International Women’s Day – Interview with Julie Chappell
International Women’s Day (Thursday 8th March 2018) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level.
To celebrate this International Women’s Day I, Indira Patel, Women’s Officer at LSBSU, will be bringing you an exclusive series of interviews from strong women here at London South Bank University.
Today I have been lucky enough to interview Julie Chappell, an Independent Governor here at LSBU, and the Chief Digital Officer of London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s international promotional agency. Julie and her talented team manage digital for London & Partners including visitlondon.com and associated channels and marketing. In a previous role at L&P, Julie was also responsible for studylondon.ac.uk.
Julie was instrumental in shaping non-sporting visitor comms during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and was editor in chief of the 2012 non accredited media centre. She founded .london, the top level domain for London and has a background in creative, entertainment, publishing and licensing. Julie is also a director of London & Partners Ventures, non-executive director of Dot London Domains and sits on the Mayor of London’s Music Board.
How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day?
We have an exciting event planned at London & Partners where the whole office will be coming together to share their stories of people that have really inspired them. In the evening a friend of mine, who is the Director of Marketing for Shaftsbury, has invited me to an International Women’s Day event in Seven Dials. It’ll be a panel discussion with fashion designers, chefs, business women, and journalists talking about gender equality and women pushing forward in society – it’s going to be an exciting day!
How has social media changed the way you work?
I’ve been here quite a long time, I first started in print publishing and then moved into digital publishing, and when I started we just had a website and a little bit of email marketing – there was no social media! Social media has absolutely transformed and revolutionised how we work, how we market London, how we tell stories, and how we communicate with people. In addition, the power of influencers and the sway they have with opinion formers and taste makers truly highlights how this industry has blossomed around social media.
Do you believe London is a world leader when it comes to breaking new concepts and if so, why?
My job is to promote London internationally for foreign investment, tourism, students and in trade, and I always find that I talk about London having the best talent, amazing clusters and being great for business. We have the infrastructure and environment for people to develop new ideas, to get investment, backing and thrive. In fact, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business and our Chair here at London & Partners, Rajesh Agrawal, came to London 15 years ago with around £50 in his pocket – since then, he founded his own company, RationalFX, and is now the Deputy Mayor of London for Business. There are opportunities here for people who have great ideas and work hard.
How and why did you get involved in your work with the Mayor of London?
I’ve always loved London, I was born in Sheffield, and I would buy TimeOut magazine growing up and imagine how wonderful a place London must be! I saw a job advertised in the Guardian, I applied, got the job and I’ve been in London for 14 years since! My job is to tell London’s story brilliantly, I really believe in it, and I am very lucky to have come across a job that I love.
What main change would you like to see for young women in the next generation?
I think we’re on the right path, when I was young it was difficult to even study subjects in science – I was the first girl in my school to study A-level Chemistry, so looking back I do see that as a society we have changed. I hope that young women have more confidence and belief in themselves, as there are far fewer barriers to success here in the UK compared to parts of the world.
It’s been 100 years since women first had the right to vote in the UK and we’ve been heavily focused on our campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity, which calls on Londoners, businesses and organisations to make their New Year’s resolutions for gender equality this year. The campaign has included nurses, fire-fighters, police officers, and even the likes of Naomi Campbell, Linda Roberts and Gurinder Chadha alongside The Mayor of London. #BehindEveryGreatCity aims to show that the achievements and contributions of women from London is what make this city great and I think that something as simple as a pledge towards gender equality can have a huge impact for women in the next generation!
How can working with men and boys help to create and advance the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women?
It’s essential that we work together – men and boys need to see the benefits of working well with their female colleagues, and we need to be as inclusive as we can in our work.
I’m actually going to a talk tonight at The Legatum Institute by Dame Helena Morrissey DBE, she’s a powerful, high achieving woman, who has been CEO of a big financial company and she has nine children! I’m really looking forward to hearing about what she has to say on this!
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