First and foremost a relationship-builder, I can rapidly build rapport with a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds and age-range. My ability to link and connect people and to bring a fresh and innovate approach are well-known, as is my energy and enthusiasm for everything that I undertake.
Championing Diversity, Inclusion and Social Mobility
I’m passionate about diversity, inclusion and supporting social mobility and I am proud to mentor students and young people at the outset of their careers. It gives me enormous pleasure to see them succeed in both their professional and personal lives.
In recent years my working life has focused particularly on gender diversity and I have been honoured for my work in this area through Women in the City, an organisation I founded in 2003:
- named Management Champion by the City Branch of the Chartered Management Institute (2009)
- won an international Stevie Women in Business Award in the Women Helping Women Category (2011)
- won and a Global Excellence Award the Women in the City Annual Celebration Lunch (2011)
- listed in Brummell magazine’s 30 Most Influential Women in the City (2012)
- identified as one of the top 50 diversity figures in public life in the Global Diversity List (2015)
Entrepreneurship and Corporate Experience
My 40+ years of business experience intertwines periods of corporate life and self-employment.
After studying Business in Hull, I moved to London in the early 1970s, starting my working career for a specialist early English and scholarly music publisher as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director. Later I was given responsible for building the company’s new venture into music typesetting, at that time a dying skill in the UK.
This taste for intrapreneurship encouraged me to set up my own business providing a specialist word-processing service. Clients included barristers’ chambers, medical market research companies, advertising agencies and Hollywood film companies.
I sold the business in 1987 and went on to work throughout the UK on a number of fixed-term government-funded initiatives to raise the aspirations of young people in some of the country’s most economically and socially deprived areas. Much of this work centred on developing and delivering innovative programmes in partnership with businesses, schools, colleges and universities. Bringing together and/or being part of a wide range local, regional and national working parties and committees was a key part of the success of this work.
- Restructuring a YTS programme for 100 young people to improve their attendance, enhance attainment and secure better quality placements and job offers.
- Preparing a best practice work experience booklet for London-wide SMEs.
- Developing a Teacher Placement Programme to enable teachers of ethnic minority backgrounds to spend 2 weeks in local businesses
- Brokering knowledge-sharing partnerships between headteachers and business leaders.
- Securing private-sector funding to develop the highly successful Merseyside-wide programme called “Stepping Out” which encouraged 7-11 year olds to broaden their horizons.
- In West Yorkshire encouraged SMEs to adopt the Investor in People standard and enhance the skills base of the workforce.
In 1995 I was appointed Chief Executive of Westminster Enterprise Agency and during my time there developed the EW-network to support female entrepreneurs. This network was subsequently managed by my business Networking Culture and continued its close partnership with Barclays Bank which had been its founding sponsor. In 2000, I staged a conference at the Barbican entitled On Women, On Business, On Line.
The 21st Century
At the start of the new century, I returned to entrepreneurship and built a consultancy business working with a wide range of organisations, helping them and their employees to build, nurture and leverage their social capital. I worked extensively in the corporate sector and my clients included Intel, ICI, Shell, M&S; high street and investment banks, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Lloyds TSB, Barclays Capital; nation-wide charities such as British Heart Foundation; universities including the London Business School, Cranfield and Oxford Brookes; professional practices including BDO, Withers; Alliance Bernstein; trade associations and organisations such as The King’s Fund.
In 2003 I organised a lunch to bring together professional women working in the City and this one-off event has evolved into the organisation Women in the City (WiC) which has developed a strong brand presence within and beyond the City. Its awards programme is highly regarded with its Future Leaders Award being instrumental in building tomorrow’s C-suite.
WiC has secured financial sponsorship from some of the UK’s and the City’s leading companies and organisations including ICAEW, HSBC, Lloyds, Jaguar, AXA Commercial, Capgemini, Penna, Coutts, Google, Bluefin, Heidrick & Struggles, Barclays Wealth.
WiC has also worked in partnership with Wells Fargo, Wine Australia, RICS, University of Chicago Booth University, A T Kearney, CII, Bar Council, Law Society.
WiC has actively supported the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and was one of the sponsors of the 2017 Sheriffs’ Ball.
I am a media commentator, frequent conference speaker and panellist and was one of the Judges of the 2014 and 2015 European Diversity Awards.
In 2015 I was invited to become a Senior Advocate, Finance and Professional Services sector for the Welsh Government.
I sat on the Committee for the 150th London Fire Brigade Charity Gala Dinner in 2016.
I lived in North London for the majority of my adult life, but moved to Brackley, South Northamptonshire in 2003 where I served 2×4-year terms as a Brackley Town Councillor, stepping down before the May 2015 elections when I was Master Glass Seller. During my time as Councillor, I Chaired the Planning and Direct Responsibilities Committees and the Communications Working Party. I also represented the Council on local organisations.