An Audience with Baroness Ford OBE


An Audience with Baroness Margaret Ford OBE was held on 17 September 2019 at CMS in the city.

The latest in our popular series of "Audience with…" events recognised the phenomenal career of Baroness Margaret Ford of Cunninghame, Chairman of NewRiver REIT plc and of STV. Margaret has over 20 years' experience as a non-executive Director and Chairman of private and listed companies and extensive experience of working with Government. She was appointed to the House of Lords in 2006 and sits as an Independent Peer.

Margaret was interviewed for the occasion by Sophie Shannon, Associate Director at NewRiver REIT.

The interview began with Margaret reflecting on her career in property, sharing tips on balancing a career with being a mother, recognising that it is difficult to do both things well.

Margaret outlined the key ingredients that, in her opinion, lead to more opportunities for women in business, including having the right policies in place and having good role models in senior positions. She stressed the significance of having a culture that facilitates a female-friendly environment, of women taking responsibility for their own career progression and seizing the opportunities available to them.

Margaret also gave some sound tips for a successful career. These included proper preparation and rehearsal for meetings, investing in your own professional development and being well organised. She emphasised the importance of having a good mentor and of stretching yourself, because "If you wait until you are ready, you are never going to be ready." Margaret highlighted the need to have self-belief and to give things a go, stating, "I would rather take perspiration over inspiration any day."

Margaret commented on the value of diversity at board level and spoke about the selection of the all-female leadership team whilst she was Chairman at Grainger plc and how much she enjoyed being part of the very diverse Olympic Board.

In the final audience Q&A, Margaret talked about having an open mind where opportunities are concerned and how networking is crucial, observing that "There are opportunities all around you if you choose to look for them and that "The power of connections is really underestimated".

Guests were able to network afterwards over refreshments generously provided by CMS, who hosted the event.