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Diageo employee named in the Timewise Power 50 Awards for the third consecutive year

Belinda Brown, Global Audit & Risk Director for Europe & Africa, is named in the 2019 Power 50 Awards, published today by Timewise.

Feature

The Timewise Power 50 Awards is an annual list that celebrates the 50 most outstanding senior business figures that work flexibly from across the UK.

Belinda has been recognised for the huge success she has had within her career, being promoted to her role just four months after returning from maternity leave. With just over a week until International Women’s Day, when the world will come together to celebrate this year’s theme of #BalanceforBetter, Belinda’s achievements are a demonstration of how she and Diageo are striving for a more gender balanced world.

This is the third consecutive year that a Diageo employee has featured in the Power 50 Awards, with a total of four individuals celebrated on the list since its birth in 2012.

Belinda Brown, Global Audit & Risk Director for Europe & Africa

Commenting on Belinda’s inclusion in the list, Joan Hodgins, Europe HR Director at Diageo, said:

“We’re delighted to have Belinda recognised in this year’s Timewise Power 50 awards. Belinda’s commitment, passion and hard work has seen her successfully grow her career within Diageo’s Global Audit & Risk function and she is truly an inspiration to all.

“We know that the success of our business depends on the success of our people and we are firmly committed to creating an environment where all our employees feel included and able to perform at their best in all aspects of their lives. I’m therefore delighted that this is the third consecutive year that a Diageo employee has featured on the list. Congratulations to all.”

Following her inclusion in this year’s list, we sat down with Belinda to find out a bit more about her role, her achievements, and some advice she’d give to others.

What does your role as GAR Director involve?

“I lead Diageo's Global Audit & Risk (GAR) agenda for Africa and Europe and have a team of eight people who sit across Ghana, Kenya and the UK. 

“My work involves managing our GAR assurance and advisory work across our Europe and Africa businesses.  This means reviewing the risks our businesses face, accessing the processes and controls that our businesses operate and helping our businesses build effective mitigation plans against risks.   

“I spend one week in every month out in the field visiting our businesses across Europe and Africa.  I feel really privileged because my job gives me immense exposure to the different functions, businesses, brands and regions across Diageo and in the process, I get to work with and learn from such interesting and diverse people every day.

“I also have a passion for growing and developing talent and I see this as an important additional part of my role.” 

Why is working flexibly important to you?

“I returned to work when our son was seven months old. I came back on a four-day week and my husband took shared parental leave to be at home with our son full-time for the first three months after my return.  Both of those flexible offerings made my transition back to work so much easier for me.

“Our son is now almost two and I manage my working days so that I get to pick him from nursery and spend a little time with him in the evening before starting his bedtime routine.  I choose to work a longer than usual “working day” from Monday to Thursday but the flipside of that is that I rarely work on Fridays or weekends. 

“I read somewhere about there being no such thing as work-life balance but rather there is a work-life rhythm.  This resonates with me so much.  Agile working means that I can manage my time to build the other important things in my work and life into my day.” 

How do you feel Diageo has supported you in this?

“In many ways!  Firstly, Diageo’s culture is rooted in a deep sense of our purpose as a company – celebrating life, every day, everywhere.  One of our company values is that we give each other the freedom to succeed, that we trust each other as a team – when we’re together and when we’re apart. There is a real commitment to create an environment where all employees feel included and able to perform at their best in all aspects of their lives and I certainly experienced this when I was quickly promoted soon after returning to work following my maternity leave.

“There is also support on a practical level, where we have systems and collaborative tools in place to help me stay connected to my global team and business partners – no matter when or where I choose to work.”

What would be your advice to others looking to work flexibly?

“I would recommend that you be honest with what you think you can do and how you plan to do it.  Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure and there is a risk other might lose confidence in you. 

“You also need to watch out for rigidity in your proposal and be prepared to flex your flexibility – after all you can’t expect your business to support a flexible approach if you demonstrate no flex yourself!  Set clear boundaries and let people know when you will and won’t be available.  My biggest learning was actually in setting those boundaries with myself! 

“And finally, be open with the people that you work with most and explain your working approach.  Also, practical things like agreeing deadlines together, having regular updates to make sure I was on course, helped too.”

The Timewise Power 50 Awards is an annual celebration of the UK’s flexible stars. View the full list of this year’s winners here.