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Celebrating inspirational women

To mark International Women's Day (IWD) on Monday 8 March 2021, we are celebrating the inspirational women who contribute so much to making the region an outstanding place to live, work and study.

We recognise that equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive and that's why we're proud to support the #ChooseToChallenge campaign.

International Women's Day Festival Schools Be inspired

International Women's Day

The 2020 Global Gender Gap Report highlights that there is still much work to do as gender parity will not be attained for another 99.5 years. So, I am delighted that there are a multitude of events taking place across the Tees Valley around this year's IWD theme of #ChoosetoChallenge in an attempt to address the agonizingly slow pace of change. I wish you an engaging and stimulating International Women's Day and do hope you can join our University panel sessions and enjoy reading the Wall of Inspiration and Day in the Life Of vignettes

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL. Pro Vice-Chancellor Enterprise and Business Engagement

International Women's Day

International Women's Day Festival 2021

On International Women's Day we held two live events, each with a panel of inspirational women. Hear their stories, learn about the challenges facing us all, and find out how we are overcoming them.

Business Panel: Lessons Learned from Lockdown

We heard four perspectives from four business leaders in the region and gained each panellist's thoughts on the challenges of lockdown.

The Panel

Niki Barker, Director of People & Culture at Darlington Building Society
Yasmin Khan, Director/Trustee of the Teesside-based Halo Project charity; National Advisor to the Welsh
Government on Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence
Rosalind Stuart, Tees Valley Network Manager, The Girls' Network
Jessica Williams, Founder and Managing Director, Just Williams

Facilitated by Caroline Theobald, CBE

Schools Panel

Our panel shared their stories and the challenges they have had to overcome in their lives to get to where they are today.

The Panel

Elisha Lycett, President Welfare, Teesside University Students' Union
Jessica Tucker, Managing Director, Social Allies
Monique Wild, Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Student
Jen Vanderhoven, Director, National Horizons Centre
Siobhan Fenton, Associate Dean (Enterprise and Business Engagement), School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technology

Facilitated by Sharon Paterson, Associate Director MIMA - Culture and Engagement

 

International Women's Day 2020

To celebrate International Women's Day 2020, we invited girls and business leaders from across the region onto campus.

Ambition and Careers

What challenges do women face in the Tees Valley region, when it comes to ambition and careers?

Societal Changes

In response to a discussion about 'Societal Changes', the girls and business leaders made pledges about how they can help confront the issues faced by women in the local area.

Female Identity

We discussed the theme of 'Female Identity' and asked the girls to make pledges to themselves and others.

Self Confidence

In response to a discussion about 'Self Confidence', the girls and business leaders made pledges about how they can help confront the issues faced by women in the local area. Find out what they said.

Find out more about IWD

Schools

#ChooseToChallenge competition

What do you #ChooseToChallenge? It could be a goal you want to achieve, some way you want to challenge yourself, something you think should change in the world, or even who you want to be. Tell us what that is and how you want to do it. There is no limit to what you can create. A short story, a piece of art, a film, it's up to you.

Submit your entry by 5.00pm on Friday 26 March 2021. Entries can only be submitted by a teacher. Entries will be judged by our panel of experts, and we will contact prize winners via schools. A consent form must be completed by the parent or guardian of the Participant, if Participant is under 16 years of age.

All of the Tees Businesswomen award winners have offered career explorer days, sessions or events with the winning schools. Prizes have been offered by Durham Lifting, Abacus Bean, HR Alchemy, Jacksons Law, Greenology, Middlesbrough College, My Sister's Place, TRAC UK, PD Ports, the Ethical Lettings Company, and Tracerco. Prizes include visits, online workshops, careers experiences, interview practice and more.

Submit your entry

Parental consent form & Privacy notice


International Schools Exchange

An exciting development to our International Women's Day annual programme for 2021 is the introduction of a virtual exchange for primary schools. Girls from a local Middlesbrough primary school will connect with Year 6 girls from Navy Children's School in Goa, India. Supported by the University and teachers on both sides, the girls will have the chance to meet each other virtually and exchange information about their daily life, their hopes and aspirations for the future. This will be an exciting opportunity for all the girls involved to gain insights into life in another part of the world, and to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for young girls everywhere.


Open Clasp: #ChooseToChallenge

For International Women's Day in March 2020, Open Clasp Theatre Company came to Teesside University to run theatre-based workshops for 120 young people. This year, because of the pandemic, we couldn't invite them to work with us in person. So, we commissioned them to begin work on a piece of spoken word writing, as an inspiration for future workshops and creative thinking.

Here is an extract, together with their reflections on the week of 8th March 2021.
#ChooseToChallenge Extract

Be inspired

Find out more about these amazing women and support the IWD #ChooseToChallenge campaign this year.


Meet the Tees Businesswomen Awards 2021 Finalists

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Best New Business

Hogg Global Logistics, Wander Films and Bentley’s Coffee Shop

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Best Newcomer

Chloë Clover (Wander Films), Laura Frances Hepburn (Greenology) and Tracey Jukes (Tracey Jukes Beauty Training)

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Charity/Voluntary Award

My Sister’s Place, Recovery Advocates & Consultants and Rubies

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Breaking the Mould Award

Laura Hepburn (Greenology), Angela Davies (CSI Training & Events) and Amanda Gardiner (Durham Lifting)

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Training & Apprenticeships

Sir Robert McAlpine, Middlesbrough College and Paul J Watson Solicitor

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Lifelong Inspiration Award

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL (Teesside University), Katy Parkinson (Lexonik) and Katrina Morley (Tees Valley Education)

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: SME of the Year

AbacusBean, Durham Lifting and Intasite

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Inspiring Others Award

Annalice Argyle (Recovery Advocates & Consultants), Professor Jane Turner OBE DL (Teesside University) and Paula McMahon (Sir Robert McAlpine)

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Business of the Year

Wander Films, The Ethical Housing Company and Intasite

Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 Finalists: Businesswoman of the Year

Jane Armitage (Jacksons Law), Carla Keegans (The Ethical Housing Company) and Jo Davies (HR Alchemy)

 

A day in the life of...

Find out more about different careers and how you can get there yourself.

Our Supporters

Meet the men that are supporting International Women's Day in the region and beyond.

 

Sharon Gayter

Sharon Gayter

Sharon, Lecturer in Business Management, set a new record running from John O'Groats to Land's End in 2019. She raised money for Mind in memory of three of her friends.

What does success mean to you?

Setting a goal and then achieving it.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Creating a SMART program to achieve it. Overcoming tiredness and fatigue to complete the program, battling the elements whatever they throw at me, balancing my home life and work commitments to stay healthy, happy and motivated.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Live life to the full. Do not sit back and let life happen, you should go into the world, have aims, ambition and dreams. Set your goals to achieve your goals and experience what challenges are thrown at you and learn to be resilient to deal with them.

More about SharonInternational Women's Day

Kirath Ghundoo

Kirath Ghundoo

Kirath, Senior Lecturer in Textile Design, also runs her own award-winning surface pattern company. Her work has been featured in TheTimes, London Evening Standard, Elle Decoration and Living North.

More about KirathInternational Women's Day

Jade Jones-Hall

Recent law graduate Jade is a two-time Paralympian and she won Gold for England in the para-triathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

International Women's Day

Professor Amelia Lake

Professor Amelia Lake

Amelia, Professor (Research) in the School of Health & Life Sciences, helped steer a national campaign fronted by TV chef Jamie Oliver to ban the sale of energy drinks to teenagers.

More about AmeliaInternational Women's Day

Beth Mead

Beth, a Sports Development graduate, has represented England at every age level from under-15. She plays for Arsenal Ladies and in 2018 she made her debut for the senior England women's national football team.

International Women's Day

Steph McGovern

Steph McGovern

Middlesbrough-born Steph was made an Honorary Doctor in Professional Achievement at Teesside for her media contributions.

More about StephInternational Women's Day

Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Dot, Professor of Alcohol and Public Health, has been elected Co-President elect of INEBRIA, and worked with NICE to update guidelines on alcohol interventions in secondary and further education.

More about DorothyInternational Women's Day

Dr Gill Owens

Dr Gill Owens

Gill, Head of Department in the Business School, won Silver in the 2017 World Transplant Games after donating a kidney to a complete stranger.

What does success mean to me?

Knowing that I have done my best. I have never been motivated by money, I have always wanted to help and support people and be proud of myself and those I work with.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Maths has never been my strong point and I remember being told by my maths teacher in secondary school that I would never achieve anything in my life because I was thick. Instead of knocking me back it made me determined to prove him wrong. 35 years in business and a PhD and academic career later I would love to meet him to thank him for his encouragement.

