The inspirational founder of She Inspires Awards & A Passionate Campaigner
As well as being a co-founder of She Inspires Foundation, Gulnaz is a Director at She Inspires, Chief Officer of WiN, Director at Community Film, Art & Media CIC and Corporation Member at Bolton College. Gulnaz also authored and masterminded ‘100 Women 100 Stories’ in 2019 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, and was Muslim Woman of the Year in 2017.
She founded the incredible Inspire Awards, celebrating extraordinary women in 2014 and the 7th year event in December 2020 was the most complex ever but also the most important. Never was it more crucial to recognize inspirational women in a world of turmoil but to do so virtually was the mother of all challenges.
A passionate campaigner for the rights of minorities, with an unshakeable determination to ensure that life opportunities should be available to all – regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. A journalist by nature, Gulnaz has interviewed a multitude of extraordinary people. Each encounter has added to a burgeoning treasure trove of learning.
When you sit down for a chat with Gulnaz Brennan, laughter will be heard within the first three minutes. Guaranteed. It’s not so much that she has an endless mental archive of comedic stories, although she knows a few. It’s because she lightens the mood. Of every conversation. And of every day.
Gulnaz’s says ‘Becoming an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud is a ‘no-brainer’. When you come across an organization that exactly mirrors your own values and goals, support comes naturally. It’s a real honour for me to even be asked to join such a list of amazing Ambassadors, and I’m proud to become part of this extraordinary team.’
For 20 years Nina has been the CEO of Brazen, a multi-award-winning PR agency with offices in (rainy) Manchester and (sunny) Dubai, advising many high-profile clients and brands on all things, PR & Social Media.
Nina runs Brazen with a family-first feel, with her 30-strong team’s mental health and wellbeing at its heart. Her strong Company Purpose (‘To Feel Great, Do Great & Be Great’) underpins everything the agency does, and she gifts all her team ‘Wellbeing Time’ every month, just to take time out to focus on themselves, unplug, destress and be happy.
She’s been a passionate supporter of Girls Out Loud for the past 12 months, working as a Big Sister on our pioneering Cheadle Hulme/ Wilmslow High Twin School mentoring programme, to help give her Little Sister more confidence, resilience and self-belief. Something Nina’s found hugely rewarding and inspiring, both personally and professionally.
So much so that Nina was delighted to join our Ambassador programme in November 2020 and aims to bring her PR expertise and honest passion for our cause to help us through the exceptionally challenging time of COVID-19 and raise much-needed funds.
In her spare time, she’s also a wife and loving Mum to her 13-year-old daughter, 16-year-old step-daughter and two crazy King Charles Cavaliers.
You can contact her here, email@example.com.
Lisa has over 15 years experience in the FMCG industry and has held people development roles for great brands such as McVities, Jacobs & Mr Kipling, her passion is people in food.
As a coach and a leadership development specialist, Lisa has worked with inspirational Leaders and brings her own authenticity and enthusiasm to everyone she interacts with. Her passion in people, fairness and the belief that everyone has the right to own their own identity and have their voices heard has landed her in a role where she can bring these values to life. Her purpose is to release potential in others and has done this by role modelling to others how to be authentic, inspirational and inclusive and has taken these learnings on the rugby pitch and in the boardroom during her career.
As an ambassador for Girls Out Loud, Lisa wants to help young girls and women cut through the crap that society and social media can demand of them and learn to love themselves and be themselves. Her intention is to support girls on their journey and deal with what the world of relationships, interaction and life can bring at a young age and hopefully when they hit the world of work they walk in there with their heads held high, know who they are, what they want and provide the next generation of inspirational Women we all so need and love.
Her motto in life is ‘Live the life you dream, anything is possible’
Lynn Nolan is Operations Manager for Slater and Gordon UK based in Liverpool, she has been with S&G for nearly 8 years and has progressed from a legal assistant after taking a career change from Hospitality.
Lynn’s passion lies within people development, not only her clients, but her work colleagues throughout the UK, she is well known within the firm for supporting mental health events, starting a running club and fund raising for Girls Out Loud.
