Green and Blacks co-founder Jo Fairley joined guests from a range of industries at Robert Walters latest Empowering Women in the Workplace seminar, to share her insights into building a successful ethical brand.
From humble beginnings in a Portabello flat, Jo built Green and Blacks into a £100m company, a household name that is, according to a recent poll, “cooler than Prada”, and an organisation that is able to have a positive impact on the lives of cocoa farmers around the world as one of the country’s first ‘Fair Trade’ brands.
“I’ve always believed very firmly that it’s not just possible to run a successful ethical business, but that ethical business practices and corporate social responsibility directly contribute to that success.” Said Jo Fairley.
Having begun her career as a journalist with women’s magazines, Jo says that in her early working life she felt she was in an environment where she was encouraged and empowered at work. However, since moving into new areas of business, Jo describes herself as a ‘Born-again Suffragette’.
“Women in business need strong role models, and we need to support one another. Sharing contacts and helping one another to grow contact networks is absolutely key. As someone who never felt comfortable in a ‘networking’ scenario I found I had far more success and felt far more confident if I considered, when going into those kinds of situations, what I could offer other people, not what I could get from them.”
As an employer, Jo felt that being flexible was vital to getting the most out of her staff. By setting deadlines for projects, rather than strict office hours, Jo’s employees were able to manage their personal and family life while still performing well at work.
“We always felt it was important that we remained flexible to the needs of our staff to strike a balance between work and home or family life. When we had single parents working at Green and Blacks we appreciated that their schedules would need to be adaptable. By giving them the opportunity to manage their own hours we created a sense of trust that saw these employees perform exceptionally.”
Jo went on to stress that empowering and supporting women in the workplace is not a concern solely for women, and how men can be encouraged to play a role as well.
“Whenever I’ve been asked by men how they can better support women at work, I have always asked them to consider how they would want their daughter to be treated in that position.”
To find out more about upcoming seminars visit our events page.
Download or request a free copy of our research paper Empowering Women in the Workplace.
How can organisations close the disability employment gap?
How do you drive Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace? We’ve partnered with specialist diversity and inclusion organisations: Qlearsite, CV Library, Pearn Kandola, The Kaleidoscope Group, and the Inclusive Group to survey 7,500 Irish and UK professionals - to understand the career challenges and wRead More
Recruit top talent from divers backgrounds with Robert Walters
Robert Walters is a leading specialist professional recruitment consultancy offering expert recruitment advice to market leading clients in over 30 countries worldwide. Our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the UK recruitment market allows us to tailor our services to ensure we support our cliRead More
Retaining key professionals after a career break
Women take career breaks from work for several reasons including traveling, starting a family or taking care of an elderly parent - amongst many others. Retaining these women when they look to return to the workforce is crucial in a market where skilled professionals are in a shortage. A panel of inRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.