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International Women's Day 2024

International Women’s Day celebrates the progress made towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. To celebrate the day, Your Marketing Team are reflecting on female figures, from the present and the past, who help us as individuals feel inspired and empowered.


Katja Heim – F1 Visionary & Founder of KHP Consulting

Katja Heim

I feel very lucky to have had many women in my life who have inspired me. If I had to pick one, I would choose my first Boss and Mentor who took me under her wing after graduating from University. Katja Heim was a journalist who met Bernie Ecclestone whilst preparing a major magazine feature at a time when Formula One was largely a sport for motor-head enthusiasts. They formed a strong bond and working relationship in the process, with a clear vision to steer Formula One into a new space. Katja is widely credited with playing a pivotal role in establishing F1 as the aspirational global spectacle is has become today. Sadly, Katja passed away in 2019. My experience of working alongside her in such a fast-paced world has been invaluable and my memories of being so warmly welcomed into her inner sanctum will last a lifetime!


Bridget Mendler – Actress & Businesswoman

Bridget Mendler

I think one of the most influential women to me is Bridget Mendler. I spent a lot of my childhood watching her as the main character on my favourite Disney Channel show, Good Luck Charlie, and listening to her songs and to see where she is now; the individual development she has undergone is truly inspirational. Not only is she a student enrolled at MIT and Harvard Law school, she is the CEO of a satellite data startup called Northwood Space, has continued to accept acting roles and has managed to handle all of this whilst also taking on motherhood to her adopted 4 year old son all at 30!

Bridget Mendler to me, truly encapsulates the idea that your life is not set and if you want to do something or want to change the course of your life, if you work at it you can go wherever you want to.

Laura A

Frida Kahlo – Artist

Frida Kahlo

I’ve been inspired by many women, most are very close to me and detail is too personal to share but from more of a professional standpoint I've selected Frida Kahlo. I have always admired her perseverance and resilience and have been a fan of her work for many years. I carry around a keyring of her which I love. She inspires me from a creative point of view, the colours and styling of her work resonate with me, the colour palette she chose with inspiration from her home country is bright and vibrant and I love the tropical flowers and plants in much of her work, which has often driven design choices for me in my creativity. On another level, I also appreciate the meaning and depth she carried into her self-portraits using symbolism, an unapologetic open and honest self-expression of her feelings and the constant suffering she struggled with. I admire her courageous attitude, to carry on and how she bared all and wasn’t afraid to conform to feminine stereotypes. She is an icon who reminds me to never be afraid to express myself, to be open and honest to myself.

Laura T

All the women in her life today

Laura T

My work colleagues can testify that I found it difficult choosing a female who has genuinely inspired me.

I didn’t want to pick someone unrelated to my real world, so I decided to choose all the women in my life today. From the under 10’s who remind me not to be judgmental, to the 20 and 30 somethings that remind me what it was to be carefree, to the mid-lifers (and over) who show me, every day, how not to take life too seriously.

All of them make me laugh, sometimes they let me cry, but I always feel better for their company.


Dame Stephanie Shirley – Inspirational Speaker, Businesswoman & Philanthropist

Dame Stephanie Shirley

The woman who I find inspirational is Dame Stephanie Shirley CH. Her life story is extraordinary and she faced challenges that would have defeated most people, and yet Stephanie Shirley seemed to turn these challenges into a force for good. Here is a potted version of her life story.

She arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee at the start of the Second World War, and in 1962 Stephanie founded the software company Freelance Programmers from her dining room table to create job opportunities for women with children, most of whom worked from home. Her teams’ projects included programming Concorde’s black box flight recorder software and she built the company into a global business which she took into co-ownership. After the company was acquired, it was valued at around $3bn, and made 70 of her staff millionaires. She donated most of her wealth to charity.

Her late son Giles (1963-1998) was autistic and as well as being a member of the National Autistic Society she instigated and funded research in this field for which she received the Beacon Fellowship Prize in 2003.

This is an extremely potted version of Stephanie’s life story, but you can learn more here.

91 this year, Stephanie continues to focus on her philanthropy and dedicates every day to making her life one worth saving.


Baroness Karren Brady – Business Executive

Karren Brady

There are lots of women that inspire me every day from my Grandma to Michelle Obama, but the person who inspires me to drive for success and work hard at my career is Baroness Karren Brady.

Karren joined Birmingham City as Managing Director at just 23 years old. In 1993, sexism was rife and with Karren living in a 'boys world', this made her more determined to fight for her place at Birmingham City.

She has gone on to make her career in business where she now is the Vice-Chairman for West Ham United, has non-executive positions in various businesses, and appears on The Apprentice alongside Lord Sugar. Karren champions women in business and often calls upon her fellow female professionals to help women trying to find their path to success in the business world. Karren is conscious to pay tribute to everyone that helped her on her path to the boardroom, encouraging women at the top to offer networking and mentoring to keep the flow of women in business heading to the top, constant.

Karren never gave up, she is resilient, confident, and an award-winning businesswoman. Oh, and she’s a baroness which is pretty cool.


Jackie Pullinger – Missionary & Founder of St Stephen’s Society

Jackie Pullinger

I first read the book ‘Chasing the Dragon’ a few years ago, not long after I became a Christian. Knowing she was called by God in 1960’s as a missionary, she wrote to several mission organisations and was rejected for being too young. Following prayer and guidance from a friend in ministry, Jackie at the age of just 22, boarded an international ship going around the world travelling from port to port. She waited for God’s permission to get off the ship and arrived in Hong Kong. She became a school teacher in Kowloon Walled City, an area run by criminal gang leaders, surrounded by prostitution and drug addiction. Led by the Holy Spirit she founded St Stephen’s Society and started practicing what she calls an ordinary gospel. Rather than outwardly preaching at others and sharing what she believes, she simply went where God led her and witnessed to people through unconditional love combined with obedience to the Holy Spirit lead and persistent prayer for those around her. I was fortunate to meet her in 2019, when she came to St Mary’s Church to run a weekend teaching session.

There are many ways you can mark International Women’s Day, from celebrating the women within your business to the women in your personal life. Head over to the IWD website to find out how you can get involved.