She strives to give world class service to her clients and to ensure all colleagues near or far can pick up the phone if they need any support, anytime.
At home Lynn has 2 young boys and a husband who keep her on her toes all weekend with football!
Lynn’s passion is to show girls they can dream big no matter who they are or where they’re from, she believes social media is taking over young girls lives and increasing the pressure they face daily, even hourly.
Lynn says ‘Being part of Girls Out Loud as a role model and a Big Sister has opened my eyes to the challenges young girls face and has deepened my passion to help and support this amazing social enterprise.
If I can make a difference to one girl or help someone realise aspirations to be a leader then it’s a privilege to be involved.’
Jane is the buying director at N brown and is responsible for delivering the womenswear offerings across N Brown brands, principally JD Williams and Simply be.
One of Jane’s great strengths is building and motivating large teams, ensuring that they listen to the customer, addressing her desires and needs with empathy and understanding. This allows them to build relevant fashion ranges sourced from all over the world to compete in a highly competitive market space.
Jane has been at N Brown for just over 10 years but has moved roles every 2 years, allowing her to continually learn, develop and progress. Jane was one of the first graduates within the buying team to join N Brown and has progressed from Graduate to director within her 10 years.
Jane has 2 young daughters, leads a largely female workforce and obsesses over how to make N Brown customers look and feel amazing.
“with the right outfit women and girls have the confidence to change the world”
Janes goal is to empower young women and help them dream big and prove to themselves anything is possible with a bit of self believe. Jane struggled in the school system with Dyslexia but once she joined the world of work her creative thinking and strong people skills really helped her climb the career ladder. Jane feels passionately about supporting Girls Out Loud and wants to help girls find their passion and inspire them to dream big!
When Jane is not working, she loves nothing more than walking in the lake district with her family…fresh air, leggings and no makeup, often make a refreshing change from the fast paced world of fashion and retail…
We are delighted to welcome Jo Whitfield to our team of Ambassadors. Jo has been a fan and advocate of our cause for the past few years ensuring we have been talked about in all the right places and being an amazing Big Sister for 3 years running at Oldham Oasis Academy.
Jo moved to the Co-op as FD/CFO of Retail in April 2016 and within a year was promoted to CEO of Food. The first female CEO of a UK food retailer. Prior to this move Jo was with the Asda business for 8 years having been FD for George, VP for George Operations, International and Strategy and finally VP for Asda General Merchandise, Money and Mobile.
Jo’s experience and Industry sector background is varied. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant having trained with Ernst & Young and subsequently moved into Industry. Throughout her career she has held Finance, Strategy and Commercial leadership roles with businesses such as Northern Foods, GE Capital and Matalan.
Jo is a member of the Critical Eye Network and Women in Retail group. She was also recently featured in the “Inspiring Women Leaders “ book by Lee Travers.
Jo enjoys spending her personal time at the beach with her husband and two young sons and is passionate about inspiring young girls to harness their confidence in order to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities they are now presented with in the workplace.
Her Ambassador role will be to continue to promote our work within the Co-op and open more doors within the retail sector utilising her connections and profile.
Jackie has worked her way up through the ranks at Stanmore Insurance Brokers after joining in 1988 (in fact, she applied for a job at Stanmore three times before finally landing a role). In 1999 when the opportunity came up to have a real say in how the business was run, Jackie grabbed it with both hands joining the board of directors.
In 2003, alongside the commercial insurance offering of Stanmore, Jackie launched dot2dot, a specialist insurance product just for nursery schools. Fourteen years later this is now the UK’s leading nursery insurance product, in fact, it is award-winning – in December Stanmore Insurance Brokers was named Schemes Broker of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards. In 2015 Jackie went on to become the managing director and majority shareholder of Stanmore Insurance Brokers.
Key to Jackie’s success has been her focus on understanding what her customers need and providing the services to help them thrive. She had grown a network of like-minded business contacts whose products and services complement and enhance the Stanmore products resulting in a service that customers would struggle to get anywhere else.
