The Defence Women’s Network (DWN) aims to create an inclusive and supportive network of people passionate about ending discrimination in the workplace by sparking discussion, celebrating the achievements of women and breaking down barriers. Now in its second year, the DWN Conference is an annual event that brings people together to explore the importance of workplace equity and stimulate discussion around the subject. This year’s theme of Leadership and Self-Empowerment addressed how women can enhance their skills, manage the challenges of modern leadership and become the leaders they aspire to be.
In 2022, Vice President of L3Harris UK, Graeme Mackay, invited a small pool of representatives to attend the very first DWN Conference on behalf of L3Harris to gain a clearer understanding of how the business might support the event in future years. 2022’s conference was host to a mix of over 1,000 virtual and in-person attendees, a hybrid format still impacted by the restrictions posed by Covid-19.
For Director of Strategic Marketing at L3Harris Intelligence and Cyber International, Louise Speaight, this was one of the first big networking events she had attended post-pandemic. “I was highly impressed by the conference last year and almost immediately put a business case forward to our UK executive team outlining why we should look to sponsor it in 2023,” she explained. “As the defence industry is largely male dominated, networking at events such as these can often create an intimidating environment for many women. The DWN Conference felt like an incredibly safe and supportive environment for women and men alike.”
A Collaborative Sponsorship across L3Harris UK
L3Harris was a silver sponsor of the 2023 DWN Conference. This sponsorship was made possible by valuable, collaborative contribution from every one of the company’s UK businesses and representation from over twenty attendees. Such presence at the event emphasised the L3Harris commitment to meaningful and impactful social value activity, a dedication to driving the business’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) agenda forward, and to raise greater awareness of the many exciting opportunities available to exceptional and emerging talent.
The L3Harris stand proved to be a thriving meeting hub, not only for those networking at the conference, but for members of the UK business to come together and exchange views and ideas. Having returned from the highly successful event, 2023’s attendees are now actively advocating involvement from further members of the business within the UK and are already planning their contribution to 2024’s conference.
Impactful Panels and Insightful Speeches
Across the event, many guest speakers and expert panels took to the stage and covered topics such as adopting a more optimistic attitude in the face of adversity, overcoming imposter syndrome and the importance of valuing and appreciating women of a certain age, or what the conference termed “queenagers”. These talks consisted of a mix of both women and male allies, although attendance as a whole did see a larger percentage of female delegates.
UK Chapter Chair of the L3Harris WE3 Employee Resource Group (ERG), Speaight noted: “The queenagers talk in particular resonated with me. It’s so important to ensure we’re nurturing talent at all ages and clearly identifying further opportunities for career progression and continual job satisfaction. A woman’s value within the workforce should never be forgotten when she reaches a certain age – there’s always a lot more to give and a lot of invaluable experience she can draw upon!”
Speaight also emphasised the vital role male allies need to play in instilling real change and the importance of having a range of different perspectives to innovate effectively as a team. “Women should feel empowered by the diverse voices they’re able to bring to a discussion. As the conference outlined – this needs to become a superpower rather than a weakness. What’s more, we need to collectively get better at supporting each other, working together and celebrating our successes.”
Congratulations to L3Harris Women in Defence Awards Nominees
On the subject of celebrating successes, complementary to involvement in the DWN Conference, L3Harris UK has also put forward several nominations for 2023’s Women in Defence Awards. These awards present a prime opportunity for the business to celebrate some of our very top female talent, with each nomination carefully selected by members of the L3Harris WE3 ERG UK Chapter.
This year’s nominations are:
- Shahida Barick - Resolute Spirit Award
- Rohini Panue - Inspirational Award
- Sarah Bristow-Young – Outstanding Contribution Award
- Emma Dunleavy-Harris and Alix Longmuir - Equity of Opportunity Award
- Alix Longmuir – Champion for Maximising Talent Award
- Rebecca Pailing – Most Collaborative Award
With a shortlist due to be announced in early September, the winners from each category will be revealed at the Women in Defence Awards dinner on Wednesday, 22 November in London.
L3Harris is dedicated to building a supportive, inclusive and equitable environment across our entire business and are proud of contributions to events such as the DWN Conference and the Women in Defence Awards. We look forward to further opportunities to support and celebrate our talented female colleagues in 2023 and beyond.