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Business & Economy

North East businesswomen inspire next generation of female leaders

A quartet of aspirational women were recruited by Westfield School in Gosforth to shine a light on careers in the region’s creative, consumer and charitable sectors for its pupils.

Representing a diverse mix of job sectors, sometimes lesser-known amongst school leavers, were Kari Owers, MD at O Communications; Mandy Coppin, CEO at Streetwise Young People’s Project; Kim Davis, MD at Explain Market Research and Cathy Stephenson, marketing manager at Sweetdreams ltd.

Speaking to 13 to 16-year-olds, the group educated pupils on their chosen industry including the potential career paths within it and shared their journeys from high school to present day. Goal setting was also on the agenda, with a collective message communicated that the sky is the limit for females of any age or skillset when it comes to reaching for what they want.

Entrepreneur and women in digital champion Kari inspired the girls to one day be their own boss, while long-term charity worker Mandy talked about the benefits of volunteering to develop their skills whilst still in education and giving back from a young age.

Other topics that emerged were the importance of having work experience when meeting potential employers, and never settling in a role that does not feel right, both encouraged by market research lead Kim, and confectionary expert Cathy.

Mr Walker, headmaster at Westfield School said: “It was great to see how engaged the girls were in Kari, Mandy, Kim and Cathy’s stories, hearing first-hand how they have gone on to achieve brilliant things, and why it’s more than possible for them to do just that in the future.

“As part of our duty to produce self-confident and ambitious young ladies, we recognise the value in helping to shape their personal and professional aspirations, and think it’s important to open their eyes to the huge scope of sectors, specialisms and job roles available, by highlighting the fantastic examples that businesses are showing right here in the region.”

Westfield School is an independent day school for girls aged from three to 18-years-old in the heart of Gosforth, and was founded in 1960.

For more information on Westfield School, or to register for its open day on Saturday March 3 from 10am to 1pm, visit