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    The inside story on Dawn Jackson, Inclusion & Belonging CWN Chair, and her ambitions for the network see more

    CWN Welcomes Dawn Jackson, Inclusion and Belonging Chair, CWN Board.

    I took the opportunity recently to meet and welcome Dawn Jackson to CWN. Anyone that knows me, will know I’m never one to miss an opportunity to meet new people as I’m always curious to hear what motivates them to do what they do. So, over a glass of bubbles at The German Gymnasium I asked Dawn a few questions about her background, what inspires and drives her, and what she wants to achieve in her role as the CWN Board Inclusion and Belonging Chair.

    Here’s what she had to say…


    Had you heard of CWN before you got involved?

    Sasha Scott who came to Aviva to discuss diversity and inclusion with me at ICBC Standard Bank (ICBC) recommended the network, but really it was my meeting with Uma Creswell where I learnt more about CWN. I worked previously as head of diversity and inclusion at Aviva and was very well connected through other memberships and actively networking. Whilst working with an executive coach at the bank, we were discussing my thoughts about what else I wanted to do with my career, and he said you should meet Uma ‘she’s a great connector’. So, we met, she recommended me to Sally Todd, and then I met fellow CWN Board members Tracey Groves and Ann-Marie Balfe. I talked to them about my passion for diversity and inclusion and how I had brought it into the bank.

    I came along to the balance sheet event with PwC and then I just thought there’s a great opportunity here – CWN is a great network, it is a diverse female network but there is an opportunity for the network to evolve and do other things. I felt I could make a difference and help make this happen. So, my involvement started there.


    You’ve recently started a new job, tell me more about that?

    After the freedom of travelling around the States for a month on the back of a Harley Davidson, I’m a few months into a whole word of new things! I worked for 6 months (part time) at Corndel Management School as a Professional Development expert supporting apprenticeships, coaching and tutoring as many as 25 learners from organisations including UBS and Bank of China, mostly from the financial services industry – I loved it.

    I worked with people at the mid-senior management level; who are often called the frozen middle – including many women who were struggling with wanting to step up or make an impact in a male dominated environment. (Editor: Can you relate?). Although I had a standard curriculum to take them through, the key area of focus was leadership and development which often included conversations around how to maximise the effectiveness of teams and simply to be better leaders - which often led to some great discussions on inclusive leadership behaviours and what these look like.

    Since leaving full-time corporate life and moving on from Corndel last month, I am now setting up my own coaching and inclusion business - CoachInclusion. 

    I want to leverage my coaching skills to create more inclusivity from two different angles. Connecting diverse individuals within the talent pipeline to coaching, those talented individuals who often do not get to benefit from the value of coaching and secondly, coaching existing senior managers and leaders in how to be more inclusive with their teams


    What appealed to you about working with CWN?

    The idea of bringing people together to share experiences and ideas, the network is a real facilitator of this. Because I didn’t know much about CWN myself before I joined (Editor: note to self, we need to do more here!), I thought a lot of other people may be in the same position. They know about other institutions for example, Women on Boards, but I thought it would be really useful if the network had more of an impact and engaged more proactively with those within and outside it.


    What was your perception of CWN?

    Sometimes forums and networks can become a bit of a talking shop unless there is a clear purpose. I love the idea that CWN is focussing on development, education and awareness, it gives the network a structure for people to help themselves develop. People have a lot of choice in terms of networks and I am not absolutely clear and sure what makes them choose CWN. We have an opportunity to revisit this and provide greater clarity around what really distinguishes us.

    Working on the diversity and inclusion agenda involves connecting with others and to learn from them. Networking is a big part of the role. You can’t stand still, remain insular and expect to remain relevant within this fast-changing agenda. We also have to think about how we provide opportunities for women in the CWN to connect with women of other kinds of backgrounds - they probably think about gender, but do they think about age, ethnicity and social mobility, as an example?


    What is going to be your focus for CWN over the next 6 months? Do you have a mandate?

    When I spoke to Sally Todd about the role earlier this year, she was keen to see how we can ensure CWN remains relevant, openly inclusive and diverse. The network is for senior women so we need to be mindful of that and retain this identity, however we should be looking at how we might work more proactively with other diverse networks. There will be networks that exist that we can work with. I asked some colleagues what would draw them to CWN – a network which was more openly inclusive was a key criteria.

    It would be interesting to see what the demographic breakdown is of the membership and also take a look at what other networks exist. I am a great believer in having people work together, the power and opportunity for organisations to work collectively or in partnership to influence societal and organisational culture change is huge - but people very often look at it from a very individual perspective.

