Lieta Marziali International Women’s Day blog post

The second post in our week of Inspiring Women blog posts to celebrate International Women’s Day comes from Lieta Marziali. Lieta is an artist jeweller who owns her own jewellery company and has been a volunteer with us since September 2015. Lieta is also one of our language volunteers, able to speak to young people about how she uses Italian in her day to day life!

‘I Lietabecame a volunteer because I was eager to share my journey with the younger generation. Despite today’s job market shifting towards more varied and portfolio careers, there is still enormous pressure on children to “get it right” first time. This can start as early as picking extra-curricular activities in primary school, and certainly it is felt by the time they have to choose their GCSE subjects. Hopefully, my experience of exploring as many as four very different areas of work before becoming an artist can provide a reassuring voice that it is perfectly acceptable to try out different paths, and that the answer to what is our perfect job sometimes can take years to become obvious.

There needs to be a shift in the mindset that taking risks is to be avoided: it is how we learn what we like and, above all, what we do not. Through Inspiring The Future I have both a permanent mentor role at one of my local High Schools, and I also attend as many career events as I can fit in. Every time I make sure that I reinforce the lesson that the biggest and most difficult subject children should prepare to be studying all their life is, in fact, themselves. The other big lesson is to approach every new path they take not only with hard work but above all with enthusiasm, as this is the secret to always gaining something and learning valuable transferable skills, regardless of whether it is going to be the job of their life. For the shorter events, I often take with me a large travel bag filled with objects that represent my version of this accumulated knowledge, in the form of uniforms, tools, books and other reminders of my previous work lives. It is always such a pleasure to see their eyes light up and their smiles grow the more different objects I take out!

Being a volunteer is all about providing a caring external voice: it is the privilege of sitting neither on the parents’ nor the teachers’ bench. It gives children a glimpse of an outside world they are sometimes scared of peering into or, in the worst case scenarios, prevented from exploring by obstacles of a social, cultural and economic nature. For many children, it is about bringing that outside world literally into the classroom, and with it possibilities and opportunities they might not be otherwise exposed to.

When writing this piece, I was asked who had inspired me when I was very young, and I was confronted with the fact that the person who truly opened my eyes about the way I could shape my future did not appear in my life until I was 20. Through being a volunteer, I can make sure I can be a positive influence for children when they need it most, and before so many of the insecurities that we face in adulthood have had a chance to set in. Inspiring The Future for me is not just about helping shape the lives of those much younger than us, but recognising that, by doing that, we also help shape a better future for all of us, where success is not achieved by unquestioningly ticking somebody else’s boxes but by allowing and even encouraging mistakes and by slowly learning to walk happily with our own feet.’







Alex Paske International Women’s Day blog post

The first in our series of blog posts to celebrate International Women’s Day and our Inspiring Women volunteers is from Alex Paske! Alex is the Managing Director of Mintridge Events Ltd. and has been volunteering with us since January 2015.

‘My name is Alex Paske and I am an “Inspiring the Future” volunteer. alex-paske

At a young age, I was inspired by my sporting role model, Jonny Wilkinson, for his meticulous outlook on training and huge desires to work for his team and become the very best.

I have become an “Inspiring the Future” volunteer because to me, Jonny was amongst a pool of male role models that I looked up to growing up and I am very keen to alter the gender gap and increase the number of female role models available for young people.

The advice I would give for someone looking to start their own business or charity, should remember the following:

1)            Your dream job does not exist, you must create it!

  1. Build your contact base.
  2. Always deliver your maximum! Be proactive, you can always strive to be doing more!

2)            Create short term targets to achieve your long term goals!

  1. Success takes time and lots of mistakes!
  2. Be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods. Believe in yourself and trust your instinct!

3)            Enjoy the journey and not just the destination!

  1. Enjoy your day to day work.
  2. Surround yourself with talented and positive people that understand your cause.
  3. Ensure you have a work / life balance.

