Why we are 'just getting on with it'

Having a Gender Diversity Charter Mark with widespread support will show the world that we can “just get on with it”.
Roseann Kelly

AT a meeting last week with my gender diversity charter mark working group (which includes one of the Women in Business gender diversity champions John Healy of Allstate), the conversation turned to the current political situation.

Needless to say, there was much shaking of heads, with no idea as to how to get the Assembly working again. But the consensus was that we in the private sector have to “just get on with it”. A very simple statement of truth - we cannot just stop, we have no choice only to keep going.

This thought was with me later in the week as I attended a retirement reception for Sir Malcolm McKibben, outgoing head of the NI Civil Service and recent chair of the all-party talks. He had tried hard to get the parties to “just get on with it”.

They didn't on this occasion. But I do have faith that they want to and they will.

I know our civil servants sometimes get a raw deal, but any that I have met are very hard-working. Certainly Sir Malcolm went well beyond even the highest expectations of his role and has been an exceptional head of the Civil Service. As he reflected on his career at the reception, it was apparent he is passionate about every role he took on, but maybe more importantly was his humility that became clear as he emphasised the importance of the support he got from his wife, his team and colleagues.

And our new head of the Civil Service David Sterling will “just get on with it” too. He will continue the job of making our civil service as efficient and as effective as possible. And an area already identified by David as vital to making the Civil Service better and one which he will champion is diversity.

To be an effective, innovative and progressive organisation, diversity must be at the heart of your strategy. It must be a key objective. So for Northern Ireland to be better we too need to wholly embrace diversity (tick-box exercises are not good enough).

Women in Business is all about creating a new economy through inclusive growth and that is why diversity was a key pillar in the manifesto we launched last year. We called for Gender Diversity Champions and we called for a Gender Diversity Charter Mark. There was no one going to do it for us, so we “just got on with it”.

On September 14 at our Chair's Lunch in the Europa Hotel our Champions will launch our new Northern Ireland-wide Gender Diversity Charter Mark.

Are you ready to sign up and show that you are an effective, innovative, progressive organisation? Having a Gender Diversity Charter Mark with widespread support will show the world that despite the many current challenges, we “just get on with it”.

:: Roseann Kelly (roseann@ is chief executive of Women in Business (, the largest and fastest growing business network for female entrepreneurs and senior women in management in Northern Ireland, with 2,500 members spread throughout all industry sectors. Follow Women in Business NI on Facebook at or on Twitter @wibni.

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