One of International Investment's 2021 award winners Beverley Yeomans of deVere Group explains what contributed to her success in the category and what the main focus will be in 2022.
Yeomans won Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion (Advisers) - Beverley Yeomans, deVere Group, at II's virtual awards ceremony held on 7 October 2021 at Incisive Media's studios in London's Covent Garden.
To see all the award winners click here and to watch the event video of the awards, click here.
Beverley Yeomans was appointed by deVere Group as its inaugural Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in September.
Described by deVere's chief executive and founder Nigel Green as "one of the hardest working, most-skilled and inclusive-conscious people in our industry",
Yeomans has had a senior executive role, including her current role as Chief Operating Officer, and been on the Board for some 22 years.
Due to traditional industry biases, very few women have ever achieved this level, so young, and for this long in international financial services.
Yeomans won the International Investment Award for Diversity & Inclusion at this year's virtual ceremony.
Here she tells us about her new CDO role.
What does a CDO role involve?
A CDO identifies and quantifies gaps in an organisation's equal opportunities structures and creates strategies to stamp out discrimination and improve representation across ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, disability and class. To achieve this, it may mean committing more resources, expanding recruitment pools, monitoring retention and promotion rates, and encouraging cultural development.
Why has deVere created this new position now?
We felt it was right to signal the importance of our global organisation's culture of diversity and inclusion internally and externally as we believe we really do lead the way in this area within our industry.
We actively encourage and promote diversity and inclusive practices across all 100-plus legal entities that now make up the deVere Group of Companies.
All entities are equal opportunities employers and as such, the employment policy established recognises the diversity of communities within which we work. The policy sets out protected characteristics. These include age, sex, race, disability, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and religious background.
How is the diversity and inclusion agenda supported?
I think Nigel (Green) asking the COO and board member, who has been at the frontline of the business for over two decades, underscores how seriously the leadership takes this. It shows how this is not about paying lip service to these issues; instead they are at the forefront of our decision-making.
When an organisation is really trying to provoke development and change, this is the best way to do it.
Diversity and inclusion are important conversations and we're having them at the very top level and progress wouldn't be made without the highest buy-in from leadership.
What skillset do you think CDOs should have?
You must be able to successfully build relationships and accept when something is not working. You need to bring functions and individuals together, helping them find common ground. Also, you need to fully know the business you're supporting because that's what will help build the strongest case for diversity and inclusion.
I'm never going to say that we're done; things evolve. There's always learning and development to be undertaken in this area.
What area will be your main focus in 2022?
I think it will be inclusion. I love that our teams have a real sense of belonging in our organisation and that they can feel recognised and celebrated. I want to ramp this up even more. It's an important part of the deVere culture.