Janet Cooper receives an OBE

I am delighted to let you know that Janet is in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. She is being appointed to ‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ otherwise known as an OBE. This is a great achievement and well deserved.

It is wonderful that she has been recognised and honoured in this way, for the significant contributions she has made over many years not only to employee share ownership but also the work she has done to promote women’s empowerment and equality. The citation on her Award is for Services to Equality, Women’s Empowerment and Employee Share Ownership.

Janet will be invited to Buckingham Palace in the next few months for the Queen to present her with the OBE – we will post an update and photos!
You may know some aspects of what Janet does but I have known her for a long time, so I thought I would take this opportunity to fill in a little more of the picture.

Employee Share Ownership
Janet has been the leading light in the world of employee share ownership since the 1980s. She has always been a trailblazer, developing new ways to make shares available to employees. She worked with British Airways, in 1986, on its privatisation and helped them offer shares to their employees around the world in over 80 countries. This was the first time a company had done this so extensively. In the early 90s she developed the Long Term Incentive Plan for BP, when companies were using share options and restricted stock. The LTIP (or RSU) is now used by companies around the world. Janet is passionate about enabling employees to have the opportunity to share in the success of the companies they help build.

Naturally, as someone so enthusiastic about her field of expertise, Janet has been keen to promote best practice and the sharing of knowledge.

With Carine Schneider, she co-founded the Global Equity Organisation in 1999 and has been on the board since then. The Global Equity Organisation holds conferences and seminars around the world to share best practice as well as sharing knowledge through its global online community. www.globalequity.org

She was a founder of ProShare, the UK’s leading non-profit organisation promoting employee share ownership and lobbying the UK Government and regulators for improved legislation.

In 1992 she co-founded with Peter Howells, the Share Schemes Advanced Studies Group, which meets quarterly at the Houses of Parliament, with parliamentarians, to discuss latest issues.

Then in 2003, Janet developed the UK’s only professional training course (the ICSA Certificate in Employee Share Plans) to share knowledge and expertise with people in the share plans industry, enabling them to progress and succeed professionally.

She has a very loyal following of great companies she works with, like Aviva, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. She has been working with Aviva for over 30 years.

In recognition of her tremendous contribution, ProShare recognised Janet with the 2015 inaugural award for Services to Employee Share Ownership.

Janet was a partner at global law firm, Linklaters, before co-founding Tapestry with me in 2011. It is testament to Janet’s knowledge and passion for employee share ownership (helping companies choose the right type of plan and features for them and their employees) that Tapestry has done so well, so quickly. After 5 years, Tapestry now has the largest team of specialist employee share plan lawyers in any UK and European firm, and is ranked alongside Linklaters and the other big law firms.

Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Janet has been a keen advocate for equality for as long as I have known her. She was one of the first women partners at Linklaters, where she was made partner when she was 6 years qualified – at the age of 31. She broke new ground offering part-time and home working to her team – men and women – in the early 90s and long before the internet! Throughout the time I worked with Janet at Linklaters there were usually around a third of the team working flexibly, me included.

Janet has also worked hard in support of the work of UN Women, the United Nation’s entity for gender equality. She was on their UK board for 6 years, 3 as Vice President, and participated in the UN’s Commission for the Status of Women. She is also on the board of GAPS, Gender Action for Peace and Security, which works to ensure women are included in negotiating peace in countries in conflict.

One of Janet’s goals when we established Tapestry was to show that we could run a very successful law firm offering agile working – to men and women. Janet is a keen advocate for enabling women to have great careers, working with interesting clients on challenging work. 75% of our lawyers are women. All of the team have the opportunity to work in an ‘agile’ way. For us that is not necessarily part-time or home working, it means agile – we are flexible. We have wonderful clients like HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Dell, Rolls-Royce, and their work is done to the highest service standards and quality. We have had no lawyers leave in the 5 years since we started, winning many of the leading industry awards this year. Janet is therefore keen to show that how we run Tapestry, makes great business sense.

If all that wasn’t enough, Janet is also a Trustee of one the UK’s oldest and much loved charities, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The RNLI was founded in 1824 and is the charity that provides lifeboats and lifeguards around our coast, saving lives at sea.

Janet is also on the board of Roehampton University. Roehampton is known for being the longest serving provider of women’s higher education in the UK, it has just celebrated 175 years.

I am delighted that Janet’s hard work and commitment to two things she is passionate about, employee share ownership and equality, are being recognised in this way.

Bob Grayson

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