Looking back at 2020: Our top Inspirational Women & HeForShe interviews

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In the third and final installments of looking back at 2020, 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.

Paula RadcliffeInspirational Woman: Paula Radcliffe MBE | Marathon World Record Holder

Paula Radcliffe first set a World Record when she won the 2002 Chicago Marathon.

In 2003 she repeated the feat in front of a home crowd during the London Marathon. Running a time of 2:15:25, her World Record would stand for 16 ½ years.

Fiercely determined and with laser-like focus, Paula trail-blazed her way into the history books creating a legacy that would stand the test of time. From incredible comebacks to a career jam-packed with achievements – it’s perhaps easiest to say:

23-time medal-winner, eight-time marathon winner, three-time World Record-breaker, 16 ½ year World Record holder and the second fastest female marathon runner of all-time. That’s just half the story.

Read the full interview here

Philip Baldwin, Bi Visibility Day featuredHeForShe: Philip Baldwin | Human Rights Activist

Philip Baldwin is a human rights activist.

He was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, at the age of 24. Philip is healthy, happy and successful. Christianity is an important part of his life. He attends St John’s in Waterloo and is a Church of England altar servant. For many years Philip defined himself as an atheist or an agnostic. He began to reappraise the role Christianity could have in his life at the end of 2013. There are four main strands to Philip’s activism: HIV awareness; Hep C; youth homelessness; and faith for LGBT people.

From 2009 to 2015 Philip worked in financial services in London and New York. His career in the City followed on from an undergraduate degree in Modern History from Oriel College, Oxford, an M.Phil in History of Art and Architecture from Peterhouse College, Cambridge and a law conversion in London. Philip’s activism, charitable work and faith are now the main focus of his life.

Charities Philip supports and campaigns for include Stonewall, the Albert Kennedy Trust, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Positively UK and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. Philip is a Stonewall Role Model. Philip has a column in Gay Times. He has a gay rights and HIV awareness blog on the Huffington Post. He has contributed a chapter to a book on faith called The Power of My Faith. He is currently finalising a semi-autobiographical book on stigma entitled Positive Damage. Everyone has the right to live with dignity, regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, disability, age or creed.

Read the full interview here

Flavia Cacace featuredInspirational Woman: Flavia Cacace | Former Strictly Come Dancing Star & Founder, FCMFit

Over the last 10 years, Flavia has become one of the nation’s favourite dancers and personalities.

From her glitterball-winning exploits on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing to her formidable dance partnership with Vincent Simone that saw them sell out theatres around the UK with their unique brand of dance theatre for a consecutive 8 years. Along the way, they both managed to garner rave reviews, pick-up several award nominations, appear on numerous TV shows, and even make special appearances on prestigious shows like the Royal Variety and the BBC Proms.

Alongside her glittering career as a dancer, Flavia’s other passions include fitness, animal welfare, dog behaviour, food and drink, and taking long walks in Cornwall with her husband Jimi and their two cockapoos, Pablo and Zak. A little known fact is that Flavia is also a qualified dog groomer.

Recently Flavia has branched out from her known background of dance and taken a step into the world of fitness. For many years of being a dancer, Flavia has had a keen interest in Health and Fitness and has previously released several dance fitness DVD’s, but her passion runs much deeper than that. Flavia’s belief is that Total Fitness is not only about the physical side but also about your mind, body and soul. A positive outlook can go a long way! With this drive, Flavia recently went back to school and studied with NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) gaining her Level 3 diploma in personal training and nutrition. With this, she has started her new venture FCMFIT, a health and fitness brand that encompasses Flavia’s beliefs and provides programs for all levels to get fit and be the best person they can be.

As well as her new direction into fitness with FCMFit, Flavia is still enjoying dance tuition and conducting dance workshops and masterclasses. Flavia has a fellowship qualification with the UKA.

Flavia hopes that with her new platform, FCMFit, and her versatility she’s able to offer something for everyone. Flavia has said that the best piece of advice anyone has given her was from one of her early dance teachers who said: “Be the best version of you”. She now hopes she can inspire others to do the same.

Read the full interview here

Nicky MihInspirational Woman: Nicky Mih | Co-Founder, Free to Shine

Nicky Mih has a background in psychology, teaching and coaching.

But now, she’s a woman on a mission – to prevent children being trafficked into the commercial sex industry, a mission set for her by survivors themselves after she spent a month with them nine years ago.

Nicky Mih asked these survivors what they wanted and how we could help.

They wanted to end sex slavery. They explained that when girls are rescued from brothels the traffickers don’t go without girls, they just go out into the rural villages and take a new young girl. They wanted these girls to be protected. Not one of the girls Nicky met had been in school when they were trafficked. They believed that if they were in school they wouldn’t have been trafficked. If they were in school they would have been safe.

These survivors had identified a gap. There were organisations collaborating with the police on rescue operations, there were aftercare centres and there were legal teams working in the justice system to bring about prosecutions. But Nicky couldn’t find an organisation out in these rural villages specifically identifying these girls before the traffickers did. And so was born Free To Shine.

When she returned home to Australia, she was given a weekly radio show to raise awareness of trafficking and went on to establish a child protection organisation preventing children being trafficked into the commercial sex industry in Cambodia.

As the co-founder and MD of Free to Shine, Nicky leads a team of Social Workers and Education Officers who work with girls to secure their safety and achieve their rights to be free from slavery, access education, safe drinking water, enough food and adequate shelter. Nicky and her team work closely with police, community leaders, councils and schools. They have kept more than 750 girls across 59 rural villages safe.

