Let's hear it for the girls on International Women's Day!
March 8th 2017
If someone ten years ago told me that I'd be a successful woman in charge of a leading communications business with a decade of success behind me, I'd have told them they were having a laugh.
If someone told me that I'd managed that despite a divorce (after spending half my life together in a relationship), bringing up kids, setting up a new home on my own, moving the business into new premises and dealing with the effects of the global recession - then I'd have told them they were completely off their trolley and in need of psychiatric help.
However - here I am. I've done it. Actually - I'm DOING it. And I couldn't be prouder or more excited. Range Communications is so important to me and it exists and succeeds through my own sheer hard bloody work and determination to succeed! It also exists thanks to so many amazing people that I've worked with or been inspired by. Sure - many of those are blokes too and I couldn't be more grateful (I love each and every one of you, fellas!) - but as this is International Women's Day 2017 I'm going to take a moment to single out the ladies who've helped get me to where I am today.
There's the Long Eaton Ladies Circle for starters. They supported me with friendship and caring support as I went though my divorce and other difficult times, and the one thing about being in the Ladies Circle is that you are never without a friend. I love them all dearly. One of those amazing women is Jo Bonser, MD of Healthcare Services in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. She's always been there for me through thick and thin and has been a shoulder to cry on. However she always tells me to not be stupid and get a grip when I need to hear those things most and she's often been the good angel sat on one shoulder - while others have queued up to be the naughty devil sat on the other!
Cally Taylor of Daisy Distribution was the lady who told me to set up my own business, and god am I glad she did! While I was being head-hunted by a number of men who wanted to sign me up and have them join them at their own companies, Cally gave me the inspiration to move forward and set up on my own. Since then she's always been a huge support and source of knowledge when it comes to the world of mobiles and how to deliver the best deals to my customers thanks to additional funding from the networks. I'd be lost without her - thanks Cally.
Finally there's two of the most important girls in my life who make every day special and keep me going. Step forward my amazing Mum Jackie Kirk and my beautiful daughter Emma. Firstly, let me tell you about my Mum. We had tricky times when I was a kid - I never appreciated her as much as I should have done. Hindsight, eh? However as I grew up, we developed a closer bond and she was gutted when I moved out. I clearly remember her saying "I'm going to miss you! I never missed your brother when he moved out - but I'll miss you!" Despite terrible arthritis, she never moaned or complained. She just got on with stuff and my Dad became her carer as she got worse. However the roles reversed when Dad was diagnosed with PSP - an uncommon and progressive brain disorder which affects movement, ability to walk, speech, swallowing, behaviour and much more besides. Despite her arthritis Mum became his carer - constantly having to pick him up - all seventeen stone of him - throughout the day and night. She did all this while, unbeknown to all of us including herself, she was suffering with Hodgkin Lymphoma - a nasty form of blood cancer.
Then there's Emma - my darling and sometimes trying daughter (no prizes for guessing who she gets that from...!) No man will ever tell her what to do, and god help the ones that try! She knows her own mind and she's an inspiration to all women young and old thanks to her energy and feistiness. She's worse than me!!
I'm full of hope for her. She's growing up in a world where we women are finally getting the recognition and opportunities that we deserve. Sure, there's still so much we have to do but events like International Women's Day go a long way to changing attitudes and educating people around the world.
So this one's for you - all the sisters, mothers, daughters and every one of you great women who make this world amazing!