Female trio drives diversity and inclusivity at Anchor Hanover

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we use the opportunity to look closer to home to not-for-profit provider of specialist housing and care for people in later life, Anchor Hanover, which is under the leadership of female chief executive, Jane Ashcroft.


The pandemic has shone a light on the value of roles within the care sector which are more often than not held by women. Anchor Hanover has an 83% female workforce.

Jane said: “A focus for us during the pandemic has been about providing wrap-around support for our workforce in the face of the increased pressures that often fall on the shoulders of women. We have introduced a series of initiatives as part of our wellbeing strategy that support women of all ages in the workplace, such as providing support and raising awareness of the impact menopause may have at work through to fertility struggles.”

With a passion for people, learning and understanding behaviours, Jane started her career at Midlands Electricity in corporate governance, then soon found a route into HR where she held several senior HR roles across the housing and care sector.

Jane describes the fact that she is interested in people as her superpower, it is what she feels she is particularly proud of.

“An HR pathway to chief executive is unusual, not just in the housing and care sectors but for CEOs more broadly. I am fully focused on getting the best out of people by understanding how they tick. Over time, I have found this approach generates the greatest outcomes. When I am visiting residents, they talk about people, not about the amenities. Our colleagues are our greatest asset and make the biggest difference.”

Jane’s passion for supporting colleagues is clear – as is the fact that she is keen to create a culture that motivates and encourages independence. Jane, her chief financial officer Sarah Jones and executive director of business services, Kate Smith, all acknowledge that as leaders of a 10,000-plus strong workforce, it’s important to be adaptable and be comfortable with ambiguity.

“When you move into leadership roles, you can no longer say you wouldn’t ask anyone to do a job that you haven’t done because, as a chief executive, there are many jobs within Anchor Hanover that I haven’t done. Instead, it is important to listen to, trust in, and learn from the people that surround you.”

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