    The next six months for me is about our members, and others outside it, starting to see some change. This starts with being thoughtful on this agenda and proactively delivering quality initiatives which show our intent and support for greater inclusion. This agenda is a complex one but I am a great believer in creating disruption through trying things that will take us a step forward. I am absolutely convinced we can learn and evolve the network this way.


    What attracted you to working in the diversity and inclusion field?

    I have always had an interest – particularly helping break down the barriers under privilege presents, especially regarding ethnicity and social mobility. I constantly educate myself around this which is very important. Whilst working at Aviva – working in a head of learning role, I was given the opportunity to take on a Head of D & I role, but I didn’t have a clue how to deliver everything from the start. That was my first realisation, that this is a big area but one that resonates strongly with my own values and passion. I have a strong belief in fairness, it’s a big thing for me and has guided me throughout my career. I want everyone to have opportunities, a sense of belonging and to feel valued. One of my personal value statements is "Valuing uniqueness. Empowering and enabling people to have a voice" which is important and something I care deeply about.


    What do you see as the keys elements to delivering real progress within diversity for business?

    I think the one thing is how do you balance the need for the environment to support a certain group, for example women, but with the need to be inclusive with everybody? If you focus too much on one network, you risk marginalising other groups.

    There is a school of thought that says networks create polarisation if they concentrate purely on specific characteristics. I therefore didn’t attempt to manufacture the creation of networks when I was at the bank but allowed them to evolve when there were passionate individuals keen to lead them. I think networks need to be mindful of being inclusive and encouraging a sense of belonging more broadly as well as providing a safe space for people with similar issues to come together.


    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    I have a brother just 18 months older, who is an air sea rescue helicopter pilot. His love of aviation rubbed off as we spent a lot of time together when we were younger. I wanted to be an airport manager or an air steward. The airport was a happy place and the gateway for people to fulfil their dreams and see the world, I liked that but what was missing to me was “can I really do that?” I came from a socially poor background. I was the only girl in my school that went to uni. I was a little bit marginalised because I was very clever and was in a school that didn’t expect clever. (Editor: I can so relate to this as my comprehensive was an awful experience, a place where you had to hide your talents so as not to get bullied) My parents were always saying go and be a bank manager, a nice safe job. I have always though, had this thing about wanting to help people grow, succeed and achieve. I have now landed somewhere that is very fulfilling.

    I am also in to better work life balance now, having spent so many years working full time in the corporate world. I am a curious person and I’m always learning; I like doing stuff. Life is ultimately about balance and giving back to yourself. And that is the way I can really help others.


    What’s your passion in life?

    To connect people. If I was (London) Mayor, I would look at bringing people together. I would love to create an environment where everyone can feel they can be themselves and feel able to reach out to and learn from others not like themselves. I love it when young people feel they can speak up to senior execs. Too many are afraid to speak up. I also love it when I seeing people connecting - walking curiously towards difference rather than away from it.


    What’s your guilty pleasure?

    I’m lucky to have a partner who likes to bake, so he makes me French breakfast rolls, fresh from the oven. My guilty pleasure is eating those! Provence Rose wine, cheese and French bread in my home in France is also my idea of bliss. How indulgent is that? (Editor: do you deliver?)


    What book you are reading at the moment?

    I read personal development books all the time. Currently I’m reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr – this is a brilliant book. As a female if you feel constrained because you have this feeling of not being good enough, it talks about the inner critic and contrasts that with the inner mentor (Note, we always pay attention to the critic and should be amplifying the mentor instead!!!) and thinking big. Women often think smaller – maybe due to conditioning and how we are brought up. It is an old-fashioned view, this idea that people thinking that when you have kids you lose something by going on maternity leave, it is about turning this around and seeing it positively. You gain personally (and so do organisations) because you learn from that experience and have other rich skills and experiences to offer on your return.

    I’m also reading Gravitas (Caroline Goyder). It’s all about how you can come across with more impact and meaning in meetings and presentations. It has some very interesting, useful tips to try out.


    What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

    I would say very simply; you are good enough as you are. You can do anything you want in life. You are simply … enough. Don’t listen to other people in terms of what they think is right for you. The academic world is important - but think beyond that. What you bring is unique, so go with it.


    Dawn Jackson was talking to Dawn-Louise Kerr, member of the CWN Marketing & Communications Committee.

    To find out more about CWN and our Diversity and Inclusion Policy please visit our website




  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Fatema Orjela, Partner at Sidley Austin on being a trusted advisor and celebrating women in law. see more

    Spotlight on Fatema Orjela

    Fatema Orjela, Partner at Sidley Austin, gives us a glimpse into her career in law, her dedication to encouraging women to join the legal sector and how being a trusted advisor generally is an extension of her profession.

