Fidelio Update – "A Seat at the Table" Diversity, Disruption and Leadership in the Boardroom

London, 16th September 2016 – Fidelio successfully hosted its third “A Seat at the Table” programme for senior female executives and directors at Leeds Castle, Kent, this week.

 In Fidelio’s high impact and immersive “A Seat at the Table” Programme, a select group of senior women from the FTSE 100 and leading international organisations tackled key challenges facing our Boardrooms today. Participants left with the confidence and insight to succeed to and at the top table. They also acquired frameworks for grappling with intractable issues on the Board agenda. Fidelio hosts the fourth “A Seat at the Table” Programme on Tuesday 14th – Wednesday 15th March 2017, once again at Leeds Castle, Kent.

Intensely practical, relevant and topical “A Seat at the Table” is unique preparation for the Boardroom. Working around the Boardroom table with highly experienced directors and renowned experts, participants in Fidelio’s third “A Seat at the Table” did not shy from the key issues of the day:

  • Boards driving growth: Stephen Welton, CEO of the Business Growth Fund, the UK’s most active provider of growth capital for small and mid-sized companies, honed in on:
    • Board composition and growth
    • The talent pool of directors for fast growing companies
    • And private equity and diversity
  • Shareholders, Boards and the value of engagement: Christine Chow, Hermes EOS, demonstrated that the long-term investment perspective does exist and is increasingly influential within the global investment community. “A Seat at the Table” drilled into good governance and what Board level shareholder engagement looks like. With investors, non-executive directors and executive committee HR directors around the table, the debate on executive pay was informed and challenging.
  • Disruption and millennials: Boards struggle with disruption; and are challenged by millennials. A bold topic running through “A Seat at the Table” was digital disruption championed by Anne de Kerkchove, CEO of Iron and Non-Executive Director, 7digital. E-reputation, social media and millennial expectations of the Board represented key themes of September’s “A Seat at the Table”.
  • The international stage: given the international experience and diversity of “A Seat at the Table” participants, General Sir Richard Shirreff, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, NATO, was able to lead a robust debate on geopolitical risk and its underlying threat to business. True to Fidelio’s international profile we also explored building an international Board portfolio, with Lady Elisabeth Stheeman, Supervisory Board Member, Aareal Bank AG and TLG Immobilien AG. Elisabeth also shed light on Germany’s ‘Frauenquote’.
  • Presence and authority in the Boardroom and beyond: Presence, authority and a crisp profile underpin Boardroom success. With Chris Heimann, Director, Spacecraft and Head of Improvisation at RADA, and Rod Chamberlain, career mentor with an exceptional track record in crafting profiles, “A Seat at the Table” participants experimented with confident and highly effective communication at the Board table; as well as reviewing clarity of message and purpose en route to the Boardroom.
  • Resilience and risk: Risk is inherent to the Boardroom and crisis cannot be excluded. “A Seat at the Table” does not shrink from the practical reality of being in a Boardroom under extreme pressure. David Pearl, former Deputy Company Secretary, BP, shared a governance perspective of handling intense risk.
  • Networks and diversity: “A Seat at the Table” recognises networks are fundamental to Boardroom success; Gillian Karran-Cumberlege of Fidelio Partners analysed why this is, which networks matter and how to form key connections. And in its own right “A Seat at the Table” represents an international network that is senior, diverse and international. Importantly all participants were deeply committed to strengthening the pipeline of senior women so that the impact of “A Seat at the Table” extends well beyond the Leeds Castle Boardroom table.

The A Seat at the Table” Programme focusses on empowering women to succeed to and at the top table, developing the executive pipeline and the female CEOs and Chairmen of tomorrow. The Programme is underpinned by five key attributes of leadership:

  • Understanding the complexity of shareholder and stakeholder expectations for the leadership team
  • A firm grasp of governance, including formal and informal power structures
  • Presence and authority; personal impact; the ability to influence
  • Reinforcing networks; networks of support and networks of reciprocity
  • Resilience under extreme pressure

Registration has opened for the fourth “A Seat at the Table” development programme for senior female executives and directors held on Tuesday 14th – Wednesday 15th March 2017 at Leeds Castle, Kent. For further details please contact Luke Main.



Notes to Editors:

The Programme – A Seat at the Table is a unique two day programme around the Board table providing insight into complexity and Board effectiveness, as well as the route to the Boardroom. The goal is to increase female representation at the Top Table and develop tomorrow’s female CEOs and Chairmen.  Participants are Senior Female Executives and Directors with extensive leadership experience along with the ambition and potential to become highly effective Board Directors. To date we have welcomed women from leading FTSE 100 and international companies – including from the US and continental Europe.

Participants in A Seat at the Table leave with practical tools to help them succeed, including:

  • a framework for understanding leadership structures and styles;
  • a mirror for personal presence including within a group dynamic; and
  • a road map of critical networks and milestones, in order to achieve their professional and personal objectives.

A Seat at the Table – the feedback:

  • very rich in content, a great blend of technical aspects, softer skills and confidence building … An excellent Board readiness programme”  – CEO, Major Subsidiary, Global Financial Services Company
  • “practically narrowed the gap between my current position and the Board […] demystifying being on the Board” – Head of Leadership and Learning, Multinational Industrial Company
  • the best concentrated injection of development and learning that I have ever had … It hits the mark perfectly” – FTSE 100 Group HR Executive

Enrolment has begun for a limited number of places for the Tuesday 14th – Wednesday 15th March 2017 A Seat at the Table Programme.

The delegate enrolment fee is £7,500 plus VAT for this two day residential programme.

About Fidelio

Fidelio Partners is an international Board Development and Executive Search consultancy. We build and develop leadership teams that are well placed to handle complexity and change, and are strongly positioned to engage with shareholders and stakeholders. Through Search and Development we build leadership teams that are effective in:

  • Sustaining corporate reputation and maintaining the licence to operate
  • Securing on-going access to capital
  • And thereby increasing the value of the business

Diversity is hardwired into every aspect of Fidelio’s approach to building and developing leadership teams. Fidelio is recognised for its fresh thinking and providing practical solutions for Chairmen and CEOs in meeting this vital challenge.
Our highly qualified, in-house research capability is based in London and delivers Search and Development internationally.
Fidelio is committed to building diverse and highly effective Boards and Executive teams. For further information please visit our website: Fidelio Partners Board Development and Executive Search or contact

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