Looking back at 2019: Our top Inspirational Women & HeForShe interviews

female leaders, group of women

In the fourth and final installments of looking back at 2019, we delve into our favourite and fascinating Inspirational Women & HeForShe interviews of the year.

Our Inspirational Women series of interviews aims to highlight amazing women across the globe, showcase their achievements and raise their profiles. Over the years, we have interviewed so many amazing women such as Cherie Blair, Angie Greaves, Baroness Mary Goudie, Sarah Willingham and many more.

Our HeForShe interviews celebrate men who promote and support women in the workplace, whether it is through campaigning, mentoring or giving opportunities to women.

Discover our editor’s pick of inspirational interviews for 2019 below:

Hannah MacLeod featuredInspirational Woman: Hannah MacLeod MBE | Hockey Player & Olympic Gold Medallist
Dr Hannah MacLeod is a double Olympic medallist, with the record-breaking Great Britain Women’s hockey team, culminating in winning Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has a doctorate in Exercise Physiology and has helped build a successful specialist nutrition consultancy business.

Hannah was born in Boston, Lincolnshire 9th June 1984 and grew up moving around the country due to her Dads career in the Royal Air Force. Hannah’s journey started when she was inspired by the performances of Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell at the 1992 Olympic Games. An accomplished athlete from an early age, however, as a shy, quiet and unassuming child, Hannah was drawn to team sports, in particular football. When Hannah was not allowed to join her primary school team because ‘girls weren’t allowed’ she turned to hockey. A relatively late starter, it wasn’t until Hannah went to secondary school that she was introduced to the sport during a PE lesson. With the support of her PE teacher she joined a hockey club and fell in love with the sport.

Hannah went on to represent Cambridgeshire and the East of England at U16 and U18 level but was also on the receiving end of some significant disappointments with failed trials and knock-backs along the way. Hannah went on to captain the England U21 side at a junior World Cup in Chile in 2005 before moving up to senior level 2 years later.

Read Hannah’s full interview here

HeForShe: Lieutenant Colonel Sulle Alhaji | Royal Army Physical Training Corps

Lieutenant Colonel Sulle Alhaji was born in Newcastle where he spent his childhood.

At 13 years old he joined the Army Cadet Force, at 16 he joined the Royal Marine Reserves.  In June 1978, he joined the Parachute Regiment and was posted to the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment located in Osnabrück, Germany.  In 1979 he deployed to Armagh, Northern Ireland.  In 1982 he deployed to the Falkland Islands on OP CORPORATE with B Coy where they captured Mt Longdon.  In 1984 he served six months on an operational tour in the jungle of Belize protecting the border.

In 1986 he transferred into the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) and served in various locations, of which highlights are, 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and as the Chief Instructor at the Army School of Physical Training in Sennelager, Germany.  He commissioned in January 2000 and was posted to the Army Training Regiment Pirbright, then attended Junior Commend Staff College in preparation for a Staff Officers appointment at Headquarters Initial Training Group.  On promotion to Major he served in various staff appointments including tours in Germany and Canada, where he was responsible for the delivery of Adventurous training for over 5000 troops per annum.  In 2015 he was offered a new Full Time Reserve Service assignment in Army Headquarters, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and responsible for designing the assurance process for all physical development in the Army.  In 2017, he took on his current assignment as director of the Army Youth Outreach Team, responsible for identifying opportunities to engage with diverse youth communities across the country.

Read Sulle’s full interview here

Pips Bunce featuredInspirational Profile: Pips Bunce | Director, Credit Suisse

Mx Pips Bunce is a Director at Credit Suisse and has been working in the IT industry for over 25 years across range of different sectors.

She has worked for a variety of firms including Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, UBS, British Telecom and the Bank of England.

Pips is recognised as a leader and influencer in many fields of Diversity and Inclusion and through her work, has been recognised through several  prestigious awards including the Financial Times & HERoes Female champions of Women in Business, the FT & OUTStanding LGBT executive leader and the British LGBT Awards.

She is a visible and vocal advocate for many forms of equality including gender identity, gender parity and gender equality. Pips frequently presents at a range of large events and conferences such as the Women of The Square Mile, Diversity in Technology as well as presenting at venues ranging from other corporates through to in the houses of parliament.

Read Pips’ full interview here

Charlotte Caldwell featuredInspirational Woman: Charlotte Caldwell | British campaigner

Charlotte Caldwell is joined at the hip to epileptic and autistic son Billy, now 13.

Billy fights for life every day. Billy depends on a specially formulated medicinal cannabis medicine to stave off dozens of potentially-fatal seizures every day.