Nicky is the author of Do What Matters, is a book about courage and achieving the seemingly impossible. It is for people who are ready to step up in their life and leadership.

Read the full interview here

Wilfred Emmanuel-JonesHeForShe: Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE | Founder, The Black Farmer

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE is a British businessman, farmer, and founder of “The Black Farmer” range of food products.

Wilfred was born in Jamaica before moving to inner city Birmingham with his parents in the 50s. He has been a chef, worked in TV production, and had his own food and drink marketing business, but in 2000 he realised his dream and bought a farm in Devon. This inspired Wilfred to develop and launch his own food brand, the now very successful The Black Farmer brand of gluten free foods.

Read the full interview here

Louise Pentland featuredInspirational Woman: Louise Pentland | YouTuber & best-selling author

Louise Pentland is one of the stand-out stars and original content creators – she started her blog in 2010 which then led onto her successful YouTube channel, Louise Pentland formerly named Sprinkle of Glitter, where her content is related to motherhood, parenting a lifestyle and has earned her a following of over 2.4 million.

As a mum of two girls, Darcy (9) and Pearl (2), Louise has amassed millions of loyal fans following her journey as a mother, partner, and overall strong woman. Louise’s real, raw, honest content is refreshing for millions of women across the world and her videos have achieved over 200 million views. Louise’s work empowering women has also earnt her the acclaimed title of UN Change Ambassador in 2016, and she featured in the 2019 Sunday Times’ Influencer List.

Louise is a number 1 Sunday Times Best-Selling Author with four books under her belt, the most recent of which is the final book in the Wilde trilogy, Wilde Women. She also launched her podcast Mothers’ Meeting with Global in late 2019, where guests include both celebrity and social media mums and share their experiences of the highs and lows of motherhood. She is also the ambassador for a range of much loved British brands in the beauty, parenting and interiors sectors.

Read the full article here

Inspirational Woman: Abiola Bello | Author & Publishing Entrepreneur

Abiola Bello was born and raised in London. She first began writing the Emily Knight saga shortly afterwards (only 12 years old!) with the intention of filling the gaping hole in children’s fiction for an inspirational, strong, black female, young protagonist.

This gap remains in the publishing world and Abiola is a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion in books.

Abiola received rave reviews for her debut book, ‘Emily Knight I am…’, as well as outstanding success with her Emily Knight Warriors pop-up book, which went viral in 2015 when it was gradually released online throughout the month of August.

‘Emily Knight I am… Awakened’ was released on September 2017 and was in the top 100 Coming of Age YA books, the winner of London’s Big Read 2019, finalist for Best Children’s book for the People’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019.

Abiola is the founder of The Lil’ Author School, co-founder of Hashtag BLAK, Hashtag Press, The Diverse Book Awards, The Author School and ink!

She won The London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards 2018. Abiola is regularly called to talk at literary events and within the media, she has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Female First Magazine, The Mirror, BBC1XTRA to name a few.

Abiola spent ten years working as a professional dancer and teacher. She has performed for more than a decade in prestigious venues including The Royal Opera House, The Barbican, Sadler’s Wells, Hammersmith Apollo, Stratford Theatre Royal. She has also appeared on The Apprentice, Got To Dance and Street Dance AllStars The Movie.

Abiola is currently editing her fourth book and is represented by The Bent Agency.

Read the full article here

Linda Plant featuredInspirational Woman: Linda Plant | BBC The Apprentice Interviewer & Founder, The Linda Plant Academy

Linda has built her career from humble beginnings to become one of Britain’s most successful business leaders.

She is now helping others to forge their own career and business path too, with her Linda Plant Business Academy and her personally written Business Blueprint Course.

After leaving school aged 15, Linda progressed quickly from selling fashion on a Leeds market stall, to launching her international knitwear brand, Honeysuckle. After taking the company back she later became one of the first women to head a fashion company flotation becoming a PLC.

As a pioneer female business leader she continued her business successes in a series of challenging executive roles, whilst consecutively growing and selling her electronics company after three short years, for substantial profit.

Linda is known as ‘The Queen of Mean’ for her no-nonsense interviews of BBC The Apprentice’s final five candidates, providing advice to Lord Sugar for over 5 seasons.

Her passion for business and entrepreneurship has also been recognised with a number of business awards and as judge of the top female entrepreneur for HSBC’s Panel of Forward Ladies.

Today Linda runs highly successful property development and interior design businesses and her Linda Plant Business Academy.

Read the full article here

Inspirational Woman: Aimee Vivian | DJ, Capital FM

Aimee Vivian has been a DJ at Capital FM since 2015, hosting the afternoon show Monday – Saturday.

She worked her way from overnights to early breakfast, and is now a listener favourite 1pm – 4pm. Aimee has interviewed some of the world’s biggest stars including Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris and Liam Payne, cementing her position as an important young woman in radio – something she feels extremely passionate about. Her work with Capital has led to commercial work with several big brands including Disney and MTV, as well TV work with Sky, C4 and C5.

Read the full article here

Michael Barrington-HibbertHeForShe: Michael Barrington-Hibbert | Managing Partner of Barrington Hibbert Associates & co-founder of the 10,000 Black Interns initiative

Michael Barrington-Hibbert is Managing Partner of Barrington Hibbert Associates and co-founder of the 10,000 Black Interns initiative.

He is a diversity champion and works closely with FTSE 100 companies and leading Investment Banks to advise them on how to increase the number of BAME professionals within senior management positions.

Read the 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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