LeasePlan’s radical approach to diversity

In April 2015, an all-female team of 12 LeasePlan employees will undertake a 100 kilometre ski-trek in -15 degree temperatures across Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle. The 18-day trip will be led by professional adventurer and gender equality advocate, Debra Searle MVO MBE.

Why is LeasePlan doing this?

The LeasePlan Women’s Arctic Challenge is part of the company’s worldwide initiative to challenge how people think about diversity and inclusion.

The Challenge is a radically different approach to the gender equality question. The team will act as an inspiration both in LeasePlan and in the wider world as they challenge their own preconceptions and self-belief and show us all that we’re all capable of far more than we’ve ever dreamed.

Who is going?

We have a balanced team representing all divisions and locations, and the range of ethnicity, age and seniority that we have in our business. The 12 women are not athletes or spare-time polar explorers; they’re just ordinary people trying to achieve the extraordinary.

Participants (click to watch show-reel)

Leela Bassi (LeasePlan International)

Viv Bowra (HR)

Samantha Carlin (Legal & Compliance)

Kimberley Day (Commercial)

Charlotte Edney (Commercial)

Louise Goodall (Business Change & IT)

Carrie Knox (Commercial)

Joanna Miles (Operations & Service)

Ella Petch-Stewart (Commercial)

Mel Sanghani (Operations & Service)

Anisha Vaja (Finance)

Rebecca Whittaker (Business Development)


Sue Cashmore-Thorley (Commercial)

Janine Hamblin (Commercial)

Emma Virgo (Finance

But we need to address the elephant in the room. Why are there no men?

Research studies have shown that women are less willing to put themselves forward for mission critical roles. So the point of the Challenge is to take a scenario that, typically, men might be more likely to apply for, and then specifically say we don’t want to get the normal outcome.

87 women applied for the challenge; representing a third of the eligible female population. Of those, 32 women were shortlisted to attend a selection event on Dartmoor with the final 12 (plus 3 reserves) revealed at our employee conference in October 2014.

Follow the team’s journey:

Twitter: @LeasePlanUK #LPUKArctic


You Tube:


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