International Women’s Day 2021: Inspirational Women to celebrate
We obviously don’t need a holiday to tell us how incredible women are; but it’s good to know that March 8th stands for a global reminder to champion women in our community. So this year’s International Women’s Day, FRUK is highlighting women all around the world kicking ass despite all odds. From the likes of Greta Thurnberg, Emma Watson to Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris and Meghan Markle; making history, fighting for change, advocating for women’s rights and gender equality. To everyday women like yourself that are doing phenomenal things. On this special day, to coincide with this year’s IWD theme of #ChooseToChallenge; we celebrate some incredible women with amazing accomplishments and doing exceptional things around the world.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a political and women’s rights activist. She continues to raise the bar; from fighting for change; gender equality to diversity inclusion. She co-organises women’s marches and social campaigns. She is also a New York Attorney and Solicitor of England & Wales with broad expertise in the financial services industry. An exceptional writer, public speaker and political commentator. She founded the Women in Leadership publication. A platform to drive positive change on issues that impact women globally through inspiring personal leadership journeys; and established She@LawTalks to promote women and BAME leadership in the legal profession through universities and secondary schools. Dr Shola has an Executive MBA (Cambridge); PhD (Birkbeck); LLM (London School of Economics & Political Science); MA (Westminster) and LLB Hons (Buckingham University).
Roni Savage is a dedicated mother of three boys who is extremely passionate about diversity in business, engineering and construction. She has worked on many major construction schemes, including the widening of the A406 and M25,; as well as various buildings and structures across the UK. After gaining several years of industry experience, she established Jomas Associates in 2009, serving land developers across the UK. In 2017, Jomas was acknowledged as a high growth company by Goldman Sachs; and Roni took part in the 10kSB business programme run with University of Oxford, Said Business School. She has been called to advice No10 and the Prime Minister on matters relating to Women in Business; and stimulating the construction industry. She simultaneously co-founded Turner Jomas, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering practice. Appointed Federation of Small Businesses National Lead for Women in STEM in January 2019. She was then appointed as policy chair for Construction in January 2020; representing small businesses in Construction industry across the UK. Roni was also appointed a Director/Trustee of YMCA SPG in March 2019; following her volunteering work on the Get on Track programme, enabling social mobility and diversity in the work place plus more.
An immigrant from Lithuania, who spoke very little English. Arrived England with just the clothes on her back and a small suitcase at the age of 13. But through hard work and determination, Raimonda gained two degrees and started of Women in Business Club. A community of over 250,000 women worldwide and is now a six-figure business. Raimonda helps women across the world set up their own business and turn their passion into profit. This is something that has proven particularly popular in the pandemic with people losing their jobs. Raimonda launched the Women Thrive Summit at the start of the pandemic in 2020. It’s fast becoming biggest women empowerment and diversity event of the year. Featuring over 40 incredible speakers, experts, mentors and coaches from all backgrounds and walks of life; coming together to share their experiences on a virtual stage. Inspire change and pave the way for a more inclusive future. She’s made it her mission to empower women globally to succeed and thrive in business; whilst educating entrepreneurs and business owners on the importance of women empowerment and equality.
Santia Deck aka the ‘Queen of Abs’ works tirelessly to inspire and empower young people and women around the world. She recently made history becoming the highest paid female American Footballer – signing a multi-million-dollar deal with WFLA. A force to reckon with, Santia is also the first female athlete to own her own sneaker company, Tronus. A published author, a fitness model, TV personality, and a TV host. As a fitness trainer she offers a variety of services to celebrity clients worldwide. She continues to fight against the stigma of women competing in popular male sports. Helping young aspiring sports women to be strong and courageous. Despite negative comments from men such as “you belong in the kitchen” and “leave real sports to men”. These comments have only fuelled her determination and resilience to become the great woman she is today.
