Women In Lincolnshire Businesses – Why It Matters?

Jodie King

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We love Lincolnshire, we love the culture, the food, the people and the heritage, just to name a few. We love it so much we want to shout about it. We are proud to be one of the many businesses that are thriving within the county. The growth of the digital economy has correlated with the growth of the University of Lincoln, the sheer number of opportunities and the growth of our self-sufficient culture. We love it so much we have created an eBook all about Lincolnshire, the women in Lincolnshire businesses, the men, the heritage, the culture and the innovation.

You can download your free eBook & infographic by clicking here!

lincolnshire local love, local level marketing
Men and women are building businesses in some of the unique fields that the large county of Lincolnshire would have previously never dreamt of. As a result, the county has been responsible for creating some innovative and inspiring businesses. The inspiration from these larger firms has passed down from generation to generation which has seen the development of new businesses continuing to grow.

Women In Lincolnshire Businesses

As a result of this we wanted to speak with women in Lincolnshire businesses, both those who have worked their way to the top and those who have decided to take the risk and be their own boss.
We were fortunate enough to speak with some of the most inspiring women in the county and as a result, we are going to share with you their thoughts on business in Lincolnshire, some of their quirkier answers, as well as their advice for the next generation of women in Lincolnshire businesses. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

We first asked women to describe their best and worst decision, our favourite came from Miia Wren, MD of Emporium Cookshop, which is an eCommerce store that hand-pick the very best homeware products and gifts for you to use, enjoy and share. Providing a treasure trove of everyday and unique kitchenware. She said;

“In retrospect I’ve only made good decisions! There is always something to learn from bad decisions which then in the end turn them to be, if not good, at least ok’ish.”

We also spoke with Kate Strawson, who back in 2006, set up Shooting Star PR with fellow director, Jez Ashberry. As a PR, Marketing & Digital agency they pride themselves on the fact that they help businesses stand out by delivering “sparkling campaigns”. Kate said that her best and worst decision both came from setting up her agency with Jez.

“Best decision was to set up the business. Worst decision was not doing it sooner!”

These snippets from the interview solidify the importance of going for it, whether that be setting up a business, whether that be pushing you in your private life or even simply taking on a new challenge. Do it now, and if it goes wrong, take Miia’s advice and learn from it, don’t consider it to be a bad decision, at worst it is an ok’ish decision.

What was your dream job as a child?

To follow the seriousness of some tough decisions we thought we would lighten the mood to find out what our women had hoped to be, we were anticipating lots of variety as for those women in Lincolnshire who had been brought up here would be more familiar with the availability of agriculture, beaches and of course the obvious pop-stardom.
business women in lincolnshire - alison mitchell
A couple of our favourite answers included Alison Mitchell, Senior Marketing Manager for Wilkin Chapman, one of the largest law firms in Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire who has been recognised as experts in “Agriculture & Rural Affairs”. Who said that she,

“…wanted to be a chef and run a hotel. My Dad was a chef in the Navy and I loved cooking when I was younger. My Dad however talked me out of it advising me that it was extremely long hours and low pay. I still love cooking but now do it for the love of it, and to ensure my husband does not starve.”

This encourages the mentality that not all jobs would be perfect for you, and for those that can be continued as a hobby, such as cooking, it is good to continue being passionate outside of work.
business women in lincolnshire - susan ritchie
Susan Ritchie, who after moving overseas as a single mum, picked Lincolnshire out of all the counties in the UK as her new home, set up her own Leadership Development business continues to find her dream job to still be relevant in another way.

“I wanted to perform – acting and singing took up a lot of my thoughts when I was young, and in my mid-20s I did a lot of Ammatuer Dramatics. I spent 20 years as a teacher, which in itself is a form of performing.”

Not only has she continued to use elements of her dream job to help her probably keep calm in tough situations but also to deal with difficult teaching situations with composure, thanks to her experience with performing.

Both Susan and Alison have the mentality that just because it may have been a dream job, does not mean that it must be forgotten about and only dreamt of, instead, it can be implemented in your day-to-day lives. Whether that be with spending an extra hour in the kitchen trying a new recipe or trying to make something specific sound slightly more engaging as a result of dramatising a situation.

