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White Water was selected by and delivered BBC Global News Ltd’s first ever women’s leadership programme.

Although the BBC in general and the approx. 7,500 strong News division has great diversity, female representation in the senior management ranks has been uneven. BBC Global News Ltd – the commercial arm of BBC News which provides TV and online news around the world – was particularly keen to redress the balance: it had a strong pipeline of female talent but also only one woman on their senior management team. We jointly designed a leadership programme that would:

  • Work with the talent pool over 9 months to accelerate development, career clarity and visibility
  • Use a blended approach aligned with other BBC leadership programmes and provide ample exposure to female role models inside and outside the BBC
  • Act as an agent of cultural change, both within Global News and across the broader News organisation
  • Ultimately retain existing talent and create the conditions from greater diversity at senior level both in Global News and beyond

The acid test was that it should make a real difference to participants and well as make commercial sense to the client.

The programme has been extremely successful with participants either accelerating their career in Global News or joining other parts of the BBC – something that was defined at the outset as a successful outcome. From a purely financial perspective the programme “paid for itself just on saved recruitment costs”. Project work carried out as part of the programme has also been adopted to redesign processes that make a difference to female career opportunities at the BBC. Finally, each woman on the programme is acting as an ambassador for other women, pushing to change the culture from the inside!

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