Added on: 7th July, 2020 by LSEC17
In the first of its kind at London South East Colleges, and due to lockdown measures, this year’s landmark lecture by British businesswoman and the former CEO of Lloyds of London, Dame Inga Beale DBE, stepped up to a virtual podium last week to deliver a speech on the theme of ‘Leading in challenging times’.
Students from a wide range of level 3 courses as well as many tutors and support staff from the College attended the event online. They came to listen to Dame Inga talk about her career, how it started, the journey she has taken to get where she is today, the setbacks she has experienced and how she overcame them.
She told the audience about her own period of further education at Newbury College and how her experience here led to her first job at the Prudential Assurance Company in London as a trainee underwriter. After many years in the insurance business, a year off to backpack around Australia and Asia and then winning promotion to a number of senior leadership roles in France, Germany, Switzerland and the USA, she was eventually announced as the new CEO of Lloyds of London in December 2013. This made her the first female CEO in the insurance market’s 328-year history.
“On becoming the CEO of Lloyds,” she said, “I wanted to introduce new ways of doing things - to introduce more flexibility and a wider variety of different people into the company - listen to new voices and create better opportunities for our employees.
Dame Inga continued: “The recent coronavirus lockdown has forced many companies around the world to adopt more flexible approaches to working remotely and I believe that many of these changes are here to stay. Technology has enabled this and lends itself to how we address other issues such as climate change, inequalities in the workplace and replacing paper with digital. It gives us the opportunity to reduce the amount of top-down management and allow more autonomy and bestow greater decision making powers to more people throughout organisations ending the need for too many committees.
“As a leader in business, I wanted to be open and approachable and to breakdown old hierarchies. To do this, I knew I needed to ‘bring people with me’ and show them a clear blueprint of my new vision. It meant simplifying workstreams, prioritising certain activities over others and allowing more people a voice.
“Most of all, I had to win our employees’ trust. This meant addressing all the concerns they had, giving them a role in the design of new jobs and systems and getting rid of their fears. I also knew that to make real change happen, everybody had to become savvier regarding sustainability and future needs.”
Ms Beale then went to talk more about inclusivity, diversity in the workplace and the recent BLM movement and its impact on business. A Q&A session followed and attendees were also allowed to give their feedback.
College Principal and Group CEO Dr Sam Parrett OBE summed up the lecture by saying: “It was a great honour to welcome Dame Inga to the college - albeit virtually. This, however, didn’t detract from the sense of occasion and allowed us to open up the event to more people.
“I for one was very inspired by the talk and I’m sure that everybody who attended felt the same. It’s always good to know that progress is being made in all areas of our lives and that people must move along with the times - even more so right now than ever before.
“Embracing and constantly preparing for change is a must for all in today’s fast-paced and constantly transitioning world. On behalf of the College I would like to thank Dame Inga for what was yet another amazing event in our landmark lecture series.”
This was the latest in a series of landmark lectures given to London South East Colleges’ students by some of the most senior figures from the public services, business and charity sectors. Previous speakers have included former Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, Police Commander Dr David Musker, Ofsted Chair Professor Julius Weinberg, Business Entrepreneur David Gold and many more.