Having suffered from mental health, anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia and identity issues; Sravya Attaluri uses art to express herself. She creates art and illustrations as a form of mental health and feminist activism – inspiring people to see the benefits of Art Therapy and the role it can play in mental wellbeing. As a brown-skinned woman, Sravya grew up not seeing people who looked like her in art and books. So she’s made it her mission to uplift people like her as well as ensure better representation. She uses art as advocacy to break mental health stigmas, fight for feminism and rights issues, and champion body confidence, diversity and inclusion. She has also created artwork for UN-backed and human rights organisations, mental health charities, movements to end public sexual harassment in the UK and more. Additionally, Sravya is the founder of Shop Hello Colour and host at @drawformentalhealth
Shireen is a Consultant Haematologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College Hospital, London with a specialist interest in the treatment of patients with lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). She is also passionate about promoting plant-based nutrition for the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases and for maintaining optimal health after treatment for cancer. Founder of plant-based health professionals UK, and co-founder of plant based health online. She also works at the University of Winchester where she has developed the first UK University-based course on plant-based nutrition. In 2019 she became certified as a Lifestyle Medicine Physician by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. She is also a certified CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) practitioner.
Having worked in local and national press for over 15 years; providing the recruitment function for over 400 newspapers and 600 job sites; Cheney decided to set up a job platform for parents and everyone else who need flexibility at work. Cheney’s first child was born with a condition that made her spend her first 15 months of her life in a full-body cast. Although, her request for flexible work was accepted but; when her second child was born, her request for flexible work was denied. She founded Mummy Jobs due to the unfair treatment women in their 30’s; who spend years building their career before choosing to have kids, were penalised when trying to return to work with a little flexibility. Following the launch of Mummy Jobs in 2017; she was awarded several awards including; runner up for National Business Awards in the New Entrepreneur of The Year category in 2018. Cheney has now joined the 50:50 Parliamentary Group in 2020, to train to be an MP and bring #ChangeInOurLifeTime. Driving for flexibility, diversity and inclusion for everyone in all aspects of working life.
Anna is the CPO & co-founder of the rapidly growing startup TIKI and co-founded startup Dual Good Health since 2017. Both of these startups use technology to improve the lives of the people. As a strong tech advocate, Anna uses TIKI to empower people to take control of their data by controlling how their online data is used. Dual Good Health on the other hand has been using virtual reality to teach people how to save lives. Creating the next generation of immersive medical training applications, in virtual reality and beyond. Dual Good Health is the creator of SimHub. A training platform that includes CPR, First Aid and life support training in virtual reality.
Adopted at three months old, she was loved and encouraged to dream. Alison Delaney managed to turn her life’s purpose into empowering children all over the world to hold onto their dreams and make a positive difference through giving back. She founded Little Bird and with over 25 years of experience in learning, development and workshops, she’s helped children to build their self-belief and confidence. In addition, for each book that is given to a UK-based pupil in the workshop, Alison donates the equivalent amount of books to children in developing countries. She also works with FTSE 100 organisations, SME’s and individuals across corporate, education and charities. For International Women’s Day, Alison has equally collaborated with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to pre-record a film that will broadcast to the staffs and community with the message Making a Difference with Happiness.
Five months pregnant Stephanie launched Soul Analyse in 2016, and was then diagnosed with breast cancer aged 29. However, she didn’t let her illness and challenges stop her from building a £1m wellbeing business, quadrupling turnover in 2020. Soul Analyse began life as a positivity blog, followed by 50,000 people, which led to the launch of the positive affirmation jewellery line. Following the success of three signature bracelets: I AM, I AM THANKFUL, I AM PRESENT; the range expanded to hundreds of products, proving popular with celebrities such as Gok Wan and the cast of Coronation Street. Inspired by her experiences as well as her customers’, Stephanie started the ‘Heal Nation’ Facebook group in 2019 as a standalone project. It has attracted almost 5,000 people who contribute uplifting posts and support community members going through tough times.
Juli Beattie was born in Hungary but came to England as a child refugee amidst the civil unrest of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Juli is a therapeutic educator and founder of two charities, The Art Room and AT The Bus. In 2016, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to the education and welfare of young people. Won the Champion of Women Award for her work and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Bath Spa University. From therapeutic programmes for young people to mental health support and working with children in hospitals. Juli is a force to reckon with and deserves to be celebrated today.
Known for her eclectic style, Sukki is a rising star on a mission. She achieved international recognition for campaigning to make burlesque a legitimate art form in Asia, and for fighting for womens’ rights worldwide, especially for empowerment and the right for women to reclaim their bodies. Her work led to an invite from Buckingham Palace, a campaign with Facebook and a nomination at this year’s Women of the Future Awards. She’s currently on the trending show on Netflix, Singapore Social along with Bling Empire. These two shows are spearheading diversity of Asians in Hollywood right now, especially for women of colour.
