistent way.

‘Ellevate creates social opportunities and initiatives for women in the business.’

Becky’s aim is for there to be an opportunity for females to feel empowered, come together and share ideas in a safe space over our female only chat or in person.

Ellevate creates social opportunities and promotes diversity and inclusion, building relationships between employees. The group host regular social events such as Ladies night, Galentines Day Lunch and Period Awareness day.

Ellevate also promotes shared experiences and creates a common ground for what women may go through whilst working alongside male colleagues such as imposter syndrome, gender discrimination or workplace challenges.

Since the MeToo movement was established, it has set the bar for conversations to be had. Becky said that 8 years ago, the norm that was occurring within the market then, would not pass now. New joiners ask about our female setup, which presents that it is definitely valued within the business allowing new females coming into the business to be more confident to speak up.

We asked Becky how she thinks similar initiatives can be created in a male-led business. She wants you to ask yourself the following:

  • Why do you want to do it, and what are your motivations for a female network?
  • Do you have a sponsor? In our case, Annapurna has many senior males in leadership roles to support and promote the initiatives. Nigel has been a massive champion for the Women’s Network.
  • Is there a group of like-minded females? Key females in the office will help to drive initiatives and push ideas.

Becky said that some females want to see change but sometimes don’t feel brave enough to act upon it. However, when they come together with others, they gain some confidence and are able to speak up which acts as a force for involvement.

‘If gender equality is important to you, YOU can be the one to champion these ideas.’

Becky also suggested that firms should consider rewriting any old-school policies. If the Future is really Female, all company strategies should align towards this idea!

For example, Annapurna recently rewrote its maternity leave policy to become more adaptable for women.

Some suggestions from Becky are to:

  • Support your peers on their equality initiatives!
  • Educate employees on what they may feel like in a male-dominated environment. There could be challenges around confidence and building relationships with male colleagues.
  • Find out what females go through during menopause and maternity leave.
  • Get females into senior roles – having diversity at a senior level will create diversity within planning and procedures.

Becky also wants to raise a thought-provoking question within the agency; why are there fewer females within the recruitment industry?

‘Are there systemic issues in the way recruitment firms are set up?’

If you have any questions, please do feel free to get in touch and connect with Becky on Linkedin.

If you believe in our initiatives and want to get involved, then come see what could work for you.

Have a look at the jobs on our career page.

Written by Jasmine Mitchell, Growth Marketing Executive – Annapurna Recruitment

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