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Toast boss aims to boost number of female CEOs

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Chief executive of premium womenswear and lifestyle brand Toast, Suzie de Rohan Willner, is teaming up with Central Saint Martins in an attempt to boost the number of female CEOs.

As part of the university’s Women in the Arts mentoring scheme for the next generation of female leaders, De Rohan Willner will take part in an ‘In Conversation’ event to share her knowledge and advice on how to lead the way as a woman in the fashion and retail sectors.

The aim of the event is to target female students studying arts subjects at universities across the UK and to encourage more women to go for chief executive jobs in the fashion industry, as despite women accounting for two-thirds of fashion consumers there are only a handful of women occupying top-level positions.

At the event on February 2, Toast and the University Women in the Arts will launch a new mentoring competition for female students, with the aim of boosting confidence and showcasing skill sets to lead, to encourage women to aim for the boardroom.

Jennifer Tuckett, director of University Women in the Arts, said: “We are delighted to be working with Suzie de Rohan Willner on our fourth University Women in the Arts event. I think one of the key points of interest will be looking at why so many women study the arts, but decide against pursuing it as a career, particularly when it comes to leadership roles.

“Suzie will be able to share her experience on the progression she has made, how she has achieved her successes, and the challenges and obstacles faced over the course of her career.”

De Rohan Willner, commented: “At Toast, we celebrate thoughtful creative women and so it’s a great honour to be invited to speak with young women looking to progress their careers in such an inspiring, dynamic industry.

“The scheme has recognised the challenges faced by women to secure senior roles in the arts, but I hope to empower the next generation to strive for these positions by sharing my own experiences.”

De Rohan Willner is one of 15 female bosses taking part in the programme including Royal Court Theatre artistic director Vicky Featherstone, English National Ballet head Tamara Rojo, and managing director of Penguin Books Joanna Prior.

Central Saint Martins
suzie de rohan willner
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