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Channel 4 – RISE Programme

When Alex Mahon became the first ever female CEO of a major UK broadcaster she was passionate about creating a culture at Channel 4 where everyone could reach their full potential and harnesses their talents.

Against this backdrop, the reporting of their gender pay data in 2018, which revealed a pay gap of 28.6%, came as a big wake up call. Despite employing a greater proportion of women than other UK broadcasters, the flat structure meant that there were limited upward opportunities and few female role models who could show progression to senior level from within the organisation. This had played its part in creating a lack of confidence and motivation among the female population. As an organisation respected across the industry for its pioneering work on inclusion and diversity both on and off screen, there was a real appetite and urgency to do something big and to make that change happen for today’s women and for future talent.

Introducing RISE, Channel 4’s bespoke Women’s Development Programme

To have the level of impact required we co-designed an ambitious programme that created three distinct cohorts enabling women across the whole Channel to benefit:

Role models; 16 top female leaders who would drive a ripple effect throughout the channel

Catalysts; 50 future female leaders, building a movement of influential women who could create the change they wanted to see

Energisers; 150 women who we wanted to empower to go big and not be afraid to ask for it.

We focused on helping the women to build deeper self-awareness, greater clarity about the future and to help them tackle potential barriers to success. Everyone came out energised and with a set of priorities and commitments alongside simple but effective tools that could be used for their own development and with their teams.

We had some great feedback from the sessions

“This programme was sensational. Exceptional and inspirational female leaders. A powerful experience that we will all take with us through our careers and personal lives. Life changing course – thank you so much.” Role model

“I have come away feeling confident, empowered and to make decisions that I have been putting off. The programme has helped me to focus on what I want and what I need to get it.” Catalyst

“I felt the course was brilliant at making me look at my life, goals and frustrations and I really welcomed the chance for self-reflection and to connect with others.” Energiser


of Role Models felt more confident about stretching their comfort zones


of Catalysts felt able to apply what they learnt to their jobs


of Energisers felt they had a better sense of how to use their strengths in the future

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