WiRE Member Ambassadors

Julie Deane O.B.E. – Founder and CEO of The Cambridge Satchel CompanyJDeane

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.


Lisa Davies – Get the Edge (Lincolnshire)Lisa

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.

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Sue Hall – Maid2Clean (Suffolk)

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:

  • raised over £10,000 for local charities
  • engaged with Suffolk New College to bring local businesses in, enhancing the Business Students’ curriculum
  • represented and spoken on behalf of WiRE at a United Nations Conference in New York
  • represented WiRE and spoken at a Financial Mail women’s event in London
  • represented WiRE as a speaker at University of Suffolk event to promote International Women’s Day
  • worked with a local artist rejuvenating the Ipswich town waterfront, ensuring WiRE supported the work with a mural panel painted by the WiRE members
  • provided guidance to new network leaders

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 is 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.

Read about Sue’s most recent events and networking.

Judy Illing


Judy Illing is based in North Yorkshire and is the owner of The Purple Signpost which provides business support, social media and website management for several local businesses and she is also Director of Wellbeing in York. 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 Shambles Area Traders’ Association. She 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 although she is no longer a network leader, she is looking forward to continuing to promote WiRE throughout Yorkshire, Humber and the North East.