International Women's Day - Women in the BID

As part of International Women’s Day, we are continuing to celebrate our campaign: #WomenInTheBID!

For the second year running, we are showcasing women who are at the heart of Liverpool’s dynamic business community.

We recognise the importance of celebrating women across the BID Area who are making a difference and represent as models for others in Liverpool and beyond. That’s why we asked last year’s nominees to nominate women that inspire them and deserve to be celebrated all year around! As Liverpool gears up for the Year of Reading, we asked also asked this year’s nominees what book inspires them and why.

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Sonia Díaz Pérez – The Language House

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
I got into this industry by chance. I had plenty of experience in office roles and I am bilingual in both English and Spanish which has played a huge part in my role. Sonia and Vincent (Company Directors of The Language House) saw potential in me and here I am 3 years later! I love my job and I love being in such an international environment which I think makes Liverpool so special. I meet people from all around the globe on a daily basis.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing what I do now, I’d be either working in a HR department or with animals. I am a people person but I also have an innate ability to communicate and understand animals.

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
I enjoy reading true life stories about empowered successful women that no matter how much life throws at them there is always a way out.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
I come from an international background so I have the ability to incorporate and understand situations from a multicultural perspective.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
My 16 year old self was quite stubborn, so I’d advise her that hard work pays off and no matter how long it takes to achieve something if you put your mind to it you will eventually get it. It’s okay to not know what you want in the long term (you still won’t know in 16 years time!) but small achievable goals are the answer to keep you going in life.

Who is your female role model now and why?
I don’t just have one role model. I feel inspired by every woman in my life, in my profession as well as in my family. I am lucky to be surrounded by strong minded inspiring women on a daily basis.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Amaya Carney-Smith – Liverpool BID Company

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
I have worked in Admin in various sectors and roles for years – coming to the BID was a natural path change.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
I would have loved to have been a Tattoo Artist! I love being creative – I used to be a Hairdresser!

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
Constance Hall – Like a Queen. Brutally honest, no holds barred book about being a mother, having a career and trying to juggle that work life balance!

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
I crochet baby blankets. And I am double jointed in my elbows.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Know your worth!

Who is your female role model now and why?
I LOVE Kristen Bell – she is funny, honest and not afraid to fail.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Lauren Rastall – Heritage Restaurant and Bar

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
It’s an industry I grew up in. My childhood was spent in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in Cavern Walks, because it was owned by my mum. So it was something that felt natural to me.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
My previous job was a gallery assistant in the Tate in the Liverpool. I love modern art and the absence of rules. So maybe I would try and reapply as I had to leave when I had my second child.

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
My memory is not my best asset but I do remember being in senior school and reading Pride and Prejudice. I had never read a book so long and I thought I would never finish it. I couldn’t believe a book with the font size so small could be so exciting! I remember wanting to be as brave as Elizabeth Bennett. I definitely wasn’t, but she was someone that was inspirational considering the pressure she was under and ignoring all of that to stick to her morals.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
At university I studied Events Management and contingency plans where drummed into us. We had to refresh them and keep them up to date as it was assumed that a successful contingency plan was the key to a problem free event. So when problems or dramas happen in the shop or at home people do tend to say to me you never panic. I don’t know if I panic inside and I’m good at hiding it or I just don’t. I don’t know if this is in my makeup or the skills I learnt at university: there is a solution to most problems. So this is something that does surprise people when I display it.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
I would definitely tell my 16 year old self that your life isn’t decided depending on your exam results. My career now has nothing to do with what I thought I would be doing at 16. So all the worry was a waste of my time. Worrying about something doesn’t change the outcome. My daughter is 14 and I tell her all the time. Don’t worry about anything except being happy. When your happy everything else will fall into place. If you’re in an unhappy situation then your in the wrong situation.

Who is your female role model now and why?
I would definitely say my mum. From a young age I was taught that even though I was a girl I could do what I wanted. Nothing was a problem, there was always a solution. My mums business Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in Cavern Walks was extremely successful, popular and hard work. She has given me all her advice with my venture, something that is priceless.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Charlotte Corrie – Open Culture

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
A combination of lots of work experience, writing for the student newspaper and applying for every job going after graduation.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
Hard to answer as I had never considered anything else. Maybe working in publishing.

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
No one book, but I find Margaret Atwood ability to write brilliantly but accessibly and tackle extremely important issues in such an entertaining way very inspiring.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
Playing classical and folk violin. It’s one of those things that I was passionate about but lost touch with until recently. I’m trying to make time to pick up my fiddle and play more these days.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Size 12 isn’t fat if you are 5 ft 8 and curvy – and so what if it is anyway.

Who is your female role model now and why?
Personally: I am constantly in awe of mum-friends who are managing to balance so-called ‘having it all’ – work, family life and actually finding some time for themselves. Professionally: Jane Garvey and Fiona Glover, who built successful careers in journalism at a time when it was more difficult for women, and now seem really sorted and comfortable in their own skin. Their podcast “Fortunately” should be available on prescription.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Lynne Robertson – Santander

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
I always wanted to do something creative (I was an aspiring pattern designer) but hated my foundation course, left and did a non-design degree. I left university during the recession of 1994 and took any job I could get until I got an opportunity in marketing. From there I commissioned agencies and loved working with one of them so much they offered me a job! I started as an account handler working with clients like UEFA, Britannia Building Society and Manchester United and then moved into the more operational role of Creative Services Manager when I joined Uniform in 2008. Then fast forward 8 years to 2016 and I was appointed Operations Director and the first woman in a Board role at Uniform – a very proud moment.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
I would always be doing something creative – I have written one children’s story and have another in progress so perhaps a children’s author.