Together they made history in 2018 when, after Billy’s medicinal cannabis was confiscated at Heathrow Airport and he fell into a life-threatening condition, they succeeded in changing the law regarding access to medicinal cannabis, and started a ball rolling which could positively impact thousands of people with a range of conditions, and who have experienced or believe medicinal cannabis can relieve them of the symptoms of mental and physical conditions.

Read Charlotte’s full interview here

Penny Powers featuredInspirational Woman: Penny Power OBE | Entrepreneur, author, businesswoman & speaker

Penny Power OBE started leading conversations in business wellness in 1998 when she founded the world’s first business online community, Ecademy.

She has been a business owner, speaker and author for 20 years. She was awarded her OBE by the Queen in January 2014 for her contribution to Entrepreneurship in the Social Digital World. Penny’s latest book, Business is Personal launched in January 2019. In the book, Penny discusses the importance of us holding onto our own beliefs and definition of the life we want to lead and live, in a world of ‘comparing and despairing’ that has been created by the overuse and dependence on social media. Penny boldly opens up about the trials of her own life and the observations she has of the way we are all being sucked into believing we lack, rather than having the confidence in our own values, skills and dreams. Penny is keen to ensure that business start-ups, self-employed, business owners and employed people are also guided and supported in a world of communication that not only impacts the mental health of teenagers, but very much impacts working adults.

Read Penny’s full interview here

Caprice Bourret featuredInspirational Woman: Caprice Bourret | Businesswoman, model & actress

Caprice Bourret is an award-winning model, businesswoman and philanthropist.

Having shot to fame in the 1990s, Caprice’s break-through front cover was Vogue Magazine. She is often referred to as ‘one of the most photographed women in the world’ and has appeared on more than 350 magazine covers across the globe and over 150 TV shows and films. From her humble beginnings in Southern California, Caprice settled in England in her early 20’s and is now a true adopted Brit.

Caprice has been voted GQ Magazine’s Woman of the Year and Maxim’s International Woman of the Year for three years running.  Her American entrepreneurial spirit has seen her diversify into other areas such as music and acting, as well as, investing her first million in property at a young age.

Having starred in a number of West End productions, including the lead in Rent and Vagina Monologues.  Caprice bought the rights to the hit production, ‘Debbie Does Dallas the musical’ which she produced and starred in.

An avid philanthropist, she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and Caprice is patron to Woman’s Trust and Brain Tumour Research, Tikva, Jewish Care. Caprice and her partner Ty Comfort reside in London with their two beautiful children Jett and Jax.

More recently Caprice has also reignited her passion for acting and she is set to star in a number of films, including a lead role to be aired exclusively on Amazon Prime.

Read Caprice’s full interview here

Holly Budge featuredInspirational Woman: Holly Budge | Everest summiteer, expedition leader & founder, How Many Elephants

Holly Budge, Founder of How Many Elephants, shared stories of her summiting Everest to immersing herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female anti-poaching team in South Africa.

British Airways called her “one of the UK’s most accomplished female adventurers”, who has raised over £300K for charities.

Read Holly’s full interview here

Menna Fitzpatrick & Jennifer Kehoe featuredInspirational Woman: Menna Fitzpatrick MBE | British alpine ski racer & one of Britain’s most-decorated Winter Paralympian

Menna Fitzpatrick is a visually impaired alpine skier competing with British Army Officer Jennifer Kehoe as her sighted guide on the World Cup circuit.

Menna and Jen became Britain’s Most-Decorated Winter Paralympians at the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, winning one gold, two silver and one bronze medal.

​Menna was born visually impaired; she has no vision in her left eye and limited sight in her right. Her parents were determined that she would not be disadvantaged by this and, when she was five years old, they taught her to ski. Menna has less than five per cent overall vision, which means she skis with a guide. She learned to ski on family holidays in France. After being spotted at the Chill Factore snow centre in Manchester, she was invited to train with the British Parasnowsports Team with her Dad as her guide. This was a great partnership and was a great way to start racing. They began racing in the IPCAS races in Landgraaf, which they placed 4th in their first race. The following year they began to enter more races in Roll Rinn and Lachtal. This was the start of her amazing journey towards the Paralympics.

In September 2015, Menna started working with British Army Captain Jen Kehoe, who had been guiding for a couple of years with the team. They hit it off instantly and have been working as a pair for just over two years. They had a hugely successful first season together where they became the first ever British winter sports athletes to win the Overall World Cup Champions title, as well as winning the overall title for Giant Slalom. They also became British Champions in the same year.

Read Menna’s full interview here

You can discover all of our inspirational profiles here!

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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