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Gemma Ferris of Allen & Overy


Monday 15 January 2024

 Gemma Ferris of Allen & Overy
My name is Gemma Ferris and I am HR Manager at Allen & Overy.
Allen & Overy is a global law firm and we help the world’s leading businesses to grow, innovate and thrive. Our Belfast office was established in 2011 and today is the second largest in the A&O network by headcount, employing over 700 people. It includes a Support Services Centre which delivers core internal business support - IT, HR, Business Services, Marketing and Risk – to the firm’s global network. Our Advanced Delivery Legal team in Belfast enables us to deliver our expertise to clients through the right combination of resourcing and technology.

Across A&O we strive to attract talented, diverse people and to nurture an inclusive environment where our people are truly supported and feel they belong.

This means we invest in our people. Our colleagues are constantly learning and growing through professional and personal development, training, mentoring and practical support. We nurture an atmosphere that’s friendly, dynamic and fun. We work hard to create a culture of belonging - where you’re cared about for who you are, every bit as much as you’re valued for what you do. We’re determined to play our part in advancing a workplace where progress is made by harnessing our differences.

We believe that when it comes to gender equality, there can be no glass ceiling. We are determined to achieve a better gender balance at all levels of our organisation, and we are working hard to make sure that all of our people have the same opportunities to realise their ambitions. This involves creating a supportive environment where women feel empowered to express their ideas, pursue leadership roles, and contribute to decision-making processes. A workplace that provides opportunities for growth, and allows women to harness their potential and excel in their chosen fields.

We see diversity in leadership and providing equal opportunities for women not just as a moral obligation — it's a strategic imperative for our growth and success. Equity has been front and centre of our DE&I work for a number of years. It’s the concept of providing fair opportunities for everyone, not taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Representation of women at all levels matters because people need to see themselves.

This approach is packaged with accountability. We have a range of targets to ensure that our female talent pipeline talent is monitored, ensuring that effective sponsorship, mentoring and development plans are in place. Balancing life and family matters remains a concern which is why we introduced a shared parental leave policy, enhanced paternity leave, and provide flexible working arrangements to give people more control over their working week. We were listed in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the fourth consecutive year and were proud to have been recognised for our efforts in our approach to recruitment, family-friendly policies, and championing gender equality. 

We have achieved much, but there is no space for complacency. Studies consistently show that diverse leadership, including a significant representation of women, contributes to better decision-making and more innovative outcomes. It's not merely a matter of gender equality; it's a matter of creating a more dynamic, competitive, and successful business environment.

Connect with Gemma Ferris on Linked In
View the Allen & Ovary Website

Monday 15 January 2024

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