Julie Deane and her mother Freda started The Cambridge Satchel Company in 2008 at their kitchen table in Cambridge with a budget of only £600 and one goal – to make enough money to send Julie’s children to a better school. The company was an instant hit, with the bags featuring in Italian Vogue in its first year. Soon the world’s top fashion bloggers and celebrities were spotted carrying satchels and many high profile collaborations followed, including with Vivienne Westwood. In 2012 Julie’s story inspired the team at Google and she starred in the Chrome TV ad series ‘The Web Is What You Make Of It’, receiving over six million views.
In 2013 Julie was invited to Buckingham Palace to collect The Queen’s Award for International Trade and in 2014 was awarded an OBE for her services to entrepreneurship. Julie is Entrepreneur in residence at The British Library and is committed to supporting and encouraging other women in business.
Barbara Steadman lives in Shropshire and runs shopping directory Love Our Shops UK, a place to find independent online shops. Barbara began her shopping directory when she realised how difficult it was to find independent shops on the internet. She knew they were out there but finding them proved impossible.
Barbara is a massive supporter of shopping independent and believes we should all not only think about what we buy but also where we buy it from. In 2019 she began her campaign I Pledge Indie (#ipledgeindie) encouraging everyone to shop independent every single day for all their shopping needs. Whether that be in your local high street or at independents online, both contribute to their local communities and economies.
Barbara ran the North Shropshire WiRE networking group for over 4 years and is a big fan and advocate of WiRE and the many benefits it gives women in business. Barbara has this to say “I have been a member of WiRE since my daughter was born in 2008. It was at that time I began my first business Another Gorgeous Day, an online shop selling gifts with words and quotes on them. WiRE gave me so much training and support, I would not have known where to start without them. I have developed some amazing friendships because of WiRE, I have learnt so much, had some brilliant PR and I have even travelled to Sweden because of WiRE.”
Barbara was a Finance Director and left the corporate role when she wanted to make sure she was home for her children and also to pursue her life-long dream of running her own business. She is always extolling the benefits of WiRE and how much it has given her in her business journey. Barbara also volunteered a great deal of her time running a thriving WiRE network meeting in Oswestry, North Shropshire. She is a true ambassador of WiRE and continues to support others in business via her wonderful shopping directory.
Sandra helps women in business to power up their personal brand and become inspirational role models.
Sandra is the Founder and Director of the Woman Who Achieves Awards and the Woman Who Inspires Network, running and series of women in business networking events and annual Awards. Sandra sits on the FSB’s Women in Enterprise Taskforce and has published “I Am A Woman Who” featuring inspirational stories from women in business role models. Sandra is also a regular contributor to the WiRE Knowledgebase.
Sandra has extensive speaking and interviewing experience and regularly speaks throughout the UK (including our own WiRE National Conference at HAU) and beyond. Sandra now mentors others to help them use speaking to grow their business and their personal brand. Basically, Sandra helps women in business share their story, grow their business and become the ‘go to’ person in their niche.
I love shoes, holidays and a cold glass of Prosecco. When I’m not working, I can be found keeping fit walking my dog, planning one of my Italian getaways or watching my local football and rugby teams.
Judy Illing is based in North Yorkshire and is the owner of The Business Signpost which provides business support and social media and website management for several local businesses. She is passionate about helping micro business owners, particularly women, and works closely with several local organisations to help promote and support them.
In 2006, Judy started the York & District network group which she ran for several years until stepping down in 2017. She has spoken at both Yorkshire & National WiRE conferences and helped to organise the Yorkshire conference in 2015.
Judy has also represented WiRE in a the York, North & East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership focus group and the East Riding LEADER programme and has also given talks about WiRE in the region.
In 2013 Judy became a 21st Century Ambassador for Retail & Tourism in York, a pilot programme by the Institute of Leadership & Management and is Secretary of the York Retail Forum and a member of the Steering Group. She is also Secretary of the Shambles Area Traders’ Association.
Judy has also been a participant in the York St John University Acorn Business Programme and the Superfast North Yorkshire Programme.
WiRE is in her blood and she has just formed the new North & East Yorkshire WiRE Network and is looking forward to continuing to promote WiRE throughout Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East.
With more than 20 years of experience in the mind, body, spirit industry, Lisa Davies is a multi award-winning coach, author and therapist – who continues to be a highly prolific and influential figure in the spiritual community.
Combining her passion for helping others with her incredibly warm, relatable and down-to-earth personality, she has won some of the most highly acclaimed accolades in the industry – and was named Therapist/Practitioner of the Year in the 2014 APCTC Awards.
Lisa has also been nominated for an array of other prestigious awards – and was shortlisted for the highly prestigious Women Inspiring Women Award for two years in a row (2012 and 2013), awarded most influential businesses woman in Lincolnshire in 2016 and was also nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Contributing to a range of the country’s best-known publications – including, Kindred Spirit magazine, Om Yoga and Soul & Spirit magazine – Lisa published her first book, Get a Life, in 2012, and is currently the Director of Get the Edge (a community of inspirational coaches, trainers and staff development specialists.)
The Get the Edge community – which is devoted to encouraging an authentic, heartfelt approach to leadership – has helped some of the world’s leading brands (including Mercedes Benz and Suzuki) maximise their sales, success and visibility. Encouraging companies to revolutionise their business strategies, it uses a range of ground-breaking techniques – including training sessions in the woodlands and inspiring leadership retreats – to help businesses ‘get the edge’.
Having handed over the reins to network leader of Nottinghamshire WiRE, she is delighted to become an Ambassador for WiRE nationally.
Sue Hall launched the South Suffolk branch of WiRE in late 2010, just 9 months after starting her own business. Realising the value of WiRE both to herself and other local businesswomen, she networked tirelessly to promote us for over 7 years before stepping down as Network Leader at the end of 2017. The South Suffolk Network continues with a strong leadership team of three, handpicked by Sue
During this time, aside from providing regular networking events, informative and inspirational speakers, and supporting the members as Network Leader, Sue has also:
Sue has always been passionate about WiRE. But old Network Leaders never get put out to pasture! They become Business Ambassadors for WiRE and we are proud to say that Sue was our very first. Raising awareness, attracting new members, supporting the local branch and extolling the virtues of Business Partner membership to suitable organisations, Sue continues to fly the WiRE flag.