The Chair of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Interview with Vikki Heywood,
Chairman(sic) of the RSA

Chair of the RSA

(Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

“Over my career I’ve developed  an understanding of the complexity of human relationships and the desire to engage with both your own creativity and the creativity of others, and how it enables you to think through your life and the world around you.

“As a child I had loads of role models.   My family, my mother, my father.   My grandmother on my father’s side was a business woman, widowed young, who took on running her husband’s business, which was a cotton mill in Lancashire.   She was matriarchal, very funny, quite indomitable, a force of nature.

“My other influence was books, loads of books, about groups of people.   Family groups going through amazing experiences.   They were adventure stories, a group coming together and working against adversity, now I think about it.

Vikki Heywood

The Chair of the RSA

My unifying theme is being part of a team. Continue reading

Professor Dame Athene Donald

Professor Dame Athene Donald
Champion of Women’s Equality

If I had one action to change the world,  I would worry about equality.   
I think we ignore it at our peril.   That’s not just gender,  its ethnic,  it’s  socio-economic.

The Women's Equality Champion from 2010 to 2014

The Women’s Equality Champion from 2010 to 2014

Professor Dame Athene Donald is a scientist working at

The Cavendish.  Amongst many other roles she is  Master of Churchill College at Cambridge, where she was Cambridge’s Gender Equality Champion from 2010-2014.   She also chaired the Education Committee for The Royal Society.

I don’t’ consider myself to be a feminist    I associate the word with the sort of 60s culture, man hating.    I believe in Equality absolutely, but I don’t like the word Feminist.   I know that the modern use is different, but I still feel uncomfortable with it.
Anne Marie Slaughter speaks of strong women, who did stay in the house, but they did have dreams and wanted their daughters and grand daughters to go on to great things, but if you have  a mother who is says don’t do that, you’ll break your nails, it’s hardly encouraging or supportive.

It just appalls me the messages, Maths isn’t for girls, or  T-shirts saying I’m too pretty to do maths .

Continue reading

Steve the refugee from Germany

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to England as a refugee

I hated the Germans

As late as about 1965 I was still avoiding going on German soil, I hated the Germans.   It took a long time but then in my early 30s I began to mature.    It was precisely  for people like me to reach out and I joined the Anglo German society.

portrait of Stephanie Shirley

photograph by Robert Taylor

I joined my mother in her trip to Vienna, which I had escaped 20 years earlier.    I looked around at the gracious avenues, ancient walls and elegant squares,… and realised in an instant that it meant absolutely nothing to me…… at that moment I felt the weight of my past vanish from my shoulders

The title of my memoir (soon to be made into a film)  is about letting go.   Let IT Go    Continue reading

The Service Compaints Ombudsman

The Service Complaints Ombudsman

Nicola Williams

I wanted to use my my abilities with words,

both the written and the spoken word
to help further social justice, that’s my life purpose.

When the Travon Martin verdict came out in the States, I was so very very angry at the time because of the blatant unfairness.

Social justice
Nicola has been a barrister, a judge and served on regulatory bodies.  She has been the second woman Service Complaints Commissioner for the armed forces and now has  a more important role, that of the first  Service Complaints Ombudsman, to the Military. Continue reading

Nicola Williams

Nicola Williams

Ombudsman for the Armed forces

My most memorable event, had the added poignancy of my father.   It was when I became a judge.   Once  I found out officially,  I could tell him.   As it turned out he died the following march.  

My ambitions as a child were quite varied. I wanted to be a fashion designer.  Around the age of 10 I was very interested in Astronomy.  Then at A levels, I was  interested in languages with a view to going to the UN to be a translator. Continue reading

Your Future, Your Ambition

Rashada Harry Co-director

Rising Star winner Rashada

WATC Rising Star Awards at House of Commons

Your Future, Your Ambition is definitely my main focus at the moment and also my voluntary work.  I’ve travelled to both Ghana and Kenya in my spare time, working with children in remote villages.  Continue reading

Mayor of Croydon Council

Mayor Patricia Hay-Justice

My role as mayor is very important.   On the political side you always have the leader and the political establishment. Then there needs to be an individual  to champion that borough.  Making sure Croydon is seen in a great light, the brilliant buildings and green spaces, not as a concrete jungle.   Continue reading