LOCAL BUSINESS CHAMPION RECOGNISED IN THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST
19 June 2014
Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Rosemary French, has revealed her pride at being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to women in business.
Ms French says she feels “proud and humbled” to receive an OBE and hopes that her award will inspire more women to pursue their ambitions in the corporate world or in setting up their own businesses.
Rosemary French is Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, a not for profit economic partnership driving business growth in the Gatwick Diamond region. Previously, she spent many years in the private sector. By 34, she had her first Managing Director role at a £20m greeting card and stationery manufacturing company in Oldham with 120 employees.
In 2001, she joined Business Link Surrey as Managing Director where she stayed until its closure by Government in 2010. It was during her time at Business Link Surrey that she saw first-hand how difficult it can be for women to break into the business world. Together with other local champions, Rosemary lobbied hard for more women-friendly business support, chairing the South East Women’s Enterprise Group which delivered workshops and conferences across the South East, using Government funds to advise women starting their own businesses.
Speaking about the situation for women in business today, Rosemary commented: “I am delighted to say that the Gatwick Diamond has many positive role female role models holding senior positions within some of our biggest global companies as well as examples of highly successful female entrepreneurs. However, there is still more that needs to be done to break down the barriers that exist.” Rosemary has helped many thousands of women to feel more empowered and informed when making their career choices, and remains passionate about helping more women achieve their career and business aspirations.