On March 4th at our traditional venue of Wynyard Hall near Sedgefield, we will be welcoming Professor Jane Turner OBE DL.
This promises to be a truly inspiring presentation by Jane followed by what will be a fascinating discussion.
Jane has reached the top of her profession in a rather unconventional way. Starting out as a single mum and whilst raising a family, she studied for 13 years on a part-time basis whilst being a leadership specialist with Orange, followed by Benfield Motor Group’s Head of HR and Associate Dean at Northumbria University, where she graduated with a Masters followed by Professional Doctorate in Business Leadership in 2013. She was appointed as Professor of Enterprise in 2015. Anyone who has experienced part-time education, studying at night and at weekends, knows how demanding this is.
However, as a perfect example of how resilient and determined she is, Jane continues to work in her latest position as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) of Teesside University whilst dealing with ovarian cancer.
And to top-off a brilliant career to date, she was awarded an OBE in 2017 for Services to Business. Those final three words…Services to Business
plus Jane’s inspiring personal and professional life, will be the context of the lunch.
“This will be a presentation by a leader who can talk about personal challenges and resilience, as well as looking at the economic prosperity of the region in terms of skills, gender balance and raising aspiration,” said Jane.
Jane is passionate about preparing young people and graduates for the world of work. She engages with businesses to ensure this is, as far as possible, a seamless transition. “The partnerships that we as a University have with business are absolutely vital, thus ensuring that our graduates, many of whom choose to stay in the region, are relevant to employers and recognised as distinctive professionals.”
Jane is Teesside University’s gender champion and drives this agenda across the Tees Valley. “I’m on a mission when it comes to gender balance in this region and, although at times it feels like an uphill struggle, there are signs that we are winning. We require a significant shift in attitudes and beliefs (stereotypes, gender norms, call them what you will) regarding the role of women. Our cultural attitudes play a strong role in influencing the status of women in society and work, and these attitudes, among both men and women, shape the level of gender parity considered appropriate or desirable within each society. I want to see greater presentation and transparency of data followed by identifiable and measurable actions. From a regional perspective, we must create a better future for young girls and women. We must question and challenge deeply embedded assumptions and beliefs.”
Away from Teesside University, Jane features in the Northern Power Women Power List for 2018. She has also partnered with Simone Roche the founder of Northern Power Women, aimed at raising the profile of women in the Tees Valley and there are plans for a book featuring 100 Northern Women, later this year. “We have some amazing women in the region doing excellent work but they are largely hidden, that’s why it was brilliant to see at the recent Tees Businesswomen Awards, over a hundred women had been shortlisted. It was wonderful to note that they came from a whole raft of different businesses such as haulage, recycling, education, property development, law, automotive, sales and marketing etc.”
Jane’s appointment at Teesside University coincided with the closure of the steelworks at Redcar and the loss of thousands of jobs. Locally it was devastating. “This economic shock made me more determined to ensure that the University became laser focused in driving economic and civic prosperity, an anchor, delivering the relevant knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the people and business in our region. We are deeply engaged with the SME community, the lifeblood of our region, and as a team we work hard to ensure that our expertise permeates those businesses.” In other words, there is plenty of scope to have a lively debate with Jane across several topics, It promises to be a superb event.