First IOD ambassador will fight for more women in top creative jobs - after having to recruit from BERLIN

First IOD ambassador will fight for more women in top creative jobs - after having to recruit from BERLIN

Lucy Batley is top of the list in network of business leaders helping raise the profile of North East

The Institute of Directors has named its first Ambassador in a network of business leaders set up by new chair Dr Joanna Berry.

The first name on the list shows the IOD intends to tackle the key issues as a matter of urgency. Lucy Batley, owner and director of Newcastle-based design and digital agency Jump, has become the IOD's Ambassador for Creative and Digital.

Batley has over 20 years’ experience in brand communications. She was awarded Best Young Designer at the prestigious Editorial Awards in 1996, then spent five years in Milan, working on projects for clients including Audi and Vespa. In 2007, she formed JUMP alongside Rob Brown. But the number she is entirely focused on now is 11.

"That's the percentage of creative directors who are women, so people need to think differently," she told BQ.

"I am looking forward to my first meeting and will be immersing myself in the task ahead. As a woman who runs her own creative business, I suppose it is about leadership, being a role model, and having a position on the board where my voice can make a difference."

 Each ambassador will represent and promote the IoD in their industry sector. The move aims to grow the profile of North East business and ensure it is represented within the IoD’s influential, national policy voice.

Since establishing Jump in 2007, Batley has directed and led design and marketing campaigns for organisations including the National Trust, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and NE1, the Business Improvement District company.

She said: “I’m looking forward to representing the creative and digital sectors. There is some fantastic work being done here. I want to use this opportunity to harness the strength, diversity and energy of local businesses and bring together the talented people who run them.”

The other key issue she will be tackling is the ever-present skills gap. Even now, and even in the digital sector, there is still a dangerous void between what young people are taught and how they are directed and the industries desperate to take on new staff and find fresh impetus.

"There is no doubt there is still a gap - it is too much about quantity and not enough about quality," she says.

"We are trying to recruit and are having to look to Berlin because the right skills just aren't here."

The move is part of a restructure of the IoD’s regional committee under Dr Berry (pictured above), associate professor in entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School, who took over the role this month.

 She clearly shares Batley's passions. Following Graham Robb of Recognition PR as IoD regional chair, she is driving entrepreneurship and innovation in North East business, but also wants to encourage young directors and more women into the boardroom.

She said: “Lucy's experience will be invaluable as we shape the future of the IoD in the region and become stronger by collaborating."