    What do you do/what's your typical day?

    I am a partner in private equity at Sidley Austin. I assist sponsors and financial institutions in M&A, shareholder arrangements and management incentive arrangements. I am also on a number of internal and external committees, e.g. London Chair of Sidley’s global women’s committee, CWN and Oxford Women in Law as well as being a wife and mother, so my day tends to involve a lot of coordination.

    What attracted you to becoming a lawyer and your field in particular?

    I have always loved being a ‘trusted advisor’ to friends and family. Being a lawyer is an extension of this; people look to you for guidance, judgment, and analytical and problem-solving abilities. Private equity, in particular, relies sharply on this skill set being put to effect at a fast pace, to understand people and their drivers to help facilitate parties to agree terms.

    What do you find inspirational/useful about the CWN?

    The exposure to exclusive high-quality events and a network of seasoned peers. I always leave events on a positive adrenaline high having learnt a new skill / perspective or met someone of interest outside of my usual professional circles.

    What was the most challenging experience you've had in the workplace and what are your tips for women to turn similar experiences into an opportunity?

    In 2016, I moved firms alongside 5 other partners and 11 associates. We have since grown our area into 20+ partners and 50+ associates across London and Munich. It was important to learn that there is not one single style of management that is effective. An effective style will depend on the environment. It’s important to be open to push yourself to change as needs be to be able to always be the most effective version of yourself.

    As a lawyer yourself, what do you think we can do to encourage more women to choose a career in law?

    Celebrate the multiple women already in the profession, the varied personalities / backgrounds, and the range of practice areas available. Women should be encouraged to be authentic as, in law, there really is something for everyone.

    How has studying science created opportunities for you that wouldn't have been possible otherwise?

    My strengths at school were sciences (Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Spanish A/AS levels). I seriously considered a career in medicine. Law and medicine are very similar in mindset. You have a toolbox of knowledge. When issues arise, you need to analyse and evaluate before applying such toolbox.

    Are there any particular issues you have come across working in the legal sector and how should other women overcome them?

    Private practice partnership models can be opaque and it can be hard to commit without knowledge of what might come. But firms are starting to focus on identifying rising stars and increased transparency. It should be noted that the initial exponential ‘learning curve’ is short compared to the length of one’s entire career. Keep on learning and helping those around you. Vocalise your enthusiasm and drive.

    You're leading or involved in several initiatives promoting diversity. What attracted you to the ones you picked?

    It is key that we retain more female talent at senior levels in the legal profession. Their talent is invaluable. Increased diversity makes law firms more interesting and dynamic places to work. The quality of complex legal thinking is better. All the legal diversity related positions I hold involve this focus.

    What career advice would you give your younger self?

    • Focus on yourself and be the best that you can be.
    • Ask as many questions as you want until you feel you understand, as if you’re asking, chances are others also don’t know the answer.

    What's do you like doing when you do have any down time?

    Cooking, travelling, scuba diving.

    What are you reading (or watching) right now?

    Unthinkable An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains 

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    CWN newsletter November/December covers inspiring role models & 2020 events! see more

    CWN Newsletter November/December 2019

    As we come to the end of the year, we are delighted to include in this newsletter features on inspirational women, updates regarding changes to the Board, a run-down of the latest books to read on gender and leadership as well as the usual reminders of events in the diary.

    Firstly, we wanted to let you know that the CWN Board are sorry to announce that Sally Todd will be stepping down as President at the end of this year. Sally has made a fantastic contribution to the continuing evolution of CWN and she will be sorely missed. We send Sally all our good wishes for her future endeavours. For those who weren’t able to be at the recent Members Forum where this news was originally shared, Sally will  remain an active member of the CWN community  and you will see her at upcoming events where you will have the opportunity to extend your thanks and gratitude first-hand.

    From the 1 January, Uma Cresswell will take on the role of acting President until our AGM in March – it is exciting to have Uma leading us through the next chapter of the CWN journey.

    This edition also contains not just one, but two interviews with inspirational women. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in December 1919, our ‘Spotlight on…’ features Fatema Orjela, Partner at the law firm, Sidley Austin. Highlighting a member who is a lawyer is timely as the act made it possible for women to qualify as barristers or solicitors for the first time.

    The other interview is with Dawn Jackson, our Inclusion and Belonging Chair on the CWN Board. You may remember that we shared her appointment with you in previous editions and we wanted to give you an opportunity to get to know her better. Do take the opportunity to speak to Dawn when you see her at future events.