Who has helped you along the way?

Too many people to mention. Many for leading the way and who left me wanting to be a little like them and others for making sure I did not want to be like them. I am particularly fond of those individuals who had no idea of the positive influence they had on me until after the event when a gentle thank you was sent their way. I was also incredibly fortunate to meet Buzz Aldrin at an event in London some years back and had a short chat when he made it clear that to him it was irrelevant that he was the second man on the moon, he still went to the moon. An amazing man and a huge impact statement in one sentence.

More about GillInternational Women's Day

Lisa Tomlinson

Lisa Tomlinson

Nursing Associate student, mum and cancer survivor Lisa was recognised for her charity fundraising and campaigning with a Teesside hero Award from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

More about LisaInternational Women's Day

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL

Jane, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise & Business Engagement), was awarded an OBE for outstanding services to business engagement. In 2019, she received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the Tees Businesswomen Awards.

More about JaneInternational Women's Day

Tracy Cuthbertson

Project Director, Meldrum Construction Services Ltd

Tracy Cuthbertson

What does success mean to you (in no more than 10 words)?

Being happy and appreciative of what you have achieved.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

The biggest challenge I have ever faced was after I left the Royal Air Force and had taken a couple of years out of work to raise my family. It was not the time out that was the challenge, but the hardships to get back into work. Whilst I had GCSEs, A Levels and a Degree, with experience as an Officer in the Military, having that period of time off, alongside the fact not a lot of companies appreciate the skills someone with a Military background can bring, it took a year until I was offered a job. I had to start at the bottom all over again as an admin assistant on a temporary four month contract. In addition and before I found out I had got the job, I had applied to do a Master's Degree in Project Management at Northumbria University, as I needed something else to do for my own sanity. I found out on the same day that I had got the job and been accepted onto the degree course, so after a short time to think, I decided to do both.

For three years I worked in a full time job building my career back up, whilst raising my two young children with a husband still in the military and away in Afghanistan and Iraq a lot, and studied for my Degree every night once they were in bed, except for Sundays which was my day off. It was a very stressful and exhausting three years but it has lead me to where I am today which I am very grateful for. If you put the effort in, your effort and hard work will be rewarded.

Who has helped you along the way?

My biggest support has been my husband. He paid for me to do my Masters Degree and understood that I had to achieve this for myself and was patient over those three years when I had little time for anything other than the children and the Degree when I was at home. Without him, I couldn't have achieved the success I have today.

International Women's Day

Angela Lockwood

Chief Executive, North Star Housing Group

Angela Lockwood

What does success mean to you (in no more than 10 words)?

The ability to do what you love every day.

What challenges did you overcome in getting there?

Convincing myself that I am good enough.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Cut yourself some slack, be kind to yourself and don't linger on mistakes.

International Women's Day

Katrina Morley

Chief Executive, North Star Housing Group

Katrina Morley

What does success mean to you (no more than 10 words)?

Children having the best life opportunities we can give them.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Belief - in myself and my abilities / skills as well as in the possibility of a range of outcomes (on behalf of children and the teaching profession).

Ageism - as a young Headteacher and leader getting the buy-in, respect and 'ear' of those with more experience was difficult sometimes but as I was told - never confuse experience with expertise.

Fright - new situations, greater accountability, heightened public responsibility has to be assimilated in small steps, but that doesn't stop the 'sick' feeling of facing the learning at times, recognise that this 'too' shall pass...

Time - working full time, undertaking post graduate learning, keeping up to date with sector reading as well as trying to live a life means that the 24hours in a day can sometimes compete for space. I always remember though that if it is important to you, you will find a way, otherwise you will find an excuse. My diary is therefore, a life saver, and I schedule all important zones in - it's a balance but worth it.

Choices - knowing what to do at any given time, and which option would be 'best' for either me and the situation. I learned that often there isn't a right/wrong - there is just one more step along the road and continuous evaluation of each step, allows you to make reasoned appraisals of the journey's direction.

Who has helped you along the way?

A range of amazing people from both my personal and my professional worlds. First and foremost are my fiancé and family. They offer much needed real life time, connection, love, advice, challenge and lots of hugs!

Professionally, I have always ensured that I seek time with and advice from, a range of mentors. These have always been people whom I have either worked with or come across in a professional discussion and whom I respect and admire immensely. Their emotional intelligence and gravitas were always matched with a highly specific sector expertise, from which I learned (or am still learning) a great deal. The sounding board, discussion, reflection, self-actualisation as well as the relationship itself, offers me the chance to see what I can achieve. At the same time, it allows me to set realistic milestones of events and tasks to be undertaken between meeting up. This means I am forever making small, but nevertheless, incremental steps to the next place I want to be. Every great journey starts with 1 step...

International Women's Day

Liza Pontone

Chartered Financial Planner, Active

What does success mean to me?

Success is believing in yourself and making dreams become a reality

What challenge have you overcome in your career?

In 2013 my life came to a halt. After 24 years working for a high street bank I was unexpectedly made redundant. Stability was something that I had taken for granted. I left as a highly successful financial adviser but what would I do, where would I go? At the time I had three boys under the age of 11 and I was also going through a divorce. Due to the power of my professional connections, I took a risk and followed my heart by moving to an exciting new role over at Active, based in Stockton-On-Tees. The hard work started immediately by building a new referral base, connecting with like-minded professionals and establishing myself in the region. I upskilled significantly and in 2016 gained Chartered Financial Planner status and Fellowship for the Personal Finance Society, the highest qualification awarded in our industry. It's now 2021 and I am now recognised as the female face for Financial Planning in the region, specialising in Pension Planning, being an Ambassador of the Insuring Women's Futures campaign.

Who has helped you along the way?

Throughout my life I've had mentors. My parents, teachers, managers in the bank, Directors of Active and more recently my life coach Claire Walton. They have taught me to believe in myself, be authentic, be bold and brave. Never stop developing, creating and growing. Glass ceilings were made for breaking!

International Women's Day

Sade Sangowawa

CEO, Cultures CIC

Sade Sangowawa

What does success mean to me?

Being able to support people and seeing them reach their potential

What challenges did you overcome in getting there?

I overcame the fear of failure and realised that part of my story and strength is the ability to get up when am knocked down and go again and again. That fear was useful, as if it can be not handled properly, it is a serious limiting factor. I overcame the challenge of having to justify myself every time I presented my ideas by developing initiatives that forced the establishment to notice and start to change their attitude.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Be yourself, dream big, don't be afraid to fail and you will soar like an eagle.

International Women's Day

Suzanne Helm

England Athletics North East RunTogether Group of the Year 2020

Suzanne Helm

What does success mean to me?

Hearing from members that they love our group.

What challenges do you foresee and how will you overcome them in the short and long term?

The pandemic has resulted in a lot of changes to the way we can facilitate sessions. I foresee this lasting for a while yet. It is important to me to keep members active and connected with one another in the absence of face to face meetings. We do this with virtual challenges with prizes, newsletters, sharing photos etc. and social Zoom gatherings. In the longer term, we hope that we will get back to group sessions in some type of format. We envisage people having to start slowly, with lots of support, so we'll ensure we have sufficient people to lead groups and we'll develop sessions based on this assumption and adapt as needed, restricting numbers to comply with any local rules.

International Women's Day

Yvonne Oakes

Lecturer in Business, Teesside University

Yvonne Oakes

What does success mean to you?

Aiming high, remaining positive with no self-doubt or regrets.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant seemed like a long and impossible journey but materialised only through hard work, commitment, and self-belief.

After having a year off to bring up a young family, regaining confidence to re-enter the job market.

Who has helped you along the way?

My mum always believed at the time she was too strict in my youth. On reflection, I now embrace how her encouragement and support provided the right amount of pressure, alongside love and compassion, to aim for the stars.

International Women's Day

Emma Swift

Freelancer

Emma Swift

What does success mean to me?

Aiming high, working hard and achieving your goals.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

A large portion of my career was at The Times newspaper, I studied Audio Visual / Photography at Teesside College before studying Newspaper & Magazine Design and Infographics at Newcastle Art College and was offered a job with (then) News International a few months before I graduated. I didn't worry about the move to London, I accepted the job and worried about the rest later. Once there, I found that most of my colleagues had an Oxbridge education. I was used to being really outspoken in my friendship group, but I found myself not particularly confident to speak out in team meetings and news conferences with colleagues, for fear of not being articulate enough to express my opinions. But, ambition goes a long way. Learning and observing, believing in my own ability and acknowledgement from managers /editors helped me to gain confidence and express my ideas. The whole news environment is very pressured especially when working to extremely tight deadlines.

