30% Club Ireland Conference with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mary McAleese and Mairead McGuinness
The 30% Club Seventh Annual Chair & CEO Conference took place on 23 March, featuring former US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in conversation with former Irish President Mary McAleese and EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union Mairead McGuinness.
There were over 750 attendees from various sectors across the Irish economy, whose companies are members of the 30% Club Ireland. The organisation’s aim is to support the achievement of a minimum of 30% gender balance at all senior decision-making levels in companies nationwide.
The theme of the conference was “Sustaining Progress”, and Ms Clinton told the conference that given the current challenges in both hiring and retaining employees across society, inclusivity is viewed as both progressive and desirable by current and potential employees: “Diversity is our friend in a complex and global economy that we are now in,” she said. “Everyone should understand that the more different voices that are part of the decision-making process, the better decisions that will be made.”
The conference also marked the end of Clients and Markets Partner at Arthur Cox Rachel Hussey’s tenure as chair of the 30% Club Ireland. Commenting on the theme of the conference, Rachel said “Looking back, when the pandemic first hit, there was a concern that business issues such as diversity and sustainability – which are arguably one and the same – might have to take a back seat. The opposite has in fact been the case, and businesses are more focused on these areas than ever. We have made some welcome progress, but plenty remains to be done – and our theme for today is sustaining that progress, as we face new economic challenges. We must stay determined to keep these key issues front and centre as we work together, to drive more progress.”
Melíosa O’Caoimh, Country Head at Northern Trust Ireland and incoming chair of the 30% Club said that despite these challenges, there was much to focus on and remain optimistic about: “I am delighted and honoured to take on this new role, and building on the progress of the 30% Club to date is one of my key objectives. To echo the words of the former Secretary of State there is no time to rest on this issue, and our initiative and plans will ensure that.”