09 December 2014

Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Rosemary French, has been to Windsor Palace to receive an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her work to help women in business.

OBE 030

Rosemary is no stranger to the rewards (and challenges) of running a business.  By the age of 34, she was the Managing Director of a £20m greeting card and stationery manufacturing company in Oldham with 120 employees.  Since then, she has gone on to utilise her experience as Managing Director of Business Link Surrey and, most recently, as Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, a not for profit economic partnership driving business growth in the Gatwick Diamond region.

She has seen, at first-hand, how difficult it can be for women to break into the business world and has worked tirelessly, with other local champions, to lobby for tailored advice and support for women starting their own businesses.

Ms French said: “I feel extremely honoured to have been awarded an OBE and to receive the award from the Queen herself is the icing on the cake!  I hope that my award will inspire many more women to pursue their ambitions in the corporate world or in setting up their own businesses.”

Speaking about the situation for women in business today, Rosemary added: “Things have improved greatly and today we see so many positive female role models.  Within the Gatwick Diamond area, in particular, we see some highly successful women leading our largest companies as well as running successful entrepreneurial ventures.  But more still needs to be done to help women feel empowered and informed in business and when making their career choices.”

For this reason, Rosemary is hosting a free event in the New Year for local women who have already started their own business, are considering doing so, or have reached a cross roads in their lives and are in need of inspiration regarding what to do next.  ‘Be Inspired – Make it Happen!’ will take place on 28 January at the Surrey National Golf Course in Chaldon.

Find out more about the event here.


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