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A manager, rugby coach - and feminist

As a sponsor for Bloomberg's Women Community, Mr Grant Coombe has championed various gender-parity initiatives.
As a sponsor for Bloomberg's Women Community, Mr Grant Coombe has championed various gender-parity initiatives.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG LP

If you have been watching Bloomberg TV recently, you may have noticed more women appearing on the network.

Mr Grant Coombe was instrumental in effecting that change. 

In six months, the 43-year-old sales manager of Bloomberg LP Singapore increased women's presence by 97 per cent in a Women's Voices movement.

The head of Bloomberg's global and Asia-Pacific key accounts is an advocate for the media to represent a diversity of voices.

"If young girls are watching TV or reading and they consciously or unconsciously hear that it's always men that are being quoted… it can consciously make it look like there's only men in finance," he said.

So the network identified over 120 female clients to become potential sources on Bloomberg TV.

And on March 8, in celebration of International Women's Day, it had an all-women ensemble for panel discussions and interviews.

SUPPORTING GENDER EQUALITY

If young girls are watching TV or reading and they consciously or unconsciously hear that it's always men that are being quoted... it can consciously make it look like there's only men in finance.

MR GRANT COOMBE, sales manager of Bloomberg LP Singapore, on female representation in the media.

For his contributions to gender equality, Mr Coombe was recently honoured with the HeForShe Leader award at the annual 2017 HeForShe Impact Awards.

Mr Pranama Kondadi Moorthy, vice-president of global markets at Credit Suisse, was the winner of the Everday Hero award and Ms Kate Hegarty, the director of communications at MasterCard, won the HeForShe Influencer award. The firm Salesforce won the HeforShe@Work award.

They were all honoured at the two-year-old awards organised by the Singapore Committee for UN Women. The ceremony was held last Thursday at the Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay Hotel.

Mr Coombe has championed various gender-parity initiatives within the workplace as the male advocate and sponsor for Bloomberg's Women Community for both Singapore and the Asia-Pacific. His network has also publicly declared its corporate goal is to have a 30 per cent representation of women in its senior management positions by 2020.

Mr Coombe wants to do just that.

According to the Washington- based research group Corporate Women Directors International, women account for just 12.4 per cent of board seats among 1,557 of the largest listed companies across 20 Asia-Pacific countries, compared with North America at just over 20 per cent, Europe at 30 per cent and Africa at 14.4 per cent.

Mr Coombe has also contributed to the growth of the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender Equality Index (BFGEI) in South-east Asia. The index was launched in May last year. The BFGEI, an industry first, is a financial index that affords corporations and investors an equitable way to track and analyse corporate practices that advocate gender-equal workplaces.

The index has been resoundingly successful, with the number of financial institutions involved in the initiative doubling from 26 last year to 52 corporations this year.

In his spare time, Mr Coombe, who is married with children, is actively involved in coaching the Under-5 and Under-8 girls and boys teams at the Tanglin Rugby Club. Tough sports perhaps, but the girls, who account for one in three players, are "some of his best players", he said.

Correction Note: A previous version of this article said that the change was Mr Grant Coombe's work. Bloomberg LP has clarified that he led a team in effecting the change. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'A manager, rugby coach - and feminist '. Print Edition | Subscribe