As an ambassador of Girls Out Loud Jackie’s goal is to encourage her clients from all sectors to become more involved in empowering young women through the work of GOL, raising the profile of the RHINO girl, making sure they know anything is achievable.
When she is not working, Jackie, loves walking her dog Baxter, enjoys her downtime with country walks and seaside breaks with her husband and two grown-up children.
Caroline has recently started the next chapter of her career, taking all her 25 plus years of experience as both a Leader, Coach and Senior HR professional, and channelling it into setting up her own business, One Little Bean. She is passionate about people development and has built the foundations of her business on nurturing growth and maximising potential in all those she supports.
Prior to starting her dream role as a full time Coach, she worked for Warburtons for 12 years, culminating in her heading up the HR team at their HQ in Bolton, supporting circa 350 employees.
Working within a FMCG business brought new and exciting challenges and allowed Caroline to grow her skill set within the HR profession. She partnered with senior stakeholders to build an engaging environment where everyone was able to bring their best self to work. Working closely with high potential individuals at middle manager level and beyond, Caroline has a real passion for developing others, taking pride in helping them succeed, whatever their goals.
Prior to joining Warburtons Caroline held a number of senior management positions with Thomas Cook Retail and offshore as a Senior HR Business Partner for RBS International in Jersey. During her time on the Island she made the decision to step off the corporate ladder for a few years to run her own gift and interior design business. She learnt so much about running her own business, which has come in handy once again, whilst also taking the chance to spread her creative wings at the same time.
With people development intertwined throughout her career, Caroline’s interest in the Big Sister programme which inspires middle girls was a given and resulted in her becoming a Big Sister herself in 2016/17. Safe to say she loved it! She has naturally become a Girls Out Loud evangelist, encouraging more and more women to get involved in our work and shining a light on how organisations can both give something back, whilst developing their own people along the way.
Caroline says ‘Girls Out Loud’play a vital role in helping impressionable young girls build confidence and ultimately realise their potential. They really do make a difference and I am delighted to be part of the inspirational Ambassador team, helping to spread the word about their amazing work across my network. I will wear my Ambassador badge with purpose and pride.”
Penni is the Director and Co-Owner of ConnectIn Events in Manchester. ConnectIn specialises in the spectacular and can adapt to anything, working alongside their clients to craft seamless and unique virtual and live events! ConnectIn are now one of the leading virtual and live event companies in the UK with clients from across a range of sectors including retail, fashion, homeware and consumer goods. ConnectIn Events were the lead support with the last fundraising event for Girls Out Loud delivering a fantastic Shining Stars Ball.
Penni’s breadth of knowledge spans over 20 years and she has helped reshape ConnectIn into the event specialists they are today along with her Co-Founder David Ward and her brilliant team. A persistent ‘I can’ attitude and attention to detail is key to her success. Penni is well loved for her warm and personable nature, balanced with true professionalism, she gets the best out of everyone she works with.
When Penni is not working, you can usually find her on long walks, dancing in the kitchen or a gig, spending time at home with her two cats Mr Jones and Miss Ivy, dining in the many fantastic restaurants that Manchester has to offer or browsing the rails in stores for her next must have fashion item!
As an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud, Penni says:
‘I am so glad I grew up when I did, the statistics Jane shared with us at a past Women In Housing Awards night relating to teenage girls and their mental health, self-harming, suicides, eating disorders, bullying and lack of aspiration was truly mind blowing to hear. I am proud to be supporting Jane and her team and the amazing work they are doing to empower young girls and help them navigate such a challenging landscape. I am also incredibly pleased to help lead the Girls Out Loud fundraising events which raise so much awareness for this brilliant organisation’
Karen Turton has built a career within the hospitality industry that has so far spanned over 25 years. She started at a grass roots level running nightclubs and pubs before moving into the Learning and Development arena where she became the Group Training Manager for Choice Hotels Europe. During this role she was awarded one of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper prestigious 30 under 30 awards that then led her to move back into pubs into a more operational position.
