Bridges invests in Talking Talent to help build more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces

London, 7 October 2021

Bridges Fund Management (“Bridges”), the specialist sustainable and impact investor, has invested in Talking Talent, a business that helps organisations to build more inclusive, equitable, opportunity-filled work cultures for everyone. They do this through the delivery of coaching programmes for diverse talent and leadership consulting that are grounded in research. The company’s management team, led by Chris Parke and Jo Lyon in the UK and Teresa Hopke in the US, will remain invested in the business.

Working with progressive organisations, Talking Talent focuses on retention and career progression of under-represented employees, including women, ethnically diverse groups and working parents. Over 80% of employees have observed or experienced some kind of bias at work, and around a quarter are made to feel uncomfortable in their work environment. Regrettably over half of minority ethnic and sociocultural group members believe that they are treated very differently at work, excluded or consistently feel anxious because of their identity¹.

Talking Talent’s systemic coaching programmes help to empower individuals and leaders to co-create inclusive cultures at the team and organisation levels, which leads to greater engagement, improved productivity, and better performance. Their programmes have achieved a five-times greater than average promotion rate for women at Lloyds Banking Group, seen 42% of participants at Siemens promoted in under a year after attending, and saved EY £16.6m in attrition costs after coaching parents through leave and return.

Since its inception in 2005, Talking Talent has grown rapidly by helping its clients to accelerate advancement for under-represented talent. Today, the business has operations in UK, US, and Asia, and employs over 60 people, supporting clients such as PwC, Boeing, Siemens and Unilever.

The Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) services market is worth about £3.5bn and is growing rapidly (over 20% p/a), driven by the broader societal trend towards equity and greater inclusivity. Bridges will work closely with Talking Talent’s management team to accelerate the business’s growth by enabling it to further broaden and deepen its consultancy capabilities and expand its market-leading digital platform, so it can help more organisations around the world meet their goals, faster..

Talking Talent’s management team chose to partner with Bridges due to a strong alignment around values and the role of business in building a more sustainable and inclusive economy. Bridges’ Emma Thorne and Tom Redpath will join the Talking Talent board.

Chris Parke, Co-Founder and CEO of Talking Talent, commented:
“We are delighted to partner with Bridges for the next phase of Talking Talent’s growth. Their philosophy – that business can play a vital role in solving some of our most pressing social and environmental challenges – is one that Jo and I strongly share. Their support will enable us to develop our platform and support more clients across more geographies, furthering our mission to create a more inclusive world where people and business can thrive. We are very proud of the growth Talking Talent has achieved over the past decade, and we believe that this partnership with Bridges sets us up for a very exciting future.”

Emma Thorne, Investment Director at Bridges Fund Management, said:
“Talking Talent is a great example of a business that has identified a growth opportunity by addressing a clear societal need: to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Talking Talent has been a pioneer in this market, and continues to stand apart from competitors due to the quality of its coaches, its purpose-driven culture, its digital innovation, and its systemic approach, which really support long-term organisational change as well as improving the lives of individuals. We are excited to partner with Chris, Jo, Teresa and their brilliant team, and to support them in the next phase of Talking Talent’s growth journey.”

Bridges’ investment – from its Sustainable Growth Funds – follows the investments it made earlier this year in Matrix Telematics, a fleet telematics and software provider that supports greener, safer driving; and Nkuku, one of the UK’s leading ethical homeware brands. Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds also completed three successful exits over the summer: The Vet, Wholebake and World of Books,

Advisers on this transaction include Grant Thornton (vendor advisory); KPMG (buyside advisory), Addleshaw Goddard (buyside legal) and Shoosmiths (vendor legal).

¹ Kantar, The Inclusion Index



About Bridges Fund Management ( @bridgesfundmgmt)

Bridges Fund Management is a specialist sustainable and impact investor. Since 2002, it has raised over £1.2bn to invest in solutions that support the transition to a more inclusive and sustainable economy, with a focus on four themes: Healthier Lives, Sustainable Planet, Future Skills, and Stronger Communities.

About Talking Talent (

Talking Talent partners with clients to build inclusive cultures that drive belonging, engagement and performance. For over 15 years it has been providing some of the world’s most successful organisations with transformational coaching and development programmes that encourage everyone, and every business to perform at its best. Its global delivery and deep local expertise are central to that. Talking Talent believes that coaching-led approaches to inclusion, purpose and belonging have the biggest impact on performance. Its deep, systemic approach to inclusion creates real behavioural change that lasts. Whether it is enhancing leadership capabilities, facilitating safe dialogue, guiding talent through career-life transitions, or delivering leadership programmes for under-represented groups, its coaching solutions inspire inclusive cultures so that people and business can thrive. 


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