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
Brene Brown – Daring Greatly. The idea of embracing my vulnerability has helped shaped me as a leader, a parent and a woman.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
I love to sing and have recorded a single at N’Trance’s recording studio!

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
It’s ok not to have a fixed plan for what you want to do. If an opportunity presents itself, take it. And finally in the words of Anthony Burrill – work hard and be nice to people!

Who is your female role model now and why?
I have been very lucky to have many female role models in my life but there are two extra special ones that deserve a mention. Firstly, my mum – she’s strong, calm, controlled and brilliantly supportive and if I turn out to be half the woman she is, I’ll be happy. Secondly, my husband’s gran, or ‘Mamma’ who we sadly lost in November 2019. A true matriarch who gave sound advice and scoldings in equal measure. She knew everything, without anyone telling her and when she talked everyone listened. I miss her and the strength and stability she brought to our family.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Amaya Carney-Smith – Liverpool BID Company

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
Right place at the right time initially, I photocopied my C.V. in a solicitors practice and was offered a job there (27 years ago!) The following year I joined Morecrofts Solicitors. After a couple of years of really hard work in supporting roles, I followed my passion into HR and Business Operations. I was promoted to Practice Manager and worked in this role for 17 years. During this time, I gained HR and Management qualifications, managed two major office relocations, and built a strong professional business network. In 2014, I achieved my lifetime goal and became an Equity Partner at the firm. I am very passionate about nurturing staff, supporting people in their career goals, building contacts and developing Morecrofts as a business.

My work for Liverpool BID Company started in 2011, when I met the amazing Paul Rice. He was so passionate about the BID at a presentation I attended, so I volunteered to join the Commercial District BID Board. The last nine years have been a whirlwind of progress for the Commercial District BID. Now as Chair of the Commercial District BID, I’ve loved working with the fantastic team and wonderful Board Members. There are too many to name over the years, who have helped to shape the wonderful Commercial District we have today.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
Crime scene investigation, I am a stickler for detail, compliance, and I love to get results.

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
The Secret. It is all about the law of attraction. Positive thinking can change a person’s life.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
I love art, textiles and engineering. I am the girl geek who loves tools. Give me B&Q over clothes shops any day. From a very young age, I learnt the skills of joinery from my dad.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Always follow your passions, love life and live every day to be the best that you can. Help others along the way. Time is precious, spend time with your family and friends and aim for a good work/life balance.

Who is your female role model now and why?
Dame Esther Rantzen, her contribution to Children’s Charities, and in particular as the founder of Childline.

International Women's Day - Women in the BID

Nominated by:
Christina Grogan – Open Culture

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
I started working for galleries and festivals for cash in hand – this was the late 1990s when such things were possible! I was very lucky to get a break early on and then other recommendations followed. I moved from helping out to project managing and eventually curating and commissioning artists.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
I love reading so working in a library. Libraries are so precious. I visit my local library and Central Library every week with my daughter (Martha, 6).

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
Having heard her read recently I’d say ‘Kismet’ a new collection by Liverpool poet Jennifer Lee Tsai. It’s such a moving series of poems that deal with negotiating prejudice and isolation but also contains much tenderness and hopefulness too.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
I can tell you pretty well anything about any character in The Archers dating back to the 1980s. Niche skill. Not one often in demand.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Relax a bit more. Going to art school will work out.

Who is your female role model now and why?
British artist Sonia Boyce. One of the UK’s important living artists, a key part of Bluecoat’s history and also the first artist I worked with. Her work is beautiful – it changes form all the time so might be a drawing, a performance or a video but is always exquisitely crafted. On a personal level she has such integrity, compassion, generosity to others, a political commitment across the decades and a passion for the arts.

Nominated by:
Julia Coutinho Huf – Fazenda

How did you get into the industry that you are in now?
When I was a young teenager I worked as a KP whilst at school to make some pocket money. From there I went to work at Tesco cafe where I completed NVQ’s in customer care whilst completing my A-Levels. At the time I wanted to go to uni to study psychology but changed my mind as I loved working in the cafe so much. From there I decided to go to uni to study International Hospitality Management.

If you weren’t in the career you are in now, what else would you be doing?
Something related to psychology, preferably helping people with autism or something to do with woring with animals!

To celebrate #LiverpoolReads, what book inspires you and why?
“Birdsong” because it is about the journey of a guy who suffered PTSD after the war hidden by his external strength and battle within himself whilst being a very romantic novel on the other hand. He wrote journals/stories in code to later be found by his niece who tried to decipher his journey. It is inspiring because it brings home reality and struggles of what people went through during wars and makes you realise just how lucky our generation is.

What is a skill that you have that not many people know about?
Ohh difficult one! I can read sheet music, I play the piano and flute.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
People will always think they know you and what is better for you. Hospitality is good, if you love working in the cafe so much, forget university. Trust me and don’t listen to people who say ‘it isn’t a real job’. Hospitality is the future!!

Who is your female role model now and why?
Nisha Katona! Mowgli – need I say more? She shows how you can turn your dreams into reality and there really is no age limit, opening your own business is a risk but with passion and determination you can excel. Nisha has a passion for Hospitality, not only the industry I love working in but the pleasure I get from experiences in my free time!