Throughout March, we are celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing the stories of inspiring women in leadership positions across the sectors we work in.

Courtney Holm is the Vice-President of Sustainable Futures, providing fresh perspective and digital solutions to the clients of Capgemini Invent to drive global sustainability, leading in defining and developing the sustainable, regenerative future that we all want.

In 2023, we appointed Courtney as Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Orchard Project, where she supports CEO Kath Rosen to deliver on the Orchard Project’s ambition while maintaining financial viability and supporting the Board with governance responsibilities.

With an education and career history spanning environmental science, literature, horticulture and technology and innovation, Courtney’s core purpose is to future proof how we live in a climate challenged world. By fostering the understanding that humans are part of the natural world, she is able to give people tools and skills to support innovation that brings us closer to nature.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing women in leadership positions today?

I have spent my career in traditionally male dominated industries; horticulture, technology, FMCG and consulting. Sustainability has always been what I do within my sector and that has afforded me the opportunity to interact with the entire organisation.

The biggest challenge has been balancing responsibilities in my professional and personal life, setting expectations and boundaries while working with colleagues who have spouses who do not work.

Another challenge has been the lack of respect for diversity, and working with colleagues who do not value the differences between how men and women think and react to situations and the differences in ways of working around responsibility and accountability.

What is the most noticeable win for gender equality you’ve witnessed throughout your career?

Flexible working has been a game changer. The organisational shift away presenteeism and managerial trust dynamics have evolved over the past few years. This change has created an environment where it is acceptable to work from home more often, to flex (within limits) working hours and to leverage technology to create a modern society.

Did you have any role models or mentors who have helped you on your professional journey?

I have had many mentors over the years, men and women who have be generous with their time and knowledge to support and shape my career, many of whom have been younger — I am a big advocate for reverse mentoring and have reaped the rewards to better understand the future of work and how to be an effective leader because I have listened and actioned their guidance.

While mentorship is important, I believe that sponsorship is even more powerful for professional development. You need to have someone influential fighting for you to be given the opportunity to show your value and to be promoted to a leadership role.

Clare Chesworth is a Senior Consultant for our Not for Profit Practice. Clare is passionate about recruiting executive and board leaders for organisations tackling homelessness. With an empathetic and driven approach, Clare can find the right leaders to suit your mission. If you’d like to get in touch with her, you can connect with Clare on Linkedin or send her an email.