International Women’s day on 8th March is a chance to take stock, reflect and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
From a personal point of view, there have been many inspiring women that have shaped by life. I recall my wonderful secondary science teacher who fostered my questioning mind and a determination to never give up, even when challenged with losing experiments through faulty equipment. She instilled the confidence that it is okay to make a mistake or fail at something as long as we recognise that this does not mean the end of an ambition, goal or resolution; in fact it can help to make us stronger. And I continue to have the privilege to meet, work with and foster relationships with many inspirational women every day.
Many of the companies supported by Interface are led by inspiring women who believe in their ability and believe in those around them to achieve success. Fiona and Xi at Mara driven by their love of food and natural ingredients have developed their concept and taken it to market via many of the leading gourmet restaurants and retail markets. Their determination has spearheaded the next UK foodie wave - seaweed. You can read more about it here.
Or there is the “kitchen table” success story - led by Susan ‘Sooz’ Chirino, Sansooz is a fashion apparel company keen to help the fashion conscious become more safety conscious, without having to compromise on style.
I was particularly pleased that our the Building Skills through Knowledge Exchange Award at our recent celebration of business – academic partnerships was an inspiring young woman, Laura Kreiling, a KTP associate between University of Strathclyde and Alexander Dennis Ltd, the leading coach and bus manufacturer. Laura has been instrumental in leading a business change initiative in the company that involves company-wide buy in. The ongoing results from her KTP project has significantly improved competitiveness and contributed to sales growth and profitability.
Not everyone has the opportunity to scale to the top of Everest or even a Munro, or break new ground in their field of expertise, but behind every woman there is a story which can inspire all.