Our Master Pippa Latham was in good company on the industry panel at the inaugural ‘Women In Industry’ conference. Organised by NMBS Finance Director Julie Langford to promote diversity and inclusion in our sector, the panel included Glynis Catterson of S&A Builders Merchants and Samantha Hanks of Cembrit.

The conference, hosted by TV presenter Georgie Barrat, took place at the prestigious Stock Exchange in London. Over 60 women across merchants, manufacturers and service suppliers attended the event to share experiences, inspire ideas, and to learn from each other as well as the guest speakers.

Pippa covered the many career opportunities in merchanting and the need for better communication to parents, schools and colleges to improve understanding and awareness so our sector is attractive to girls and boys. With an early career in investment banking before joining the family business James Latham plc, the Master is no stranger to working in male dominated industries: “From my personal experience, you learn to manage it,” says Pippa. “It shouldn’t stop you from progressing and the key is to keep looking for the opportunities.”

Inspirational guest speakers from outside the sector included Lioness Karen Carney MBE with a thought provoking discussion on the explosion of women’s football; Sally Bevan, Managing Director of Santander UK on balancing a career with family life; and Mandy Hickson as the only female pilot on her Front Line Tornado Squadron. Her determination to succeed in the RAF against seemingly insurmountable hurdles was remarkable.

The conference included two ‘Lean In’ sessions, covering mental health led by Dr Dorian Dugmore, and networking by entrepreneur Asha Pitt.

The Master was pleased to see familiar faces with other female Liverymen also in the room, but shared her drive to attract more women into the Livery: “Joining WCoBM is by invite only, but looking around this room, I can see many ambitious and professional women that I believe would provide valuable input to our growing Company.”