Talking Point

Spring Forward: The road to success…is a bumpy one?

Spring Forward will be held in Bristol on May 24th and one of our two panels is about the road to success.  How have the issues of culture, confidence and choice affected four women’s journeys to the top of their professions.

You can book here.

I’m so looking forward to chairing the panel, made up of a diverse range of women from all over the UK who are working at the top of their profession, be that in planning, engineering, charities or public relations.  I firmly believe that there is no one route to success and no one blueprint; these four women have all had a very interesting and at times, challenging journey with plenty of twists and turns.  It promises to be an inspiring discussion.

Here’s a bit more about each of them:

Sarah Wait, Kantar Media.  Sarah and I met so long ago, neither of us can quite remember when.  She was the brains behind a fantastic forward planning service, which she set up in 1998 with her husband.  Sarah has worked with media and communications all her career. Diagnosed with dyslexia at 14 she chose to use this learning disability to empower her, refusing to be written off.  The global forward planning service now services over 500 newsrooms globally and numerous PR and communications teams in the UK and US and is now part of Kantar Media. Sarah is Middle Warden of the Company of PR working to take it to full livery in the next two years.  She’s most proud of creating employment for 38 people many of whom still work with her today.

Trish Johnson, Clifton Suspension Bridge

Trish has a very important job in the life of the City of Bristol, as the Bridge Master for the Clifton Suspension Bridge.  Trish is a chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

She’s been involved in various aspects of engineering throughout her career, having worked in a consultancy practice managing a number of Highways and Transportation offices, promoted Civil Engineering as Regional Director for the ICE and maintained bridges as Head of Maintenance at the Severn River Crossing.

Eighteen months ago, she took up the enviable role of Bridge Master on the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This high profile role covers the major projects and maintenance of the bridge, the managing of the business including the visitor centre and the engagement with the public and Trustees.

She’s a keen advocate of engineering and sits on the University of the West of England Advisory Board for Civil Engineering, is an ICE mentor and is one of the judges for the ICE Civil Engineering Awards in the South West.

Lisa Ashton MBE, Winne Mabaso Foundation

Lisa and I used to work together at the BBC, I left in 2000 and Lisa left some years later.  Her she talks about how Confidence, Choice and Culture play directly in her journey with The Winnie Mabaso Foundation.  “The choice to leave a career in broadcasting to enter the charity world was a big step. I was in my late 40s and doubted my own ability to succeed. Running an organisation overseas has been challenging and the difference in cultures and customs has been vast. South Africa can be like being back in the 1950s in terms of the role of women in society. Confidence grows in tiny steps in the right direction ….”

Anne-Marie Lacey, Filament PR

Anne-Marie is my mentor and I am privileged to be her Non-Executive Director.  She worked in PR consultancies, since graduating and then launched her own business, Filament PR.

Specialising in the lifestyle, leisure and entertainment sectors, Anne-Marie works with clients across the UK and beyond, using data to enlighten strategies and bring bright ideas to life, all while delivering communications campaigns with creative spark.

Anne-Marie has won many awards including gold at both the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) North East and North West PRide Awards; in 2014, she won the prestigious title of ‘Outstanding Young Communicator’ at the CIPR North East PRide Awards and in June 2017 at the national CIPR’s Excellence Awards won the award nationally.  She’s Chair of the North East regional group, and completes annual CPD appraisals to retain her Chartered Practitioner status. She is also an Academic Tutor at the University of Sunderland, teaching on the post-graduate social media module, as well as a post-graduate Dissertation Supervisor at Newcastle University.

She’s also VERY young!

I hope to see many of you at the conference.

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