UK support organisation the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) has revealed the 10 senior managers selected to take part in its BFI Film Audience funded professional development programme, Women’s Leadership 2021-22.
The participants for this year’s programme are Teanne Andrews, director of operations at We Are Parable; Sylvia Bednarz, partnership and operations director at Sheffield DocFest; Elizabeth Chege, festival director of Africa In Motion; Sarah Chorley, creative consultant; Rachel Hayward, head of Film At Home Manchester; Carol McKay, director of programming at Picturehouse Cinemas; Sally Pennington, head of development at Midlands Arts Centre; Yvonne Smith, head of cinema operations at Filmhouse Cinemas; Micaela Tuckwell, executive director at The Ultimate Picture Palace; and Imogen Weatherly, C Fylm project manager at Creative Kernow.
Women’s Leadership was set up in 2016. A statement from the ICO said the programme “fosters the next generation of top female executives and helps tackle underrepresentation at senior levels within the film exhibition sector. Over 50% of previous participants have secured promotions at work since taking part in the course.”
Former participants include Melanie Iredale, now director of Birds’ Eye View and Liz Harkman, now managing director of Live Cinema UK.
According to the ICO, in 2014 just 4% of chief executive-level jobs were held by women. The ICO is due to publish its Workforce Survey in spring 2022, to provide updated data to the film exhibition sector about the current extent of underrepresentation at a senior level.
The Women’s Leadership programme delivery is led by Catharine Des Forges, director of the Independent Cinema Office and executive coach Lucy Ryan. Talks and mentorship will be offered from industry experts including Heather Rabbatts, chair of TimesUp UK; Hilary Carty, executive director of Clore Leadership; and Iredale, the new director of Birds’ Eye View Films.