Silver Diversity Mark awarded to Danske Bank

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI, Kevin Kingston, CEO at Danske Bank UK and Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK

The award recognises the bank’s commitment to embracing diversity and creating an inclusive culture where differences are seen as a strength and where people feel valued and realise their full potential.

Diversity Mark applications are assessed by an independent panel of experts. Danske Bank demonstrated significant improvements in female representation at Board level and in senior roles as well as a strong commitment to wider diversity through clear targets and new initiatives around sexual orientation and disability.

Danske Bank has three employee networks – a Gender Diversity, a Rainbow Network and a disability network, Enable.  

Commenting on the award, Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank said:

“At Danske Bank people are at the heart of everything we do and we want to ensure that every colleague and customer feels supported, accepted and included.  

“As part of our Danske Belong strategy we have very strong employee networks which are driven by passionate volunteers with the focus and ambition to make Danske Bank a place of work where people feel they can be their true selves.  The networks have been instrumental in opening up debate, introducing new initiatives and challenging for change, and they have the full support of our senior management team.

“Of course, working life has transformed since the pandemic and we will continue to listen to colleague feedback, collaborate to introduce new policies or initiatives where necessary, and also step up our focus on wellbeing.

“The Diversity Mark underpins our commitment to drive diversity and inclusion and be a force for good in Northern Ireland, and I would encourage other organisations to show their commitment by applying for it.”

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI, added:

“Our assessment panel commended Danske Bank for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and the progress it has made.  This is an organisation with a laser focus on measurement, using data and employee feedback to drive strategy and to set clear and ambitious targets around diversity and inclusion. The panel found it particularly encouraging to see the marked increase in female representation at Board Level, Senior Manager level and Graduate level, which is evidence of what can be achieved through focused effort.”

Register to sign the DMNI Charter today and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark – your public declaration of commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Don’t Let the Pandemic Set Back Gender Equality – Harvard Business Review

Progress towards greater gender equality has been hesitant and halting over the past five years and the Covid-19 pandemic now risks sending it into reverse. Harvard Business Review’s analysis shows that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs: Women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses as of May 2020. At the same time, the burden of unpaid care, which has risen in the pandemic, falls disproportionately on women.

This backwards move is not just a blow to women and societal progress but also to the economy and business. If no action is taken to counter the regressive effects, Harvard estimates that global GDP growth could be $1 trillion lower in 2030 than it would be if women’s unemployment simply tracked that of men in each sector. Conversely, acting now to advance gender equality could add $13 trillion to global GDP in 2030, compared with no action. A middle path — taking action only after the crisis has subsided — would boost the economy but reduce the potential opportunity by more than $5 trillion.

The evidence is clear: Greater Gender Equality is good for the economy and society

We must ACT NOW to remove the barriers to greater female labour-force participation & reap the economic and social benefits

SIGN UP TODAY AND WORK TOWARDS ACHIEVING THE DIVERSITY MARK – your public declaration of commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. 

Read more from Harvard Business Review

Laura Bates joins Lord Davies at inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Summit

Laura Bates joins Lord Davies of Abersoch as another announced speaker Northern Ireland’s first Diversity and Inclusion Summit being held on Thursday 20th February 2020 at Titanic Belfast.

Click here for online ticket sales

Laura works closely with politicians, businesses, schools, police forces and organisations from the Council of Europe to the United Nations to tackle gender inequality. She writes regularly for the Guardian and the New York Times amongst others and won a British Press Award in 2015.

Laura was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to gender equality in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2015 and has been named woman of the year by Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine and The Sunday Times Magazine.  Laura is a contributor at Women Under Siege, a New York-based project tackling rape in conflict worldwide and she is patron of SARSAS, Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support. She is the recipient of two honorary degrees and was awarded the Internet and Society Award by the Oxford Internet Institute alongside Sir Tim Berners Lee.

Laura is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, with branches in 25 countries worldwide.

Lord Davies spearheaded ‘The Davies Review’, a government backed commission, first introduced in 2010 to examine the underrepresentation of women on boards. At that time he was Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Small Business.

Expert Keynote Speakers

Panel Discussions

Diversity and Inclusion Best Practice

Breakout Sessions

Networking Lunch

Click here for online ticket sales or email for an invoice.

Caroline van der Feltz joins the Diversity Mark Board

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK

We are delighted to announce that Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Dankse Bank UK has joined the Diversity Mark board.

Caroline van der Feltz  is an experienced HR Director with over 25  years’ experience within the fields of Financial Services, FMCG, Travel and Retail sectors. Currently at Danske Bank UK she leads the People Strategy as part of the Banks Executive Committee with Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging a significant element of their Strategy.

