In a career spanning over two decades years with Kantar, Anne Rayner has worked across global, regional, and country roles, and across P&L roles, strategic roles, and brand & communication expertise roles. Presently, the Chief Solutions Officer for APAC, Anne has been Managing Director for Kantar Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar, and steered these businesses through transformation.

In this conversation with the Collective for Equality, the seasoned market researcher shares her journey through various roles and regions, shedding light on her commitment to fostering inclusion and diversity within the workplace. She delved into her professional trajectory and offered valuable insights into promoting gender diversity and empowering women in leadership roles.

Her passion project is to lead Inclusion & Diversity for Kantar APAC, and as much as she enjoys speaking at conferences and events, she really is passionate about making a difference in the lived experience of the employees at Kantar through the work that the local I&D steering committees do.

“Throughout my 22-year career at Kantar, I’ve been fortunate to embrace change across different countries and roles, which has allowed me to champion inclusion and diversity,” Anne Rayner reflects.

Reflecting on her diverse roles, Anne emphasizes the significance of inclusion and diversity (I&D) initiatives, a cause she championed across different markets. “I’ve had the privilege of working across a wide range of roles within one global organization,” she notes.

Anne recounts her involvement in partnering with Campaign Asia for the “Mandate for Change” initiative, aimed at challenging industry norms and debunking myths surrounding gender roles in media and marketing. “This initiative was instrumental in laying out the importance of those in power, often men, in changing the status quo. The issue is not that women are not ambitious or not mentored or any of those other myths. Rather, the focus needs to on removing obstacles in day to day work that women may face in their careers,” Anne states.

“We need to redefine leadership qualities to embrace inclusivity and empathy,” Anne stresses. Initiatives like the Lean In Girls Program aim to instill leadership skills and confidence in young girls, fostering a new generation of empowered leaders who challenge societal norms.

“When it comes to workplace gender diversity, data-driven approaches are crucial,” Anne emphasizes. “Analyzing employee engagement data through a gender lens allows us to identify areas for improvement and drive meaningful change.”

Addressing transparency in gender-related data, Anne advocates for a balance between internal analysis and external publication. “Transparency is crucial, but we must ensure narratives accurately reflect the issues at hand,” she cautions.

Anne challenges the notion of placing the burden solely on women in senior leadership to raise up other women behind them. ” Equally, if not more important’ is for male leaders to actively sponsor and develop female talent, creating pathways to leadership roles’,” she asserts.

“Accountability and institutionalizing mechanisms are key to sustained progress towards gender equality,” Anne concludes. By challenging existing norms and fostering inclusivity, Anne exemplifies the transformative power of proactive leadership in creating a more equitable workplace for all.