    As always, our newsletter includes a reminder of upcoming events in the CWN calendar.  And finally, as Christmas is around the corner, we’ve included a selection of books published in 2019 that you might want to put on your present list!

    We hope you find the content in our newsletter useful and if you’d like us to cover anything in particular, please do let us know by email.

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Issue 4/2019 CWN newsletter full of member stories and upcoming events! see more

    CWN Newsletter September/October 2019

    The summer drinks event seems a wonderful distant memory partly we hope, because you all managed to get a break and enjoy the lovely weather at home or abroad; but also because so much has happened since then for women across sport, banking and business.

    We started the summer all transfixed by the football played in FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Paris, which culminated in the US women’s national team winning the trophy. The success of women in Paris continued to be played out across Europe in banking and politics as, for the first time, two women were appointed to run the European Commission (Ursula von der Leyen) and the European Central Bank (Christine Lagarde). This is a historic step towards seeing more inclusion at senior levels. Similarly, we are always delighted when our CWN members and partners progress their career journey and none more so than CWN’s former President, Brenda Trenowden, who recently joined PwC UK as a partner in its people consulting business.

    As always, our newsletter has an interview with another inspirational role model, in this edition Jane Olds, who is the Head of HR at CWN corporate partner BCS Consulting and an update on our planned events. We’ve also included top tips for using LinkedIn following requests from members who want to use social media more effectively.

    As always, if you’d like us to cover anything in particular, please do let us know by email.


    Articles in this issue:

    Spotlight on Jane Olds

    External Partners and Events

    3 top tips

    Next events

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Upcoming events with CWN see more

    Next Events

    We have a wealth of CWN events coming up – click on each heading to read more:

    26 September: Embodying Leadership Masterclass with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) – back by popular demand, here’s another chance to hone your skills with RADA’s experts.

    1 October: Autumn 2019 Prospective & Current Members Drinks. A great opportunity to bring women in your network to get a taste of CWN and of course for our members to catch-up.

    10 OctoberForensic Readiness – Making your business secure, hosted by Wipro, with Dr Jan Collie who is a leading authority on digital forensics and cyber security. Keep abreast of changes to help your business be prepared.

    30 October: The Role of Emotions in Leadership Masterclass with King’s Business School – our last event with King’s had fantastic feedback so here’s another opportunity to learn from a leading business school.

    And, of course, our next Prospective Members Breakfast is on Wednesday 6 November.

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    External Partners and Events see more

    External Partners and Events

    We’re delighted that our members have been attending Women on Boards and NEDonBoard events as part of our partnership with them. Here are some highlights for you:

    The next NEDonBoard event covering ESG in the Boardroom on 29 October is for experienced board members only with Darshita Gillies speaking. She is the Founder of Maanch, an UN award winning global impact platform. NEDonBoard also have an event looking at Board Best Practice, Shareholder and Activist Engagement on 26 November.

    Women on Boards are holding a Boardroom Insights: Start-ups event on 17 October. The guest speaker, Lesley Lloyd, a NED and interim CMO who has worked with FTSE and niche brands, will be joined by a panel of experienced board directors. This briefing is for those looking for a broad role in the start-up space and will introduce you to board opportunities across sectors. Also, on 18 October, the Boardroom Insights Webinar covers a Women on Boards success story and their journey to the boardroom.

    For more detail, view our events page.

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Three top tips from City Women Network for using LinkedIn to develop your personal brand see more

    Three top tips for using LinkedIn to develop your personal brand

    LinkedIn is a B2B platform, it is people’s (and businesses’) go-to social media channel to find out more about a person. It’s one of the top online channels to find, and demonstrate thought leadership on your topic of choice. LinkedIn helps you gain authority in your niche, with a large number of engaged executives, influencers and other like minded people who are serious about moving forward with their ideas, and learning new things.


    LinkedIn is where people are actively looking for collaborations, or to employ people or where businesses demonstrate their people behind their brand. They may be on other platforms too, but LinkedIn is a key space for making real business connections that can lead to actual paid work. People who invest time in this channel are motivated to engage and build their online network because it’s first and foremost a business tool to make some solid connections that will help build your personal brand.