Caroline has spent the majority of her career in London and returned to Northern Ireland in 2015. Prior to taking up her current role she worked for a number of FTSE 100 companies including Reckitt Benckiser where she held a Global HR Director role, Executive HR Director at Coutts and had 11 years with RBS in a variety of HR roles.

Danske Bank won Business in the Community’s 2019 Responsible Business Awards in three categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Wellbeing at Work and Responsible Digital Innovation, as well as being presented with the top award on the night – NI Responsible Company of the Year 2019. The Bank were also awarded the Women in Business NI: Advancing Diversity in the Workplace Award 2019.

Diversity Mark NI are hiring a Membership Engagement Manager

Due to our success with the Diversity Charter Mark we are delighted to announce that we have a very exiting opportunity for someone to join our team in a dynamic new role.

The role of the Membership Engagement Manager is to ensure that relationships with Diversity Mark NI members are strong and enduring. Delivering regular engagement via events, roundtables, communications, Ezines, and sharing of research reports and best practice to grow a learning community focussed on creating diverse and inclusive cultures in Northern Ireland workplaces.

To succeed in this role, you’ll need to be a strong communicator, both written and verbal, with great organisational skills and the ability to multitask.  Experience in customer service is an asset in this position. If you’re a team player with vision we’d like to meet you!



  • Five years proven track record in a marketing or customer relationship environment
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Strong Social Media skills including strength in graphic design tools such as Canva
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Proficiency in Excel, Database Management & CRM Systems
  • A positive upbeat attitude


  • Knowledge of Diversity and Inclusion best practice
  • Events Management Experience
  • Experience in a membership organisation
  • Sales skills with a track record for exceeding sales targets
  • Business Degree or equivalent

Please send a two page CV along with a covering letter explaining why you are the right person for this role to

Closing Date: 12.00pm on Wednesday 11th December 2019

Please reserve Thursday 19th December for a potential interview.

Diversity Mark NI recognises the positive value of diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We welcome and encourage job applications from people of all backgrounds, in particular we welcome applications from men.

Danske Bank Diversity Success

The Danske Bank Team at the Women in Business Awards

We want to congratulate Danske Bank for being awarded the Women in Business Award for Advancing Diversity in the Workplace at their glittering awards celebration earlier this month.  Nicola McCleery, Head of Specialist Business at Danske Bank told us how very proud she felt that Danske Bank had been recognised for advancing not just Gender Diversity, but also wider diversity after many innovative diversity initiatives have heen developed over the last number of years. 

Click here to read more about the Women in Business Awards.

We want to thank Danske bank for sharing some of their recent Diversity success stories with us – see below.

Danske Bank are getting ready to officially launch Enable – the Danske Disability employee network!   

Danske Bank

It is really important to us that we promote inclusion and help colleagues with disabilities thrive and feel they belong in the workplace.

Listening to colleague feedback we established our goals and created our charter by voting on what our top priorities for delivery are.  Over the last few months the Enable Steering Committee has been working hard to create a new online information hub for colleagues which includes lots of information and signposting to support services available, as well as really powerful case studies from six colleagues who have bravely shared their personal stories.

Danske Bank hosts Lean In event on Breaking the Bias

Danske Bank’s Gender Diversity Network recently hosted a Lean in Belfast event on the theme of bias and how to better identify and manage biases you or others may have.

Danske Bank signed to become a Stonewall Diversity Champion

Photo by Aaron McCracken

Through this membership, Danske Bank hope to  empower LGBT+ staff to be their authentic selves and reach their full potential. The membership also empowers both LGBT+ staff and their allies to create positive change and inclusive cultures within wider businesses and organisations.  

Keen to share learnings and best practices, Danske Bank attended the Stonewall Diversity Champions Senior Leaders lunch earlier this month, with the chair of their Rainbow Network taking part in a panel discussion on how Senior Leaders can cultivate truly inclusive workplaces for staff, but taking this further into society.  Having submitted to the Workplace Equality Index, Danske looking forward to receiving the result in the new year to help shape the path for LGBT+ inclusion in 2020.

Diversity Charter Mark awarded to top companies at Diversity Mark Lunch

We were very proud to present six of our members with the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark at our 2nd Business of Diversity Lunch this week. These organisations are focussing on some very innovative initiatives to drive diversity within their organisations.

We want to congratulate the following progressive organisations:

St Ronan’s Primary School, Newry

First Derivatives

A&L Goodbody

Outsource Solutions


The Consumer Council

To find out how your business could benefit from Northern Ireland’s only independent, not-for-profit Charter Mark for Diversity and Inclusion contact

Greencore’s Gary Kennedy supports Diversity Mark NI

Guest Speaker Gary Kennedy, Nichola Robinson, Wendy Austin and Christine White.

