Interviews

Tracey Greaves on female empowerment and Goodwood’s latest partnerships

By Community | March 19, 2018

Women’s influence at the workplace and the gender pay gap is a topic being discussed at every organisation currently. We spoke with Tracey Greaves who currently serves as Chief Commercial Officer of the Goodwood Group of Companies in West Sussex in England, to find out her views on the topic.

Tracey first came to Goodwood in November 2008 as Group Sales and Marketing Director, leading the commercial and brand development of this diverse portfolio of businesses delivering iconic events such as the Festival of Speed, Qatar Goodwood Festival (Glorious Goodwood) and the Revival.

Being passionate about the growth of female leadership and investing in young people, she created “Empowering Women” which brings together female business leaders from all industry sectors enabling them to collaborate with one another through imaginative events. 

Do you think the influence of women has increased in the sports industry?

Massively. I think that if you look at the growth of women, particularly in elite sport, it has been growing 30% every year in recent years. And that’s with the success of the likes of the women’s hockey team, the netball team, women’s cricket, football and rugby. The investment that is clearly going into grassroots programmes in these sports is really starting to have an influence, which is fantastic. Looking at televised sport, there will be over half a million people in 2018 at women’s sporting events. So, in terms of the impact of women, it has shifted more in the last five years than it has in the last 50.

The consumer has shown a real appetite for it. Motorsport is an area that is really trailing behind and that’s certainly something that needs more encouragement and investment. There are some fantastic female drivers out there, but they don’t have the support that other sporting sectors offer. Every business that is involved in motorsport has got a role to play in that. I like to think the content Goodwood produces is gender neutral, but we’re definitely looking at ways to produce more video footage and stories that will interest both men and women.

What do you see as the most significant strides that women have made to achieve equal treatment in the workplace?

Women have much more of a strong voice in the workplace driven by some key figures that have been instrumental in rising to the top of their sector.  Emma Wormsley at GSK is a perfect example. This leadership demonstrates that more women can lead FTSE 100 companies.

Indeed, it’s been proved that companies that have a gender-balanced board are seen to be more successful than companies that have all-male boards. If you look at the percentage of women on boards, that number will be topping out at around 28% this year and that has ballooned from 12% in the last five years. So, this shift is huge. I think that the increase in female entrepreneurs has been significant too and growing confidence in women has shone a light here.

Many more women than ever before are setting up their own businesses, which shows there has been a real shift in investor’s thinking, whether that’s banks or VCs, in giving women that opportunity. However, I very much believe that you should be promoted because of your abilities to do the job, not because of your gender. Yes, we’ve got more women in senior roles at Goodwood today than we did five years ago and of course I will always make sure, when we are promoting from within, that I look at our workforce to identify and nurture female talent across our business.

What do you think could be done, or needs to be done, to achieve greater equality?

As female leaders, I think we need to look more collectively at ways to promote women in business. There needs to be more awareness and discussion around the benefit that gender-diversity brings to boards. I still don’t think that there is enough promotion of the positive attributes that can be generated by having that balance. If you look at all the business school programmes that run, I would love to know how much of the curriculum covers gender diversity. Another thing that needs to be done is influencing investors and shareholders about the benefits of diversity.

There is no harm in celebrating the fact that women do think differently to men. Women are naturally more empathetic, we will look at a challenge or an opportunity from a different angle, so it just makes sense to have a balanced leadership team in order to forge the best way forward. There needs to be more appreciation of each other’s positive differences. What makes a business round is that diversity. Obviously, when it comes to pay, I believe people should be paid equally for the roles they do.

The sensitive subject of sexual harassment has gained more attention, thanks to high-profile women making their voices heard.  Do you think sports leaders and organisations have a role to play in improving attitudes and behaviour?

I think everybody has a role to play and I think if somebody has been badly treated, the individual should be supported to speak up. It doesn’t really matter what organisation it is. The “Me Too” movement has shone a spotlight on this issue and it feels to me that it has just gained momentum. And quite rightly it should. I’m lucky that I work for a family business, where many generations of the Richmond family have been women who have been pioneers in shaping what we do here and that very much continues today.

Tell us about Goodwood’s latest partnerships and investments

The Estate has been here for 300 years. Our job is to make sure it is still here in 300 years’ time. We are always investing in the fabric of the Estate, constantly evolving and creating new experiences, such as Hound Lodge – our 10-bedroom luxury retreat – and Farmer, Butcher, Chef – our sustainable restaurant. We’re currently building a new champagne bar at the Racecourse and there are plans in the pipeline to renovate the Goodwood Hotel.

In terms of partnerships, what’s interesting is that the brands that want to partner with us are brands that are focussed on innovation and technology. For the Festival of Speed, we’ve been working with the likes of Siemens, Samsung, Mastercard and Vodafone, and that is indicative of where the future of mobility is going. Last year we created FoS Future Lab, an exhibition that enabled people to have a hands-on experience of new technology, such as 3D printing and Virtual Reality, giving them a real feel for the amazing innovation that is out there. There is no consumer event in the UK that does that.

How much do you think sponsorship dynamics have changed within the sports industry?

Brands no longer want to just label an event or activation. Now they want to create engaging experiences for the consumer and they want to use that as an opportunity to really connect with that audience. Having a physical activation that pops up and combining that with a digital experience that you can have all year-round is so important. With an always-on community, which is what consumers now are, that’s the only way to build meaningful relationships and to have that continuous dialogue with them. Sponsors are looking for more value and better engagement. Anyone who is failing to keep up with that demand will struggle. We like to think we do this really well at Goodwood. We create incredible content from all of our events, be it motorsport or horseracing, and brands seem to love the fun and excitement that we generate that they are part of.

Interviews