I learned to remain calm and worked incredibly hard. Newspaper hours aren't for everyone and by being dedicated it helped to show my ambition. I quickly found that no matter the background or the education there was a camaraderie and lots of common ground, I made some great friends who helped me to progress further up the company ladder.

Who helped you along the way?

My parents were always very encouraging when it came to a future career, if you wanted it, then you had to work hard and go out and get it. I met many female editors during my career at The Times who were incredibly supportive, two in particular who pushed and inspired me to do more. We had the first all female back bench team (the name given to the news editing team) whilst I was there. My Creative Director, at the time, was also very supportive, he gave me lots of opportunities, such as redesigning the newspaper with him and managing my own team. I left The Times four years ago and have since art directed and re-designed magazines and apps whilst studying UI/UX Design (user-interface /user experience design). I hope that my on-going career will be as successful as my newspaper and magazine design career have been.

International Women's Day

Liz Edwards

Co-Founder & CEO, Rubies

Liz Edwards

What does success mean to you?

Getting up every morning to do something that makes a difference.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Some of my challenges have included:

  • A lack of confidence and self-belief. I am still working on this.
  • Anxiety about public speaking. I actually enjoy this now, mainly because I'm talking about a subject I am really passionate about.
  • A lack of job security which is often due to the way the voluntary/charity sector is funded. It has been really hard to invest a lot of time and energy in work that has to stop because the funding runs out.

Who has helped you along the way?

Managers who have seen my potential and given me an opportunity to shine. Also, trainers and tutors who have helped me develop new skills, in particular a female mentor who understands the challenges of the voluntary/charity sector. Finally, my husband, family and friends.

International Women's Day

Helen Marshall

Entrepreneur, Spirals Hair Salon

Helen Marshall

What does success mean to you?

To run a successful thriving business and be happy in my work.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

I started volunteering as a 'saturday girl' whilst I was still at school in a professional salon with great mentors. I was then accepted onto a youth training scheme where I attended hairdressing college one day a week whilst gaining practical experience in the salon for the rest of the time. Hairdressing involves hard work and long days but it is also very rewarding when you get to see the finished product. If you're having a bad day you can't show it! Being professional towards your clients is key. Been my own boss has been my greatest inspiration and makes you work harder to achieve the best results.

Who has helped you along the way?

I was very lucky. My parents bought me my own hairdressing business when I was only 20 years old. Since then I have never looked back. This has since turned into a family business when my sister joined me, and we have been running for 28 years now. I couldn't have done it without the support of my parents and the grit and determination to make it work. Although the last year has been hard due to COVID-19 we cannot wait to be back up and running again, doing what we do best! My advice to any young girl would be to follow their dreams, work hard as you only get out of life what you put in!

International Women's Day

Kirsten Donkin

Head of PR, Marketing and Communications, PD Ports

Kirsten Donkin

What does success mean to you?

To have a voice, be respected, to be able to make a contribution, to be happy.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

I started out as a marketing assistant at PD Ports, progressing to Head of PR, Marketing and Communications over 16 years. I completed my degree in Marketing and a Master's in Multimedia and Design at Teesside University before embarking on a career in marketing and communications. I have worked hard to achieve my goals but I also work for a wonderful company in PD Ports that is genuinely committed to bringing out the best in its people and allowing them the freedom to grow and develop and providing the space to make mistakes and learn from them - that makes a huge difference to personal and professional development. In truth, my biggest challenges have been those I've created myself, battling low confidence.

Over the years, and through talking to lots of people around me, I've realised how normal these feelings are and how many people experience these feelings regardless of their role and status. I've learned to be a little kinder to myself but also to challenge myself as it can be surprising to find your true strength and qualities when you take a leap out of your comfort zone, which is great to build on your confidence.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Try to avoid listening to your own self-doubt. Listen and take on-board the positives others see in you and try to see yourself through the eyes of others. Be brave - focus on your ultimate goal and what you believe will bring you contentment and happiness. Take yourself out of our comfort zone and put yourself in positions that will help you overcome your fears, it will help you become a stronger person and don't beat yourself up when things don't go right the first time. Be kind to yourself and always keep an open mind.

International Women's Day

Charlotte Windebank

Co Founder, FIRST

Charlotte Windebank

What does success mean to you?

Doing what you love!

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

After leaving education I tried to get a job in the peak of the economic crash in 2008. Opportunities were scarce and after many failed attempts I decided to create my own job!

Who has helped you along the way?

My business partner Caroline Theobald has been instrumental in my success. We met whilst I was working in a café and if we hadn't, my life would be very different from now. She saw my potential, encouraged and supported me, and together we built a successful business. My advice to anyone starting out in their career or business journey is go networking and find your Caroline!

International Women's Day

Gemma Hagan

Events Manager - North East, CBI

Gemma Hagan

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is the accomplishment of self-defined goals.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

I have always been a dreamer, one to follow my heart slightly over my head. This has meant that I haven't followed a traditional career path but dipped in and out of things as and when they have felt right for me, exploring new roles and opportunities as they have presented themselves. Although this is more accepted now, at one point it was frowned upon. I spent a good 10 years trying to block out peers telling me that I was silly, unrealistic or that I should be doing this or that as it was more acceptable in society. Only you as an individual know what the right decision is for you and it's being brave enough to follow through with your plans and ambitions.

Who has helped you along the way?

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people from all walks and stages of life. Every time I meet someone new, I try to get some wisdom from them, ask them questions, listen to them, learn from them and their experiences. I try to take something away from every new encounter. Doing this has built the foundations of my life's journey.

International Women's Day

Kate Husband

Midwife

Kate Husband

A day in the life of a midwife

My name is Kate and I recently qualified as a midwife. I love my job and am very excited about what my career in midwifery has to offer.

To become a midwife, I completed a 3 year degree. This was 50% theory at university, in which I completed essays, exams and practical work to learn essential skills. The other 50% of the degree was clinically based placements, where I got to experience working as a student midwife in a variety of hospital and community settings. It is a fun and rewarding degree that is well worth the challenges! I have made friends for life through my degree and loved the experience!

Upon qualifying, I have begun a year long preceptorship programme at the hospital where I work, in which I work in each clinical area of the maternity setting, such as the delivery suite, the antenatal and postnatal wards, and the maternity assessment unit. This is very rewarding and I receive lots of support to help me to gain confidence and experience in my role.

A typical day in the life of a midwife is... never the same! The job is full of excitement, challenges and love. It uses a combination of your communication, teamwork and practical skills to enable you to care for all women, their babies and families. The midwifery degree fully equips you for this experience, giving you the knowledge and skills that you need to provide holistic, safe and quality care to all women. Midwives are based in different areas and provide care throughout the entire pregnancy journey and into the postnatal period. They are advocates for all women, and help to plan and provide care in partnership with the woman and a variety of other healthcare professionals to ensure a safe and positive pregnancy and birth experience.

I feel truly lucky to be an NHS midwife, and look forward to every day at work. It is a privilege to be a part of the journey of so many families, and I always keep this quote in mind when doing so: 'People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel' - Maya Angelou.

International Women's Day

Angela Davies and Dionne Watson

Co-Founders and Managing Directors of CSI Training and Events Ltd and Crime Scene Assist Ltd

Angela Davies and Dionne Watson

What does Success mean to you?

Enjoying what we do. Turning our passion into business.

What challenges did you overcome in getting there?

Not having a business background was challenging. We come from a crime scene investigation practitioner background. We know and love our subject area but had to learn a significant number of new skills to be able to convert our ideas into a functional business. Thankfully, Teesside University helped us with this through their amazing business support team.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

It is not your business what others think of you. This comes with age but if you can crack it early and just be you, then you will be laughing. Always be yourself.

International Women's Day

Suzanne Withrington

Principal Lecturer (Enterprise & Business Engagement), Teesside University

Suzanne Withrington

What does Success mean to you?

Seeing the impact that I have had in helping others achieve their goals.

What challenges have you overcome in your career?

Imposter syndrome. Working through self-doubt and convincing myself that I am good enough.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Try not to worry too much about how you think other people see you; you won't always be right. Also, surround yourself with those you care about and trust.

International Women's Day

Bethany Bird

Veterinary Nurse

Bethany Bird

What does Success mean to you?

To me success means being able to finish work with a feeling of accomplishment, being happy and having things to drive yourself forwards throughout a working day. I also believe that having a good relationship with colleges and clients is key to success in a workplace.

