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Pledge 1
Community Manager
Community Manager

2024 #WomenWhoLead covers.png


Elaine Forth

CEO, Hyphen8

📍Birmingham, England


If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that be and why? Please explain with a short story or example.
PASSIONATE - I am incredibly passionate about lots of things but one of them is the importance of ensuring that everyone in our business embodies our VALUES. Leading a values-led company makes me a role model to show how these influence our ethos, how we interact with each other and importantly, how we engage with our customers. We have 8 key values that are revisited regularly including Trust and Integrity, Supporting each other, Nurturing personal development and Don't forget to fun. Despite the changes a company naturally goes through as it grows, values can remain the consistent thread to maintain a strong culture.


Pledge 1% provides a framework for businesses to do good. Do you think it’s important for today’s corporate leaders to prioritize social impact? If so, why?
Yes this is extremely important. We have a responsibility as business owners to make good decisions and to influence the communities we work within to collectively make a difference. If we are running successful, profitable businesses, we can define how we will contribute to social impact in the context of our sector and the skills we have to offer. It's also key that we don't overlook our responsibility to create a fulfilling and rewarding place for our employees.


Do you give back to the community with your team and work? If so, what does this look like? Please feel free to add a specific story or experience.
At Hyphen8, we have a social purpose to give back at least 8% of our profit to help nonprofits achieve their missions. This takes the form of charitable donations, pro bono time assigned to Directors and our staff and the ongoing development of free solution accelerators that can fast-track our technology implementations. We have a community of practice, HyphenEarth, dedicated to helping us make positive changes to the environment.

They are helping us achieve net zero carbon emissions and arrange corporate environmental volunteering days. Personally, I am part of several volunteering networks and recently was proud and profoundly to be in a position to help a family-run charity in Scotland that provides holiday and hospital accommodation for families with a child suffering with cancer. 


What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
"If you want something, make it happen". I have always believed that you can achieve your goals and ambitions if you believe in yourself and put enough hard work in.


"If you want something, make it happen."


This year’s International Women’s Day themes are focused on investing in women and inspiring inclusion. What can we do to make today’s workplaces more equitable and inclusive for women?
My company is well-recognized in our sector for being one of very few female-owned and female-led tech consultancies with an equal number of women employees. We are proud of our gender equality initiatives including:

● Asking for (and listening to) feedback from women - we have established a Women in Tech community of practice where we can share experiences, create opportunities and share our best practice with the wider sector
● Ensuring that women are represented at all levels so that other women can be inspired by them - in our case the majority of our Directors, Managers and Senior Solutions Consultants are women
● Actively providing opportunities to break gender stereotypes for certain roles - developers tend to be male in our sector so we have set up a mentoring programe to upskill the women in our team who aspire to become developers
● Providing flexible working hours so women with young children can work around their home commitments


What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?
Don't let anything hold you back, believe in yourself and be prepared to sometimes leave your comfort zone. If you are ambitious, put yourself forward, take initiatives and get back up if you are knocked back. As women, it is our tendency to let imposter syndrome creep in and doubt ourselves but we can achieve great things through sheer persistence and resilience. Don't worry if you haven't decided where your passions lie yet - it is quite common to change direction several times before you find your groove, I did!


What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?
I am looking forward to whatever this year brings as life is never boring in a consultancy. One particular goal I am excited about is that we are working towards becoming a B Corp certified company by the end of the year. This will help us to demonstrate our social purpose and is a useful way to revisit the ways we work and how we evaluate our impact.


It is encouraging that as we work through the assessment, we already tick so many of the boxes in some categories. We are planning a 2 day all-company get together in the Summer which will be fantastic. As we all work remotely across the UK, we don’t get a chance to get together very often to just have fun.