Euston-based train manager Lizzie Power has been elected to be Avanti West Coast’s first employee director, representing the train operator’s staff on the company’s board.
The new role is designed to provide senior leadership with an employee viewpoint on matters affecting the overall business. Lizzie will be responsible for engaging with her colleagues to bring their ideas, suggestions and opinions on a wide variety of topics to the boardroom.
Over the three years that she will be acting as employee director, Lizzie will step back from her job as a train manager, a role she has held for the past six years, as she aspires to strengthen relationships and create an open forum amongst all roles through meetings and surgeries at offices, stations and depots across the network – focused on the changes and challenges colleagues will experience as a new business.
Lizzie, who started her career on the railway in 2012 as an onboard customer service assistant, was inspired to stand for employee director because of its focus on people. The 33-year-old wanted to be the bridge between Avanti West Coast’s boardroom and employees and was shortlisted to the final five by campaigning to be the voice for colleagues at all levels.
The idea of having an employee director on the board originated from Avanti West Coast’s shareholder First Group, which has overseen the creation of similar positions across its businesses.
Lizzie commented on her election: “I love working with people – I get so much from seeing and talking to individuals, so what job could be better than to engage with our wonderful people and represent them in our boardroom?
“We work best when we work together and, as employee director, I will strive to strengthen relationships amongst colleagues to create a better understanding of what matters to them in their role, which will help us to deliver the best for our people and our customers.”
Pauline Whitehead, executive HR director at Avanti West Coast, added: “People build brands and the success of our brand is dependent on keeping our people engaged and involved, which is why the new role of employee director is vital in ensuring our people are represented in the boardroom.
“It was great that so many colleagues from different areas of the business expressed an interest in this opportunity making the shortlisting decision very difficult.
“Lizzie’s energy and passion to make a difference shone throughout this process and I’m looking forward to working with her in her new role as employee director.”
The majority of First Group’s train operating companies in the UK have employee directors on their boards (Avanti West Coast, GWR, TransPennine Express, South Western Railway). the employee directors across all of First Group’s bus and rail businesses meet twice a year at the Employee Directors’ Forum.