The next decade saw her gain credibility as an operations manager and she further enhanced her skill set with a move into marketing where she headed up the value food brands as the Concept Manager. In 2005 Karen was named as one of the 6 finalists for business woman of the year at the Publican awards.
Following a successful career in pubs that saw her named as a finalist in the ALMR operations manager of the year awards she was headhunted by Nandos to be their first ever appointed female Regional Director where she remained for over 2 years before becoming UK Operations Director at Turtle Bay. Most recently Karen has made the move to set up her own business focussing on helping individuals, teams and organisations build effective communications and relationships to enhance performance through the medium of storytelling. Purple Story was founded upon the premise that every Story starts Somewhere and every Story has the potential to be Remarkable
Karen, known as KT by those that have worked with her, has a passion for leadership that she combines with learning. In 2013 she successfully gained her Masters in Multi Unit leadership after spending time researching the millennial generation and leadership impacts. This year she will continue her personal development journey by starting a PHd where she will set about to undertake some unique research specifically focussed around diversity and females. Karen is really clear that her purpose is to help the females she comes into contact with be the best they can be and help them step forward. This is what has brought her to Girls Out Loud.
Karen was introduced to Jane’s work through a colleague and the superb work immediately resonated with her own purpose and as such she is keen to support and help Jane grow the Girls Out Loud brand to ensure that as many impressionable girls are reached as soon as possible in their formative years to help them step forward into being whatever they choose to be.
Hattie is a presenter, DJ, artist manager and voiceover artist.
Since moving to Manchester almost a decade ago Hattie has been involved in the music scene in various forms. Whether it’s promoting live gigs whilst at Uni, interviewing bands for her YouTube channel Matter of Sound or DJing her weekly club night, GIRLS ON FILM at The Deaf Institute.
She started out in the media as a freelancer for BBC Breakfast, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Manchester. In 2013 she landed the night shift presenting on Radio X (formerly XFM) before moving to Key 103 (now Hits Radio)
Most recently Hattie has started presenting for the online music platform, Vevo. She is also proud to play second bassoon (albeit not very well) in Manchester Wind Orchestra.
Hattie first got involved with Girls Out Loud in 2013, taking part in the Discovery days and the Role Model Relay events and after stepping up to be a Big Sister she knew for sure, Girls Out Loud would hold a very special place in her heart for a very long time!
Hattie says ‘I am fortunate enough to have had a privileged upbringing with a supportive and loving family and growing up it’s not always easy to appreciate that. Upon moving to Manchester for Uni when I was 19 I became aware of a whole new world that was miles away from home in so many senses. I’m proud to have just bought my first home in Salford, I love the city and I care for the local community. Girls Out Loud opened my eyes to the difficulties teenage girls face and I want to be a part of helping make that change. I don’t often see my 16 year old sister and although I don’t want to replace her I do love being around young women, their ability to tell it how it is can be refreshing and the personal development I’ve achieved from the my involvement has been so rewarding.’
As an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud, Hattie will bring her knowledge, passion and contacts from the media industry to the table. Her aim is to help young women realise their dreams whether they may be aspiring journalists, camera operators, presenters, technicians or producers by connecting them with creative, professional women.
Hattie is high energy and much loved addition to our growing team of Ambassadors and amongst her many talents she helps to keep us all on trend so we are very pleased to welcome her on board!
Find out more about Hattie at www.hattiepearson.co.uk and follow her on twitter @hattiepearson
Vanessa Vallely is a recognized expert in person-to-person business networking, online branding and a sought after motivational speaker. She is regarded as one of the most well networked women in and out of the City of London and is passionate about sharing her know-how and experiences with others.
In 2008, Vanessa started the networking site: www.wearethecity.com (WATC) as a vehicle to help other Women connect and grow both personally and professionally. Today, WeAreTheCity experiences over 5 million hits per month and an average of 260,000 unique visitors.
Vanessa works tirelessly to furthering the Diversity Agenda. To this end, Women in Banking & Finance (WiBF), recognized her achievements with the ‘2011 Women’s Champion Award’. In 2009, Vanessa co-founded the citywide diversity forum, The Networks of Networks (TNON). The TNON includes the Diversity heads and heads of women’s networks from 48 firms.
