Diana Parkes is the founder of social enterprise The Women’s Sat Nav to Success Ltd.
Set up in July 2015 the business’s aim is to enable women to make faster progress in their careers and achieve the recognition and rewards they deserve.
The Women’s Sat Nav to Success looks to achieve this through the practical application of its 7 years of extensive research. The research looks at why women get paid less and progress more slowly than men, and identifies the most significant strategies to enable women to change that situation rather than wait for equality policies to take effect. These insights and strategies are being shared with women via their employers (coaching, mentoring and training programmes), via seminars for women’s professional networks and, currently, via the Women’s Sat Nav for Success 2017 survey.
Diana came into the social enterprise through a background in the corporate sector, working for companies such as Mars and Coca-Cola. Diana found that the upper echelons and commercial functions of many companies were dominated by men, and was herself passed over for two board positions which went to men that could be seen as significantly less qualified than her. Diana felt the pain of this rejection and sought to actively do something about it – The Women’s Sat Nav to Success was born.
Setting up a new social enterprise is a challenge, as Diana found out. She went from working in big organisations with a multitude of specialist departments that handle different matters to her having to handle every aspect of her business. She also found it difficult to find funding, as with her business being a new start up she had no turnover track record.
That’s where Start Up Loans came in. Diana received a loan and has been steadily building up her organisation ever since. So far the business has been predominantly focusing on research and proposition development. This is to ensure that it can offer a competitive service in terms of both impact delivered and sustainability of change.
The Women’s Sat Nav to Success has conducted a 2017 survey asking women about their workplace experiences. From this survey the business will be able to further demonstrate its expertise and knowledge in this field. The survey is expected to reach more than 175,000 women when it closes at the end of International Women’s Day 2017.
Diana has great ambitions for Women’s Sat Nav to Success. She has recently written a book and is looking for publishers, as well as looking at securing training and coaching contracts with organisations across the south of the UK. There are plans to collaborate with Bournemouth’s University Business School, and develop programs with them.