What challenges did you overcome in your career?

To achieve my goal of becoming a registered Veterinary Nurse, I have faced both practical and theoretical training including multiple examinations (both written and practical) and now, as a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse I am required to do continuous professional development to keep my knowledge fresh and up to date. Becoming a Veterinary Nurse has enabled me to live my dream and work overseas including working in Australia and New Zealand…a once in a lifetime opportunity!

My day to day duties can be challenging and it is a very fast paced environment with no room for error. However, it is also a very rewarding job and making a difference to animals' lives is my passion.

Who helped you along the way?

I have had lots of encouragement from my family, friends and partner along the way and being very lucky to work with some amazing people who make the long days worthwhile. My two dogs, Milo and Ruby also remind me each day why I do the job I do.

My message to everybody would be to always follow your dreams, anything you want enough is achievable and hard work really does pay off. Being happy should always be your number one priority.

International Women's Day

Rachel Jones

Events Officer

Rachel Jonesn

I am responsible for a range of University events, from awards dinners, building openings, lectures, to graduation and our part of national events such as International Women's Day. I am extremely lucky to work with a great team as none of us could do it on our own!

This isn't what I always wanted to do though. At secondary school, I loved science and went to college to study Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science. When I was studying my A Levels I knew I wanted to do a science degree. I studied Microbiology at university and got involved in the Students' Union. In my final year of my studies I was elected to be the Education & Welfare Officer, and that's where science and I parted ways. I still liked science, but I loved the new job and the variety it brought, so I knew I wanted to do something different.

Fast forward two years and my term of office ended at the Students' Union. I secured a job at the University in the Student Recruitment team, and I started to really enjoy running events. I knew I wanted to do more, so I enrolled on my Master's degree in Events Management and studied part-time along my full-time job. In 2017 I joined the University Events team.

It may be a bit of a cliché, but there really is no such thing as a typical day in my job, so it's difficult to explain a day in the life of an Events Officer. Currently, it's spent working from home with two young children so is quite different! I look after events from the first idea right through to running them on the day. Each event is different, so I get to work on different projects all the time.

A job in events is not as glamorous as it might seem from the outside, but I still love it. My job means you have to decide on things like entertainment, communications, logistics, catering, health and safety, right down to little details such as where to put flowers or what colour scheme we want. You plan for every eventuality, but there will still be something completely random happen, meaning you have to be a really good problem solver and think on your feet. There are long days, lots of things to juggle, but there's nothing quite like seeing people having a good time at an event you've planned.

International Women's Day

Caroline Theobald CBE

Chair, First Face to Face

International Women's Day

Elisha Lycett

President Welfare, Teesside University Students' Union

International Women's Day

Gemma Rimmington

Makeup Artist and Creative Beauty Director

International Women's Day

Gill Hall

Managing Partner, Square One Law

International Women's Day

Jill Weeks

Executive Personal Assistant, Teesside University

International Women's Day

Rosalind Stuart

Tees Valley Network Manager, The Girls' Network

International Women's Day

Vanessa Sharples and Victoria Legg

Entrepreneurs

International Women's Day

Dr Jen Vanderhoven

Director, National Horizons Centre

Dr Jen Vanderhoven

The National Horizons Centre (NHC) is a biosciences research and training centre. However, this isn't where I thought I would be in my career path when I was younger - because I never really know what I wanted to be when I grew up - and still don't!

Growing up, perhaps I wasn't as imaginative as my friends who wanted to be astronauts or famous singers. I just couldn't comprehend the idea of choosing one career that I would be destined to for rest of my life. I do vaguely remember deciding to be a doctor at the age of about 6 or 7, but not for long as I soon realised that I am not one for blood and gore.

I often look back and wonder how I came to a decision to forge a career in science. I was always an inquisitive child, spending hours in the outdoors, observing life and asking 'why' or 'how'. Why is the sky blue? How are rainbows formed? How do ants carry leaves that seem ten times the size of them? I soon realised that science held the answers. Simply put, science is amazing! It enables us to produce lifesaving medicines and put humans on the moon. It gives us the tools we need as we grow up to understand the world around us.

This desire to understand 'why' lead me to choose to study science subjects at school. Biology and chemistry were always the two subjects that I found myself to be most interested in - the combination of already known facts and also trying to solve the unknown, one experiment at a time. I left school with a handful of science qualifications and embarked on a 4-year masters of Biological Sciences at university - during which, the human biology practical dissection classes further enforced that was not destined to be a doctor!

After my degree, I embarked on a PhD in Biochemistry, spending 3 years experimenting in the labs. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I decided that I wanted to move away from the blue-sky research of academia and move into industry where science was being applied in day to day operations, witnessing it in use.

Fast forward 15 years, having in-between worked in scientific sales and marketing, business development and government policy, and here I am. The one thing that has linked my career path to date is that I have always worked in roles, whatever they have been, in the biosciences field. Today, as Director of the National Horizons Centre, I am responsible for leading its development as a centre of excellence for the biosciences sector working with industry to ensure that provision is driven by current and planned needs for skills, research, innovation and talent.

My proudest science moment was just a few years ago, when I was working as a Network Manager of an Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy Network, a UK Government funded network made up of Academia and Industrialists. This led to me authoring the UK Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030, which was officially presented to UK Government in 2017 and accepted with its associated road map. Making such an impact on national policy was really rewarding.

I am still uncertain of what I would like to be when I get older. What I am certain of however, is that my future lies in a science related career, knowing it provides a guaranteed satisfaction for the little girl inside me, the one that still asks 'why.'

My Career advice:

  • Do what you love - if you can combine your passion with your job you will go far!
  • Try new things - don't feel like you need to stick to one career path
  • You don't have to be a specialist - use all your skills, you don't have to specialise in just one thing
  • Choose your boss - Work for someone who you are inspired by
  • You don't need to know what you want to be when you grow up - I still don't
  • Make work fun - if you can enjoy your work, you will be more successful

Finally, my mantra through life has always been 'If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later'

International Women's Day

Mellissa Baxter

Executive PA to the Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer and VCO Office Manager

Mellissa Baxter

You could say that I have been part of the University forever… My Mum worked at the University so I attended the University Nursery as a baby, returning upon leaving School, and have been here ever since... (23 years).

After leaving secondary school I joined the Chamber of Commerce to do an NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration - it was there that I secured a placement with the University as a YT (Youth Trainee) in Student Records in the Registry. From there I start my first full time job as Receptionist in the Vice-Chancellor's Office, where I was still able to attend day release at the Chamber whilst completing the NVQ.

In the Vice-Chancellor's Office I worked very closely with a team of Personal Assistants, which further expanded my knowledge and gave me an insight into the role of a PA - a role I don't think many people appreciate until you become one - no two days are ever the same and I continually learn from it.

The experience I gained from supporting the PAs, covering absences and learning how to adapt to different characters and personalities, opened the door for me to become a Personal Assistant to various Deputy Vice-Chancellors over the years, and then as Executive PA to the Chief Operating Officer. This particular role was the ultimate stepping-stone in giving me the experience, understanding, and knowledge of the University from both the perspective of the 'academic', and the 'operational' side of the house.

This experience from both the academic and operational perspective provided me with the skills to be ultimately promoted and appointed as Executive PA to both the Vice-Chancellor, the Chief Operating Officer, and as the Office Manager for the wider 'Vice-Chancellor's Office' - a role I relish! The rest, as they say, is history...

The University is a great employer with excellent conditions of service and a fantastic learning and development provision which has enabled me to keep up to date with the required tools to enable me to excel my job on a day to day basis.

International Women's Day

Dr. Tora Smulders-Srinivasan

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, National Horizons Centre

Dr. Tora Smulders-Srinivasan

To me, working as a woman in science is all about the science - I want to solve some mysteries in how neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease kill brain cells with the ultimate goals of helping design and test treatments. In an ideal world, that's it, but there are barriers to girls and women in science at all levels, from accessing education to getting jobs and successful careers in STEM professions. These barriers are insidious, institutionalized, cultural, societal, economic, and real.

So to me, working as a woman in science is ALSO about encouraging and supporting girls and women. It's about the 9-year-old girl who was encouraged to think about a career in science when I talked about my research in my son's class. It's about BEING a successful scientist despite being a woman, an immigrant Indian in the USA and then in the UK. It's about showing girls and women like me that it's possible - and lowering those barriers for those who follow.

