The Great British Businesswoman Series interviews Sheree Atcheson - Multi-award winning global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leader, keynote speaker, published author, and Great British Businesswoman Awards judge.

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As we prepare for this year’s Great British Businesswoman Awards we’ve set up a great panel of judges to help us select the winners - based on their experience, and mission to celebrate the best women in business.  

The Great British Businesswoman Awards brings together and celebrates the women who are changing the face of business across the United Kingdom - and having judges like Sheree on board allows us to celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the best businesswomen in a number of industries.

Sheree is listed as one of the UK’s Top Most Influential Women in Tech and is an international multi-award winner for her services to Diversity & Inclusion. Sheree is a Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Senior Leader, Advisory Board Member, Women Who Code; Contributor, Forbes. 

She is also the Author of “Demanding More” - a book which aims to teach readers about how deliberate exclusion has been embedded in systems and society, so we can be purposefully and deliberately inclusive moving forward.

We caught up with Sheree to find out why this subject is so important to her, her career so far, and what we can expect to see from her in the future. 

Throughout your career so far, have you noticed any significant changes in regards to women in business and the development of this topic?

Yes, for sure. Whilst things are still not where we want them to be, there is still progress. There is a greater awareness of gender disparity and initiatives have focused on this to enable reaching and supporting more women in business. That being said, there still is a long way to go. 

Women-led companies make up 16.8% of all UK companies and attract a fraction of the investment achieved by their male-led counterparts. Investment is one key core part of this, and it must be looked at in tandem with the sponsorship/access to networks that is also a huge proponent of business success.

What does it mean for you to be a part of this awards programme, and what made you want to be a judge/ why do you believe you are a good fit?

I am always happy to judge awards like this because I think it’s key to highlight new leaders and upcoming talent. The world doesn’t revolve around anyone singularly and empowering other women is key to creating a new and continuous stream of leaders.

People should enter these awards because what do you have to lose? Quite literally nothing. There is no reason not to try. Do not allow yourself to be psyched out because of a potential “no”. Focus on the potential of the “yes”. 

It’s a great opportunity to amplify your work, and successes and who knows, maybe even connect you to your next opportunity?

What do you hope, and predict for the future of women in business, in both your industry and others?

I don’t hope… I need the advancement of women in business to be intersectional. That we ensure we are championing all women, not just those we directly identify with. 

In the Tech industry, very often the bar is set for “advancing women”, without understanding the nuance of what this means for women of different ethnicities, disabilities, socio-economic backgrounds and so on.

As well as the future of other women in business, we’d love to hear a bit more about what you’re doing at the moment and what we can expect to see next from you.

In all honesty, I am taking a break! I have had a hectic few years with moving roles (twice!) during the pandemic, writing my debut book Demanding More, unfortunately losing my father unexpectedly in the middle of it all, buying our first home and now… I am focusing on holidays and spending time with my husband and our pups. 

What you can expect to see from me is more contributions on Forbes on things that I am passionate about, like unearthing privilege through data, the need of understanding that diversity isn’t a singular marking on inclusion and more (alongside, too many holidays or dog photos on Instagram ;)).

Follow what I’m up to on LinkedIn, Twitter or on my website.

Lastly, If you had one piece of advice for those women within the business world, what would it be?

Be careful on who you listen to! Don’t assume intelligence simply because of someone’s background or because others are biased positively towards them. 
Many people have undeserved confidence - don’t confuse this for usefulness. Seek feedback, but always remember your own insights are equally as important.

Looking to celebrate this year’s Great British Businesswoman? Check out the finalists here, and book your tickets for the upcoming awards show.