I have made it a personal mission to provoke thought and spread the word on the need for better corporate governance and a return to the value of an ethical focus for better, sustainable businesses. Attempting to return to professional life after more than 20 years out of full-time professional work in the United Kingdom, I found I seemed to be wearing the ‘invisibility cloak’ from the Harry Potter books with which my children grew up. The dull thud of doors repeatedly shutting in my face despite an improbable number of university degrees and a stellar early start to a career soon became a challenge, rather than merely soul-destroying. So I used my skills with the internet to create my own digital platform, and started sharing my ideas.
My first website, created in 2009, showcased a portfolio of writing. Two years later I launched an independent blog to capture the nuances of journalistic observation that did not always make it into a story for publication in the mainstream media. I called it Board Talk, urged to do so by the women I encountered as I covered the UK Government’s drive for female representation in FTSE 350 boardrooms. Board Talk, not “bored talk” they said, suggesting the conversation both in and around the UK’s boardrooms needed to be livened up.
Board Talk quickly picked up generous commercial sponsorship, with no editorial control, and it was renewed for four years. It was an arrangement that allowed me to rebuild a career after leaving a permanent job at the Financial Times. My website was now my platform. My ideas, and adept use of social media did the rest and I went from being invisible to being very visible, with global reach. A few years on, an influential PR noted that I had created my own brand, with a surprising capacity for engagement. Google me.
This is my second website, more suitable for a digital age. You will find links to my writing on Forbes (2013-2017) under leadership, covering a wide range of business issues including the need for diversity and inclusion. I was early to spot the rising tide of interest in environmental, societal and governance concerns for business, investors and stakeholders, with a focus on climate risk. The challenges of technological transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution feature prominently there.
I have built strong connections at the most senior levels across public and private sectors. My networks are global, and the themes in my writing showcase my interests. I wear different hats in working with a variety of businesses across sectors.
I spent three years on the first Alumni Advisory Board for the University of Cambridge, and was Deputy Chair of its Communications Working Group. Living up to the reputation Indians have across the world for being over-educated, I attended Trinity College, Cambridge for an M.Phil, a third degree following a second gained at Somerville College, Oxford, and a first at Wellesley College in the United States. Indian-born, I grew up in Washington, DC, where I attended National Cathedral School.
Looking back, my networks and my interest in building better businesses go back to 2002, when I worked with Laura D’Andrea Tyson, then Dean of London Business School, on her report on the Recruitment and Development of Non-Executive Directors. Since then, I have worked with a wide range of stakeholders on collaborative efforts to determine ways for business to be better aligned to create and deliver societal value. I was on the steering group for the London-based cross-party think-tank, the Centre for Progressive Capitalism, where I was in good company with my contribution (on pensions) to a book published in June 2017. I am a Visiting Fellow at the think tank CPP rolled into, the Centre for Progressive Policy, and am involved with the work of the Oslo-based global initiative, Future Boards.
A commitment to the drive for real diversity and inclusion have remained a passion of mine for the past decade. In October 2019, I am on the steering committee for an initiative on Accelerating Women Into The Chairmen Role driven by businesswoman Helen Pitcher, for whom I also write a regular Governance Watch column.
I leave a clear digital footprint - you will find me on LinkedIn, on Twitter @dinamedland, and on Facebook, where I have held on for a slightly quirky business page for the level of engagement it allows. Intellectually curious, I value new experiences in the same way I enjoy the creative arts: for stimulation. Diversity is the key to richness - in life, and in business. You could say that I am proud of being (like the mare I ride, and if any interest there see Instagram) a ‘work in progress’, not completely defined, not always easy to put in a box. It feels as if this will be the new normal for a younger generation.
In my travels on Twitter since 2008, I started a lighthearted awareness campaign around issues involving boardrooms and corporate governance by posting a cartoon every Sunday, some of which are on this site. More than a decade on, recognition of the importance of ethics for sustainable business is ever more acute, with interest steadily rising.