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Achieving the right leadership balance

By Steve Deverill. Published on 30 March 2015

With a passion for promoting the benefits of flexible working and gender diversity, Ellie Rich-Poole, Partner in Executive Search HR, has been extremely busy since joining Eton Bridge Partners.

Among her current priorities is an event on 23 April, entitled “Achieving balanced leadership: what really works?” – which sees an expert panel  and audience discussion about the effective initiatives that businesses can take to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles.

Chaired by internationally recognised author, journalist and diversity expert Alison Maitland, those participating include panel members Gary Bullard, Non-Executive Director and former CEO of Logica UK; Jenny Knott, Strategic Advisor to the Group CEOs, Standard Bank; Matt Freeland, Senior HR Director European Snacks Supply Chain & European Labour Relations, PepsiCo; and Louise Evans, former Finance Director, Williams Grand Prix Holdings plc.

“We hope all those attending will gain valuable information from the panel and enjoy contributing their own experiences through the open forum discussion,” said Ellie. “The focus will be very much around sharing practical examples of initiatives businesses are taking to support development and retention of women at all levels of the organisation.

We know from talking to both clients and candidates alike that this is a really high profile topic with no easy solution. This event is designed to provide a platform for businesses to talk about the challenges they face and share best practice ideas which really work.

I am really looking forward to hearing what different organisations are doing and hope all participants will get some new ideas that may be relevant for their own businesses. This is not just a ‘women’s issue’ but a commercial issue that impacts us all.”

As a mum to 19-month-old James – both Ellie and her husband work a nine-day fortnight and have first hand experience of the challenges of managing dual careers and family demands – she is particularly interested in how businesses can support more women in returning to work after a break to have children.

“It is important to avoid losing a talented group in the workforce who might otherwise feel able to continue working in the corporate world,” added Ellie.

Having been able to take advantage of Eton Bridge Partners’ own flexible working arrangements and family friendly culture, she has seen some organisations, which are less forward-thinking, risk missing out on a valuable pool of talent.

It is something Ellie says doesn’t make good business sense, continuing: “In a market place where top talent is already scarce it seems short sighted to rule out individuals who prefer to work flexibly, for whatever reason.”

By organising the 23 April event, she hopes to support organisations in maintaining a spotlight on this important topic. Initiatives and ideas from the event will be circulated afterwards to a wider audience.

Having worked in consultancy for more than a decade and with a background in the retail and leisure sectors, Ellie specialises in HR search across both generalist and specialist roles and also works with clients on a long-term basis, helping them identify and nurture talented individuals. In addition, she also volunteers as a mentor with Women 1st, which supports women who aspire to senior leadership roles in fulfilling their career ambitions.

If you’d like to contact Ellie directly, please email her at:

Steve Deverill


As Managing Partner, Steve supports the business and leadership team to deliver the vision of being the most trusted partner in executive search, interim management and consulting.
Steve took on the responsibility as Managing Partner in January 2022 and is keen to build on the strong foundations already put in place and develop the business further. He is passionate about leading and growing the already outstanding team of people to take the business through the next phase of growth.