March 2018 Edition ‘Women in Business’
Towards the end of last year, I began giving some thought to March’s issue of Grow. With International Woman’s Day on the 8th and February seeing the 100 year anniversary of many women getting the vote in the UK, it made perfect sense to theme the issue around women and their incredible achievements.
Backed by a truly supportive, creative team at Grow, it seemed the perfect opportunity to find and feature the 100 Most Influential Women in Exeter and acknowledge the work they are doing, and the impact they’re making, both in the city and across the globe.
With Clear Property & The Deer Park Hotel firmly on board as sponsors, a six-week search saw us receive around 500 nominations from the public, which were then painstakingly narrowed down to the final 100 by a panel of judges.
From world-renowned scientists and dancers to CEO’s & small business owners to world-class adventurers & athletes, the final 100 women were chosen based on criteria such as their influence in their own industries; both locally and globally, their contribution to their communities, their values and above all else, the messages they are sending out to the next generation of young women stepping out into the world today.
Our search culminated in a prestigious, celebratory evening at the stunning Deer Park Hotel, where each of the women and their guests were treated to a fabulous night of champagne, incredible food, photography by Pip Andersen & Olly Woodburn and one of the most moving keynote speeches. Alexis Bowater’s powerful speech had one clear message for us all; we are not fighting a battle against a gender, instead, we are a battalion, of both sexes, fighting for the future of our children.
I remember as a young woman in the early 90’s, starting out on my own journey feeling, among other emotions, vulnerable, lacking in confidence and above all else, lacking a sense of belief in myself.
It was a time when as a woman, if you had aspirations beyond the secretarial or nursing roles, as incredibly valuable as they obviously are, you knew you had a fight on your hands; predominantly a fight with an ingrained sense that you were stepping into male-dominated territory. It wasn’t impossible to get to where you wanted to go, but my God you had to have a strong backbone if you wanted anything out of the ordinary.
I remember there being two women who stood out to me back then; women who were gutsy, who weren’t afraid to rock the boat and who represented everything I wanted to be; role models who I have since learned from and who, in their own ways, have shone a bright, luminous, light on my own career and life path.
This month, I had the privilege of meeting with and interviewing both of them in what transpired to be two of the most honest, raw and thought-provoking interviews.
The first and our cover story this month is with Trish Halpin; the Editor in Chief of the global success story that is Marie Claire. The prestigious publication is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and it was my absolute pleasure to meet with the woman at its helm, for an exclusive interview. Trish Halpin is, without a doubt, a woman who knows her mind; a perfect balance of compassion, focus & drive. She’s a woman unafraid to make her voice heard and to stand for that which she believes in, and she does it all with a beautiful sense of calm assurance, grace, and experience that comes from over 30 years of publishing.
Alexis Bowater is another inspirational woman who, when we first met, was carving her own path in the world of television as the face of Westcountry TV. She has since gone on to become a champion of women across the globe and is the perfect addition to this incredibly powerful, emotive and thought provoking issue.
I simply could not be prouder of the wisdom, heart and pure determination of these incredible women; all 100 of them. Against all odds, they have made their mark on the world, opening doors and setting standards for that which is still to come.
I’m honoured and privileged to know such talent and warmth from so many women across the city and indeed, from the men that support and encourage their growth.
We are a team. We are making a difference. Together we truly can achieve anything.
Editor in Chief