Capita Experience's Aimie Chapple on the art of inclusive leadership

26 September 2022 Consultancy.uk 7 min. read
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A proven global business leader with close to three decades of experience in business operations and consulting, Aimie Chapple is currently Chief Executive Officer of Capita Experience. As Cat Callen of RDW continues shining a light on female leaders in consulting, she speaks to Chapple about hybridised working, supporting women back to work after maternity leave, and boosting LGBT+ inclusion in consulting.

How has your life informed your career over the years?

While England is the place I have lived longest in my life, I am a preacher's kid and an army brat, so I have lived all over the US and UK, and had many working experiences around the world. My husband, who I met when I studied at the University of Sussex, and I now live in a little village in Buckinghamshire - with some of our time also down in the southwest where our kids both live today. I have two amazing daughters – 22 and 26 – and they bring joy to my life every day.

I guess this nomadic life of work and home made it comfortable to work and live with many cultures, be with many communities and learn that my heart is where my family is; and that is what I call home. I joined Capita three years ago, and today lead one of the two main divisions in Capita, called Capita Experience. We havemore than 30,000 people in nine different countries across three main market verticals serving clients in 15 or so different industries with both front line BPO/BPS services and consulting and transformation projects – led with a digital mindset.

Aimie Chapple, CEO, Capita Experience

How would you describe your leadership style? Anyone particular people that influenced your style?

I hope people would describe my leadership as inclusive and interactive in nature. I want to work with leaders who are able to take on challenges, to support them in both unlocking value but also in raising up the next generation of leaders so that we have a sustainable model of people coming behind us.

I have had many people influence me, but one is a guy called Bill Green, who was the CEO at Accenture when I became Partner. He used to say “we stand on the shoulders of giants”, which I still like to visualise; that view of making bold changes come to life and helping others to be great because of that. His other big mantra was “one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow”, which I similarly try and keep in mind. We need to do what is right for today – but not lose sight of that future to create sustainable outcomes.

Who and what has inspired you in your career path?

Again; lots of people who have inspired me, but Olly Benzecry, who was my boss for a number of years, is one of those people. Under his leadership I was able to prosper, grow, take on more challenges, and yet at the same time – he challenged me to be my best. It was great to be in a team where my leadership was valued, where my experience was developed, and where I was able to take on things like Innovation and influence many more leaders to be their very best.

I worked with him in two different roles – one where he had more of a “global content job” and one where he had a “country leadership job”. What I really appreciated about how I worked with him in both settings was the leadership opportunities he shared with me and the others so that we could work together to create the best outcome for our clients, our people and the UK company. It shaped much of what I, then brought into my future roles.

Talk to us about a project in your career that you feel has made one of the biggest impacts?

As the CEO of Capita Experience, there are many projects today that I am very proud of at Capita; in that we help our clients to create better outcomes and in doing that touch citizens of the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland in so many different ways. However, on a personal perspective; I have done so many different things from opening a park at Walt Disney world to working with Security Services and the Home Office to help catch people traffickers.  

One of my favourite roles when I was more on the front line was a project for the NHS, where we created a collaboration solution that allowed the entire NHS to collaborate with each other in a secure way. Given we have just been through the pandemic – and this was quite a few years before – it made me proud to think about the behaviors and capabilities we put in place that were likely utilized more easily because of that work.

How does Capita support women on maternity and returning back to work?

Women returning to work has been a passion of mine throughout my career, and one that I hope to continue to champion even though my kids are now much older. Being a woman leader and a mother I think I have something unique to offer where I have been able to offer that ability to talk about ambition, alongside a caring role, for both women and men, and make working patterns a reality.

I used to visit women in my team on their maternity leave to just talk in a safe setting about what they were worried about and ensure we put solutions together to help them thrive. I think we need to do more of this post babies as before you can’t know what you might need. I do think a world where projects make up more of the work – and where men are also taking meaningful paternity leave – makes it more likely that we can help people quickly reintegrate into the working world and shape roles that work.

What do you think organisations can do to support the LGBT+ community better?

This has also been a topic that I really pleased to see working well at Capita. The openness and collaboration in our engagement groups around the LGBTQ+ community and our Rainbow Alliance has been really encouraging. I love that we now live in a world where people feel confident in talking about their same sex partners as a norm. The recent work that this community is working on for bi-sexual colleague – where perhaps it isn’t always talked about as openly – is also really enlightening, and something I have been really proud of over this last year.

What do you think are the most critical topics that companies are going to have to address over the next five years? 

I think one of the key topics that all companies are going to have to create connected teams when our teams are now working in a hybrid, global working pattern.It presents tremendous opportunity for talent, for collaboration, for client service, but also a challenge to create a team that knows each other and is able to collaborate easily, and build that commitment to each other and the work.

So many jobs have proven that it can work to some degree over these last few years. Now it is down to making that an optimal experience for employees, for colleagues, for customers and stakeholders and the where when what of work all need to be redefined for a long term sustainable solution.

About Cat Callen

With more than 14 years of experience as an executive search specialist, Cat Callen is passionate about ensuring that women are well represented when searching for new talent. She is an Associate Partner at RDW in London.