Catherine Hill:  Service Lead – Marketing, Tourism & Events and Director of Exeter City Community Trust

Catherine Hill:  Service Lead – Marketing, Tourism & Events and Director of Exeter City Community Trust

Biggest professional achievement to date

When Karime Hassan asked me to lead on the 2015 Rugby World Cup Legacy programme, I was both absolutely delighted and extremely nervous about whether I would be able to meet his high expectations. The project brought together my personal passion as a huge Rugby fan and enabled us, as ECC officers, to really engage with the wider community in a way we hadn’t done before. The excitement of bringing this global tournament to our city was felt by all; Rugby supporter or not. The impact on the city was immense and many people, across all areas of Exeter and the wider area, were involved in the various legacy programmes. The instinct and ability of Tony Rowe (Exeter Chiefs), Karime and Cllr Pete Edwards, to react quickly and collaboratively, paved the way for a new way of working across the city and has resulted in many new initiatives which continue to have an economic impact today.

Most profound/life-changing, business moment

As part of the RWC legacy programme we worked with the fantastic Sampson Hall to create and deliver an employment programme for young people. This was originally titled REEP – Rugby Employment Empowerment Programme (now known as BEEP). REEP changed the life chances of 93% of participants, who were disengaged and disenfranchised from the workplace, for the better. The programme helped young people identify, understand and achieve their potential whilst building their confidence, self-esteem and resilience and enabled them to engage with employers who offered real job opportunities.

Seeing the first cohort of individuals progress from day one – they came into the room and most could not make eye contact, to the final day of the programme when all participants stood and delivered a presentation to a room of key business leaders, was heartwarming and genuinely life-changing for all involved. BEEP continues to be sustainable and is now a registered charity.

Best life advice ever received

Don’t worry about what you can’t change.  My grandad told me this over and over when I was younger and it’s absolutely spot on. I now pass that onto my children regularly. It really is simple but frees your mind.

Advice for a young woman stepping into the world from school, college or uni

Be confident, even if you’re not feeling it. Articulate your ideas and beliefs well. Take the lead where appropriate and don’t be afraid to ‘take your seat at the table.’ And most importantly be true to yourself, discreet, honest and trustworthy. 

Which book has had the greatest influence on your life

I Am Malala – The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban.  This is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism and the fight that they face – education for their daughter in a society that prizes sons and is an absolute must read, particularly as we celebrate ‘The Year Of The Woman’.  I was left with the feeling that the power of one person’s voice really can inspire change in the world and that every voice matters.

Heartfelt belief

I say to my girls every morning before they leave for school ‘Be Kind’. I firmly believe that if you are true to yourself, kind and  honest you can deal with anything in life. I grew up being a people pleaser and wanting to be liked as I felt I wasn’t good enough. Now, however, I realise that honesty really does pay off, however difficult that might be at times. How you deliver your opinions is extremely important and is something I’m still working on, a direct approach is not always the right way. I now realise that being liked by all is secondary to being respected and trusted.


‘Mummy first. Everything else second’


Video From The Celebration




100 Most Influential Women 2018

Grow Exeter Magazine launched the ‘100 Most Influential Women 2018’ in Exeter and the region in December 2017 and we received around 500 nominations for influential women from all walks of life; our panel was spoilt for choice and hard-pressed to select only 100 from the talented nominees that they viewed.  The Launch of the ‘100 Most Influential Women’ awards in 2018 has perhaps even more value than in any other year as it was just 100 years ago that the first woman was granted the right to vote in the UK.

Women have truly shown that they can shine in any environment, whether that be in the boardroom, teaching our children, climbing mountains, navigating uncharted waters, they can do anything that they set their mind to and we can’t wait to celebrate our own talented 100.

Honouring women in our March edition of Grow Exeter falls in line with International Women’s Day on the 8th March and the 100 finalists will also be featured in this special edition. To see the 100 finalists individually featured, please grab a copy of our March edition by pre-ordering through the link below. We will be publishing each woman online throughout March so watch our Facebook page or the website for their stories.

A huge congratulations to everyone nominated and to the finalists, you are all amazing!


March Edition ‘Women in Business’ – AVAILABLE NOW!





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