A group of Bolton’s women leaders got together to discuss how to help aspiring local women and encourage girls to achieve.

The Leaders’ Lunch at the Mayor’s Parlour was attended by some of the 22 women identified by the SheInspires Awards’ movement as influential and important to the town.

Explained organiser Gulnaz Brennan: “They are women, often at the top of their profession or field, who can make a difference to life in Bolton – and especially to women and girls – with their example and inspiration.”

However, she pointed out such women need help and support, too. “It can be a lonely place as a leader. They need a safe space too.”

She added: “So, we will be launching The 22 Leaders’ Lounge which will primarily focus on leaders’ wellbeing, support, a safe space and quarterly meet-ups.

“They will also form an investor panel to support new enterprise ideas of women and will function as a think-tank.”

The 22 includes GP Dr Helen Wall, Lead on the town’s Covid vaccination programme, Maura Jackson CEO of young homeless charity BACKUP North-West, former Bolton Mayor and Honorary Alderman Carol Swarbrick, CVS chief executive Dawn Yates-Obe and Jackie Hyde managing director of Stanmore Insurance Ltd.

Another is Gail Hounslea, Managing Director of Ladderstore, who commented: “Women lead with strength, respect and empathy. So having more women in leadership positions will help show a future of endless possibilities for all young women.

“This will give them something to work towards in becoming great leaders themselves one day.

“Having a gender balance in leadership is important as it improves things for men, too. It brings greater economic prosperity and makes society safer and healthier.

“In Bolton, we are lucky to have some excellent examples of strong women leaders which provides positive role models to young women across the borough. You can’t be what you can’t see.

“Great women leaders encourage the development of all members of the team but especially young women who often need help with confidence-building. Giving a hand up to others is a great part of being a leader.”

Original article on Bolton News