Top Flight

12 Month Programme
Designed to help women achieve CEO, ExCo and Permanent Secretary roles

Top Flight has significant economic benefits for organisations. When FSTE 350 companies achieve gender balance within their executive committees, each business could increase its pre-tax profit by up to £900m. 

If management and leadership teams are more reflective of the customers and communities they serve, they’re more likely to understand their problems and provide better quality, sustainable solutions.

Top Flight shines a spotlight on the very real effect of role-modelling: that women won’t stay with their organisations or strive for promotion if they don’t see other women reaching the top. As we outline, female under-representation is a systemic issue that only a programme tailored for women can address.

Organisations who work with us include

What is Top Flight?

Top Flight is a 12-month executive leadership development programme exclusively for women. It is designed to be undertaken whilst participants remain at work where they can incorporate their new-found knowledge into their day-to-day lives.

Beginning in January each year and continuing in March, May, July, September and November, it comprises two nights and two days of intense and interactive learning and workshops led by world renowned, inspirational business leaders. The women also experience one-to-one coaching and career planning sessions with coaches who have been successful at the highest levels of business.

Key to the success of the programme is the contracting process, which requires the CEO, C Suite line- manager and executive sponsor to be involved in the women’s development. Our research shows that if you want to change the balance within your organisation you must start at the top. This support signals the organisation is invested in her development, directly impacting the likelihood of retaining not just this woman but others who view her as a role model. Essentially – ‘if she can get there, so can I’.

Retained by their employer a year after participation.

Promoted to their Executive Committee.

Promoted to CEO, MD, Perm Sec or NED.

Who is Top Flight for?

The programme is for the direct reports of FTSE350 Executive Committee members. In the Civil Service, it is for those striving to be Permanent Secretary. All women are part of their organisation’s C suite succession planning. Some are newly promoted to position and view the programme as essential in helping them navigate the challenges they’ll encounter in the most critical role of their career. We accept women two levels below the executive committee who have an exceptionally large, global remit and those on the ExCo from heavily funded tech scale-ups.

Women who join Top Flight work across all business areas. These include P&L roles such as ecommerce, marketing, sales and trading. Corporate functions including communications, finance, HR, IT, legal and policy. We also welcome women in [traditionally male orientated] STEM roles such as cyber, engineering, operations, supply chain and technology.

Organisations who repeatedly work with us include Aldermore Bank, Aon, the BBC, British Airways, the Cabinet Office, Clifford Chance, Direct Line, DEFRA, e.on and the Home Office. The beauty of Top Flight is each woman is provided with a ready-made network of supportive women spurring her on.

Outcomes for Businesses

Outcomes for Businesses

Better business results with greater gender diversity
Increased female retention
Rapid promotion with stronger, more confident women
Improved organisational performance as participants apply insights gained from contributors and peers
Positions your organisation as more attractive to millennials and Generation Z who seek greater gender diversity
Wider pool of female role models to inspire and sponsor more junior women
Outcomes for Individuals

Outcomes for Individuals

Unrivalled faculty in an intimate setting with access to FTSE 100 CEOs, Chairs and other high achievers
Unique mix of rigorous research, practical application and personalised roadmaps
Led by women with successful careers bringing their experience of how to overcome the barriers women face
Access to a phenomenal network of inspirational women to support and champion you
Opportunities to raise your personal brand internally and externally

What does Top Flight cover?

Top Flight provides a deep dive into the womens’ relationship with their organisation’s commercial priorities and its leadership style.

Over the year, we cover communications, finance, governance, risk and strategy. Our women are already subject matter experts in these areas, so the content focuses on each topic in the context of their organisation, and how the Board and Exco perceive them in relation to these areas.

We have learned that many women struggle to identify with the predominant leadership style which exists within their organisation. With the support of our teaching staff, coaches and their peers, they feel more confident exploring how to remain authentic whilst operating at a new, more senior level; how to influence and change the dynamics which exist without assimilating to the prescribed view of what leadership is.

Top Flight Guest Speakers

Professor Geeta Nargund

Professor Geeta Nargund

Medical Director, CREATE Fertility & Global Women’s Health Expert

Baroness Sue Campbell

Baroness Sue Campbell

Director Women's Football, The FA

Karen Blackett OBE

Karen Blackett OBE

President, WPP UK

Lorna Fitzsimons

Lorna Fitzsimons

Co-Founder

Helen Pitcher OBE

Helen Pitcher OBE

Chair Judicial Appointments Commission and Chair, Advanced Boardroom Excellence

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell

Journalist, Broadcaster and Author

Dame Vivian Hunt

Dame Vivian Hunt

Managing Partner, McKinsey UK & Ireland

Lord Stuart Rose

Lord Stuart Rose

Chair Asda

Jaee Samant
We all agree in theory that greater gender diversity at the top of organisations leads to better public policy making. The Pipeline is one organisation that helps this belief become a practical reality by designing great leadership programmes that work for women.
Jaee Samant
Director General, Public Safety - Home Office
Maria Antoniou
Top Flight has made a tangible difference to the 13 leaders we have sent on it and we always get significant ROI. So even in times of significant financial pressures we still prioritise the investment.
Maria Antoniou
Chief Human Resources Officer - Morgan Advanced Materials

Top Flight Alumni

Watch our alumni talk about how Top Flight prepared them for executive level leadership.