What do you think is the most significant barrier for females in senior roles in Lincolnshire?

A slightly harder hitting question for women in Lincolnshire, however having worked their way up in businesses in the county or had the courage to set up their own business, the answers were thought-provoking.
One of our favourite answers comes from Alison Mitchell from Wilkin Chapman;

“Personally, I think the only barrier to success is yourself. If you have vision, passion and commitment, why should there be any barriers. I have worked hard to prove myself throughout my career. I am passionate about what I do and throw myself into any job with full commitment. You just need to believe in your own abilities, never stop learning and embrace challenges in your life.”

Kate Strawson adds to this that although you are responsible for your own destiny, there are often external inputs,

“Being taken seriously as there are not many women in senior positions in businesses in the county.”

Coupling these two together can help women to re-evaluate their goals and passions in order to create a game plan to find a career that is suited to your personality traits, give your job 100% commitment and create an air of importance in order to be taken seriously as a woman in a senior role in the second largest county.

What woman inspires you & why?

Everyone has a role model and often you don’t realise that you are one. Some of the top women in Lincolnshire have their own inspirational women, and it is important to consider that you never know who is watching and who you are inspiring.

There was a common theme with the answers to this question which is very heartwarming.

Alison from Wilkin Chapman again gave us a lovely answer that inspiration can come from anywhere, not one single person or thing.

“I do not really have one woman that inspires me. I find lots of people inspirational for different reasons. My Mum inspires me, my friends inspire me, work colleagues inspire me for many different reasons. I met a lady a number of years ago locally, who devotes her life to her family and to fundraising for terminally ill children. She inspires me and reminds me that life should be appreciated, embraced, and not taken for granted.”

Alison Hall, Centre Manager from Marshall’s Yard, who works to make Marshall’s Yard an attractive place for people to visit, through events, marketing, customer service and more, who agrees that mum’s offer a fantastic inspirational muse.

“There are lots, I admire people that balance family life with work. I have friends that have very demanding jobs and still balance that with family life, I admire that. If I were to pick one person it would be my mum, she has always worked, she came out of school with not many qualifications but then whilst we were children she retrained in nursing and counselling, so she built her career up whilst we were at school. Generally, a lot of women really have to graft, it’s not only going to work everyday but we have to work harder to prove ourselves sometimes. And then balance that with everything we feel we should do at home.”

We would like you to consider that the next time you are at an event, seeing family or friends that inspiration is found in the strangest shapes, sizes and places and that you never know who may be watching you and may be inspired by you.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

This question really solidified the answers from previous questions that it is incredibly important to be yourself, stick to your passions, vices and be confident in your decisions, a particularly relevant message for women in Lincolnshire.
Alison Hall from Marshall’s Yard says

“It would be go out and get as much experience as possible, not only is it experience, it is contacts. You can’t underestimate that, the reason I got this job is because somebody recommended me from an old job. Be nice to everybody, niceness gets you so far, it makes you memorable for the right reasons, people want to help nice people. Get the experience, just be nice to everybody and helpful, I do believe things come back like that to help you. And do it to the best of your ability.”

When it comes to standing out in the workplace, Susan Ritchie believes that it is important to find someone who is able to support you through the journey that you are taking.

“Find a mentor and/or sponsor. Think about where you would like your career to go and search out people who can help you. Be visible – find your voice and don’t let anyone else attempt to quieten you. Speak up and support each other at work. Be confident in who you are. Don’t be afraid to change tack and make changes to get to where you want to be. There’s a big world out there – if you’re not getting what you want where you are, go out there and explore other options. Travel – save up and take a month/two months/a year off and experience life beyond your immediate world. It’ll widen your horizons and change your perspective.”

