Creating community: Fostering Gender Diversity and Empowering Leaders

Around 80% of the global healthcare workforce yet at senior leadership level this dips below 20%. Gender disparity in healthcare leadership, is often further exaggerated by female leaders not being seen on expert panels, in publications or on TV. Feedback highlighted the need for more female voices in publishing content and conference discussions. To address this, the company established a Women in Healthcare community, promoting interviews with women in senior positions and conference speakers to cultivate a network of excellence.


For-profit healthcare largely driven by men at C-level


Industry vocal about the need for better representation


Women in the C-suite and as Analysts still minority


Call for better networking opportunities


The healthcare industry, with 80% of its global workforce being female, but less than 20% of senior leadership being female, has struggled with significant gender disparity in leadership roles. The lack of female visibility across media and particularly on expert panels has compounded this. There was a much bigger pool of male leaders to pick from so it becomes easier to find male voices over female. This also perpetuates a cycle of regular experts and their friends and colleagues.  

Feedback highlighted the underrepresentation of women and in particular women of colour in content and conference discussions, prompting the conference and publication company to address this pressing issue.

The lack of female voices internally, on stage, and in the publication underscored the industry’s need for more networking opportunities and platforms to empower women. 


To tackle the gender disparity in healthcare, the company took a proactive approach by establishing a Women in Healthcare community. The initiative began with in-depth interviews with women in senior positions and conference speakers, creating a network of excellence.

The company then hosted a successful networking luncheon in the first year, which received positive responses and offers of mentorship and support. As part of their commitment to diversity, more female team members were appointed, and efforts focused on inviting a diverse range of female speakers. The creation of a content-driven Women in Healthcare sponsored luncheon and inclusive video interviews further enhanced female representation.



The comprehensive approach undertaken by the company resulted in an impressive surge in female speakers and attendees during the 2023 conference, fostering increased diversity and participation. As a result, the healthcare community became more inclusive and supportive.

Building on this success, the company partnered with a sponsor to establish a dedicated group for women to network, providing a valuable resource pool of female expertise. This resource was readily available for expert advice, speaking engagements, interviews, and recruitment, ultimately contributing to the empowerment of women in healthcare.

The initiative not only fostered gender diversity but also positively impacted the entire healthcare community by creating an environment that embraced inclusion and collaboration.

Interview: Kirsty Bashforth

At the time of writing Kirsty Bashforth was the Chief Business Officer at global Dialysis provider, Diaverum, with previous time as a consultant and over twenty years at BP. Her experience as a non-executive director also spanned Education, Defence and FMCG.

Though the interview was predominantly about Diaverum, we also had time to discuss women in leadership and it was with her encouragement that the project found determination.  

Interview: Ulla Napankangas

At the time of writing Ulla Napankangas was the CEO at Finland’s Coronaria Eye Health. 

Being from the Nordics which supposedly had a better reputation for equity than most of the rest of the world, we also spoke about gender equality in the workplace. Ulla’s answer was not what I expected although she was extremely well respected in the board room as a clinician often she still had to prove herself as a business woman, despite being CEO!  

Interview: Katya Zubareva

Katya Zubareva, Partner at global consulting firm L.E.K Consulting, was a major part of this project.

Katya had been attending industry conferences for a long time and during a previous conversation the subject of women in leadership and lack of female voices came up. We spoke about how we could improve things and this got the ball rolling. In fact, L.E.K. Consulting was and continue to be the sponsor for the Women in healthcare luncheon in 2023 and the networking group was, because of Katya.

Get In Touch

Ready to Chat?