Award-winner Claire leads International Women’s Day celebrations

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Claire Preston, the first ever Tees Businesswoman of the Year, will be among the female business leaders who address girls from across the region when they converge on Teesside University for an event which aims to inspire, enthuse and encourage confidence about their futures.

Around 100 girls, aged 15 to 18, have been invited to the Middlesbrough campus from local schools and colleges to mark International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March – when speakers will also include several of those who won or were shortlisted for categories in the inaugural Tees Businesswomen Awards, organised by Tees Business in November 2018.

The event will provide an opportunity to hear honest life stories from female business leaders working in industries such as law, film-making, engineering, finance and education; engage in workshops aimed at building resilience and confidence; learn from young female entrepreneurs and apprentices; experience the power of female voices and create a graffiti wall to capture aspirations and ambitions.

The aim is to provide girls with an opportunity to share in an experience that will leave them feeling positive and enthused about their individual and collective potential.

It is one of a series of events taking place at Teesside University to mark International Women’s Day.

Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) and Gender Champion at Teesside University, said: “It is so important that girls are given the opportunity to meet positive role models, people whom they can look up to and aspire to emulate.

“There are some impressive women in this region doing incredible things, largely under the radar. It is an honour to invite 100 school and college pupils to the University on such a special day to hear directly from women who are making a considerable impact in their chosen professions.

“Hopefully their real life stories of hard work, setbacks, dedication, courage and success will inspire the next generation of young women to go on and achieve even greater things here in the Tees Valley, nationally and internationally.

“International Women’s Day is a global day of celebration and we are proud that Teesside University is once again supporting this fantastic event.”

Along with Middlesbrough-based Lexonik CEO Claire Preston, the inspirational speakers aiming to enthuse the girls during the day include Sharon Lane, managing director of Tees Components, Katrina Morley, CEO of Tees Valley Education Multi-Academy Trust and Crake & Mallon’s Alison Crake, Active Chartered Financial Services’ Liza Pontone and Jessica Williams of Just Williams.

They will share their stories of how they rose up the ranks in their respective industries and reflect on how their achievements match their ambitions from when they were younger.

It is part of a range of events and activities taking place at Teesside University to mark International Women’s Day.

Other activities include:

· Historian Martin Peagam will present a talk, Putting Women on a Pedestal: Inspirational Teesside Women, to celebrate the women across the region from the worlds of politics, entertainment and many other fields who deserve recognition. This talk is limited to University staff and students.

· Middlesbrough Tower is to be lit up purple to mark International Women’s Day.

· Dr Andy Clarke, a research associate with the Oral History Collective at Newcastle University, will give a talk on Wednesday 6 March on the marginalisation of women’s resistance to deindustrialisation.

· MIMA events on Thursday 7 March include a Tees Together panel on feminism, spotlight tours focusing on work by female artists and an exhibition of portraits of women architects in the University’s Constantine Gallery during the first two weeks of March.

You can find out more about International Women’s Day events at Teesside University here.

Following on from International Women’s Day, the University will also hold its annual Hello World conference on April 24. It is designed to encourage girls to be excited about using computers and the career opportunities they bring.

The annual event sees scores of girls from schools across the region gather at the University to engage with all aspects of computer science.


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