Jackie Arnold MBE FCMA is a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Executive at the University of Cumbria and is head of the University’s new Institute of Business, Industry & Leadership. Jackie is leading the work to ensure the offer of the University is aligned to the education and skills requirements of the businesses in Cumbria and the broader region. Key to achieving this are the strategic relationships with key employers in the county, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and other Further Education and Higher Education providers which enable the University to deliver in the best interests of its students and employers, developing a workforce fit to deliver and addressing the issues of social mobility which have constrained the development of communities in the past.
A Chartered Accountant, Jackie has previously spent time in practice, public sector and private sector businesses and has held roles as Managing Director of a power generating company under US ownership and as Chief Accountant then subsequently Head of Strategy at BAE SYSTEMS. Jackie is also Corporate Responsibility consultant and advisor with BAE Systems, based at the Submarine yard in Barrow-in-Furness, ensuring the appropriate partnership working is in place to support the community in creating the environment to allow the business to deliver its business plan and assure delivery of community benefits.
Jackie is also a Non-Executive Director of the Cumberland Building Society, an Executive in Residence at Lancaster University and a member of Furness Education Trust.
It is tremendously flattering to be nominated! I really hope that my inclusion will be an opportunity to continue my involvement in the promotion of diversity on a wider scale. I’m a passionate believer in the benefits of diversity to business and organisations. Gender is obviously a key part of this but the real opportunity here is in recognition of the tangible benefits of cognitive diversity in strengthening decision making. Gender will clearly be a significant element but it is much broader and we need to be cognisant of this. Ensuring our organisations are equipped to embrace inclusivity, therefore, enabling diversity of thought is absolutely where I believe we should be focussing our efforts.
It would have to be receiving my MBE from the Queen in 2016. Such a proud moment for me and emotionally quite over-whelming to have your work recognised in this way!
However, the other aspects of my work which have come a close second are the opportunities I’ve had to work with the community, be it schools, colleges or local businesses and organisations. The chance to engage, provide inspiration to stimulate aspiration and observe the results from your efforts has been tremendously rewarding. Business is increasingly aware of the mutual benefits of engaging on this level and I’m delighted that so many are now investing in this activity as part of their overall corporate responsibility approach. This is definitely where I get my buzz.
It really is about confidence. As a woman starting out in a career within a male-dominated profession and subsequently in male-dominated industry sectors, I soon realised that a woman needs to have the confidence to know that her voice is just as important as any other and her contribution equally valuable. It’s incumbent on us to speak out – always of course remaining supportive and respective of others. I believe there is some way to go before we can be confident of women having equal opportunity with their male colleagues. We are however now making significant progress and I feel a responsibility to sponsor, mentor and encourage female talent to achieve their full potential and ensure organisations I engage with recognise the importance of ensuring the working environment they provide is as inclusive as possible to facilitate this.
What does it mean to be a Judge for the Northern Power Women Awards?
I am so looking forward to being part of the judging panel for the Awards. I hope that my inclusion will be an opportunity to continue my involvement in the promotion of diversity on a wider scale. I am a passionate believer in the benefits of diversity to business and organisations. Gender is obviously a key part of this but the real opportunity here is in recognition of the tangible benefits of cognitive diversity in strengthening decision-making. Gender will clearly be a significant element but it is much broader and we need to be cognisant of this. Ensuring our organisations are equipped to embrace inclusivity therefore, enabling diversity of thought is absolutely where I believe we should be focussing our efforts.But best of all it’s a wonderful opportunity to be reminded of the amazing talent we have in our region and have the opportunity to recognise this!
If you can take one thing from the judging process, what do you want it to be?
Judging for the Northern Power Women Awards is such a privilege! A wonderful opportunity to recognise the fabulous talent we have in our businesses and organisations in the North and reflect on the emerging pipeline of confident and inspiring entrepreneurs and role models!
Please complete this sentence…”I am supporting Northern Power Women because…..”
I’m supporting Northern Power Women because I am absolutely passionate about ensuring that every individual within our region is supported to access the opportunities which are in abundance in our region by ensuring that access to skills and knowledge development is available to all regardless of background, colour or race. If we can achieve this, our region has a bright and secure future. Northern Power Women showcases the phenomenal talent among our leading females and the success they have achieved in the North.