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  4. Food Thinkers: What type of leadership is needed to transition to a sustainable food system? The experience of WE Lead Food




Food Thinkers: What type of leadership is needed to transition to a sustainable food system? The experience of WE Lead Food




This event will take place virtually via Zoom. Please note all attendees will need a Zoom account to access the webinar. A free account can be set up when registering for the event.

Shima Barakat, University of Cambridge

While the importance of diversity in leadership has been understood for a while, it is only recently that the evidence has become overwhelming. Let’s take three clear areas, making the economic, social and environmental arguments: 1. Closing the gap between women and men’s entrepreneurship could add an additional £250 billion into the UK economy, equivalent to 4 years of economic growth[1]. Extrapolating this estimate to a worldwide context would yield potentially hundreds of billions of pounds or dollars for the global economy. 2. Building resilient communities needs women leaders as they navigate adverse conditions and deliver more favourable outcomes[2]. 3. Women Leaders build organisations that embrace sustainability practices up to 7 times[3] more than their male-only lead counterparts, making these organisations sustainable for their shareholders and sustainable for the planet and societies they are embedded in.

Clearly, ‘doing’ leadership as we’ve always done it is no longer good enough. Doing no harm is also no longer good enough. We can see now the sort of leadership that is purpose driven, entrepreneurially delivered. This talk will explore these themes and illustrate how WE Lead Food, a programme for women leaders on the food sector, builds a network of leaders, equipped with an entrepreneurial toolkit to magnify and expedite the effects of transforming the food sector to one that is resilient, sustainable and inclusive.

Dr. Shima Barakat, MBA is an entrepreneur, director and academic obsessed with making the world a better place. Her experience is in how the environment (planet) as a strategic issue is understood and integrated into organization strategy through how people understand and interact with it. Shima has spent the last 25 years helping companies (from startups to MNEs) as well as governments and international funding agencies to improve their performance on sustainability. She is one of the founders and the Managing Director of Value in Enterprise, the responsible business consultancy company. Academically, Shima has held an appointment at the University of Cambridge for 13 years. She is the Food Enterprise Manager and Director of the Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Programme at the Centre for Industrial Sustainability. Before that, she was the Head of Entrepreneurial Learning at the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Judge Business School for 10 years. She was the Chair of the Women’s Staff Network until 2020 and continues to sit on the Gender Equality Steering Group at the University of Cambridge. Shima has a particular interest in exploring how and why people do or don’t do things, especially in terms of mindset and competences. Recently her work focuses on global challenges, and the networks and education/training needs of entrepreneurs and their ventures in providing solutions to such big challenges. Her work explores and supports the diversity of leadership, impact and success that women bring to entrepreneurial endeavour. Shima is an experienced board member and chair, her most recent appointments have been as a Trustee of the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the UK and board representative on the EIT Food NW CLC Company.

The talk will be followed by an online Q&A session.

1. The Alison Rose Review of Women’s Entrepreneurship. 2018
2. Forbes 2020. Research: Women are better leaders during a crisis
3. Nadeem, M. et al 2017 “Boardroom gender diversity and corporate sustainability practices: Evidence from Australian Securities listed firms” Journal of Cleaner Production 149: 874-8

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When and where

5.15pm - 6.45pmThursday 21st January 2021

Contact Details

City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

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