“Workplaces and workforces are changing” Toby Shaw, Director of Marketing and Strategy, IEMA

As Director of Marketing and Strategy for IEMA - the professional body for people working in environment and sustainability – Toby Shaw understands the importance of membership organisations. He joined the IoD a year ago in search of community, career development and training and appreciates the steps the IoD has taken to stay relevant.

My marketing background includes roles with Nestle, Heineken, Sony and Royal Caribbean Cruises, but like many others, Covid changed the course of my career. When lockdown came, I set up my own consultancy developing and delivering marketing programmes for smaller organisations. IEMA was a client, and over a period of 18 months I moved from consultancy to full time and permanent. It’s a fascinating role which has also enabled me to remain a non-executive director of my consultancy.

Covid has changed the workplace and how people enter the workforce and this is altering the nature of our membership. Large organisations are deliberately recruiting based on what an individual can bring to a role and less about qualifications. With skills-based, or even anonymous hiring, companies are literally removing someone’s background, school and university from the equation and replacing it with testing and questionnaires. This process takes out bias and increases diversity. Remote working is also eliminating geographical bias. IEMA doesn’t have an office anymore and although this might not work for everyone, it means we can hire people from all over the country.

Just like the IoD, we are responding to the changing make-up of the workforce and the evolving needs of our membership. But it’s a balancing act. During Covid we moved our training and events online because it was efficient and effective. Now we can see that our membership would like more face-to-face interaction. We are looking for the sweet spot between value and effectiveness.

When I joined the IoD a year ago I was looking for a community of people in similar positions to me, from a variety of industries, and the support I need to progress confidently through my career and directorships. Unlike some similar organisations, the IoD has moved with the times, recognising the diversity of its current and potential members. This change in outlook made me feel more comfortable about joining.

The reputation of the IoD and how well it is regarded by all business sectors is important to me. I want an organisation which can give me the backing I need to move forward and develop. I have enrolled onto the Leadership for Directors course and hope to take the Chartered Director Programme. I’m pleased to see the IoD taking sustainability seriously and including modules across its training.

Of course, sustainability has moved up the business agenda in the last few years and at IEMA we see that businesses where leadership is fully engaged are making the most progress. Sustainability can’t be side-lined, and you need metrics to measure progress in the same way as you do financial goals. At IEMA every employee reports their daily carbon footprint. People think it’s complex but if you keep the principles simple and get everyone involved it raises literacy and understanding around sustainability.

We support corporate partners and individual with resources, tools and world-class certification training in sustainability. We encourage our members to shine a light on their environmental impact and own up to what’s happening now. That way they can take the steps needed to move in the right direction.

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