School of Business and Law

Inspiring journeys to work

Veronica Povey gives keynote speech to students and staff in Elm House

Women in Leadership: Finance Director at Ministry of Defence inspires students and staff

On Wednesday 29 June our students and staff were joined by Veronica Povey, Finance Director (Head Office and Strategic Programmes) at the Ministry of Defence, as part of our Women in Leadership Series.

The event was hosted in Elm House, the School of Business and Law’s new home on our Moulsecoomb campus, and kicked off with a CPD session in leadership. Led by Aaron Eckhoff, Founding Director of CORE Coaching Group International, students and staff took part in an inductive learning activity that involved using Lego to build their version of a ‘good leader’. 

Lego serious play has been adopted by the likes of global giants such as Google, NASA, Coca Cola, Toyota and Unilever as a way to engage creative thinking and problem solving.  

Aaron Eckhoff leading a lego play CPD session with our students and staff

“Inducing play around a serious question unlocks new knowledge,” said Aaron.  

“Some people think it’s a distraction, but it isn’t. We can articulate ourselves better and more clearly.” 

After completing the CPD session Adaeze Okoye, our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead here in the School of Business and Law, introduced Veronica to our students and staff.  

Veronica delivered a captivating keynote speech to our audience about her own career, challenges she faced along the way, plus her advice for forging inclusive leadership.  

Having studied physics and originally working in optical engineering, Veronica then joined the Civil Service. By the age of 30 she was District Inspector in the tax office in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. 

Newspaper clipping about Veronica Povey with the headline 'Top tax man in Lynn is woman!'

Working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and then finance, she was often the only woman around the table. 

“Leadership is definitely a creative enterprise. It’s very much about your own authentic self.  

“We need to be comfortable with changing and adapting to a lot very quickly.” 

When it comes to developing inclusive leadership and adopting inclusive behaviours, this is where Veronica says that women have an advantage.  

“I’d say generally, women are quite a bit further down the line on creating inclusive leadership behaviours and cultures that will really help with transformational change.” 

She shared advice on how to form inclusive leadership, ensuring careful decision-making that negates unconscious bias, investing time and sharing knowledge and networks with your team.  

“All the best women leaders I’ve come across, I’ve genuinely felt like they’ve been invested in me.” 

Our Women in Leadership Series is designed to inspire our students and staff, and is a way to showcase women that are leading the way in transformational change. We believe representation like this is critical to advancing gender justice and equality.  

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Zoe Cassell • July 15, 2022

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