International Women's Day

Maria O'Hanlon

Research Degree Student, National Horizons Centre

Dr. Tora Smulders-Srinivasan

When I was younger, I hated science. It was presented to me as dull and unappealing. With the examples of famous scientists in history mainly being male, I never for a second thought about it as a career. That all changed when I was lucky enough to be taught by an engaging biology teacher who had worked in academia and industry, and through her enthusiasm, I was shown a world of excitement and discovery. She had really done it all - had a family and a career. Listening to her, for the first time, I felt like I could be a woman and have an amazing career in science, just like she did.

Therefore, working as a woman in science is important to me, not only because through my work I hope to play a pivotal role in the advancement of disease understanding and treatment discovery, but also because I want to be the person that inspires other girls, just like I was inspired when I was at school. I want to show young women that a career in science can be varied and interesting but most of all, accessible to all.

International Women's Day

Erika Marshall

Group Marketing Director, Education Training Collective

Erika Marshall

Success, to me, is having a safe, secure and happy family and a career I love which has enabled me to make a difference and have an impact on others. They say that the way to eat an elephant is in small chunks and that is how I approached my career goals, a series of small objectives, each being a building block to get to the next level. For example, I knew I didn't want to leave the Tees Valley for work, so I sought to achieve a good local education which would be appreciated by local business leaders. I took advice from those around me to understand the pathway to Marketing Director - assistant, coordinator, manager - each one being a stop on the journey to the destination. Of course, it didn't all run smoothly and there were side-steps, redundancies and other obstacles, and while they were disappointing at the time, on reflection they were actually just opportunities for self-development.

There was something serendipitous about being made redundant from my role at Reef Subsea at the same time the role at Nifco came up - and that role was a career changer, it gave me the management and leadership skills I needed to do the job I am in now, in the education sector I have always wanted to be part of.

Right now, no day is the same, and although I have now stepped away from some of the more operational marketing tasks, I still get to role my sleeves up and pitch in from time to time. Sometimes I can be creating innovative ideas to engage with learners to help them on their own career journey, or I can be working with my Senior Manager colleagues on strategic plans for the group, and recently I have been working with amazing organisations such as The Girl's Network to provide fantastic opportunities for the young women in our college - its all exciting, busy, and incredibly rewarding!

If I could share one piece of advice to others, it's 'be your own press officer' - you don't have to be brash or arrogant, but be aware of your own successes and don't be afraid to share them with others - and then we can all celebrate with you!

International Women's Day

Sharon Lane

Managing Director, Tees Components

Sharon Lane

Success to me means being in control of my life. Being in control of my thoughts, my feelings, and feeling disciplined, having choices about what I do.

I am 42 years old and I have been working in mechanical engineering since I was 19. My biggest challenge to overcome was probably undertaking an apprenticeship, because all of my friends were at university, and I was one of a very small number of girls at TTE learning workshop skills. It was very different to the school background I had, and I felt often that I had failed because I had dropped out of university. Eventually I did gain two degrees and because I also had the experience of working, I was able to apply for good jobs.

I have been lucky throughout my career to meet individuals who have made clear they believe in my ability to succeed, and have backed me. I've needed reassurance sometimes that I could do the job ahead.

Day in the Life

  • 6.15am I switch the coffee machine on and go for a quick run
  • 6.45am wake my children and help them get up and ready
  • 7.30am leave the house for school bus and drive to work
  • 8.00am-4.30pm as MD, I oversee all functions of the business - production, sales, finance, HR, health and safety, quality… Although my office is in a different building, I make sure I walk through the workshops often so I know which work is going through. I like to check in with staff face to face and understand any issues they have. I speak to customers most days too, again to find out how things are for them. We usually have team meetings first thing and then I will spend most of the day directing priorities and helping with issues. I set aside time each week for investment or improvement projects to make sure they are progressing as they should, for a catch-up on finances, and also some time for others - this might be mentoring someone, a person asking for one-off advice, or giving a talk to a group or school.
  • 5.00pm I cook for my children and we try to make time for a board game or a quiz. We also go for a little walk and fresh air. My family are my main motivation and I love the time I have with them at evenings and weekends.
  • 10.30pm I read - usually something about history, to make me switch off - and go to bed!

My message - stop comparing yourself to others, or worrying about what they think. They will only be doing the same, anyway. Find your gifts and use them - that is the purpose and the meaning of life!

International Women's Day

Julie Burniston

Editor, Tees Life magazine, Love Middlesbrough and Absolute Bridal magazine
Events manager, Resolution Publishing
Freelance writer/producer

Julie Burniston

What success means to me

Success to me has never been about money or material things. It's been about following my heart, retaining my (slightly off-kilter!) personality and having a career I love.

I couldn't think of anything worse than spending eight hours a day resenting your job.

Success is also about being self-sufficient, which is hugely important to a single mum like me.

After a shattering divorce I vowed that I would bring my two children up without ever having to rely on anyone else - something I've done and something of which I'm immensely proud. Even though there were times when I was exhausted from deadlines and lack of sleep, I wasn't going to give up because there was always someone ready and itching to jump into my shoes!

It's been a long road from Middlesbrough to National magazine and TV work in London and back full circle to working on home ground - and boy, have there been challenges along the way!

Take the careers officer who told me at 16 that I'd never be a writer because I was a woman, because I was working class, because I was a Teessider, because I didn't get the grades to go to University.

I knew I had talent if not the academic nous and so did Bill Perfitt, my first mentor who took a chance on me as a trainee reporter at ICI Wilton.

Talking my way into a magazine job in London and going to journalism college part-time proved that where there is a will, there is a way.

I worked (and played!) very hard and was lucky enough to meet some influential people who gave me a leg up along the way. I've never forgotten and always tried to repay their kindness.

Moving back to Teesside recently has brought my career full circle and was a case of: you don't ask, you don't get. As our lovely designer Sarah Carlton says - 'shy bairns get nowt!'

As life imploded in the South I reached out to Dave Allan, an old friend who offered me a job of editing Tees Life magazine. I will be eternally grateful to Dave and his business partner Martin Walker for their belief in me.

Though my job has had to pivot due to Covid, I still find such satisfaction in writing for Tees Business and Love Middlesbrough magazines and organising our amazing Tees Businesswomen and Tees Tech events. Whether its interviewing the great and good of Teesside, organising photo shoots or arranging food and entertainment for our awards evenings, there's never a dull day!

Since relocating 18 months ago I continue to be amazed by our region, by the incredibly talented team at Resolution Publishing and of course by the remarkable women who have taken me under their wing and who buoy me up with their support. Their names are too many to mention - but Ann Stonehouse for her weekly check-ins, Jane Turner for her inspiration and Lou and Chloe at Wander Films for their solidarity and infectious enthusiasm.

Which brings me to something I believe passionately in: no matter who you meet along life's journey - treat people well, leave an impression and do your very best by them. Kindness, a word of encouragement, a show of support - these things cost nothing and pay dividends.

My inspirational message

Stay positive, stay focused, believe in yourself and never change who you are just to cut corners or fit in. Talent will out - even if it takes time. There needs to be people to break the mould - let that be you!

International Women's Day

Laura Ryan

CEO, Lavenpark Ltd,Global Chair, Meat Business Women, Co-founder I Global Meat Alliance

Laura Ryan

What does success mean to you?

To me success is all about making change and impact in an area (could be a business or whole industry) which you are really passionate about and it creates the revenue you need to live the life you want.

What challenges did you overcome?

Life is jam packed with challenges and everyone deals with them in their own way. For me it's about making sure the opportunities outweigh the challenges, even though something can look like a challenge you are learning new skills all of the time. Use that new knowledge to make the next opportunity even better.

Who has helped you along the way?

Over the last 20 years I've surrounded myself with people who invest professional time in me, this has now grown organically to a 'personal board'. To make this work you need to ask people for help and show them why it's of strategic benefit. Know your skillset, especially your weaknesses and get support for those areas - it'll make life a whole lot easier!

What is your inspirational message?

It's the simple things that brings success - being totally you, being brave and doing the extra 10%

All about me

I have a First-Class Honours in Marketing, a Masters in Management and have also achieved Chartered Marketer status via the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

I joined the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in 2007 after successfully launching premium beef & lamb brands within a large butchery business in the North East of England. Working my way through, I was appointed as Sector Strategy Director for the Beef & Lamb Board in 2015. I led the strategic review and development for the Beef & Lamb sector in England by identifying key challenges and opportunities which deliver long term growth.

In 2019 I successfully launched Lavenpark, my own consultancy business which is working with levy boards, government and commercial companies to achieve greater success through improved industry insight, connectivity, business development, marketing, and communications.