We welcomed over 100 of the country’s CEO’s and senior business leaders to our 2nd Business of Diversity Lunch sponsored by Danske Bank and First Derivatives, at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry.

Our keynote speaker was Gary Kennedy, Chair of Greencore and also Chairman of Connect Group plc and Green REIT plc. Gary co-chairs the Government sponsored gender diversity initiative Balance for Better Business which was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to improve gender balance in senior leadership in Ireland.

Gary was interviewed by journalist and broadcaster, Wendy Austin and spoke passionately about the impact of gender disparities in the workplace across Ireland and the impact of implementing diversity and inclusion programmes to drive business growth.

Some of Gary Kennedy’s key insights noted from the event:

“The importance of Diversity is rubberstamped by me by having a daughter and would like to see some of the barriers removed for her now in her career.”

“Sad statistic is that women are underrepresented at senior levels in companies yet 50% of the world’s population is female, 54% of 3rd level graduates are female, 70% of consumer spending decisions are taken by females but we don’t have that breadth and depth of wisdom in business.”

“The need for change must be driven by the willingness of the organisation but also pressure from stakeholders and proxy advisors. Investors are also looking now at companies diversity policies. There are no barriers if you have the right mindset.”

“To get the buy in of the whole company in diversity terms, emphasis must start at an early age by challenging stereotypes and you have to challenge the stereotype in companies and marginalise the naysayers.”

“Change has to come from the top but has to be pushed everywhere in the organisation. Potential employees no longer just look at a company’s salary when looking for new jobs they look at so many criteria including corporate social responsibility and the environmentally responsibility of the company including it’s diversity.”

“Countries like Norway/Canada/New Zealand and Australia are leading the way in terms of gender diversity offering things like 6 months fully paid maternity leave followed by 6 months fully paid paternity leave.”

“Diversity has to be championed by the Chairperson. There has to be strong leadership and you have to find champions on the workplace especially male ones to bring everyone forward and hold them accountable.”

“It’s all about all potential change agents working together and Diversity has to become part of the fabric of the organisation.”

“You have to be innovative in bringing female employees back into the workplace after maternity or other leave and to bring them back with integrity and dignity so they can progress in their careers.  You have to consider as a CEO of the business that nurturing someone is an investment 5-10yrs down the line for your business. You also have to find ways to engage with women when they are off on maternity leave to  keep them involved with the company and to interact. We have to stop undervaluing and underestimating the experience that women have gained when they are out of the office.”

“Most significant change in employment over the years is that people have at least 5 jobs over 30 years rather than staying in one job all their life as used to be the case.”

“We totally underestimate the calibre, power and hunger and intellect of the young generation of today. So use initiatives to involve them with your business decisions. At Greencore for example we recently had the new graduates involved in leading some strategic discussions of the company.”

“The key thing is to keep human capital in tandem with business direction. You have to take a risk and fast track new employees as Boardroom apprentices.”

“The world is constantly changing but I don’t fear change, I think we should encourage and embrace it.”

Head of Business at Diversity Mark, Christine White said “Hosting this series of events is extremely important as it signifies the crucial work needed to further gender balance and diversity in the workplace. As women make up 50% of the population, we place emphasis on gender diversity and recognise the need for a wider diversity and inclusion in organisations for them to reach their full potential. A balanced workforce is good for business, customers and profitability and I would urge companies to sign up to Northern Ireland’s independent, not-for-profit Charter Mark for diversity and inclusion”

We want to thank Gary Kennedy for such an honest and insightful interview and we really appreciate him supporting our work on Diversity.

Danske Bank and guests

Stonewall’s Fergal McFerran joins Diversity Mark NI

We are thrilled to announce that Fergal McFerran from Stonewall UK has joined us as an independent assessor. Fergal brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on LGBTQ inclusion which will be valuable to us, and our members over the coming years.

Fergal McFerran

“I’m delighted to be joining Diversity Mark’s growing panel of independent assessors. This is a great opportunity to work with others to shape truly inclusive workplace cultures as well as to provide insight and guidance to our members that strengthens their practices in LGBT inclusion.

Fergal joins Judith Gillespie, former Deputy Chief Constable in the PSNI, Kieran Harding, MD Business in the Community, Deborah Lange, Invest NI & Harbour Commissioner and Dianne Foster, Director at Baker McKenzie.

Watch this space for future announcements on our growing team of wonderful independent assessors!

Sign up for the Mark of Progress here – Northern Ireland’s only independent, not-for-profit Charter Mark for Diversity and Inclusion.