THE LEADER of Rotherham’s biggest business group marked mark International Women’s Day by telling the town’s young people to keep fighting for what they want — and ensure they have strong role models.
Chamber of Commerce president Lisa Pogson (pictured below) said: “International Women’s Day is not just about honouring those who are getting on but also about inspiring girls and young women to achieve, if anything that is even more important.
“The real message is to keep your confidence up because that is important to anything you want to do.
“International Women’s Day is about giving people something to aspire to and having these role models, whether it be Jessica Ennis-Hill, Julie Kenny or Barack Obama.”
Ms Pogson and council commissioner Julie Kenny are among a strong line-up of speakers at a Women in Business event at Tankersley Manor this afternoon.
The event also includes the presentation of the annual Athena Awards, which recognise people who have supported, inspired and encouraged women to become active, fulfil their potential and assume leadership roles.
Previous recipients of the Athena Award include theatre school principal Gillian Banks, Carol Bowser of the Winthrop Park charity Wickersley, children’s author Victoria Bown-Copley and Chief Inspector Caroline Rollitt of South Yorkshire Police.
Last year’s winner, enterprise champion and business consultant Jill White, council chief executive Sharon Kemp and campaigner and former charity chief Dame Julia Cleverdon will also speak at the event.
Ms Pogson said she was proud that Rotherham had such an impressive list of women in Rotherham to pick from when selecting speakers.
“I am really looking forward to meeting Julia Cleverdon and Julie Kenny is a local celebrity in her own right,” she said.
“Having women like this in such important and influential positions is really good for mentoring and encourage other people to get onto business boards and get involved in things.
“We had some amazing nominations for the three Athena Awards and we will be so proud to invite the honourees to the stage.
“We had the Athena Awards in Rotherham for years before we lost the licence and I’m so pleased to have it back and to be celebrating leadership.”
Read the amazing story of Bertha Mould, Rotherham's unsung hero of the First World War
This year’s nominees for the Athena International Leadership Award are:
Amy Cooper (Onboard Skate Park)
Bridie Warner-Adsetts (Naylor Industries PLC)
Gaynor Cross (Jenga Training CIC)
Julia Arechiga (Rotherham College RNN Group)
Laura Riley (Mums in Need)
Marina Lairos (Inova Consultancy)
Michelle Bailey (Active Response Security Services Ltd)
Rachel Wilson (Rush House)
Shahida Siddique (FaithStar LLP)
Sharon Cope (Healthwatch Rotherham)
Zanib Rasool MBE (Rotherham United Community Sports Trust)
Honorees for the Young Professionals Leadership Award are:
Eve Lodge (Barmy Bunting)
Hannah Duraid (The Great Escape)
Kristan Clarkson (Active Response Security Services Limited)
Nichola Hawden (Harris & Co)
Shannon Roberts (South Yorkshire Community Foundation)
Sonia Bielaszewska (South Yorkshire Community Foundation)
The Organisational Leadership Award will go to one of:
Dransfield Properties Ltd
Naylor Industries PLC
Onboard Skate Park
YWHP Sexual Abuse Support Group