AESC Honors Inaugural IDEA Award Recipients for Championing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in Leadership

This week at their annual AESC Global Conference, held virtually this year due to the pandemic, the global Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) honored the inaugural recipients of its new IDEA Award for outstanding contribution to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (or “IDEA”).  

The AESC IDEA Award was established this year to support the goals of the AESC Diversity Pledge, signed by more than 100 CEOs of leading executive search and leadership consulting firms. The award recognizes initiatives within the executive search and leadership consulting profession that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access. These initiatives must be of sufficient significance and external impact to be recognized as excellent by the profession. This year’s AESC IDEA Award is presented to the following:

•    Johnson Partners
•    Tina Shah Paikeday, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Services, Russell Reynolds Associates
•    Lyndon Taylor, Managing Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Practice, Heidrick & Struggles
•    Sophie Tredinnick, Partner, Head of Government Practice at Saxton Bampfylde

Led by Founder & Managing Partner Jason Johnson, Australian-based executive search firm Johnson Partners’ focus on Diversity & Inclusion has been reflected in their appointments over the last 12 months with 66% of all appointments female and 22% culturally diverse. The firm has also come to prominence having founded two national programs: The Asian-Australian Summit and 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards. The programs were launched to address the systematic under-representation of Asian-Australian leaders in the community. Australia has a significant and growing Asian-Australian community, representing about 12 percent of the total population, however Asian-Australian leaders hold less than 2% of the CEO roles within the top-200 listed companies, government departments and universities.

These programs help to address racism and discrimination, and help to advance the thinking and focus on how best to better recognize and utilize Asian-Australian talent, both domestically and internationally to secure Australia’s post-COVID-19 recovery and future prosperity. The 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards, in particular, are an initiative aimed at proactively shining the light on the country’s rich pipeline of Asian talent. Peers have shared, “Testimonies from the winners of the Asian-Australian Awards make it clear what a significant impact the Awards have had on their lives and careers.”

Tina Shah Paikeday leads the global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion advisory services at Russell Reynolds Associates. Her work has included the recruitment of Chief Diversity Officers, the development of inclusive leaders and inclusive culture transformation. She has advised global diversity, equity and inclusion councils and executive leadership teams on the development of operating models for the formation and governance of DE&I functions, data informed approaches to developing impactful DE&I strategies and recommended action steps and programs to achieve DE&I goals. As a member of AESC's Diversity Leadership Council, her colleagues have commented, "Tina has always been ahead of her time in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion space. We are grateful to have her involved with AESC helping to shape best practices in our industry more broadly." 

Shah Paikeday joined Russell Reynolds Associates from the Talent Advisory Board, a boutique research and management consulting firm she founded. As a Managing Director, she advised clients on managing a diverse workforce. Earlier, she was a Senior Director at the Corporate Executive Board and was instrumental in building the Corporate Leadership Council Solutions people analytics business. Shah Paikeday started her career at McKinsey & Company and has worked in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble and The Clorox Company. She was also CEO of zBox Company, a venture-backed, tech-based appliance producer whose product line was later acquired by Whirlpool. 

Lyndon Taylor is Managing Partner for Heidrick & Struggles’ global Diversity and Inclusion Practice. Through a unique approach that integrates Heidrick & Struggles’ executive search and advisory capabilities, Taylor works closely with senior leaders and organizations to create comprehensive D&I strategies that are grounded in data and designed to deliver significant and sustainable results. With an equal focus on talent recruitment, leadership development and building inclusive cultures, Taylor and his colleagues are helping organizations achieve their D&I goals, no matter where they are in their journey.

Taylor has helped to build Heidrick & Struggles’ comprehensive, integrated suite of services and solutions that can be adapted to meet an organization’s D&I needs, including the firm’s ABC methodology which is designed to Accelerate D&I Impact & Results, by Building Visible Representation and Creating an Inclusive Culture. He has also helped lead the charge with other members of the firm to redesign Heidrick & Struggles’ assessment tools to ensure that all leaders are assessed for their ability to lead an inclusive culture. He understands that to see real change in diverse representation – starting at the top – boards and organizations must change how they approach D&I – they have to be intentional and purposeful in driving change. In addition, Taylor leads the firm’s Chicago office and is a member of the firm’s CEO & Board of Directors and Financial Services Practices. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and serves on the Forums Committee of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Sophie Tredinnick, who leads Saxton Bampfylde's work in central government, identified a need to address the issues of talented, mid-career Civil Servants with disabilities, who were ambitious and keen to progress in their careers within the public sector. She has led the creation, roll-out and management of what has become the REACH Programme. This programme has now been in operation since 2019 and is about to enter its second round. The programme is managed by Saxton Bampfylde on a pro bono basis.

In the initial year of operation, the REACH Programme has included 20 mentees, and the same number of mentors. One of the key challenges regarding diversity in senior appointments is there is an insufficient pool of people from under-represented backgrounds who are in a position to step up, due to poor career progression at more junior and middle levels. The intention of the programme is to give participants with disabilities a safe forum to talk with someone who understands their situation; for mentees to share their concerns/frustrations with progressing in their career as a person with a disability; and for mentors to help provide guidance, support, and reflections on their own journeys as the mentees try to move to the next level in their career.

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, commented: “We are proud to recognize these AESC Members as exemplars of excellence in our profession. The AESC IDEA Award brings critical recognition to those who are bringing our AESC Diversity Pledge to life through their tangible, measurable impact.”  
About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants 
Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standard for the executive search and leadership advisory profession. AESC Members, ranging in size from large global executive search and leadership advisory firms and networks to regional and boutique firms, represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized leaders of global executive search and leadership advisory solutions. They leverage their access and expertise to place, find and develop more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions for the world’s leading organizations of all types and sizes. Dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide, AESC and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards in executive search and leadership consulting—for the benefit of clients and the profession. We Shape. Connect. Educate. Learn more about us at aesc.org