BT Ireland Marks First Year of its Inspiring WoMen in Business Network

By ,

September marks one year since the exciting launch of BT Ireland’s Inspiring WoMen in Business (IWB) Network. Looking back on the year to date, it brings us pride to reflect on everything the network has accomplished in the business, with substantial progress made within the network throughout the year.

The IWB Network was established in 2019 by the inspired BT Ireland alumni of a pan-BT development programme, TechWomen. The group consists of 32 actively engaged members, both male and female, with Shay Walsh, BT Ireland MD as sponsor of the network. Having the support of the company behind the network, with gender balance being a top priority in the business, has been crucial to help drive the network and its activities forward.

The network’s primary purpose is to promote diversity in a variety of ways within an inclusive and empowering work environment. IWB holds meetings every second week and runs monthly events for all BT Ireland employees to attend. One of the main intentions of the network is to serve as a supportive setting for members, using meetings and guest speaker events as a platform for knowledge sharing, encouragement and mentoring. It has served as a valuable platform for members to exchange learnings and advice in terms of personal development and career progression. It has helped to increase the visibility of members and allows an opportunity to network and meet likeminded employees. As it says in our name, the objective of the network is to truly inspire BT Ireland female and male employees in an environment where they can thrive.  Balance is important for the network, with an ambition to involve more men over the coming year, as listening to a variety of perspectives is essential to drive levels of support and the equality agenda.

The IWB Network has been a significantly valuable resource for employees to stay connected during the pandemic as we all swiftly changed to a working from home environment. We have seen a positive uplift in employee engagement with the network throughout COVID19 as we moved our events online, allowing for more flexibility in attendance with sessions recorded and distributed on our platforms for those unable to attend. Some of the events the network hosted during lockdown include “Goal Setting in Turbulent Times”, “CV and Interview Preparation”, “Becoming a BT Leader”, and an introduction to BT Ireland’s Early Careers Community, as face-to-face interactions were halted. The running of these monthly events for all employees has been so well received in terms of attendance and feedback, and it has been fantastic to see the network continue to thrive throughout the move to homeworking.

The network is a fantastic company resource for networking internally that provides an opportunity to support and have fun with employees you may not have had the chance to meet otherwise. The IWB network operates in an independent manner, with a joint responsibility and sense of ownership amongst all members so everyone is given a voice. The role of network chair is equally shared by all members on a monthly basis, and there is complete freedom when coming up with ideas for events with support given by everyone to make it happen. The feedback received from employees after each event is always welcomed as the network adapts to provide perspectives from guest speakers on topics people would like to hear about. The network has its own email group, Teams site, and group on Workplace by Facebook, allowing for the seamless and regular sharing of content, ideas, and thoughts in a collaborative way. The IWB Network is absolutely open to everybody in the company and it is always appreciated when people either reach out to join, support or share ideas – this is all valuable to help shape the purpose of the network.

The network is very excited about the events currently in the pipeline for its second year in operation, set out to inspire all employees. Based on the support and the success of previous events run for the company, there are big plans on the cards, and we look forward to building on what we have already achieved over the coming year.

BT Ireland