The stories real FEMALE LEADERS want to share with you

Discover what they wish they’d known earlier.

In this new editorial series, leading women will tell you the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

These interviews aim to lift the reader. We want to support women to make or be the change they want.

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The Biskery co-founders Lisa Shepherd and Saskia Roskam

The Biskery's unique blend of kindness for a successful business―meet co-founders Lisa Shepherd and Saskia Roskam

When Lisa Shepherd and Saskia Roskam created The Biskery, they were young mothers. They loved work but were frustrated by how inflexible it was. They set out to create fulfilling and productive lives that worked for them and their families. Now, they’re committed to paying their success forward. We talk about cycle tracking, digital marketing and happiness as a business strategy.

Read Saskia and Lisa’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

The Biskery logo
FEMALE LEADERS interviewee and Post Carbon Lab co-founder, Dian-Jen Lin.

Design activism and sustainable fashion with Post Carbon Lab co-founder, Dian-Jen Lin

Dian-Jen’s career in fashion took her from Taiwan to New York. But it was here, in the UK, that she found a passion for sustainable design. Now, she creates zero-waste microbial textile treatments that use photosynthesis to remove carbon dioxide from the air. We talk about leadership in sustainability, design activism and navigating a career in science when you’re not a scientist.

Read Dian-Jen’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

October 2023

Sex Bomb author, Sadia Azmat, tells us how to work an audience like a stand-up

Sadia is a comedian who loves sex. She’s also a hijab-wearing Muslim woman. Her book Sex Bomb: The Life and Loves of an Asian Babe is an unflinchingly honest memoir. In it Sadia shares her life as she learns to embrace her sexuality and be a proud British-Indian Muslim. We talk about mentoring, writing a book and reading the room.

Read Sadia’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

September 2023

Pink and purple cover of Sadia Azmat's book, Sex Bomb.

Staying relevant and authentic with Hannah Whittaker, Marketing Director at Faith In Nature

Questioning the status quo and taking on a challenge is in her DNA. She’s worked with many beauty brands – even relocating to Paris for L’Oréal. Now, she’s leading conversations on sustainability here in Greater Manchester at Faith In Nature – where they’ve given nature a seat on the board. We talk about vulnerability, staying relevant and the importance of authentic marketing.

Read Hannah’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

July 2023

Faith in Nature logo

A multi-award winner before she's 30, Lauren Rosegreen found the power of being herself

When Lauren moved to Manchester it changed her life.  Seeing the impact of homelessness, she realised her law degree wasn’t the career path she wanted. We talk about prioritising wellbeing, life as a multipotentialite and being who you want to be.

Read Lauren’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

June 2023

Manchester's local voluntary and community sector support organisation logo

How Advita Patel found her confidence and became a comms rebel

She left her corporate career to set up her own business helping other comms rebels. She’s a community builder, international speaker and a newly published author. We talk about overcoming limiting beliefs, the vulnerability of writing a book and the privilege of speaking out.

Read Advita’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

May 2023

Comms Rebel logo

How Elaine Griffiths OBE, CEO of The Monastery, found her calling

She believes in miracles and it’s easy to see why. With no experience in heritage or fundraising, she saved a ruinous architectural gem – raising millions for its restoration and supporting local charities. We talk about synchronicity, leaps of faith, and long-time supporter, Terry Waite CBE.

Read Elaine’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

April 2023

The Monastery Manchester logo

Leading equality and diversity in the creative industries with Remi Harris MBE

She’s a creative problem-solver focused on fun and making a difference. We talk about overcoming resistance and leading equality and diversity in the music industry. And her transformational leadership programme for women.

Read Remi’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

March 2023

Remi Harris Consulting logo

How Olympian, Abigail Irozuru, chose to break bias and build her resilience

She’s an athlete, businessowner and transformation creator. Her Olympic journey is a story of success and setbacks – she likes to keep it real. We talk about the strength of kindness, how to grow confidence and push through barriers.

Read Abigail’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

February 2023

Team GB logo with lion's head and 5 Olympian rings

Becoming a CEO and being brave―meet Ally Dowsing-Reynolds CEO of Dowsing & Reynolds

She’s a self-confessed learning addict and oversharer. And her journey to CEO is perfect to start a series on female leadership. We talk about becoming a CEO, being brave and deciding how to be her own best boss.

Read Ally’s FEMALE LEADERS interview

January 2023

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Female Leaders testimonial: 'Oh I can't wait to hit the link, read and share. Thanks for the feature, Caroline! Looking forward to reading future posts from other female leaders too.'
Female leaders testimonial, 'Thanks Caroline - really thought-provoking questions!'
Female Leaders testimonial: 'Caroline Paige PhD what a beautifully rich and inspirational article sharing the meaningful words and work of Elaine Griffiths OBE. Thank you. I now have a trip to The Monastery Manchester on my inspired to-do list!

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Why do I write about female leadership?

I wanted to write a regular editorial-style feature. I asked female friends, clients and colleagues what makes a good read. They wanted to know more about successful women in leadership roles.

I decided to explore the real challenges faced by female leaders – and how they overcome them. It’s their story and their take on what really matters.

These interviews and write-ups are now my favourite part of my work. The feedback reaffirms my belief that they’re an important conversation to have. And the more I learn about female leadership the more I want to share these stories.

There’s a huge amount of research confirming the many benefits of closing the gap in gender diversity in leadership roles. But the gap remains. This is partly because perceptions haven’t changed much about what a leader is. The data shows there’s no lack of skills or ability for women. The key differences relate to confidence and opportunity.

I meet many women – already leading in their fields – who identify with this statement. Many feel they had to leave employment and set up their own businesses to achieve the work culture and recognition they want and need. And they often still feel they need to work on their identity as a leader.

Women want to know more about other female leaders and the real stories of their leadership journeys. This series aims to make that a little easier.