Profitable Wellbeing: An interview with Hephzi Pemberton

Hephzi is a business founder and advisor, who believes in the power of good business to transform society. In 2018, Hephzi founded Equality Group, an Inclusion and Diversity specialist that helps organisations diversify their teams with their executive search service and create a more inclusive culture. We sat down with Hephzi to learn more about what makes her tick.

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What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be a human rights barrister for quite a few years but wisely got the advice that I should study something I was really passionate about, and that if I wanted to do law at a later stage, I could pursue it after my first degree. Once I was at university, it became clear to me that I wanted to go into business straight out the gate.

What sparked your initial interest in the field in which you work?

I started my first business at 24, so I was into business building very early on and loved it! I have always enjoyed leading teams, building products and developing ideas into reality, which is how Equality Group came about. I started the company three years ago with a strong sense that inclusion, diversity and social sustainability were going to be on businesses’ agendas, and I wanted to be their expert partner on this to help drive it forward. I thought this particular focus would have significant benefits - not just for the businesses themselves but for the wider industry as well - and I guess it’s the change that I wanted to personally see and professionally work towards.

What's your favourite part of your job?

The stage that we are in now. I love the building and creating phases. When you have ideas that you brainstorm with your team and it’s put into action - this is deeply rewarding. For example, it was International Women's Day this week and we just launched our Inclusive PE and VC Index which ranks all the global private equity and venture capital firms by how inclusive and diverse they are.

This idea came about 18 months ago when we were advising clients in house, in terms of how competitive they were for DEI against their peers. About 6 months ago, my team and I wanted to make this more public and create an index so that people could really observe the progress. It’s great to see the rapid evolution from “wouldn't it be good if” to “and now it is…”

And what is your least favourite…

Very detailed admin! I don’t like going through VAT return reports or filing particularly. I will do it, but it is not my strength!

What skill could you not do your job without?

I could not do my job without big picture thinking, vision-setting and the ability to influence people to come on board with the DEI mission.

What gets you energised?

I have a lot of energy, naturally! What gives me even MORE energy is a good night’s sleep, a nice walk with my dog in the morning and collaborating with a great team, bouncing ideas around.

What keeps you awake at night?

The risk of things going wrong or not delivering above and beyond when it comes to our clients.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your career?

Off the bat, I had a lot of confidence starting Equality Group because it was the third business I had started. I’d say if I could give my younger self advice, it would be to remove all and any self-doubt and to go into things with the full belief in myself and the business concept.

What message or piece of advice would you give a student or young entrepreneur wanting to follow the same career trajectory as you?

I would definitely advise others to go and get some training in an organisation in order to experience working in a team and understanding how businesses work. I think there are some incredibly talented entrepreneurs that got into business building without this, but I received a lot of value working for a large investment bank and search firm and built a very good network as a result - which is something else I would advise, to grow your network in whatever way you can.

For more information about Hephzi's work, visit https://www.equality.group


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