    Here are our top tips:


    1. Make sure you have a good head and shoulders shot as your profile picture, it gives a good first impression and helps reduce the amount of times you’ll be ignored -  no one wants to see a grey “cluedo icon” of the person they are trying to find out more about. Be visible to help people build their trust in you.  
    2. When you have been to a networking event – make sure you find all those business card owners on LinkedIn that evening or first thing the next day and connect with them. When you send them a connection request, add a note to remind the person of how you met them like “Hi <name>, great to meet you at today’s <name of event>, Lets connect <name>. Personalising this will prove helpful when you look back through your messages at a later date and remind you of how you met.
    3. Within your personal LinkedIn profile, close down your connections so only you can see them. Often some people will connect with you just to get hold of your online “black book” of connections. If you have mutual ones, these will of course show up, but your thousands of connections are through your hard work, why would you open them up to strangers? Close these down by going to your settings and privacy, on the menu that appears click on the privacy tab (underneath the blue header), then look for the “who can see your connections” – change this to only you and LinkedIn in will automatically save this setting for you.



     If you have any specific questions on LinkedIn or other social media platforms that you’d like us to cover in future newsletters (or you’d like more  tips), then please let us know on

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Next Events see more

    Next Events

    We have plenty of events to look forward to. Here are some highlights, to see them all click here. To read more about any event listed below, just click on the heading.

    Our inaugural CWN Member’s Forum on 20 June has sold out but don’t worry there will be another one later this year. The event has been designed with your feedback in mind, for our members to share ideas and learn more about each other.

    It’s out big annual Summer Drinks on 10 July at the beautiful Landsdowne Club in Mayfair. Come along and bring two guests with you so they can enjoy the power of the CWN network and have fun at the same time!

    Looking ahead to the autumn, we start with Suzanne Williams, QPM, sharing her tactics and techniques for Decision Making in Negotiations on 11 September.

    And, back due to popular demand, we team up with RADA in Business on 26 September, save the date in your diary so you can book a ticket when the event is opened.

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    Key dates in the history of AI from Ada Lovelace’s Coding to Google’s Driverless Cars see more

    Artificial Intelligence: a timeline with key highlights


    We often think of Artificial Intelligence as a recent development however as this timeline shows, it’s been around for a lot longer than you may realise.

    Many of us not directly or indirectly involved in the development of AI may think that this is a relatively recent discovery. However, that’s simply not the case. Just ask Lady Ada Lovelace. She was on of the first pioneers of AI in the 1840s. In fact, the team “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1956 by Stanford professor John McCarthy, and this date is generally considered as the modern birth of AI.

    In terms of the history of AI, a one of the first pioneers of AI was Lady Ada Lovelace 1840s but the term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1956 by Stanford professor John McCarthy, and this date is generally considered as the modern birth of AI.

    And while it is true that AI has grown in leaps and bounds very recently, there are a number of impressive developments that have been around for some time. The timeline below highlights some of the key dates in the history of AI.

    1952 Computers playing games. Arthur Samuel develops the first computer checkers-playing program and the first computer program to learn on its own.

    1961 The first industrial robot, Unimate, starts working on an assembly line in a General Motors plant in New Jersey.

    1965 Joseph Weizenbaum develops ELIZA, an interactive program that carries on a dialogue in English language on any topic.

    1966 The first mobile robot. Shakey the robot was the first general-purpose mobile robot to be able to reason about its own actions. In a Life magazine 1970 article about this “first electronic person,” Marvin Minsky is quoted saying with “certitude”: “In from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.”

    1972 AI in medical diagnostics. MYCIN, an early expert system for identifying bacteria causing severe infections and recommending antibiotics, is developed at Stanford University.

    1980 Robots read and play music. Wabot-2 is built at Waseda University in Japan, a musician humanoid robot able to communicate with a person, read a musical score and play tunes of average difficulty on an electronic organ.

    1986 The First driverless car, a Mercedes-Benz van equipped with cameras and sensors, built at Bundeswehr University in Munich under the direction of Ernst Dickmanns, drives up to 55 mph on empty streets.

    1997 AI beats a chess master. Deep Blue becomes the first computer chess-playing program to beat a reigning world chess champion.

    2000 Identifying emotions. MIT’s Cynthia Breazeal develops Kismet, a robot that could recognize and simulate emotions.

    2000 Robot waiters. Honda's ASIMO robot, an artificially intelligent humanoid robot, is able to walk as fast as a human, delivering trays to customers in a restaurant setting.

    2009 Robots pass their driving test. Google starts developing, in secret, a driverless car. In 2014, it became the first to pass, in Nevada, a U.S. state self-driving test.

    2009 AI writes news articles. Computer scientists at the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University develop Stats Monkey, a program that writes sport news stories without human intervention.

    2011 AI wins TV quiz show. Watson, a natural language question answering computer, competes on Jeopardy! and defeats two former champions.

    2016 AI defeats Go master. Google DeepMind's AlphaGo defeats Go champion Lee Sedol via self learning.

    2017 Robots start delivering take-away. Kiwibot & Door Dash food delivery under Starship Technologies in Berkley, California develops self driving delivery robots with a 6 km radius and a maximum delivery load of 10kg.

