Select entrepreneurs from across the North East were left inspired after a visit to the region by highly respected businesswoman Kate Hardcastle.
The Yorkshire-born founder of business transformation and support firm Insight With Passion spoke with members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum at a special event, held at The Forge, Teesside University’s business exchange building in Darlington.
With more than 20 years’ business experience, Kate is also a retail guru, professional speaker and media pundit, acting as a go-to business expert for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky and more.
Her business also operates for one day a week under its Access For All brand, which provides its services free of charge to charities, start-ups and other organisations deemed in need of support.
Kate founded the Positive Image campaign and is an Ambassador for the Diana Awards and Women in Sport.
Having started her career as a singer, she has also performed backing vocals for stars including Martha Reeves and Candi Staton.
Kate told guests how she had been inspired to meet Body Shop founder, the late Anita Roddick, to learn from her business ethos.
She said: “My granddad gave me the advice that if I saw the behaviour of something I liked, to find out who did it and ask to meet them and ask how they did it.
“Outside of my family, that meeting is still the greatest 42 minutes of my life.”
Kate also discussed the importance of networks to her career: “My three rules of thumb are passion, persuasion and persistence. If I was to add another, it would be politeness.
“I have worked hard to create and maintain a valuable network that is both wide and international.
“Passion, persuasion, persistence and politeness have been at the heart of everything we have done so far.”
Gillian Marshall, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “To hear from Kate in such an intimate setting was fantastic, because she regularly speaks on the world stage alongside people including US President Bill Clinton.
“Listening to how Kate mixes solid business practice with charitable work and supporting a wide range of causes was both inspirational and humbling, and talks like this are part of what makes the Entrepreneurs’ Forum so valuable to members.”