On Thursday 7 November, our London IP team hosted a panel discussion and roundtable session on ‘Harnessing the power of diversity in IP’. This was part of an ongoing campaign with World IP Review (WIPR), to celebrate the achievements of influential women in IP and to improve gender diversity in the profession.

Mark Shillito, Global Head of IP and Charlotte Yirrell, D&I Manager, UK and EMEA gave the opening address, highlighting the progress HSF have made over the last 5 years and our commitment to our D&I strategy going forward (female representation in the partnership has increased from 18-25% globally from 2014-2019).

Heather Newton, Senior Associate expertly moderated a lively debate with panellists from a variety of organisations, sectors and roles:

  • Nadia Whittley, CEO, Arquer Diagnostics
  • Emma Campbell, Head Counsel, UK Litigation and IP, Sky UK
  • Alexa Pickersgill, Senior Legal Counsel, Ball Packaging Europe
  • Carrollanne Lindley, Partner, Kilburn & Strode
  • Tracey Cooke, Head of Patents, British American Tobacco

The panellists were then invited to join the roundtables where discussions continued and delegates debated various topics around the existing challenges and barriers to female advancement and improving other forms of diversity; balancing the professional and personal; and exploring the various ways we can improve gender diversity across different organisations. (HSF moderators and reporters on the tables included: Laura Deacon, Emily Bottle, Emma Sherratt, Julie Chiu, Laura Adde, Sarah Burke, Natasha Daniell and Rachel Montagnon).

Joel Smith, UK Head of IP and Sarah Morgan, Editorial Lead from WIPR gave the closing remarks. Joel commented that: “if we all recognise and treat everyone as an individual, we will be better placed to have the right conversations and support and empower each other.”

The IP group will continue to support WIPR on this important initiative and are considering ways we can help to broaden the campaign and improve more than just gender diversity in the industry.

Diversity in IP at Herbert Smith Freehills

Our IP colleagues, Rebekah Gay (Partner), Jonathan Turnbull (Partner), Emily Bottle (Senior Associate) and Rachel Montagnon (Professional Support Consultant) recently shared their experiences, opinions and insights on gender diversity in IP – https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/latest-thinking/improving-gender-equality-in-intellectual-property.