You will undoubtedly have to overcome challenges on your journey to success, and it is how you deal with them that is important. Without my challenges, I wouldn’t be in the strong position that I am in today.

I have battled mental health issues following dropping out of university and not being selected for a national sporting team; both of which I have dreamed of from a very early age. I have battled a series of setbacks since starting Mintridge which include negativity from potential clients and investors – it only makes you believe in your vision more and I am happy that I have been through it all. Although, I probably wouldn’t have said that at the time!

I am looking forward to plenty more “Inspiring The Future” events as I hope to make a small impact on a young person’s career journey, allowing them to discover that there are plenty of routes to the top!’

Inspiring Women China


The Inspiring Women campaign is delighted to announce that in partnership with the British Council China we are officially launching Inspiring Women China.

The official launch event took place on Sunday 4th December in Beijing. Amongst guests were Her Majesty’s Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward DCMG OBE; Paralympic gold medalist Susie Rodgers; Carma Elliott CMG OBE, Director of British Council China and Ching Tien, founder of Educating Girls of Rural China in attendance.


Since its launch in 2013 the Inspiring Women campaign, run by the charity Education and Employers, has connected over 20,000 amazing women with over 500,000 school girls. Our range of events, including those held with Aston Martin, the Ministry of Defence and the London Stock Exchange, would not have been possible without the dedication of our amazing Inspiring Women volunteers. We are now able to reach young women in the world’s leading economy, helping to breakdown gender stereotypes and broaden horizons.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for their continued support for the campaign. Jennifer Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “we are extremely proud of our association with the Inspiring Women campaign which already provides such valuable counsel to young women across the UK. The programme’s international expansion to China is very exciting as it will give even more young women the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the vast array of career options available to them.”

“It is through programmes such as this that Education and Employers are making great strides in helping to break barriers for women to enter particular industries. Ultimately, these efforts will improve workplace diversity which is essential in today’s modern business world. I hope that companies across China will sign up to Inspiring Women so that together, we can all help young women around the world, to realise their potential, take charge of their futures and become tomorrow’s leaders.”


We are incredibly excited about what the future holds for our Inspiring Women campaign and the opportunity to help raise the aspirations of young women on a global scale.

To sign up to volunteer with Inspiring Women, register for free on our website.

To see photos from the launch event check out the Flickr album.

Follow us on twitter @Edu_employers @InspiringTF


Equal Pay Day 2016

November 10 marks Equal Pay Day, the day on which women are effectively no longer earning for the year due to the average 18% pay gap that is accepted as part of a woman’s working life. In honour of the day, The Stylist ran a campaign that encouraged women to leave work at 3:34pm, 18% earlier than the traditional 9-5 working day.

Efforts to close the pay gap can be greatly helped by encouraging women to pursue those careers that offer a more competitive wage. Better paid jobs, such as those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are dominated by men, with women making up only 14.4% of the workforce in these areas. A recent survey by the Open University found that 49% of women regret not pursuing careers in these areas, with 56% saying it was a lack of insight and advice about how to access these jobs whilst they were young that was a contributing factor. To read the full report by the Open University click here

Our #RedrawTheBalance video ( is evidence to the belief that only men can pursue certain jobs being formed in children’s minds at primary school age. In addition to the wage disparity and unequal spread of sector roles, women make up 54% of temp workers and 55% of zero hour contract workers, reinforcing the need to reach out to girls at a young age, when they are making decisions that will impact their futures.

Something as simple as talking to young girls about the different career paths they can pursue and encouraging them to aim high and broaden their horizons is invaluable to inspiring young girls to pursue their aspirations. Our Inspiring Women campaign has over 20,000 women talking to over 500,000 state school girls, empowering the next generation of women to dream big.

You can share this post to encourage the inspiring women that you know to sign up on our website to volunteer to talk to school girls. All we ask is one hour, once a year for you to make a real difference.