    Paula Kienert, CWN Events Committee Chair and Executive Director Fidelity Investments

  • CWN Admin posted an article
    An introduction to Artificial Intelligence by Paula Kienert, CWN Events Committee Chair. see more

    Making Sense of AI: The History, the Hype, and the Hard Truth

    Always wanted to know more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) but never dared to ask? This fascinating introduction to AI, debunks many of the myths and looks objectively at key developments and potential outcomes.

    AI. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or see the term? A film like Ex Machina, Chappie, RoboCop, Blade Runner or 2001: A Space Odyssey? Or perhaps you think of more specific concepts or images along the lines of facial recognition technology, Bitcoin, job losses, autonomous vehicles, killer robots? What is AI, exactly? Margaret Boden, OBE, ScD, FBA, and Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, states quite simply that “AI seeks to make computers do the sorts of things that minds can do.” That’s a pretty broad definition. And now, AI seems to suddenly be the hot topic. Let’s explore why AI has seemingly mushroomed overnight, review a some lesser known historic developments in the field, consider how the future of work is likely to be impacted and finally, reflect on some important aspects around how the media reports on the topic.

    Understanding Frequency Illusion, Selective Attention and Confirmation Bias

    If you’re anything like me, it does seem that AI is cropping up everywhere. It’s like that time I heard about an obscure chamber music-electro-punk band one day. Then, later in the week, a song of theirs suddenly appeared in my recommended Spotify playlist! Was it simply a coincidence ...or did the social media algorithms have me pegged? It could very well be the latter but equally likely, I experienced the “frequency illusion.”  Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky coined the term back in 2006 to describe the syndrome in which a concept or thing that one suddenly learns about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. Zwicky attributes this to the combination of two psychological processes - selective attention which is activated when upon noticing a new word, object, or concept; after that, it’s on the radar, triggering an unconscious hypersensitivity to its existence, and as a result, its found more often. The second process, confirmation bias, suggests to your mind that each sighting is additional proof of the impression that the item has become omnipresent overnight. This is also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, first established in 1994 after a commenter in an the online discussion board of a US newspaper heard the name of the ultra-left-wing German terrorist group twice in 24 hours.

    While “frequency illusion” or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon may be at work when it comes to the ubiquitous presence of AI, a number of catalysts have contributed to the acceleration in the field, namely significant advancements in computer processing power, the miniaturization of materials, rapid prototyping, increased connectivity and significantly lower cost of storage (P. Anderson).

    AI is not a recent discovery

    In terms of the history of AI, a one of the first pioneers of AI was Lady Ada Lovelace 1840s but the term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1956 by Stanford professor John McCarthy, and this date is generally considered as the modern birth of AI.

    And while it is true that AI has grown in leaps and bounds very recently, there are a number of impressive developments that have been around for some time (Artificial Intelligence: a timeline with key highlights). For example, in 1952, the first industrial robot, Unimate, started working on a General Motor’s assembly line based in their New Jersey plant. Then in 1972, Stanford University developed an early expert system called MYCIN to identify bacteria causing severe infections and to recommend antibiotics. AI beat a chess master when Deep Blue was the first computer chess-playing program to beat a reigning world chess champion in 1997. Right up to the present day where robots not deliver food in Berkley, California and Milton Keynes her in the UK.

    The impact of AI at work

    Given the great recent advances in the field, how should we think about the near term impact on the workplace?  The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report offers some interesting observations from their wide-reaching survey and suggests that the future isn’t all gloomy. For example, while most companies expect that automation will lead to a reduction in the full-time workforce by 2022, 38% of businesses surveyed actually expect to expand the workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles, and more than 25% expect automation to lead to the creation of completely new enterprise roles. By 2022, emerging professions are set to experience 11% growth in the total employee base, whereas the employment share of declining roles is set to decrease by 10%. And the bulk of employment across industries - about half of today’s core jobs - is expected to remain stable in the period up to 2022. While this may be less negative that you may have anticipated (thanks to media coverage, as we will see later), we should still anticipate dramatic shifts as the AI landscape continues to evolve.


    What types of jobs are likely to benefit and what skills will employers value most? According to the World Economic Forum’s research, we’re likely to see increasing demand for roles along the lines of Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Ecommerce and Social Media Specialists. In conjunction, roles requiring distinctively ‘human' skills, such as Customer Service Workers, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, People and Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists as well as Innovation Managers will be of value in order to facilitate the change associated with the advances in technology. It could be argued that some of these roles will be AI driven (think chatbot), the survey results also point towards accelerating demand for completely new specialist roles focusing understanding and leveraging the latest emerging technologies: AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, Process Automation Experts, Information Security Analysts, User Experience and Human-Machine Interaction Designers, Robotics Engineers, and Blockchain Specialists.


