Alwen Lyons is to receive royal recognition for her fantastic contribution to the Post Office.
It was announced in the New Year’s Honours List that Alwen is to receive the OBE in recognition of her commitment and contribution throughout a remarkable career spanning 33 years.
I know I speak for all of you in sending my warmest congratulations to Alwen – this award is so well deserved, and is recognition not just for Alwen’s commitment to public service but also her contribution as a tireless champion for equality and diversity.
On learning of her award Alwen said “It has been an absolute honour to serve the Post Office for so many years. I have been very lucky to work in some fantastic teams and with wonderful colleagues: this recognition is also for them and all their hard work. I am particularly proud of the stunning progress we made with our work on equality and diversity. I have always been a great believer that a business should reflect the diversity of its customers, postmasters and staff. The Post Office set a high bar for inclusion and I’m pleased I was able to lead and help achieve that ambition.”
Alwen has held a number of key roles during her many years with the Post Office, culminating in her becoming the inaugural Company Secretary for Post Office Limited following the separation from Royal Mail in 2012 as part of the Postal Services Act.
As Company Secretary Alwen developed new governance and legal processes that enabled the independent Post Office to fulfil its role as provider of essential services and social value through our 11600 branches which sit at the heart of communities throughout the UK. I would like to thank Alwen for her management of the transition and her sound corporate stewardship of the Post Office.
Starting her career back in 1984 as part of the Royal Mail Group graduate scheme, Alwen went on to hold several key roles in the Post Office including Finance Director for the South East Region, Eastern Territory General Manager, Head of Industrial Relations, Head of Engagement and Internal Communications, Head of Mails and Retail and Company Secretary of the independent Post Office.
Alwen also demonstrated significant personal commitment to the heritage and memory of Post Office people, organising the Annual Remembrance Ceremonies for Post Office employees who gave their lives for their country and involvement in the commemoration of the sacrifice of The Post Office Rifles as part of current World War One Anniversaries.
Alwen can rightly be proud of her role as equality and diversity champion. Just thirteen years ago there were no women on the Board or on the Executive team of the Post Office and very few women in senior positions. Alwen set up SWAN (Senior Women’s Action Network), to give women in the business more confidence to become future leaders and women can now look up and see female role models in senior positions right across the organisation.
The setting up of SWAN and the coaching, networking and mentoring relationships that blossomed as a result led to further developments, inspired by Alwen, such as the Women in Leadership and wider inclusivity work that has seen the Post Office win a Times' 'Top 50 employers for Women' twice in 2015 and 2017; we gained the Employers Network for Equality 'Representative Workplace Award' in 2014, and in 2017 we received the Government’s recognition as a Disability Confident Leader organisation.
You will be aware we have chosen to celebrate all that Alwen has achieved in this area by introducing the annual Alwen Lyons Award, which will recognise colleagues who go above and beyond to champion equality and diversity.
Alwen has now been recognised for her outstanding contribution with a fitting royal honour.