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“You’re not going to get along with everyone, but that’s OK”: Sinead Bunting on enforcing change

Monster's Sinead Bunting has dedicated her career to enforcing positive change in the workplace. Real Business spoke to her about life in the technology fast-lane – and her role as diversity champion.
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Sinead Bunting is well-known for vying for workplace equality. While leading job site Monster’s digital marketing and brand transformation, she has launched numerous initiatives to put diversity and inclusion in the lime-light.

Part of this has involved writing and founding the Tech Talent Charter. Here’s her story.

Name: Sinead Bunting

Job title: VP of marketing

Company: Monster

What is the number one thing you want to change in your industry and why?

More diversity and inclusion is needed. For example, there are still not enough women on board – and the excuses for this are frankly ridiculous. It shows there’s much that needs to be done in the way of gender bias. 

A collaborative environment seems to be missing from most companies. This is despite research claiming that collaboration will help boost the economy.

If we plan to remain a leader in technology, then we need to build partnerships that allow us to bounce ideas and shake things up. Women and men both have amazing ideas, and you’re failing to tap into your talent’s potential when you don’t give everyone a chance to speak.

Shared Parental Leave also needs to be shouted from the rooftops. It’s an important initiative for enforcing change. But it won’t deliver any benefits when so few people know whether they’re allowed to use it. Business owners need to be upfront and transparent in this regard. HR is key to making the initiative known as well.

Otherwise, men will become stuck in a cycle of stereotypes – where it’s seen to be unmanly or lacking in ambition to help look after children. If left unaddressed, the perception that women are care takers by default will persist. 

What are the top 3 insights you’d like to share?

The first includes fostering change. Much is said about how people drag their heels when a new way of doing things is introduced. Don’t let that stop you. When you need to make changes in your business, be hopeful and idealistic that it can happen. This ties in with my second piece of advice.

Everyone should collectively work together, which means being transparent and ramping up the communication factor. Confidence will skyrocket and people will embrace the concept more easily.

That leaves me with a quote from American actress Lily Tomlin. It definitely inspired me: “I said ‘somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realised I am somebody’.” Indeed, when you come across an area of business or life that can be changed, then why not do it yourself?

Take action. If you don’t, a competitor will – or it could sadly never be addressed.

Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t a business leader, I would be…

I would have gone the investigative journalist route. There’s something satisfying about unearthing the truth.

What is your favourite achievement?

I wrote and conceived the Tech Talent Charter, which brings together industries and organisations to address gender imbalance. The idea is to share best practice and take action to improve overall diversity and inclusion within the UK. 

Being part of a project seeking such change has definitely been one of my biggest achievements. Working with people in all walks of life and industry, to hear their thoughts and experiences, has been just as wondrous.

What is the most difficult leadership lesson you’ve learned?

You’re won’t always get along with everyone. I learned that the hard way. I also realised that it’s OK – these things happen. Actually, it’s best to expect it. Take business ideas, for example. Some might not understand it. Others will be indifferent to it.

Don’t let that interfere with your ambitions though.

What is one must-read book that has changed your outlook?

There are two books in particular that have caught my attention. the first is The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. It delves into the concept of the highly influential profiteering on disastrous events. 

Dave Trott’s Predatory Thinking is just as good, focussing on the ways companies can start out-thinking the competition.

Who are your biggest role models?

I have to say my grandmother was an inspirational woman. She taught me the importance of treating others as you would yourself.

Another role model was Caitlin Moran. In fact, her launch of How to Build a Girl Book was what lit a fire in my belly. It highlighted that 90% of coders are men. They alone are developing the language of the future – women aren’t even part of the conversation.

I couldn’t ignore that fact. 

What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received? 

Stay humble. I realised that I still have so much to learn. You learn from each person you meet, every experience you have. The learning will never stop, so don’t think you know it all. You’ll always be in progress.  

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is the deputy editor of Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business