I am the founder and global Chair of Meat Business Women which launched in 2015, the professional networking group working in the meat industry which now operates across UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It has recently been recognised by the United Nations with me presenting on the contribution Meat Business Women makes to the global Sustainable Development Goals.

I love my job as no two days are the same and each comes with challenges and opportunities. Finding solutions is the fun part!

If you want to hear more from Laura and hear her hints and tips for career development, listen to her podcast.

International Women's Day

Kelly Britton- Hawes

Education Manager, Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA)

Kelly Britton-Hawes

I am the Education Manager for TVCA. I manage two key programmes focusing on Careers Education and Innovation, and Collaboration for School Improvement. A usual day for me includes working with schools, colleges and business as well as managing a team of seven. I also work with national government departments such as the Department for Education. I have faced a number of challenges within my career, especially managing staff and engaging CEO's and Headteachers to support the areas of work that I lead on... so far so good!

I am fortunate that I have three standout mentors supporting me with my career, a previous and current line manager and my older sister.

Success for me is logging off each day knowing that the work I do has a positive impact on a Tees Valley young person ensuring that they have the right tools to be able to decide the right career pathway for them.

My message to young people is; if you want it, work for it and then enjoy the rewards of it.

International Women's Day

Dann Cooley

Teesside University International Women's Day group member
Deputy Technician Manager

Dann Cooley

What Does Success mean to you?

To stand back up and take the next step

What Challenges have you overcome in your career?

Some of the biggest challenges I've had to overcome in my career are not related to the jobs I've done, but the words that have been spoke to me both while I was younger and at school. As a person with severe learning difficulties I was told repeatedly that I would never achieve anything and that I was worthless. For years I believed those words were true and as a result they shaped how I thought about myself and they restricted my growth. Booker T Washington said 'I have learnt that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one reached in life as by the obstacles which one has had to overcome while trying to succeed.' I was very lucky to have a family and mentors who walked with me and helped me overcome issues including self-worth, self-belief and personal value. This journey of overcoming has helped reshape my character and rebuilt my confidence in who I am and what I can do. I try to apply what I have learnt to the way I manage and mentor people.

What advice would you give a young woman to believe in herself?

Your value and worth is not defined by other people but by you, your character and the positive impact you leave on the people around you. I've also learnt not to take myself to seriously and to enjoy the journey, so take time to stop look back and celebrate how far you have come.

International Women's Day

Chris Smith

Executive Director, Thirteen

Chris Smith

Chris' focus is on business growth, including leading on strategic partnerships with Homes England, local authorities, health organisations, universities, the community and voluntary sector. Chris is responsible for identifying and developing bids and secure new business ventures, contracts, partnerships and commissioned/contracted services and work with partners to create housing and service solutions for their housing, support and care needs. This team leads on the physical shaping of neighbourhoods and optimisation of our services and products around our existing homes, new homes and neighbourhoods including community development / social regeneration. Chris is a former Chair of the Local Strategic Partnership in Middlesbrough, former trustee of Middlesbrough Environment City and former board member of the Northern Housing Consortium. She is a member of the Health and Wellbeing Board in Middlesbrough and a director of the arcc consortium, a company set up to run the Transforming Rehabilitation contract on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. She is also regional chair of the National Housing Federation's North East Health Care and Support Group.

International Women's Day

Emily Lee

Stockton Soup Organiser and Foster Carer

Emily Lee

What does success mean to you?

Helping someone feel listened to, loved, encouraged, or believed in.

What challenges have you faced?

M

other Teresa said 'I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.' I work in a number of roles: fostering children, running Stockton SOUP, and with a Foodbank. In all the things I do, I always try to keep sight of the individual.

I think sometimes it is easy to want to do huge world changing things, and not really value the small, the personal, the difference you can make to just one person. I have fought this temptation often, and at times it has been a challenge for me to see the value in what I do. The external pressure to go 'big' can feel a battle at times.

It can also be hard to ignore those who look down on what we do as being small or insignificant! Those people who love the phrase 'oh you just.....' and miss the reality of what we actually do! Not a lot of people realise that Foster Carers provide constant care, generally without any respite or 'clocking off. I saw something the other day that said: 'you know you are a foster carer when .... you work 24/7, no sick pay, no pension, no guaranteed holidays but you are considered lucky!' It is hard working constantly, even more so when people don't always recognise it as that!

Often, my role is to lay the foundations for future positive changes: changes I don't get to see. For example, when the work that we do enables children move on from our care to form secure relationships with their new families. Lin-Manuel Miranda tells us in Hamilton that legacy is 'planting seeds in a garden you never get to see'. I get that! It can be hard to keep doing the work (particularly when the work is exhausting and challenging!) and trusting that the impact may be felt in years to come.

Both my role at the foodbank, and as a foster mum takes an incredible amount of persistence! Keeping going on the hard days can be a huge challenge. Loving people and children who display difficult behaviour can be exhausting, relentless and demanding. Not giving up is hard. However, when all is said and done, those chinks of light, seeing love win, making a difference to that one! That makes it all worth it.

Who has helped you along the way?

Not even sure where to start! If I had to list everyone who has helped it would take all day! They say it takes a village to raise a child...well, it takes a town with foster children! Multiple professionals, but also our amazing family and friends who support us, celebrate the wins and cry with us over the losses. I have great friends who, when I share with them crazy ideas like Stockton SOUP, roll up their sleeves and ask how they can help. At the Foodbank we have a brilliant and dedicated volunteer team.

I think for me, it has not been the amount of people, but the right people. People who acknowledge my feelings, but are not afraid to challenge me to change if needed. People who believe in me, and encourage me to keep going. People who value me and make me feel safe. I am very fortunate, but building that small select group has taken years, painful mistakes, and vulnerability.

International Women's Day

Bev Goodall

Managing Director, AbacusBean

Bev Goodall

My typical day

  • 7.30am Getting up time, chase my two kids to get up and sorted, breakfast, dressed and out the door.
  • 8.30am Leave the house for school drop off and into work.
  • 9.00am-12.00pm Typically team meetings, seeing and speaking to new clients which could be anywhere in the world or across the UK.
  • 12.00pm-12.30pm Lunch, usually a jacket potato from the café downstairs in our office or possibly a networking or client lunch out.
  • 12.30pm-5.00pm Assisting the team, reviewing work and getting reports and other important work out to clients.
  • 5.00pm-07.30pm Home and tea with the family, catch up of the news or an episode of something on Netflix.
  • 7.30pm-9.30pm Finalising work, checking team files for work to go out and looking at billing perhaps a few days of the week.
  • 9.30pm-10.30pm organising bags for the next day for us all and into bed

I'm a firm believer in that if you put the effort in anything can happen, we make our own luck and certainly hard work pays off!

International Women's Day

Clare Wood

Director, Infrastructure Project Management, Yorkshire & North East Turner & Townsend

Clare Wood

What Success Means to Me

Success to me at home is a happy family; this means connected, all have access to opportunities and are doing things that make them happy. We have brought our children up with the aspiration to be whatever they want to be, there is nothing they can't do.

Success to me at work is a team that feels equally fulfilled, supported and challenged.

My biggest challenge throughout my career has been the conflict of work life balance, the guilt that comes from wanting to work and feeling fulfilled against being a Mum

How I overcame these challenges

I had a great Manager early in my career who was really flexible in her approach to work/life balance and taught me that it was possible to do both with a flexible employer

My Husband has always and still continues to be my biggest support and supporter. We can truly say that we both brought up our children, we shared school runs and bedtimes. This allowed me to move ahead in my career knowing that I had his full support and our children are probably more rounded people for the experience.

My inspirational Message

Don't let yesterday take up too much of today

It may have been a bad day but it's gone, learn from it and move on. Nothing will be gained dwelling on the past

A day in the life of

I work for a global organisation called Turner & Townsend with offices across the UK including Teesside.

I normally start my day with a Management Team meeting, checking in on the team and issue of the day. I spend a lot of my time talking to clients and partners to discuss the changing markets and how we can develop our services to respond to them. The end of the day is normally a round up with the team. Since homeworking it is even more important for me to reach out to colleagues to ask 'Are you OK', I aim to speak to at least two of the team per day across the region.

At the start and end of each day I also walk my dog Tilly in the fields or local beaches and weather permitting I work in my allotment for relaxation.

International Women's Day

Sioban Campbell

Executive - Government at Turner & Townsend and Programme Manager/Secretariat at The UK2070 Commission

Sioban Campbell

What Success Means to Me

Success to me is happiness and being happy with who I am.

What makes me happy is being a mother and my children, and aspiring to be the best version I can be: personally, mentally, physically spiritually and professionally.

