Simon Gallagher, commercial director, has received the Inspirational Man of the Year Award at this year’s Women in Rail Awards.
The Women in Rail awards, hosted by Women in Rail, were created to improve diversity in the UK's rail industry, through providing opportunities and support for all women within the sector - encouraging more women in to the rail industry.
The Inspirational Man of the Year Award gives recognition to a male professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the UK rail sector, by proactively influencing others to promote gender balance, equality, diversity and inclusion in their workplace.
Simon has over 40 years’ commercial experience, 20 of which have been within the rail industry. When joining the rail sector, Simon became aware of the gender split in leading roles and has spent the last 15 years spearheading change - creating a strong legacy of inclusivity and acceptance, and becoming a role model for many.
Throughout his career Simon has proactively promoted inclusion, and has launched two commercial academies, with a focus of developing women into senior commercial roles, created mentoring programmes and year in industry placement programmes for women to develop and take their first steps into the rail industry, launched mindset training, and has also mentored over 20 individuals, many of whom are now in senior roles.
The judges were struck not just by the actions and results of his current senior leadership role, but the actions he has taken across his entire career, stating: “Whilst awareness today would mean that we would, to some extent, expect people at this level to take such actions, it was clear that this was embedded in him earlier in his career and would have been seen as particularly bold actions to take.“
Head of equality, diversity and inclusion for VolkerWessels UK, Hollie Woodard, said: “This is a fantastic achievement. Simon has shown amazing support and commitment to our group’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda, and this award helps to promote the need for more role models – specifically male – to help spread the message and importance of EDI, to ensure our industry is a ‘go to’ choice for the next generation.”
Commenting on his award, Simon said: “I’m extremely humbled to be recognised for my achievements, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me promote diversity and a more inclusive culture.
“I have seen the rail sector, and the wider construction industry, take huge steps in promoting gender equality, and as I continue to build upon the strides made by VolkerRail, I also look forward to seeing what other changes we can make to push boundaries in the pursuit of equality, diversity and inclusion, to help empower our teams to thrive.”
VolkerRail has signed up to a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Charter to champion EDI in the UK railway industry.
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