    Which skills will employers be seeking?


    And for those uninterested in a purely tech focused role, here’s a glimpse into skills tipped to be most sought after in a mere 3 years.


    Table 1: Comparison of the top ten skills demand

    Today, 2018

    Trending, 2022

    Analytical thinking and innovation

    Analytical thinking and innovation

    Complex problem-solving

    Active learning and learning strategies

    Critical thinking and analysis

    Creativity, originality and initiative

    Active learning and learning strategies

    Technology design and programming

    Creativity, originality and initiative

    Critical thinking and analysis

    Attention to detail, trustworthiness

    Complex problem-solving

    Emotional intelligence

    Leadership and social influence

    Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

    Emotional intelligence

    Leadership and social influence

    Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

    Coordination and time management

    Systems analysis and evaluation


    For most workers, up-skilling will be crucial to navigating the new workplace landscape. And for all workers, there will be “an unquestionable need to take personal responsibility for one’s own lifelong learning and career development”. Many individuals will require support through periods of job transition and phases of retraining and up-skilling by governments and employers who will be looking for the right formula to encourage individuals to voluntarily undergo periodic skills upgrading.

    How can we respond to these changes?

    But forget about the future, what about right now? Paul Armstrong’s book Disruptive Technologies: Understand, Evaluate, Respond is a great place to begin if you’re keen to understand how to grapple with the impact of new technologies in your own workplace.  Armstrong’s book outlines the steps that you can take to engage with emerging technologies today in order to serve the consumer of tomorrow. It is a practical book offering a distinct response to emerging technologies - including Blockchain (Bitcoin), artificial intelligence, graphene and nanotechnology (among others) and other external factors such as the sharing economy, mobile penetration, millennial workforce, ageing populations - that impact business, client service and product models. Armstrong provides a clear roadmap to assess, respond to and problem-solve: what are the upcoming changes in technology, when is the right time to respond to those change, and what is the best response?

    “AI’s future has been hyped since its inception” says Margaret Boden.  We should always be mindful that the media has a tremendous amount of power to direct our shape our most basic views on the topic. Consider these recent headlines:

    • ‘The AI that can tell you when you’ll DIE...’ (MailOnline, 23 Feb. 2018)
    • ‘DeepMind has trained an AI to unlock the mysteries of your brain’ (Wired UK, 9 May, 2018).

    The Oxford Martin School and Reuters Institute recently conducted an analysis of the UK media and its coverage of AI. They determined that news coverage is significantly biased with clear political leanings. Their findings may align with your own observations – but here’s the proof: they found that left leaning media outlets tend to highlight the issue of ethics such as discrimination, algorithmic bias and privacy while the right draw attention to economics and geopolitics, including automation, national security and investment. In addition, content itself is overwhelmingly drawn from industry sources and CEOs amplifying their self interest. To make matters worse, serious cuts to budgets supporting journalists have resulted in an overwhelming reliance on basic press releases for day-to-day science and technology news stories. Some news desks even completely eliminated their science and/or technology desks. In order to present a more balanced view of the AI landscape, greater input is needed from scientists, activists, as well as others for alternative and independent views. The bottom line regarding the media is that in order to be well informed and differentiate between what is possible and what is aspirational, one should seek out varied sources of information rather than relying on newspapers alone.  For example, New Scientist magazine or academic centres such as the Alan Turing Institute.

    In the midst of tremendous change, some basic truths remain – the human characteristics of creativity, persuasion, adaptability, critical thinking and collaboration underpin our positive steps forward. Only time will tell whether AI will help, or hinder, these very human traits and aspirations.  For more, head over to the Barbican to experience their current exhibition “AI: More than Human”.

    Paula Kienert, CWN Events Committee Chair and Executive Director Fidelity Investments


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    External Partners and Events see more

    We are delighted to confirm our partnership with NEDonBoard, the UK professional body for non-executive directors and board members. This partnership provides CWN members with access to NEDonBoard’s quarterly “Board Best Practice” events and selected Expert Panels. It is a distinctive benefit for CWN members contemplating or honing a NED career with the opportunity to connect with senior female and male Board level representatives.

    NEDonBoard events are targeted on specific topics on Board best practice benefiting those of you who have Board level roles and need to keep up to date and/or wish to learn more about current hot Boardroom topics.

    The first event of our collaboration is on 24 September – NEDonBoard Best Practice Remuneration Committee. The next is on 29 October – NEDonBoard: ESG in the Boardroom.