As testimony to the success of the knowledge she shares with others, Vanessa is on every watch list following top women in the City, and her latest achievement is being cited as 1 of 50 Women of Influence by UK’s leading magazine, Good Housekeeping (Nov 2013).
Vanessa has recently released her first book, “Heels of Steel” which tracks her amazing career climb to the C-suite. As well as being an autobiography, the book also imparts 13 chapters of tips and advice aimed at helping the next generation to achieve career success.
Vanessa is committed to community work, and alongside her role as an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud she also serves as a Non Executive for Prostate Cancer UK and is the Pearly Queen of the City of London, which represents a fundamental aspect of London’s heritage.
She says ‘I am proud to support Girls Out Loud as I truly believe we all need to give back to future generations of girls who need our support to ensure they have the best possible start in life.’
Here, here Vanessa, welcome on board!
With a successful career spanning the Corporate world, independent management consultancy and SME business growth, Nina launched her own Executive Search company in January 2013.
As an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud, Nina’s main objective is to ensure that her clients in the Transport Sector are aware of the amazing work being done with young girls, and are given the opportunity to support us in whatever way they can. The Rail Sector in particular needs to attract more females in to the industry, and so Girls Out Loud is a great fit with the diversity aims of the sector.
Nina is passionate about working with, developing and support people to be the very best they can be, whatever their starting point … She firmly believes that every one has the capacity to achieve amazing things, and that everyone deserves the support to help them reach for their dreams.
Nina is an eternal optimist, lover of beach walks, books and inspirational people – and her favourite place in the world is in the company of her family and friends.
To find out more about Nina visit www.intuitiverecruitment.com or follow her on twitter @ninalockwood
Jess is a young woman passionate about the hospitality sector and a clear role model in her niche.
Alongside her day job as Head of Sales at Hotel Football she is a Director of the Female Hospitality Network and the Co-chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association, on a mission to unite the hotels of Manchester to ensure the city is positioned as a key destination.
Over the past 10 years she has worked hard to progress her career and currently manages a full on role and a dynamic team, alongside raising two young children. She is clearly a role model for the next generation. She is living proof that with hard work, fortitude and a positive mind-set you can create the life you desire.
Jess says ‘For years I have pushed myself to work through varying obstacles and to be invited to be an Ambassador for Girls Out Loud is a privilege and an honour.
The work Girls Out Loud do to ensure young females get a fair start in life is inspiring. Jane and her team have clearly touched the lives of many young women, who potentially may have slipped through the net without their guidance and intervention and I will continue to support their work via advocacy and fundraising for as long as I can.’
Lead of UK&I Diversity & Inclusion Programme – BeingMe
Nicola started as a Graduate with Pladis in 2014 and has worked across the Supply Chain in various roles, currently working in the Liverpool site as the Manufacturing Manager for some of the key brands in the portfolio – Cream Cracker, Cheddars, Twiglets and Cracker Crisps.
Nicola became familiar with the work of Girls Out Loud in 2018 as she embarked on the Big Sister journey. Empowered, engaged and excited to make a difference, alongside the day job of manufacturing, Nicola was inspired to create and lead a grass roots Diversity and Inclusion agenda at Pladis called “BeingMe”. Nicola is passionate about equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, background or ability.
Nicola has become an internal champion at Pladis enlisting further Big Sisters onto the programme and invited one of the 2018 cohorts to the McVities factory in Manchester as part of a workshop to demonstrate the breadth of opportunities in terms of careers for Little Sisters. Convinced that this programme offers extensive benefits for both the Big and Little Sister, Nicola became excited at the opportunity to provide support for all the programmes offered by Girls Out Loud.
In becoming an ambassador, Nicola hopes to support the growth of their amazing work, which is in demand now more than ever. As the pandemic has reversed a decade of progress around social mobility it is imperative organisations like Girls Out Loud have the resources to ensure it does not take a decade to recover.