Moving forward with WIN in the UK
ExxonMobil’s Women’s Interest Network (WIN) has a global presence across most ExxonMobil sites. Dr Sade Adenekan takes Newsline readers on a whirlwind tour of WIN activities in the UK.
WIN seeks to inspire, identify, and improve awareness around gender bias and ensure effective and robust ways of tackling barriers and promoting personal effectiveness. This is achieved through partnership working, networking and the sharing of ideas and experiences, and WIN continues to raise the bar by promoting awareness and education around the challenges and biases women face in the workplace.
WIN Fawley chapter was established in 2009 and is currently led by Supriya Gopinath. There are two primary sub-teams - ‘Parents and Carers’ and ‘Personal Effectiveness’ and regular engagement takes place with the Fawley site management and other UK and EAME WIN groups. In 2019, WIN Fawley celebrated its 10 year anniversary – view the event videos here. The team has also held a ‘Bring Your Daughter To Work’ day and annual International Women’s Day celebrations. During COVID, the team went online with webinars and virtual book clubs and began a focus on starting the site’s ‘male advocacy journey.’
WIN Leatherhead began in 2013 and its current co-chairs are Dr Sade Adenekan and Charlotte Lusted with two management sponsors – Nic Harker and Jenny Bright. Over the last two years, it has held events to help address the impact of COVID and provide support for female colleagues, young families, and parents. In October last year, WIN sponsored a Menopause Awareness session led by Dr Sade Adenekan, Assistant UK MOH Manager which attracted more than 120 employees. As a result, a support menopause line to a specialist nurse was set-up for those using ExxonMobil’s private healthcare benefit (BUPA). All these events have been well attended and provided valuable feedback to HR, leadership, and business line supervisors to help improve engagement, resilience, and communications.
More recently, the chapter has promoted mental health awareness through a ‘Time to Talk’ Day, and Ovarian Cancer awareness via a newsletter in March. The team also celebrated International Women’s Day via a #breakingthebias chocolate buttons desk drop for all staff - featuring key messages on gender bias.
WIN Fife started in 2014 and has since evolved to include both male and female employees across departments. Led by Sarini Naidoo and Hannah Simpson, the chapter has held events and initiatives for the entire FEP population. In March, a ‘mixer event’ took place to coincide with International Women’s Day, providing an opportunity for much missed face-to-face networking. In the past few years, FEP has hosted a gender stereotype workshop, External Men’s Mental Health Talk event, Employee ‘Pot Luck’ and has created a multi-faith prayer room. In the future, the FEP WIN hopes to collaborate with STEM outreach to facilitate a ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’.
What does the future of WIN look like?
This year, all chapter leads are taking an integrated UK-wide approach with site representation feeding into ExxonMobil’s overarching Inclusion and Diversity umbrella in line with other UK Employee Resource Groups (ERG). They will continue to roll out events, lunchtime sessions and supportive discussion forums highlighting three key themes – female role modelling, female health & wellbeing, and improving male advocacy aligned to international (World Health Organisation) and local (NHS) related inclusion & diversity themes.
Helen Ross, WIN Fawley & EMBRACE management sponsor says: “As a founding member of the Fawley WIN team back in 2009 and now recently returning to the site as Chemicals Process Manager, I am thrilled to see that momentum has continued to grow and that our WIN vision is stronger than ever. Our ability to leverage others championing a common goal, enabled by the new integrated ERG structure, unlocks access to a powerful network of resources that can only help to strengthen the impact of the UK WIN team. The synergies from the new structure will enhance the impact of the teams across the UK – improving awareness and enabling a broader audience to benefit from events. Ultimately, I see this step as a catalyst to delivering the vision of the WIN teams, to attract, retain and develop women to reach their full potential, and improve decision making through increased diversity at all levels of the organisation.”
Jenny Brighton, WIN Leatherhead management sponsor says: “I am delighted to be part of the new I&D structure, working with the WIN team. We now have a great opportunity to have a wider reach across all our sites and employees, sharing ideas, learnings and experiences across all our teams, which is a very positive step forward.”
Nic Harker, WIN Leatherhead management sponsor concluded: “One of the silver linings from the pandemic is that it has shown us that it’s possible to collaborate more than we ever thought across multiple locations. WIN is no exception with some brilliant lunchtime sessions, and Fawley’s male advocacy initiative now getting traction across Europe. The new I&D structure in the UK will help us build on that, as well as providing a formal link back to the UK leadership team and the other employee groups for the first time.”