Challenges I've faced

I think my biggest challenge was lack of self-confidence, I didn't perform that well at school, didn't go to University and had no real idea what I wanted to be when I grew up!

How I overcame these challenges

Having great personal and professional mentors along my journey. These mentors saw greatness in me when I was unable to quite see it for myself.

By raising the bar on my own aspirations personally and professionally by expecting more of myself, and taking responsibility for my own learning and development.

My Inspirational Message

All things are possible!

Develop yourself, network, try lots of new things and find out what you are good at, ask for help, dream as big as like, and remember YOLO (you only live once).

A day in the life of

I work for a global organisation called Turner & Townsend with offices across the UK including Teesside.

I work with a great Manager and we work within Turner & Townsend's Government Department providing insights and intelligence.

We are currently working on the UK2070 Commission which is a is an independent inquiry into city and regional inequalities in the UK.

Specially, I am working with the Teesside University on the UK2070 Teesside Taskforce Stakeholder Focus Group, which is capturing young and different voices to enrich the 'Calls for Evidence' into the UK2070 Teesside Task Force's Report.

I have 2 children and 3 step-daughters that keep me on my toes. I also support my Dad's local prostate cancer charity, that we are both very passionate about.

International Women's Day

Emily Knott

HR Advisor for HR Alchemy

Emily Knott

A Day in the Life of a Human Resources Advisor

My name is Emily and I am an HR Advisor for HR Alchemy, based in Middlesbrough. HR Alchemy provides outsourced HR services to SMEs across the North East of England.

Our clients are from a variety of sectors, ranging from digital and creative companies, manufacturing and engineering, to education (schools/academies). As you can imagine, no day is the same and I find my job exciting, challenging and rewarding; it has become an integral part of my identity.

I left Nunthorpe School in 2012 and completed my A-Levels at Nunthorpe Sixth Form. I then secured a place at the University of Leeds in 2014, studying English Language. I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue at University, but I knew that it was important to enjoy whatever it was I ended up doing!

In my final year at University, I began using my (very long) University breaks to gain experience and it was Human Resources that intrigued me. I was eager to pursue HR, due to the wide scope of roles and responsibilities; and I enrolled for my Master's Degree in Human Resource Management back home at Teesside University. I graduated in 2018, with a Distinction and won student of the year in my cohort. Whilst studying for my Master's, I also worked part-time as an HR Administrator, in order to build my CV and acquire an insight into the day-to-day runnings of an HR department.

After graduating, I was fortunate enough to secure my role as an HR Graduate at HR Alchemy. Here, I have been mentored first-hand by the Managing Director of the company, who has over 25 years HR experience. After a year in this role, I progressed into my HR Advisor role, which has allowed me to build upon these skills and begin to further develop my proficiency in responding to HR related queries and advising clients on HR policies and procedures. As a result of the close mentorship I have received, I've gained vast experience in a short time and I will be forever grateful.

An average day might include: close mentorship in complex HR procedures; managing case work; responding to client queries via phone/email; overseeing grievance and disciplinary procedures; investigating and attending employee disciplinaries/absence meetings; working on HR policies and procedures; sending HR related newsletters to clients, or posting on social media.

I am now 25 year old and if you had told me at graduation where I would be today, I don't think I would have quite believed you!

I think it is imperative to pursue what is important to you, follow your intuition, be brave and enjoy the journey. For me, working as part of such an amazing supportive team, is what makes every day enjoyable and responding to client needs, is what makes every day fulfilling. I am looking forward pursuing my career in Human resources, and it is exciting to see what life brings.

International Women's Day

Jacqui Donnelly

Managing Director, Achieving Change Ltd

Jacqui Donnelly

I created my own business, Achieving Change Ltd, in 2018 after a successful career as an HR Director for over 25 years with GSK where I got to support teams all over the globe.

Achieving Change is all about supporting Businesses, Teams and Individuals to achieve the change they are looking for.

What does success mean to me?

Seeing someone else grow and reach a new level of personal ambition is something that gives me a huge buzz. I love the work that I do in supporting people, to be the best that they can be!

What challenges have I overcome?

I grew up on a council estate in Scotland during the big recession in the 1980's when unemployment was a staggering 12%. Not only was money tight, it just wasn't the norm to go to University and study. To add to this, I am a practical learner, so how could I get the skills and qualifications that would give me the best chance of getting a job and starting a career? I decided to study a practical degree that included a year in industry while living at home, and it was this practical approach that got me my first job! I stood out from the rest of the crowd of graduates by having real life work experience of HR in a company.

My biggest promotion was when I was 29 and became the HR Manager for one of GSKs sites in Scotland with over 1,000 staff. I was young, and a female, in my first big role (all of the other managers were men and in their 40-50's). It was terrifying! There were significant deliverables, and I knew that I had to work hard (and smart) and learn as quickly as possible.

Who has helped me along the way?

My boss when I got my big promotion was fantastic! I have also had both formal and informal mentors throughout my career who have supported me. Any team I have been involved in I always see as an opportunity to learn from. Finally, my parents and in particular my Dad.

My advice?

The only person that will stop you is... yourself. Work hard and persevere because if at first you don't succeed, learn. Nothing is 'impossible', change your thinking to 'I'm possible!'

International Women's Day

Jiaqi Zhou

Marketing Officer, Teesside University China Office

Jiaqi Zhou

Speaking of success, my idea about it at a very early age always had been quite big and measurable, such as making beautiful figures salaries or having an enviable job. The reason I thought in this way was because that in most cases people who achieved these things are considered quite successful. However, the sense of accomplishment on these cannot last long as there will always be someone making more money or getting a better job. And it is more like I was trying to make other people think I'm successful by meeting all these measurable standers.

Gradually, I start to understand it's vital to really know myself. And to keep my own pace is a good way to cope with all these anxieties. I used to be afraid to talk in front of strangers due to low self-esteem but I never give up trying to step out of my comfort zone. And now I'm able to organise a conference for hundreds of people and speak up without any shaking. These qualities I got from all my effort and experience bring a lasting sense of achievement and will stay with me for life, which led me to become a confident and independent woman. Moreover, it's important to never forget the qualities born with you. My inferiority made me a good listener, but when I become more confident I never forget to listen first.

Hope you can learn how to cope with the world's toughness but never lose your innate tenderness. Know yourself, keep yourself, love yourself and then never stop making a breakthrough. I believe you will taste the real taste of success.

International Women's Day

Padmini Parameswaran

Teesside University Regional Director - South Asia

Padmini Parameswaran

I am Padmini Parameswaran, Regional Director-South Asia and I think the biggest challenge I faced was when I started my career in the mid-eighties. Those were the times when girls got married early and I did too. By the time I was 21 I was a mother. I had a Bachelor's Degree as a qualification but I wanted to study more and have a perfect career so I added on four other degrees to my portfolio while looking after my home and family. I started teaching at the school level and although I really enjoyed my profession I wanted to get into other challenging areas after a few years. This is when I started my journey with 'Education UK'. I am indebted to my Mentor, Major Maroof Raza, who is a well-known name in the world of Media and Television, for introducing me to 'Education UK'. He gave me my first break to work as an Admissions Manager at a UK university's Regional Office and trained me to learn and improve several skills on the job. I joined the industry when I was still in my early thirties when I embarked on this totally different but exciting career but in four years' time I was happy to break yet another glass-ceiling - I became the second woman to head the Regional Office of a British university in India. This was considered as a predominantly male bastion although things are different today.

My inspirational message: perseverance and determination can help you achieve your goals.

International Women's Day

Sharon Thomas

Director of Strategic Partnerships, Thirteen

Sharon Thomas

Success to me is the good feeling I get when I have reached my potential and achieved the goals I set for myself. As a mother, it also means knowing that I am a positive role model for my daughters and that their aspirations and self belief is set high.

The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is self doubt! Neil Schneider, former Chief Executive of Stockton Council helped me as he was the first person who told me I could go far in my career which came as a big surprise at the time but gave me the confidence to apply for promotions.

A day in the life of my job always starts with a cup of tea and quick email catch up watching the morning news. At the moment I having lots of Microsoft Teams meetings which can be anything from a catch up with the managers in my team, a partnership meeting with a local authority to identify new opportunities or a meeting about Covid to ensure the company is responding to the everchanging situation.

My message is...'Be ambitious and if you think you're not good enough for something or other people are better than you, put those thoughts to the back of your mind and just go for it!'

