International Women’s Day – the champions a little closer to home

Louise Attenborough, Chocolate Collective

International Women’s Day is a global day campaigning for a more gender-balanced world. It’s a time to celebrate the achievements of women. But, not only the ones we read about in magazines, hear about in the news, or watch on TV. More often it is those champions a little closer to home that really impact our work and personal lives. So, we wanted to take this opportunity to sing the praises of some of these amazing, inspiring women. Obviously, when it came to writing this blog, we realised how lucky we are to have so many amazing female role models - it was almost impossible to decide who to include, but these women have shaped different parts of our lives and each has inspired us in a different way.

So, in no particular order 😉…

Jo Hawkins – owner of Executive VPA. Jo is an experienced VA who has been a big supporter of Queen Bee from the very beginning. She is open, honest and always willing to share her expertise to help others prosper. From the minute we established the hive, Jo made herself available to us for coffee and advice and has been a sounding board ever since. She runs the annual North West VA Conference which is packed full of inspirational business advice and speakers to help VAs build and grow their business.  Jo is all about empowering other women to believe in themselves and their ability!

The Board of the Manchester PA Network.  Ok, so this is a group of ladies – but they are a powerhouse for good! Amanda Hargreaves, Holly Moore and Melanie Sheehy have grown the Manchester PA Network into an incredible organisation, helping PAs, EAs and VAs to develop meaningful long-term professional relationships and friendships. But even more than this incredible feat, is their charitable work for The Christie. With the help the Network, they have raised enormous amounts of money by abseiling, running and climbing their way to achieving their goal of £200,000 by 2020. They inspired us to climb Snowden to fundraise for goodness sake!

The O’Brien sisters – Claire and Tina are the opera singing duo behind the successful children’s choir Little Belters. Whilst we’d love to have their talent for music, it’s actually their unwavering and infectious zest for life that we can’t get enough of. Despite facing some real challenges, their boundless positivity, energy and ability to crack us up, makes them two of the most inspirational women we know. If we could syphon off some of this O’Brien spirit we’d be millionaires…

Helen Bryce. Helen is the founder of The Guilty Mothers Club which is all about supporting and inspiring women to fulfil their potential and ditch the guilt through events, workshops and an amazingly supportive female community.  We had the pleasure of attending one of Helen’s workshops and, being working mums ourselves, her say-it-as-it-is mentality was totally refreshing. No front, no BS, just the reality of embracing motherhood without being held back professionally. She’s also our Instagram crush @guiltymothersclub.

Our mums – we couldn’t write this blog without them…literally! Having practically grown up in each other’s houses since the age of 9, we’ve had the honour of being close to each other’s mums. Fortunately for us, they’ve always echoed the same words of wisdom and told us that with hard work, we could be anything we wanted to be. Never did we feel limited by our gender – during our childhood sleep-overs when we’d talk about what we’d be when we grow up – the sky really was the limit. Of course, we never really appreciated how lucky we were until we had children of our own to nurture. Now, with 3 young boys between us to raise, we’re proud to be running our own business and setting a positive example, because better the balance, better the world #betterforbalance.


Jane and Helen x