I. Stephanie Boyce inspires inclusion as a history maker in the legal profession

As the first woman of colour to be named President of the Law Society of England and Wales, I. Stephanie Boyce is a history maker.

Inclusion is a topic dear to her heart. "Every door is open if you PUSH: Persevere Until Something Happens" she encourages.

For Stephanie and many others, her appointment in March 2021 was a monumental achievement for the legal profession in the United Kingdom. She was the 177th President and the sixth female to hold the position. During her tenure, Stephanie led society through some of its most challenging years from the tail end of Brexit, the global pandemic, and the biggest change to the way solicitors train and qualify in 30 years. 

Now, to actively support International Women's Day 2024, Stephanie inspires inclusion through her work as a motivational speaker, thought leader, and campaigner. Part of Stephanie's work includes encouraging schools to teach basic law to all students while educating the public about their legal rights. Through her experience as a strategic thinker, leader, and influencer, Stephanie wants to change the narrative for women across the world. 

"My vision is to leave the profession more diverse and inclusive than the one I entered. My mission is to enable equality of opportunity and equity, that no one is unfairly excluded from a profession because of their characteristics or socio-economic background. That the determinants to success and how far you can go are your ability, skills and aptitude," says Stephanie.


Transforming the narrative for women

Aligning with her vision and mission, the International Women's Day 2024 #InspireInclusion campaign theme is particularly relevant for Stephanie.

"Over a century ago, in March 1911, the first International Women's Day was held. This year on the 8th of March 2024, we will join together in chorus in a day of collective global activism as we celebrate International Women's Day and this year's theme Inspire Inclusion," explains Stephanie.

"So how do we inspire more women to become leaders? Should the gender of who makes a good leader matter? Why are there major obstacles for women getting into leadership positions, and how do we correct them? Why do women have to do more to prove themselves than men or is it simply because, from an early age, we are not encouraged to become leaders or are we just not interested in leadership positions?" asks Stephanie.

"As we approach International Women's Day, it is right for us to reflect on why there are so few women in senior leadership positions, and why and when it all goes wrong. Women are treated more harshly than men. It's time to transform the narrative," adds  Stephanie.

Making history in the legal profession

Stephanie Boyce IWD InspireInclusion speaker

Perseverance is a key part of Stephanie's story. With a Master of Laws in public law and global governance from King’s College London, Stephanie was admitted as a solicitor in 2002. It took Stephanie four attempts to become the 177th, the sixth female, the first person of colour, and the second in-house solicitor in almost 50 years to become president of the Law Society of England and Wales. Now, Stephanie is a multi-award winning, highly experienced, approachable and inspiring adaptable leader who has led through turmoil and challenging times with a strong values-based ethos that delivers excellence. 

Stephanie has held prestigious leadership positions as a Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of The Society of Leadership Fellows. Stephanie was also the former chair of the Law Society Council, former Council member of the Law Society of England and Wales representing the Women Lawyers Division, former Chair of the Strategic Litigation Group and former member of the Board of the Law Society, a solicitor member of the Joint Tribunal Service and holds a number of statutory appointments with her local authority.

In her leadership roles, Stephanie has also driven inclusion in the workplace and wider society. As a former member of the HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Stephanie helped boost socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services. Stephanie is also a member of Thomson Reuters Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law Advisory Board and sits as a Commissioner on the National Preparedness Commission to promote better preparedness for a major crisis or incident and the Shinkwin Commission looking at how business can harness diverse talent for success.

Stephanie's success has won her multiple awards: ​In 2020, Stephanie was voted on to the Governance Hot 100 - Board Influencer and made the Power List 100 Most Influential Black People in the UK in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and jointly awarded the 2022 Burberry British Diversity Awards - Inspirational Role Model of the Year. Stephanie also received the King’s College London Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award 2022 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women & Diversity in Law for her work on equality, diversity, and inclusion and her contribution to the profession. 

Honorary Doctorate from the University of Law

Stephanie Boyce University of Law

Further recognition saw Stephanie awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Law for her outstanding contribution to the legal profession. Speaking of the Honorary Doctorate, Stephanie said: “This award is for the many who have supported me, amplified my voice and helped to shine a spotlight on the issues that hold many individuals back from achieving their true potential.”

Stephanie is also an Honorary Professor of Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law and a Fellow of King’s College London. Stephanie also holds Honorary Doctorates of Law from Keele University and the University of East London. 

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Get in touch with I. Stephanie Boyce as a keynote speaker to hear more about inspiring inclusion, or search the IWD Speaker Directory for further speakers.



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