    Places are limited so please do sign up quickly if you are interested.

    As with the Women on Boards' partnership, we are delighted that we can offer these events at preferential rates to our members.

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    CWN newsletter June 2019 covers role models, artificial intelligence, NEDonBoard & upcoming events! see more

    CWN Newsletter June 2019


    At last the evenings are lighter, which means the summer season of social and sporting events has started. The highlight being the CWN’s Annual Summer Drinks on 10 July. Did you know that as a member you have two complementary guest tickets? Make the most of it and bring your contacts so they can experience themselves what it’s like to be part of CWN and, of course, have some fun with like-minded professionals. In the meantime, if you do know anyone interested in becoming a member, our next CWN Prospective Members Breakfast is on 3 July at 8am. In addition, we’re thrilled to give you advanced notice of our AI themed event on the evening of 18 July with Paul Armstrong which our corporate sponsor, ANZ, is kindly hosting. Look out for a ‘Save the Date’ email arriving in your inbox soon.

    Our annual drinks also provide an opportunity to help others, with our silent auction to raise funds for Haven House Children’s Hospice, CWN’s nominated charity. If you have any experiences or prizes you could share for us to include as part of the silent auction, it would make a big difference to what Haven House can provide to children and young people – please email our admin office with the details.

    We’ve had some fabulous events since our last newsletter and we’re delighted that Stem and Glory, who served us a delicious meal at our supper club, now offer 20% discount to all CWN members and guests. Also the Gut Stuff who gave the fascinating introduction to gut health are offering a discount to their Gut Diary Book – for more details click here.

    We are already receiving positive feedback following the recent launch last month of our partnership with Women on Boards and are pleased to announce a similar collaboration with NEDonBoard. Working together with these organisations we are in a position to provide members access to a broader range of options, at preferential rates, to develop their skills and networks. We will keep you updated on our external partnerships by email, in the meantime, we’ve included more detail on our work with NEDonBoard below as well as other interesting stories.

    As always, if you’d like us to cover anything in particular, please do let us know by emailing our admin office.


    Articles in this issue:

    Spotlight on Pinar Ozcan 

    External Partners and Events

    Making Sense of AI: The History, the Hype, and the Hard Truth

    Artificial Intelligence: a timeline with key highlights

    Next Events

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    External Partners and Events see more

    We are excited to be partnering with Women on Boards to provide CWN members access to Women on Boards’ skills-focused Boardroom Insights series covering Board training. The next event, FTSE and AIM Listed Boards, is on 25 April at 6pm. Find out more about different types of board opportunities across these markets, hear from a panel of experienced board directors and broaden your networks.

    Want to apply for a role in the public sector? Broaden your understanding of the range of opportunities, understand how your skills and experience are transferable and meet other board members at the Boardroom Insights event focusing on Public Sector Boards on 16 May, at 6pm.

    Read more about both events, the panels of experts and book tickets on our events page.

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    Next Events see more

    Next Events

    Hopefully you’ve seen all our upcoming events on our website. Below is a selection and to find out more about our other events click here.

    Protect Your Business, 12 June
    This event has a computer forensic expert covering how we can protect our businesses – click here for more information.

    CWN Members’ Breakfast Forum, 20 June
    We are particularly enthusiastic about this new bi-annual event. We’ve designed this in response to feedback in our members’ survey. You’re looking for more time to share ideas and learn more about each other. We’re hoping this event will do that (and more!). This link reveals all.

    Communicating persuasively in negotiations, 11September
    Looking ahead to the autumn, we start with Suzanne Williams, QPM, sharing her techniques for decision making and communicating in negotiations. This link has the latest detail.

    Masterclass with RADA, 26 September
    Back due to popular demand, we will team up with RADA in Business, more detail on the Masterclass will be updated here.

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    The 50:50 Project see more

    The 50:50 Project


    We are delighted to share information about a new project at the BBC: the 50:50 Project.

    The overall aim of the 50:50 Project is to increase the number of Women in Journalism.  It is now the biggest collective action on increasing women’s representation in BBC content that there has ever been. It has spread organically throughout the BBC and involves over 410 teams including over 3000 journalists and content makers from across TV, radio and digital.

    The 50:50 Project is delivering remarkable shifts in women’s representation in BBC content. It has tapped into a widespread desire among BBC staff to resolve imbalance. You can sign up to be part of the Project in your personal capacity at an individual level or as a partner organisation. Please scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to download and read more about the 50:50 Project.

    If you would like to be put in contact with the 50:50 Project, please email the Membership Committee.