Beatrice Dunlop

During the summer between my second and third year at University, I worked as a Research Associate at Inclusive Boards. The internship was for eight weeks full time, extended to ten weeks. I am hugely passionate about issues of social justice such as gender equality, human rights and the treatment of minority groups. I was determined to find a job that I am not only passionate about, but one that would also allow me to develop my understanding of these topics even further, particularly within the world of business.

I submitted my CV and application letter before being invited for an interview. This included a relatively casual chat with Liz and a basic numerical and writing task. I was thrilled to be invited for a second and final interview with Samuel, who mainly asked about my interests and ambitions. Samuel asked about my thoughts on the UK engineering sector, hinting that he has a project in mind. I was absolutely delighted to be offered the internship at Inclusive Boards as I really loved what the business is doing and was excited to be a part of it.

My first couple of weeks at Inclusive Boards mainly involved large scale data collection. I was tasked with finding out the number of men and women, as well as white and minority ethnic individuals, on the boards and executive teams of the UK’s top 500 engineering companies by revenue. This meant navigating around companies’ websites and using resources such as Bloomberg and Companies House. This data was collected on a huge spreadsheet, ready for analysis.

From this list, I separately gathered the names of all senior UK and Europe-based female leaders. I would then contact these women, nominating them for the Inclusive Boards & Financial Times: 100 Influential Women in Engineering List. This would be published in a special edition of the FT in October to promote and celebrate diversity at the engineering sector’s senior level. This project ran alongside preparations for the Women in Engineering Leadership Conference, which was being coordinated by our Campaigns Officer, Ellen. This meant we worked quite closely with each other. Having Ellen’s support made a huge difference for me and I really loved working alongside her.

Nominees who wished to proceed would book an interview through a link provided. Candidates would then send me their bio and headshots, which had to be stored in individual candidate files.  In total, we nominated over six hundred women. This meant that I had a couple hundred lines of communication open at once, so this required strong organisational skills. I had to keep on top of where we were at in the process with each nominee. I received many calls during this stage to discuss the list and the process.

The second half of my internship revolved around the interviews. I conducted roughly ninety interviews with senior women in the engineering sector. Interviews were conducted over the phone and took around half an hour each. I would scribe whilst the candidate was talking through their thoughts on diversity and experiences as they progressed through the sector. Interacting with so many inspirational female leaders from such a challenging sector was truly fascinating. I have learnt so much from hearing about their experiences as part of a minority in the sector and their words of advice for those who wish to have a successful career.

The team itself in the Nottingham office were really great to work with. Everyone is relatively young which I felt gave a more casual atmosphere to the office. I was offered a lot of support as the youngest and less experienced employee. During my third week, Inclusive Boards had a teambuilding day in Nottingham, for which the London office travelled up for. This was a really pivotal point for me as it was so great to interact with my colleagues in a casual setting. Samuel and Liz gave a few talks that really helped me understand what Inclusive Board stands for on a deeper level, and what the company is looking to achieve. I felt really grateful for being welcomed into such a lovely group of driven and intelligent people whose values were closely aligned with my own.

One evening, the Nottingham office went out for pizza and then to the cinema to watch Lion King. Everyone is genuinely friends with each other and, in the work place, really look for each other to thrive and succeed by offering as much support as needed.

I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity and have learnt so much, not just about corporate life, but about my own interests and strengths as well. I am happy to say that I have made many new friends at Inclusive Boards and would be delighted if they would have me back at some point in the future.