International Women's Day

Chloé Clover

Creative Director, Wander Films

Chloé Clover

How weird is success? It is proper hard to define! It definitely changes as time goes on and can be measured in so many different ways. At this point in my life, success is doing the thing that I love every single day! My biggest challenge on this journey has been my confidence and it took a really long time to feel comfortable on camera or when public speaking. I still get nervous today but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone allows you to grow. So many people have helped me and my business partner (Lou) along the way. There are too many mentors to mention and that is why it's important for us to help the next generation.

My message to the younger generation:
Dream big and work your butts off to get there. There are no limits to what you can achieve!! You got this!!

International Women's Day

Lou Wright

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner and LGBT Ally, Durham Pride

Lou Wright

What does success mean to you?

Creating a feeling of Inclusivity and belonging to society.

What challenges to you foresee and how will you overcome them in the short or long term?

Being able to influence change remotely is difficult although very much needed right now for those groups who need support or who are marginalised. I will continue working with communities who need allies and will think outside of the box to achieve success virtually or otherwise!

International Women's Day

PC Jessica Metcalf

Firearms and roads policing officer, Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit

PC Jessica Metcalf

Jess is a firearms and roads policing officer working within Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU). After completing her A-levels, at the age of 19, Jess started her career with Cumbria Police as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). During this time, she also worked as a retained firefighter in her home county of Lancashire before becoming a police constable within Durham when she was 23 years old.

Initially working on the response teams within Durham, Jess also trained in public order before achieving her goal and joining CDSOU five years ago. As a firearms officer, Jess is involved in some of the most high-pressured incidents dealt with by Durham Constabulary. Jess further specialised as a tactical rifle officer and is trained as a trauma medic. This highly specialised role requires her to undergo regular intensive training and pass an enhanced fitness test.

PC Jessica Metcalf

Being dual role, when not dealing with firearms incidents Jess patrols County Durham's roads and is an advanced driver trained in tactical pursuit and containment. Jess prevents and detects crime on the roads and supports national initiatives to make the roads safer for all. In addition to her daily tasks, she is a trained family liaison officer; supporting families who have lost loved ones in fatal road traffic collisions.

At 31 years old, Jess is currently studying for a degree in Business Leadership and Management Practice and upon completion is hoping to go for promotion and apply her learning within her workplace.

'Take yourself out of your comfort zone. If you challenge yourself and believe in yourself, anything is possible.'

International Women's Day

Zisong Gao

Teesside University China Office

Zisong Gao

Before talking about what success means to me, I think how to define success is more important to me. Success, of course, is well known to be a celebrity, earn a lot of money and have the so-called senior social status. For me, success is loving myself, enjoying my life and trying to help others. Such success can make my heart full of strength. I think the biggest challenge I've overcome in growing up is that I've never been determined by my age. In the environment where I grew up, people usually thought that you should do what kind of things at what age, otherwise it would be discussed by everyone. I chose to go to Teesside University to study when others thought it was time to get married and have children. As a result, I got a very favourite job and a very loving team. I am now working in Teesside University's China office. It was my parents who encouraged me and supported me in the process. Whenever I'm confused, they always tell me to do what you really want to do. You don't have to be what others think you should be. You are yourself. I'm very grateful for that.

Now I have a very busy working day. At the beginning of this season, we have to prepare for the admission of students in autumn. Fortunately, our whole team supports each other.

If there is anything to share, I would like to tell all the girls that you are the best of yourself. Love yourself every moment. Thank you.

International Women's Day

Richard Horniman

Director of Regeneration and Culture, Middlesbrough Council

Richard Horniman

I think women face many barriers in the workplace, with some of them more obvious than others.

It's relatively easy to see the harm done by the traditional situation of 'women of child bearing age' being overlooked during recruitment processes, and perceptions around career breaks constraining the number of female leaders and role models, but some of the more recent examples will impact just as much.

The examples in lockdown of many women having to disproportionately juggle work, home schooling and care giving for example have exacerbated how underlying barriers can quickly escalate, if we don't change how organisations view issues like 'presenteeism', 'core hours' and managing by output rather than outcomes. Covid has shone a spotlight on a lot of these issues, and it is incumbent upon us all to do something about it.

International Women's Day

Martin Walker

Director, Resolution Media & Publishing: and owner, Tees Business magazine

Martin Walker

The biggest challenge women and girls face from the very outset of being born is the preconception that they're inferior to boys.

However, in this context and in relation to what I do, in business women generally just get on with their job and tend not to boast about their promotions, successes etc as much as men do.

And, in general, more male business owners employ PR agencies than female business owners do, to promote themselves in the media. At Tees Business, we've tried to highlight women more - through our magazine, but more notably with the Tees Businesswomen Awards. It has taken some time to persuade some ladies in business to take time out and acknowledge - to themselves initially but then to the wider world - their own achievements

For me this has raised the biggest question of all - why do women in general prefer not to talk themselves up, as much as most men do? Is it lack of confidence? Is it just modesty?

It's absolutely crucial that we support this whole agenda - not just through our awards but in other ways - because as a region we'll always under-achieve if some of our girls, for whatever reason, don't have the confidence to aspire to be successful in business or in their careers. Our ultimate aim is that, eventually, there is no need for the Tees Businesswomen Awards. We'd certainly miss them - but it would mean 'job done'.

International Women's Day

Holly Gibson

Business Support Coordinator and HR, The Link

Holly Gibson

My name is Holly and I am a Business Support Coordinator/ HR at The Link, a locally based professional mental health and emotional well-being provider.

In 2012, I enrolled to study an Undergraduate Law Degree at Teesside University, as this point I did not know what career I wanted to pursue and simply enrolled to gain a degree in a topic that has always interested me and I knew this was a stepping stone to a future career. In my final year, I started working part-time at The Link in an administration role and I was lucky enough to gain a full-time position once my undergrad degree was completed.

I continued to work full time but I knew I wanted to push myself further and progress in my career and started researching management qualifications; this led me to the part-time Master's Degree in Human Resource Management at Teesside University (allowing me to study alongside my role). I enrolled on the course in 2018 which coincided with me being promoted to Business Support Coordinator. I graduated in 2020 with a Distinction and was awarded the CIPD Tees Valley student of the year award (which was a surprise but an honour!)

A typical day in the role of Business Support Coordinator/ HR involves working within The Links business unit, providing ongoing support to the CEO and strategic management team. This includes maintaining finance systems and financial forecasts and also maintaining and developing the company's current HR functions and coordinating all HR activity.

Success is something that you have to define for yourself and for me it's being in a role where I continuously learn and develop within an organisation that makes a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in our area!

International Women's Day

Michelle McPhee

Town Centre Manager, Middlesbrough Council

Michelle McPhee

'Success' can be defined and measured in so many ways! I think the most important thing anyone can do is to think about what it means to them. For me, it's about having a job that I'm passionate about, feeling like I'm making a difference and being a positive role model to my two daughters.

I've definitely come across some challenges in my career. When I was an apprentice someone in a senior position told me that a local authority wasn't really a place for a 'young girl' and suggested I pursued a career as a hairdresser instead (this was only in 2000!). I couldn't believe someone in a senior position had that view. If anything, it made me more determined to pursue a career in local government.

Someone even suggested I try to change my Middlesbrough accent to progress my career. Being proud of who I am - a woman, born and bred in Middlesbrough - has definitely given me a level of determination to pursue my goals and tell the difference between constructive and unhelpful feedback.

I'm lucky to have had a lot of support over the years. My twin sister has always been my go-to person for advice and guidance, and my parents gave me the space to choose my own career path (e.g. taking an apprenticeship rather than sixth form and university).

Sally Orlopp no longer works for Middlesbrough Council, but she was the first manager I had that actually asked what I wanted in terms of a career and put steps in place to support me as well as giving me opportunities. I owe a lot to her for having faith in me and for her encouragement.

In the last 10 years, my eldest daughter Isla has been my biggest motivation and my reason 'why'. When things have been difficult and I've faced tough times, I remind myself why I am doing what I do. It's not only to support my family but so Isla can look up to me and know that being a woman shouldn't make any difference – you can be what you want to be.

International Women's Day

Women of India

In 2019, a group of Teesside University media students visited India, as part of a student mobility visit. Catherine Roys, Teesside University Film & TV student, made the following film during the visit, reflecting on her encounters with the women she met during the trip, who challenged her preconceptions and made a profound impression on her.

The women featured in the film all belong to groups who have mobilised to empower themselves and others, challenge the gender norms, and inspire women in their communities to achieve independence, ambition, happiness and progression.

Meet a Women's Co-operative, Lijjat Papad, in Pune, the Association of Women Bikers and a Women's Vocational Training group in Kalupur.

International Women's Day