The Ambition Nation Listed 50 identifies the top 50 leading smaller UK-listed companies that offer the best blend of growth and quality as ranked by finnCap's equity analysis tool, The Slide Rule. To celebrate those who appear on the list, journalist Rajan Datar toured the country in an all-electric black cab to interview a selection of the UK’s leading business leaders to find out what the key factors are behind their success.
As the chief operating officer and an executive board director of FDM Group, Sheila Flavell has more than 27 years of experience in both the public and private IT sectors.
Flavell is passionate about enhancing diversity in the workplace, creating exciting careers for the next generation of digital talent and is keen to highlight the importance of strong role models within business. She acts as mentor to several women within the IT sector, supporting them through their career progression and travels the world championing a career in tech. Flavell also spearheads FDM’s Global Women in Tech campaign and their Getting Back to Business programme, aimed at providing opportunities for returners to work.
"The tech industry is absolutely male-dominated. I think there’s 17% female representation which is pretty poor. Now in FDM, 30% of our workforce is female – which we’re very proud of. I wish mentoring had been around when I was a young woman."
Flavell insists it’s not just to fulfill diversity and inclusivity initiatives either, but an essential way to attract much-needed talent.
"There is a skill shortage – that’s point number one. In fact, there’s a skill shortage worldwide in technology. All companies are now fishing in the same pond, So we need everybody we can in tech. Over the past couple of years, we have brought 125 women returners into our organisation. It is so important to get more females into tech because they are 50% of the population and, in fact, a recent government statistic read that if we improve our female participation within STEM we can increase the economy by 2%. That’s £55bn by 2030 and that’s significant."
Flavell is also proud of FDM’s position when it comes to thinking outside the box and believes it’s a key reason behind the company’s continued success.
"It’s innovate or die! And we firmly believe that. We take our lead from our clients. We’re out there with the radar and whatever [technology our] clients are moving to we’ve got to very quickly get on board and move with them, and that’s what’s helped us not just survive but thrive over the past 28 years."
To hear more stories of ambitious growth companies register now for the Ambition Nation Summit 2019 2 October, 8.30am – 11.00am at Claridges, London W1.