Q&A with Ramsay Health Care UK's Chief People Officer, for International Women's Day 2024

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all inspire inclusion.

International Women's Day is our annual reminder to celebrate women's acheivement and to step back and look at the roles of women in our society. It's about raising awareness about discriminiation and taking action to drive gender parity. 

The theme for 2024, ‘Inspire Inclusion’ has a particular emphasis on the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society. It encourages us to recognise the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalised communities. It is a particularly important awareness day for the health industry as over 75% of all healthcare workers are women. 

At Ramsay Health Care, we have an incredibly diverse and talented group of women from every background, and it is vital we nurture this talent so that the individuals, the organisation, and the healthcare sector can grow. With a commitment to having strong female representation at all levels of the organisation, our leadership team is made up of 67% of women and an inspiring 50% at executive board level.

In the hopes to inspire others, we have been speaking with one of our executive board members, Lisa Jefferies, Ramsay Health Care UK’s Chief People Officer. 

Tell us about yourself…

"My name is Lisa, and I am the Chief People Officer for Ramsay Health Care UK. I have worked in the Healthcare sector for almost 20 years, spanning across residential and nursing care, independent living, retirement villages, domiciliary care, and hospitals."

Lisa Jefferies, Chief People Officer smiling in a red top

What does it mean to you to be a woman in healthcare?

The Healthcare Sector attracts women more than men but it’s a double-edged sword situation as many roles in the sector are low paid. It’s difficult and challenging for women to find the right sector, organisation, role, and opportunity to grow. Healthcare is a massive socially responsible space and its imperative that women are taken seriously and provided with diverse opportunities to engage, grow, and develop career paths of their choice.

What challenges have you faced, as a woman, entering this industry?

I haven’t, I have worked for organisations that are ahead and forward thinking. I’ve been fortunate enough to hold roles where I can help others understand the importance of providing great learning and development opportunities for women.

The benefits to providing inclusive and diverse opportunities is a game changer for achieving high commercial performance. Where over 70 percent of the workforce are female, organisations would be dis-advantaged to not adapt and encourage an inclusive culture.

What is your proudest achievement in your career so far?

Without a doubt being offered a Board position. Following a long career, growing, and developing my professional interest, I felt honoured, a combination of being a woman and feeling my dedication to my profession had come together in the sector that I whole heartedly believe in, the Healthcare Sector. This experience allowed me to join Ramsay Health Care UK as an Executive and my passion for my career and being an advocate for women in the workplace has grown even further.

Which woman/women inspire you the most?

There are several women that I have watched with interest as they have grown and communicated what is important to them.

  • Helen Mirren, an English Actress who has been committed to her career spanning over 60 years. Helen has been part of an industry that has experienced many changes in its culture, expectations and she has grown in her success, taking roles that have pushed boundaries and involved risk.
  • Karen Brady, Baroness Brady, a British Executive. A former Managing Director of Birmingham City F.C, an Executive to other famous football clubs and an aide to Sir Alan Sugar. Karen bravely fulfilled the role that most would expect a man to lead and demonstrated that gender makes no difference. Karen has role modelled how to be driven and to ignore those that have strong opinions on who is best to lead, the outcome sits with her own success and the results.
  • My daughter, who has dyslexia and has struggled through her school years and lost heart many times. My daughter holds a senior care position now and has used her tenacious personality to find a way to achieve and demonstrate that there are many skills and attributes that are needed for others to gain from in this world. My daughter has developed through supportive organisation cultures that have provided inclusive ways to belong, learn and succeed. I am super proud of her journey, and I think she inspires others to follow, take risks and engage in great opportunities.

How do you inspire inclusion in your day-to-day role?

With the support of my team, culture is always high on the agenda. Culture touches all areas of our focus and must be a trusted mindset for our colleagues and its everyone’s responsibility to ensure that inclusivity is always on our agenda.

Why do you think it’s important we celebrate International Women’s Day?

It’s simple, women have a lot to offer and its our responsibility as organisation leaders to provide inclusive and meaningful opportunities. This includes, learning platforms and career path opportunities that can be a joint pathway. My personal belief is that ‘you should never stop being you’ and ‘to aim for your personal goals and enjoy success’. I strongly believe that it’s the responsibility of any organisation to create an inclusive culture that allows for personal ambitions to be achievable.