Article 6 March 2023

Mitie Women Can Month: A spotlight on Dannielle Smith, Network Chair

We’re delighted to be celebrating Mitie Women Can Month – with International Women’s Day quickly approaching on 8 March, this month is a fantastic opportunity to drive forward the goals of the Mitie Women Can Network: to share, support and empower women, and maximise their potential in an equal workplace.

Today, we’re in conversation with Dannielle Smith, Legal Director and Network Chair. She delves into the evolution of ED&I at Mitie, achievements thus far, and her vision for the future.

What motivated you to get involved with the Mitie Women Can network?  

“My colleague and I were talking about the lack of a gender network at Mitie. On doing some digging we found that the previous ‘Engender’ network had come to a halt some time ago. We promptly offered to reinvigorate and kickstart the network. We were clear from the start that it needed to actually help empower and support women in the workplace.”

Are there any issues you’ve become aware of since working with the network?

“Forced marriage and so-called ‘honour abuse’ – that was a real eye opener. We’d hosted a couple of events on domestic abuse, and we knew these issues existed but had no idea how to tackle them. Fortunately, the amazing Jasvinder Sanghera agreed to come and talk with us, share her experiences, and educate us on this topic. It was a powerful conversation and gave us all a lot to think about.”

How has ED&I changed at Mitie since you joined the network?  

“It’s now much more balanced and organised! When we first started, it seemed like only the CHORD network existed. Now we have six equally amazing networks representing all our colleagues and hosting great events throughout the year. There’s something for everyone and it’s much more inclusive.”

How has your work with Mitie Women Can supported your personal and professional development?  

“Working in Mitie Women Can has definitely helped my confidence giving presentations. I still get the butterflies, but I think that’s more because I’m excited and passionate about what we’re talking about. It opens up new connections and opportunities outside your role and business unit.” ​​​​

What’s the network’s biggest achievement so far?

“We’ve always said, if we can help one person then we’ve done a great job. The validation and thanks we get after each event is life affirming. Knowing we’re using our time to help others gain confidence or find a safe space to open up about a difficult situation or health concern or find the power within themselves to drive their careers forward is fantastic. It’s hard work pulling these events together on top of a busy day job, but it’s always worth it. And the more like-minded people you have helping, the easier it is.”

How is Mitie Women Can working with other networks?  

“We’ve collaborated with all our partner networks and even with some of our clients! People don’t fit into just one ‘box’. There is no one size fits all. So naturally the issues or ideas and events hosted by one network are bound to overlap with the interests of another. I think it’s great that the networks have their own dedicated spaces to focus on key issues. But I also love it when we come together. That’s really where we shine and show our allyship and support for one another.”

What’s your vision for the network over the next year?  

“The fight for equality and equal representation is not over. We march on, supporting women to maximise their potential, breaking down taboos and barriers to their success. Supporting and growing allyship at Mitie is going to be a key turning point this year. It will help Mitie become a diverse and inclusive organisation.”

Join the Mitie Women Can events this month

Exceptional Women in Mitie – Wednesday 8 March, 12-1pm

International Women’s Day – Wednesday 8 March, 3-5pm

Why Allyship is Important – Tuesday 14 March, 1-2pm

Career Spotlight with Becky Slack – Thursday 23 March, 12-1pm

The 3 R’s Masterclass with Sonya Barlow – Thursday 30 March, 12-1:30pm