Following International Women’s Day Allison Newell, Deputy CEO and Executive Director for Strategy, Performance and Business Development at NHSBSA, looks back at her career.
Allison is a visible example of the opportunities that the NHS can hold for women. Beginning her career as a nurse nearly 40 years ago, Allison broke several stereotypes at the time to work her way up to Board level positions.
I came from a medical family, my mother was a doctor and I had a wonderful role model in her – for me it was logical that I would work in healthcare and hopefully make a difference to people’s health and lives, just like my mum had.
While starting out in my career “work opportunities” could be quite challenging for women, but I believing I just needed one person to give me a chance, a belief that I hold dear still to this day, I moved from being a nurse into NHS hospital management which was simply a brilliant experience.
As the NHS began to explore internal markets and competition, something I knew nothing about I decided to build my knowledge in a different health sector. Going to work for BUPA, which I thought initially would be for two years I ended up staying there for over 10 years. There I had the great opportunity to work with a number of brilliant and inspiring woman many of which are still role models for me today.
After spending a number of years in health I wanted to work in a different environment and sector going to work at Legal and General. It was daunting when I first applied for the role, but remembering what one of my female mentor’s said: “What’s the worst thing that could happen? People can only say no.” I went for it! I started my career there as Customer Proposition Director, being promoted to Commercial Director for the Legal and General/Barclays Alliance.
Ultimately returning to health I worked in countries across the world, learning much about culture and different ways of working from people across the globe.
Finally I am thrilled to have returned to where I started my career – namely the NHS and I am proud to say that I love working for the NHSBSA. As an organisation we have great people, we want to make this the best place to work, together help people live long and healthier lives and be the delivery partner of choice.
I am very conscious of the role I play both as a Director and woman on our Board. We’re now looking to set targets to encourage more women into management and leadership roles. We also recently set up a women’s network for instance, so that women can help to inform working life and policy at the NHSBSA, and much, much more.