Save us from the extremists

Business leaders should have their fingers crossed that the pressure group A Blueprint for Better Business is successful in its aim of rebuilding public trust in companies. If it fails, they might find themselves trying to make a new life under communist rule.

“If business is not trusted . . . potentially the electorate will move to the extreme left or the extreme right, neither of which have ever created environments that are good for the majority of people,” said Sir Mike Rake, incoming chairman of the charity group’s advisory council.

“Whether it is communism or the movements of the left in Latin America, they have all been disastrous. Our system is imperfect, but the reality is that if we don’t make sure that [business] is trusted by society, ultimately people will forget what happened to communism, people will forget what happened to the extreme left movements . . . and ultimately, if you are not careful, democracy will lead you to that position.”

Read more in The Sunday Times

All the world should be a stage

Jane Stevensen had a problem. She was accustomed to public speaking — but now she had to open a big conference.

“I had spoken on panels and at events, so I thought, ‘I can do this,’ but I want it to be really good,” she said. “When I gave longer talks I would start out very animated but after a while my voice would go into a bit of a monotone. It’s a nervous thing. It made me a boring speaker. So I decided to get some coaching.”

Stevensen, managing director of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, a non-governmental organisation, decided to work with Timothy Allsop, an actor and public speaking trainer.

“There is something about actors that means they have a real understanding of what you need to do to get your message across,” she said. “They know how to use their voice and body to have maximum impact on the audience.”

Read more in The Sunday Times

The high-vis way to get ahead

Becoming a mother did not make Lisa Pantelli any less ambitious. It did, however, mean that she had to work part-time so she could balance the demands of her career with those of looking after her son. Unfortunately, some people at her employer felt, as a result, that she was no longer committed to getting ahead.

“There was an assumption by some that I wouldn’t be as ambitious — which couldn’t have been further from the truth,” she said. “They also struggled with what sort of work to give me.”

This is fairly common. People who work part-time frequently find their potential overlooked by employers, according to Penny de Valk, managing director at the consultancy Penna Talent Management. “Part-time is often seen as being not serious about your career, even though we know from research that part-timers are hugely productive,” she said.

Read more in The Sunday Times

Freelance journalist and writer