Giovanna co-founded Forte Medical with her brother Dr Vincent Forte, now retired NHS GP. The mission was to bring Vincent’s innovation Peezy Midstream to clinical settings. Improving infection control, patient safety and introducing cost effective way to help fight the growing crisis of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Giovanna has also led company growth, managing investment, manufacture, regulatory matters, marketing, sales and distribution in the UK and USA. A regular speaker at industry events delivering incredible lectures to Healthcare Innovation Masters Students at Imperial Business School London. Prior to launching Forte Medical, Giovanna’s consultancy of 16 years also help build business for engineers, architects and designers.
After being bullied as a teenager, Nathalie decided she wanted no child to feel alone at home or school. She set up her social enterprise, EduKit, in 2014. Ensuring no child misses out by helping schools to better understand their students’ needs. Since then, she has enabled thousands of students to seek help and improve their mental health through EduKit’s online student wellbeing surveys; and more recently, the EduKit mobile app that Benfield School uses. About 7% of UK children have attempted suicide by age of 17 – Nathalie Richards made it her mission to change the stats and help make young people happy again. She also delivers a dose of happiness through her live webinars
FluoretiQ developed UTI test (urinary tract infection) test that is quick and easy to use at a GP – 200 times faster than sending samples to a lab. Josephine Dorh who is the technical brain behind this patented invention is a brilliant role model for women entrepreneurs. FluoretiQ was founded to solve the £1.1 Bn problem of using broad spectrum antibiotics as an alternative for accurate diagnosis of infection. They developed NANOPLEX™, a ground breaking technology to ensure that Primary Healthcare professionals can prescribe the most effective antibiotic treatment from day one. Saving time, money and lives. This technology is 200x faster and can identify infection in less than 15 minutes.
Khatra truly is an inspirational woman. She was flown to Somalia at 10 where she was subjected to the brutality of Female genital mutilation; with no anesthetic, pinned down by strangers. 2 years ago Khatra spoke out for the first time about what happened to her. Khatra has walked the great wall of china in aid of One Woman. Raised money for various women’s charities and continues to help and educate other women. She is now a proud ambassador for Savera UK ( FGM Charity). In addition to this, Khatra is a trained nurse, worked in the NHS before specialising in aesthetics. She’s also a member of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses; the Aesthetic Complication Expert Group and registered with the NMC.
Doula, birth activist and singer, Nickita Starck is raising awareness of birthing options for women through her organisation – When Push Comes To Shove. She also released a new charity single Breathe Again featuring amazing birth videos. Sales from which will go directly to the fundraising effort to create an access fund for people who can’t afford an independent midwife or a doula as well as funding an education programme for school. Nickita also writes for Sony Music for other artists all over the world and she is currently working with I.E. Management who also represents major artists including Robbie Williams and SIA.
38-year-old Nerys from Ascot, is an ex-army medic who was left paralysed from the chest down as a result of being hit from her motorbike in 2008. Despite her disability she has gone on to become an Invictus Games medallist, World record holder and Commonwealth Games competitor. Having had most of the racing season wiped out last year, she’s re-starting her efforts this year to become the world’s fastest disabled racing driver, with all-disabled Team BRIT. Nerys is truly an inspiration to all.
Last year Jess and Lou created a dating app that matches compatible personalities types. It’s scientific and unique algorithm approach sets So Syncd apart from other dating apps. Couples are paired based on the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. Matching couples who have just the right amount of similarities to get each other and just the right amount of differences to create that spark. Jess and Lou’s mission is to make dating more fun, meaningful and successful – cutting through the noise and connecting partners on the basis of more than just a couple of photos. With over 300 success stories including a marriage, they’ve been able to help so many people find meaningful connections during such a difficult time. So Syncd is all about inclusivity, acceptance and mutual understanding.
Paola specialises in hosting cooking experiences to help women with their confidence through teaching them how to get more comfortable and passionate about cooking and what they eat. Using food and cooking to get through depression, Paola embraces her Italian/Latina culture and connected with people through food. I started to understand how powerful cooking and food could be.I started to feel more energised and confident as I was putting myself first by taking care of what I was eating. During the lockdown, Paola also created virtual experiences to help people through the tough times. A Sauce Club; a fun cooking community to help boost peoples confidence in the kitchen, recipes, kitchen tips and hacks. Plus a private online party experience, gathering loved ones together virtually.