MotherBoard Ambassador Spotlight : Francesca

The ADLIB x MotherBoard Ambassador scheme is for employees wanting to volunteer their time and join the MotherBoard mission of creating a more gender-fair and inclusive tech industry. As part of a series showcasing the amazing volunteers and ambassadors, we caught up with Francesca Macmillan, Head of Product & Agile Delivery Recruitment at ADLIB.

Firstly, can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your current role?

I head up ADLIB’s Product & Agile Delivery Recruitment team. My team is across our Bristol and Brighton offices and we work with a range of agencies and client side businesses (predominantly start-ups, consultancies, tech for good and charities) and we recruited Project Managers, Business Analysts, Product Owners and Software Developers. All of our clients have tech functions and teams so as soon as the opportunity came to join MotherBoard as an Ambassador I jumped at it.

Outside of work, I am a step-mum to a 16 year old Freya.

What motivated you to become a MotherBoard ambassador?

I mainly collaborate with start-ups and scale-ups, guiding them to establish robust foundations for inclusive growth from the outset. My approach emphasises the importance of integrating inclusivity into their organisational DNA from the beginning, rather than treating it as an afterthought or addressing it only once they reach a certain size. By prioritising the formation of inclusive teams early on, we can minimize the need to unpicking established processes later down the line (although this isn’t always avoidable).

These discussions are an integral part of my daily work and a part of my role that I find particularly rewarding. Naturally, this passion and commitment led me to becoming a MotherBoard Ambassador so I can spread the word and connect other businesses that want to make a positive change to MotherBoard.

What does being a MotherBoard Ambassador mean to you?

After more than a decade in recruitment, with nine years at ADLIB, I recently made my first placement for a part-time working mother just five months ago. I felt immense satisfaction in helping my candidate secure a new role upon her return from maternity leave, crafting an arrangement that suited all parties involved. While this success story was gratifying, it highlighted a stark reality: part-time opportunities have rarely been on the table in my experience. Despite engaging in conversations with clients about attracting and hiring inclusive talent over the years, placements for part-time working mothers have remained a rarity, comprising less than 1% of my overall placements. This underscores the significance of my role as a MotherBoard Ambassador and the need for broader changes in the industry

What are you most looking forward to as part of being an ambassador?

How far MotherBoard can go, what the future looks like and the impact it’s going to make. This is beyond companies improving policies, for example Sophie is working with the City of London, we’re already seeing the change that can happen on a legislation governmental level.

What do you think the priority should be for creating tangible change for working mums in tech?

Before delving into policy reviews, benefits adjustments, or flexibility enhancements, the crucial first step lies in shifting mindsets. Working mothers often face biases regarding their roles, such as assumptions about their priorities, home responsibilities, and availability. However, the real issue stems from these ingrained beliefs, which pigeonhole them into traditional roles. It’s essential to empower and embrace working mothers, recognising their value and potential in the workplace. Only by addressing these biases and embracing inclusivity can tangible change truly take root. Without this foundational shift, other efforts may struggle to make a meaningful impact.

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community & Event Series, driving tangible change for mums working in the tech industry.

Interested in getting involved? Become a signatory today.

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Sophie Creese