Vidhya Alakeson honoured in the 2020 Timewise Power 50 awards

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Vidhya Alakeson, Power to Change’s  Chief Executive, has been named in the 2020 Power 50 awards: a roll call of 50 powerful executives in the UK - who all happen to work part-time or flexibly.
2 Mar, 2020

The 2020 Timewise Power 50 Awards provide a snapshot of what modern work in Britain is like and challenges the belief part-time work cannot mean ambitious, highly successful nor senior.

The initiative also aims to inspire employers across the country with stellar examples of how flexible working can and should work – by providing trailblazing role models.

Co-founders Karen Mattison MBE and Emma Stewart MBE publish a fresh list annually, and have done since 2012, in order to prove ‘what’s possible’ when you work part time or flexibly.

The initiative has the backing of EY, Dixons Carphone, Lloyds Banking Group and Diageo.

As the CEO of Power to Change, Vidhya oversees every area of the Trust’s work from funding and support programmes to research and policy advocacy. Under her lead, the trust has distributed £60m in funding to over 1,000 organisations. She’s also responsible for raising the public profile of the critical role community businesses play in addressing economic and social challenges across the country, by writing, influencing, and through speaking at various events. Vidhya works part-time to enable her to spend one day a week with her two young children. She has established a flexible organisational culture for all employees, with 21 out of 47 employees working flexibly, and five people working almost entirely remotely.

Timewise conducted the nationwide call to action for nominations in September, calling upon the public to nominate inspirational individuals they knew, who work part time / flexibly at senior levels. Founder Karen Mattison led the judging panel which included:

Katie Bickerstaffe, is currently a Non-Executive Director of Marks and Spencer plc and is working on a project for SSE plc.
Lynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY, UK & Ireland
Sophie Cornish, Co-founder, notonthehighstreet
Fiona Cannon OBE, Group Responsible Business & Inclusion Director, Lloyds Banking Group
Neil Carberry, the Chief Executive of the REC
Sally Bundock, News Presenter and Financial Journalist, BBC
Elke Noels, HR Director for Great Britain, J&B, Commerce and Reserve, Diageo
Paula Coughlan, Chief HR Officer of Dixons Carphone
Janvi Patel, Co-founder and Chairwoman, Halebury
Karen Mattison MBE
, Co-founder, Timewise
Emma Stewart MBE, Co-founder & CEO, Timewise

After hearing from hundreds of people, the judges compiled a list of 50 deemed to be the most outstanding. The list is not ranked or numbered in any way.

Timewise co-founder and judge Karen Mattison MBE, who led the initiative from the start says: “Success doesn’t come in one shape or size. With 9 in 10 people wanting or needing flexibility in their next job – it is vital we find and showcase modern day role models to aspire to. Vidhya is blazing a trail in the third sector – all whilst working part-time or flexibly. Achieving serious success, in less days. Not only proving that it can be done – but how. The Timewise Power 50 exists to award innovation like this. Every person who tells their story openly, helps to make change happen. ”

Lynn Rattigan, EY’s Chief Operating Officer in the UK & Ireland, comments: “EY has supported the Timewise Power 50 awards for eight years, continuing to challenge the traditional 9-5 working week and highlight the value of flexible working. It’s positive to see a such a significant increase in the uptake of flexible working arrangements, signalling a real shift in culture change and perceptions.”

“This year’s Timewise Power 50 winners truly are inspirational role models for the workplace of the future, demonstrating that choosing to work flexibly should not limit your potential. Organisations that adopt a more flexible approach will reap the benefits of a broader talent pool, increase the diversity of their workforce, and be better prepared for the future of work.”

Elke Noels, HR Director GB and Europe Functions, Diageo says: “Congratulations to this year’s winners and to all those who entered The Timewise Power 50 nationwide!”

“At Diageo we aim to create a culture where all our people can thrive at work, supported by progressive policies and practices. We are committed to creating an environment where all our employees feel emboldened be their best at work and at home, excel in their careers and where work can be a fulfilling part of their lives.”

