Gender Champion Award 2019 - Vivian Hunt, McKinsey & Company, UK and Ireland

Winner of Business in the Community's Gender Champion Award 2019.
Dame Vivian Hunt is on a personal mission is to help businesses, organisations and society in general to more broadly understand the moral and business case for creating equal opportunities for women.

As Managing Partner of the McKinsey & Company’s UK and Ireland offices, this is also a strategic imperative for the firm. Vivian is committed to ensuring women are recruited at equal levels to men, and that they are supported throughout their careers to increase the number of women in senior positions. She has led by example on the importance of unlocking diverse voices in an organisation, and to challenge orthodoxies. She understands the need to define a new modern operating model that is more appealing and sustainable for today’s generation of talent.

Gender inequality is a pressing global issue with ramifications not just for the lives and livelihoods of girls and women, but for human development, labour markets, productivity and GDP growth. The challenge of inclusive growth is a theme Vivian has explored in her research, with gender inequality being an important part of that. She has co-authored and been instrumental in the development of a number of publications on diversity and inclusion.

As the mother of two boys, Vivian talks about how she finds a balance that works for her and her family. In January 2018, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to women in business and the economy.
In 2018, Vivian appointed three diversity and inclusion (D&I) partners. They meet regularly with the people leadership team to align a gender diversity strategy, focusing on representation; experience and community; performance and progression; and accountability. Vivian has led or supported initiatives to address concerns and help women realise their full potential, often drawing on her own experiences. She believes women need sponsors as well as mentors and led the introduction of a sponsorship survey to identify colleagues who may be under-sponsored, so they can receive the support they need to progress.

An internal women’s network convenes regularly within the firm and hosts an annual Women’s Day. ‘Women as Leaders’ is an external network connecting high-performing women from across sectors to discuss issues that matter to them.

Vivian has supported high-profile platforms to deliver the evidence base for gender equality across private, public and social sectors. Examples include giving evidence at The European Parliament, speaking at HM Treasury’s flagship conference for economists in the Civil Service, the FT’s Women at the Top conference, Founders Forum Accelerate-Her, Asia Scotland Institute, and Women of the World (WOW) festival in the Southbank Centre to name a few. She was humbled by the UK’s Black Cultural Archives’ decision to add her life story to their heritage collection, which will be used to inspire children through contemporaneous role models.

Vivian supports inclusive growth in her external partnerships, including the Mayor of London’s business advisory board and the advisory council of the Tate Modern and Southbank Centre.
In 2018, 49% of generalist consultants joining McKinsey & Company, UK and Ireland were women. Initiatives have been established to attract talented women, including the Women as Future Leaders network, unconscious bias training for interviewers and ensuring female colleagues are visible throughout the recruitment process.

McKinsey & Company says: “Vivian is a true champion of women in our organisation, shining a light on successful women and helping others to visualise how they can make a long-term career for themselves and make it to the most senior ranks of our firm. Her tireless efforts to improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of women have unquestionably caused a permanent change to the culture of the office.”