Being confident in who you are and deciding what it is that you want from your career and if things aren’t working out change your route. As she learnt when she moved overseas, there is a big world out there, just because one idea has fallen through doesn’t mean that all your ideas will.
business women in lincolnshire - nicola radford
Nicola Radford, Senior Commissioning Officer at LCC, reiterates the message throughout the interviews,

“Be yourself, be true to yourself and morals. Have confidence in your decisions and opinions, you are as equal as everyone else and have the right to be heard and to succeed – never let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Similar to Alison Hall’s advice, Kate Strawson expresses that you should always be respectful to others as you never know who you might need and this is an increasingly important message for women in Lincolnshire, as it is a very close-knit community and it is important to work together rather than against each other.

“Be ambitious but be kind and respectful to others as you never know when you may need their help or meet them again in the future. Don’t automatically assume stereotypical ‘female’ roles such as making drinks for guests or serving the refreshments in meetings (unless this is specifically your responsibility of course!). Have the confidence to speak up – your views count as much as anyone else’s.”

Believe in yourself, put yourself out there and remember that you have just as much right as anyone else to be where you are, to speak up and to make a difference.

What is it about Lincolnshire that made you decide to set up your business here?

Lincolnshire is quite an undiscovered county, as it offers the same big business opportunities as some of the larger counties and cities but with a better quality of life. It has such an array of locations, including the beaches, the city, the towns and the beautiful countryside that it offers the perfect location for businesses. Our women in Lincolnshire of course agree.
Alison from Marshall’s Yard loves it more than the Lakes,

“I like Lincolnshire more than the Lakes, it is amazing because it has got enough that you have a decent lifestyle here, there’s a good standard of living, you have got so many good points, the schools are great, an easy journey to work, everyone is so friendly. It is an easy place, even buying a house here was easily.”

Susan Ritchie moved to a brand new county to set up a home for herself and her son and it gave her the perfect support network and opportunities that were not available elsewhere.

“We decided to move here in 2010 and at that time, I knew I wanted to change direction, so the two went hand in hand. It’s been a great county to start a business in – lots of networking and support.”

Not everyone comes to Lincolnshire as a result of a well-thought-out plan, but it has a magical way of putting a spell on you to want to stay here for much longer than intended, as Nicola Radford, from LCC, learnt.

“I “married” into Lincolnshire but the environment and opportunities around culture, heritage, education and opportunities have made me stay.”

Our final question was the reason for the creation of this fantastic eBook, Infographic and selection of blogs, we asked both women in Lincolnshire and the men.

What do you love MOST about Lincolnshire?

The array of answers really solidifies how much of a majestic county it is that we live in as almost all of the answers depicted a different thing, from the countryside to the beaches, to the city-life that has been revitalised as a result of the University. Here are what the women in Lincolnshire thought.
Answers included Kate Strawson from Shooting Star with

“The beautiful countryside.”

Nicola Radford from LCC,

“The big skies, the beautiful coast and the rolling Wolds.”

Susan Ritchie,

“We love living in the city – there’s so much to do here. You can be out in the countryside in about 15 minutes, which is fabulous.”

Alison from Marshall’s Yard, surprisingly even spending every day there, chose Marshall’s Yard and as a Gainsborough based business, if you haven’t been already, we recommend you come down.

“Marshall’s Yard, I do think it is a little oasis, there is no-where else in Lincolnshire that is as pretty and nice to shop around. I came round the other day when I was off and it was sunny and it was lovely.”

Miia Wren from Emporium Cookshop has seen a new side of Lincolnshire as a result of her kids,

“The beaches are fantastic! recently got myself a wetsuit so now I can join in the fun with my kids.”

And Alison Mitchell from Wilkin Chapman summarises this wonderful county better than we could put it ourselves.

“Lincolnshire has everything, beautiful countryside, amazing coastlines, quaint market towns, flat open landscapes ideal for exploring and the most friendly and warm people. We are a county full of open arms, warm and generosity. You just need to walk around with your eyes open to see it and appreciate it.”

We are so proud of the women in Lincolnshire businesses, we are also thrilled to be part of such a bustling and thriving county. We look forward to working with these businesses and businesses like yourself to see Lincolnshire to continue to grow.

So, what is it that you love the most about Lincolnshire? Connect with us on social media and let us know.

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