We are extremely proud to sponsor The Timewise Power 50, which is brilliant recognition of those who are leading the way as role models to champion inclusivity and drive a flexible working culture.”

Fiona Cannon OBE, Group Responsible Business, Sustainability and Inclusion Director at Lloyds Banking Group comments: “Lloyds Banking Group is delighted to again sponsor the awards and broader Timewise agenda and would like to congratulate all the entrants in this year’s Timewise Power 50. Everyone has demonstrated incredible achievements, whilst role modelling agile ways of working. The demands of the workplace continue to change, so it’s vital that all businesses recognise and value alternative ways of working. To meet the ever changing needs of colleagues and customers in the 21st century, we need to continue to evolve our working approach.”

Paula Coughlan, Chief People Officer at Dixons Carphone says: “Congratulations to those recognised in this year’s Timewise Power 50 list! At Dixons Carphone, we are proud to back our colleagues striving for a more flexible working culture by offering adapted hours and roles that can be carried out from home or outside the office. I’ve seen some excellent examples of business leaders who share their stories of flexible working and show no signs of stopping their continued achievements in the workplace.”

For more on how the awards are structured and judged, please see below.

About the Timewise Power 50 Awards

The Timewise Power 50 Awards a roll-call of 50 individuals who work part-time and flexibly in top jobs, with a spotlight on employers that are exceptional at innovation in flexible job design and / or flexible hiring. The awards were set up to challenge people’s perceptions around what a part-time job is, or can be, and on what flexible workers can achieve.

The judges were tasked with building a distinct list of 50 individuals or pairs of people who demonstrate significant achievement as flexible workers in the broadest sense – from those succeeding in part-time hours or as a job-share team, returning to the workplace after a significant career break, through to those who have used their own start-up status to determine their own flexibility.

The awards are split between 6 categories:

  1. Power Part-Timers – senior leaders who work four days or fewer a week, or an equivalent percentage contract.
  2. Power Climbers – for middle managers who are tipped for success, and work four days or fewer a weeks
  3. Power Job Sharers – pairs of senior individuals who work together in a job-share or a job-split
  4. Power Returners – professional people who have returned from a career break of two years or more, into a senior role on a part-time or flexible basis
  5. Power Founders – small business founders who have used their start-up status to work flexibly.
  6. Employers awards – championing innovation in terms of flexible job design and hiring practices.

The judges were asked to apply the following criteria to each category:

  • SENIORITY – challenging the notion that part-time or flexible working only suits junior roles.
  • INSPIRATION – stories that break new ground or hold personal interest that will provide a role model for others.
  • SUCCESS – evidence of advancement or significant achievement since working part-time or flexibly


And the following two criteria against the specific categories listed:

  • FUTURE POTENTIAL (for Power Climbers only) – evidence of part-time middle managers who are making an impact, and are tipped for the top.
  • ENTREPRENEURIALISM (for Power Founders only) – stories of how founders have ‘made it work’ and what has been their flexible working motivation. Eg. Implemented flexible hiring and flexible working practices for their staff.

About Timewise

Timewise ( is a flexible working consultancy that helps employers design innovative solutions to attract and retain talented people, and create fair workplaces.

The consultancy is part of a wider multi-award winning social business, that shares market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, conducts research such as the annual Flexible Jobs Index and runs campaigns and advocates for change on the stigma surrounding part-time and flexible work. It also runs Timewise Jobs ( ), a national jobs board for roles that are part-time or open to flexibility.

Timewise is led by award-winning founders and Joint CEOs, Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart. They have been listed as two of the UK’s leading radical thinkers by the Observer newspaper and Nesta; named ‘Small Business Heroes’ by Management Today magazine and ‘two of the key social entrepreneurs to watch’ by Real Business magazine; and are winners of the Institute of Directors’ Women Changing the Business World award, following nominations from the UK public. In 2010 they were made MBEs for their services to social enterprise.