Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things on International Women’s Day…And Beyond

March 8th 2023

Each year we celebrate International Women’s Day in our own special way. The day was the idea of Clara Zetkin back in 1910 and was only recognised by the United Nations in 1975. Ever since, it has created a theme each year for the celebration. I like to think of it as a day that celebrates ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

 In the world of work, although over 70% of women aged 16–64 are employed, leaders of big companies are still more likely to be male.

There is one area where we see a shift in this and that’s the world of social enterprise:

  • 89% of social enterprise leadership teams have a female director
  • 41% of leaders are women significantly ahead of both mainstream SMEs (20%) and big business (7% of FTSE 100)

These are interesting statistics but the stories are much more engaging. I have been lucky to interview two such entrepreneurs and I invite you to listen again to those interviews. To call them amazing is too cliched. They are passionate, powerful and personable and you must meet them.

My first guest was serial social entrepreneur, Karen Lynch. I met Karen many years ago when she was invited to rescue Belu Water which was in debt and its future was looking unsustainable. She stayed, turned it round and left it in a good place and able to meet her £1m donation to Water Aid. Karen has now started building a portfolio career but the journey from CEO is not uncomplicated. It requires traversing many work based, personal and menopause-related obstacles. She is frank on all these! She is now Chair at One Plate One Price (OPOP), Vice Chair at Social Enterprise UK, CEO and Business Coach with Expert Impact and a Non- Exec at Homes for Good.

My other guest was Jenny Holloway who founded Fashion Enter. Here, Jenny tells her story

… I started Fashion Enter because an unscrupulous third party basically forced me to put my ten-year-old design company into liquidation. I was heartbroken at the time and the only way I was able to get over the shock of being so trusting and basically so stupid was to think that I wanted designers to never make the same mistake as I did. Money was secondary…doing “good” was what provided my motivation. It’s been a journey. I have had many ups and downs during the last thirteen years, but we are now expanding and we have deep foundations.  We have helped 1000s of people to obtain real industry skills and also upskill….

So, tune in to my podcast below with a cup of tea or something stronger and enjoy the conversations. And if you are another ordinary woman doing extraordinary things, I’d love to hear from you.

Podcast with Karen Lynch

Interview with Jenny Holloway