Karen Bonner: Head of Nursing for Patient Experience at Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust


Nursing is still dominated by women, with men making up only 10% of those entering the profession. Despite this, as I move up the career ladder in healthcare I recognise that there are fewer women in leadership positions and little progress has been made to address the lack of diversity at senior levels within the NHS. I became involved in the Inspiring Women and Primary Futures campaign to become a visible role model to children and young girls. I feel strongly that having positive role models can help you see that you can achieve anything you want in life with a bit of hard work, grit and determination.

My top tips to achieving what you want in life are, find something you are passionate about, be the best you can be and focus on doing a good job. I constantly think what added value I can bring and remember it is important to inspire confidence in those you work with. Get yourself a mentor, someone who inspires you to see the possibilities and believe that these can be obtained.

My siblings and I are the first generation of my family born in the UK. My parents both emigrated from the West Indian British colonies Jamaica and Barbados in the search for a better life. They were diligent and dedicated to their family. They recognised the importance of a good education for our future and they worked hard extend this opportunity to my siblings and I. As a product of immigrant parents, I was aware of the challenges my parents overcame and I wanted to make something of myself.

I was fortunate to know from a young age just what I wanted to do with my life. I applied for my nurse training aged 18 and qualified age 21. Being a professional nurse means adhering to the code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. Entering such a profession carries with it great privilege and responsibility.

I became a ward sister aged 29 and aged 35 I became matron. In 2008 I won matron and nurse of the year at the Trust for my leadership potential and contribution to the Trust values. My current post is Head of Nursing for Patient Experience. I provide strategic nursing leadership in order to maintain and develop high quality, cost effective service for patients, whilst working with teams building clinical leadership to delivery good high quality care.

Be fearless, there are infinite possibilities; life is just waiting for you.


Inspiring Women in the Arts Business with Sotheby’s


When I was a teenager, my biggest female role model was my mother. She was a professional concert pianist, who performed in the first night of the Proms. She had a career as a concert pianist and also had three children. She always encouraged me to believe in myself and set the bar high, which was fantastic.

The best way to inspire young women and broaden their horizons is to be open to as many different experiences, trying things and not letting yourself be held back by any preconceptions. Be open. Working as a woman in the arts sector, one can’t say it’s a man’s world only, the art world is a sector which is great for women to work in, with a long established tradition of trailblazers from Gertrude Stein to Peggy Guggenheim.

I think the best advice I can give to young women entering the world of work or wanting to work in the arts is it is very helpful to get advice and insight from other women who are working in that sector. Having a mentor or role model, from someone who is only one to two years ahead to much further on in their career, a mentor with whom you have a strong bond at work is incredibly useful. I also think it is very useful to try out different areas of the art world to see where you fit in. The art world has state run and also private sectors within it; it is a global world, so try different things out.

By Helena Newman.

Joanne Jackson, Olympic Swimmer, shares her tips for success


In the wake of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, there is no better time to highlight and celebrate the outstanding achievements of women in sport. Despite the focus on the contribution of female athletes to British sporting success, there are concerns that many young girls are still not actively engaging in sport. As role models for the younger generation, this is something female athletes can help to change. One such role model is Joanne Jackson, British swimmer:

“I was born in North Yorkshire and attended Richmond Secondary School. As a young girl, I loved to swim and wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps, Nicola and become an Olympic swimmer. I believe in the importance of commitment, hard work and determination. This is what enabled me to achieve my dreams, and that is why I like to share my story with young people – which is what I will be doing on ‘Live Sport Talks’ on the 22nd September at the Globe Academy in London.

I have had lots of success on the international stage throughout my career, winning silver, bronze and gold medals for my performances in major competitions including the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships. One of my greatest achievements came in 2008 when I won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing, going on to break two world records in the 400m freestyle the following year. I was only 17 when I first went to the Olympics.

I was forced to retire from the sport after the 2012 Olympic Games because of injury but I have since gone on to set up my own swimming academy and am also an athlete mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes trust and the Youth Sport Trust. It gives me great satisfaction to inspire other young people to aim high and achieve their hopes and aspirations.”