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AXIS Pledge Signatories #ChooseToChallenge

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are shining a light on industry champions actively forging gender equality. This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge”, and is focussed on the significant role that executives leaders play in advancing gender equality: from helping forge an inclusive world where diversity is valued to creating workplaces where women's careers can thrive, leaders are responsible for driving positive change. See how our pledge signatories are choosing to challenge below.

“I commit to rethinking my role in family and society and to checking the assumptions behind the judgements I make. I commit to a life of listening and learning, seeking to understand the world through the lenses of others. I commit to gender equality in its truest sense; whether it's ensuring that all views around the meeting table are heard, or amplifying the voices that are silenced. I commit to countering prejudice however subtle. I commit to asking who we think of when we refer to the diverse group we call ‘female’.”

Dr Ollie Folayan, Chair AFBE-UK


“I will strive for a truly successful business culture that is fair, inclusive, diverse and gender balanced. This commitment includes ensuring that business decisions reflect the view of a balanced stakeholder group, sponsoring the progression of women into senior roles, and challenging any situation that falls short of these diversity principles.”

Les Newman, Director Engineering and Consulting


"My "Choose To Challenge" picture is part of my commitment to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.

"In posting the picture I recognise that it's easy to take 30 seconds to post a picture and then move on quickly - but when more people decide to pause and reflect and make the commitment that we will not accept inequality and injustice in all its forms... then we can begin to see change."

Findlay Anderson, VP and General Counsel (Oilfield Equipment)

Baker Hughes

“This isn’t about one day - it’s up to each of us to embrace and promote equality and inclusion in everything that we do. We have to challenge bias at all levels in our industry, in our individual companies, and as individuals to ensure that every employee, regardless of gender, can thrive and feel valued in the workplace. Embracing the diversity of our workforce - each individual’s skills, experiences, resources, talents, ideas and energy – is just the first step on this journey.”

Alison Porter, HR Director

Bilfinger Salamis

“I am committed to confronting privilege, thinking about how privilege can create experiences of inequality for others and what we can do to remove these challenges. “

Bob Fennel, EVP Operations


“I commit to practicing family friendly behaviours at work. Each of us can support our colleagues in managing the integration of work and home life. This starts with understanding the identities, challenges and interests our co-workers have outside of work and supporting them. #ChooseToChallenge.”

Richard Tocher, SVP – Decommissioning & Major Projects


“I #ChooseToChallenge and celebrate women’s achievements all over the world which is vital to empower her dreams to become reality. I commit to harnessing the 'magical powers' and unique qualities that women have to offer in promoting gender balance and equity both at Oceaneering and in everyday life.”

Manjusree Beena, Global Energy & Maritime HR Business Partner


“I choose to challenge in those moments when it’s easier not to. When comments, stereotypes, perceptions or criticisms help to reinforce gender inequalities I choose to challenge them. I choose to do this when the person speaking is my colleague, is my friend and most of all I choose to ask others to challenge me when I make my own mistakes.”

Suzanne Lilley, Head of HR


"I choose to challenge by choosing to support and drive for inclusive change where I can."

Deirdre Michie OBE, CEO


"I #ChooseToChallenge my colleagues and clients to shatter misconceptions that women cannot care for their families as well as excel in their careers. Achieving a balance between work and personal life is critical to our wellbeing and professional progression."

Claire Scott, Legal Director

Pinsent Masons LLP

“At Serica we are focused on delivering a meaningful Diversity & Inclusion programme, so we wholeheartedly endorse the positive energy generated by International Women’s Day and are delighted to be active participants in the AXIS Pledge."

Carol Stewart, North Sea Business Manager


“How I choose to challenge - Small things count – I challenge when people use the words ‘he’ when talking about engineering roles in the offshore industry – we should move away from always associating these roles with men and always question when we have male only teams. Another pet hate of mine is receiving letters addressed to ‘Dear sirs’, an outdated mode of doing business that needs to change.”

Clara Altobell, VP ESG and Business Innovation


“I #ChooseToChallenge because at Serica we believe in an inclusive working environment where everyone can flourish.”

Mitch Flegg, CEO


“I want to challenge myself to learn how my thoughts, words and actions can better support inclusion, deepen understanding and promote respect and consideration in the workplace and in society. I want to be a better father to my daughter, a better husband to my wife, and a better friend and colleague to my female friends and colleagues.”

Andrew Ritchie, External Relations Manager

Shell UK

“I’m committed to supporting others in removing the inequality of opportunity and call it out and challenge it when I see it! I will use my position to ensure that all the different voices can be heard and for them to have the space and opportunities to challenge as well. By creating this environment we will enable an inclusive place for everyone. I #choosetochallenge.”

Mustafa Mohamed, IFW Programme Manager

Spirit Energy

“I’m committed to playing my part in creating an environment where my team feel free to challenge if they feel we are not living up to our commitments on gender balance, diversity and inclusion. “

Nick Gorton, Director procurement & supply chain

Spirit Energy

“I’m committed to creating an environment that calls out exclusion when we see it, and where every member of the team makes space for challenges to be heard. I will commit to ensuring that I understand where and when I can include and amplify colleagues to make sure they are seen, heard and valued. I #ChooseToChallenge. I #choosetochallenge.”

Sarah Willis, Head of Finance Operations

Spirit Energy

“At Spirit Energy and across our industry I work to ensure we offer an environment where everyone can be the best version of themselves. I am committed to making sure we remove barriers to equality of opportunity by listening to the voice of our people and taking actions to make positive changes, allowing all genders to succeed. I #ChooseToChallenge.

Susan Grayson

Director, Resourcing, Talent, D&I and L&D

Spirit Energy

“I am committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace and will focus on creating a culture of equity, openness, fairness and transparency where everyone on the One Stork team works together to contribute ideas, resources and best practices that will continually allow diversity to flourish in an inclusive environment. “

Nicola Murray, Regional Director Human Resources


“We ChooseToChallenge to be a fully inclusive business that attracts, retains and develops the best diverse talent, and looks after the wellbeing of its people. Recognising, respecting and celebrating each other’s differences in an environment where all are treated equally, have the same opportunities and feel welcome and valued..”

Judith Anderson, HR Director - UK & Global IRM


"To challenge is to create the space for difference in opinion, in perspective, and in thinking. The most powerful way I can choose to challenge, is to empower my team to speak up, to test the status quo, and for me to be open, accepting, and embracing of those challenges. To truly do different, we have to create an environment where our rich diversity and gender equity are our most valuable contributors to our success… that is why I choose to challenge."

Craig Shanaghey, President Operations Services, Europe, Middle East & Africa


“I am committed to ensuring we build an environment of inclusion and belonging to unlock performance and innovation across our global workforce. I will challenge and want to be challenged from our diverse and brilliant team because every voice matters in developing an inclusive workplace where we can all contribute our best.”

Shaun Poll, SVP Energy Offshore


The AXIS Network committee commit to supporting our industry to achieve gender balance and equity - see our pledges below.

For more on International Women's Day, including the history and importance of the day, and more on how you can get involved, visit



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