Inspirational Women

Megan Rowe
March 10 2022
Since Tuesday was International Women's Day, we decided to centre this blog around celebrating the inspirational women in Red's life!
From colleagues to former bosses to mums, daughters, and partners…they’re the women that inspire us daily, so today we’re showing them some LOVE
Matthew Welstead – Managing Director
I have so many inspirational women in my life it is impossible to pick one!
So, to list the main ones I would say my wife (Karen), my daughters (Cora and Marnie), my Mum (Lucille) and my awesome team of amazing women here at Red (Stacey, Leigh, Louise and Megan).
All of these people are obviously very different individuals but what they all have in common is that they impress me every day with their positive outlook on life and genuine desire to make the world a better place!
Go girls!
Stacey Clark – Operations Manager
It’s so hard to pick just 1, as there are so many amazing, strong women in my life, but the two I want to mention today are my mum and my sister-in-law.
My mum is the most kind hearted and caring person I can think of, always putting others first and ensuring she is always there for family and friends with whatever they need. She really is a super star.
Then there is also my sister-in-law (Karen) who not only owns and runs a successful business but also is the best mum to my wonderful nieces and does an incredible job in juggling these 2 roles. I have no idea how she finds the time to do both, but I do know that she is extremely hardworking and will do anything to ensure her family are provided for and that they have the best life.
My nieces are already amazing young ladies, but I know with role models like their mum (Karen) and their Nanna (my mum) they are going to continue to grow and develop into strong, inspirational women too. 
Leigh Reid Atanasov – Recruitment Consultant
A couple of women who inspired me in my life were not celebrities, athletes, or royalty they were 2 hardworking females of whom I came into contact throughout my career.  One of them ended up a huge influence nearer the start of my working life and had it not been for her I most likely would not be where I am today (I’m always a firm believer of what’s for you won’t go past you), the other female I admired a lot.
First was a Reception Manager called Charlotte that I had worked with when I worked at the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow.  Charlotte had such a lovely warm personality and used to always rave about when she was a purser onboard a cruise ship (The Caronia) and encouraged me to go get a job on a ship at sea, telling me to apply and planting a seed in my head that it was possible to get a job where I could see the world and work at the same time.  For this young girl from the East End of Glasgow no one had ever told me that this is something you could do as a career, and I never thought for 1 minute I could get a job working on a ship.  Because, when I was leaving high school, you were usually told if you want to learn a trade you could go through some YT skill seekers course (with low trainee salary) or if you want to do a specialist job like education, healthcare etc you would have to go to University or College.  I left school after I did my Highers and was lucky enough to find a full-time job as an office junior, and I did office roles before I moved into the hospitality industry.  It was only from my experience of working in hospitality that actually got me my job on my first cruise ship.  Had that Manager Charlotte not put the idea into my head that this was something I could do, for me to apply at a later stage thinking I had been unsuccessful and then 6 months later receive an invite to interview for one of the most prestigious cruise lines in the world for a place on a Cunard ship…this was then to be my dream job and something I was proud of when telling friends and family. 
This leads me onto the 2nd most inspirational women out there, Captain Inger Thorhauge (previously Captain Olsen) who was the first female Captain in the Cunard fleet, she was born in the Faroe Islands.  If you think back to the olden days, where it was frowned upon for a woman even to be on a ship let alone take the helm this Captain was exceptional, knowledgeable and a true professional.  I remember each port we visited after she had come onboard, it was a novelty for government officials to want to board and meet this new lady Captain. I remember she was firm but very fair and also very approachable. I can’t imagine it would have been an easy task throughout her whole career to get to where she got especially during a 170 year tradition of males (in Cunard) but I thought that she would be a great role model for other females to realise they too could become a Captain of a ship one day and I really admired that.  Strangely enough she joined Cunard in 1997 as the first Officer on the Caronia, so maybe her path had crossed with Charlotte and we were actually all linked in some way. 
Louise McDade – Recruitment Consultant
My little sister is one of the most awesome people I know, she is never afraid to speak her mind and from a really young age she made sure she spoke up for people who did not have the loudest voice. She supports charities and spent her spare time in lockdown cooking and delivering food. She also made the decision while working as a communications Manager for an energy company to walk away from the corporate world and manage her own business. She is brave, honest and she is also such a kind soul, I am very lucky she is in my life.
Megan Rowe – Recruitment & Marketing Administrator
I’m lucky to have encountered many inspirational women over the years. Looking back, I had the realization that the majority have been teachers, starting strong with my P1 teacher who still sends a Christmas card all these years later! Mrs Thwaites is a fantastic artist who left teaching not long after I left her class to paint full time, the Christmas cards we receive are her own paintings of her farm on the North Yorkshire moors and are always a treasure to open. At high school, I was lucky to be surrounded by women who encouraged my passion for reading and creative writing: from my art teacher who favoured me despite my obvious lack of an artistic streak and recommended many excellent novels, her classroom was always a lovely lunchtime retreat; to my first-year English teacher for whom my work was never quite good enough, but instilled in me a determination to work even harder to impress her. My history teacher who I had the pleasure of having from 1st year of high school right through to 6th year Advanced Higher was one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met, and her decency meant she had one of the highest pass rates in the entire school: no one wanted to let Mrs H down. My Advanced Higher English teacher taught me that we never stop working on ourselves. Despite being the head of the campus, she openly admitted to how much she hated open days, award ceremonies and the public speaking aspect that came hand in hand with such events and that each time she would have to give herself a pep talk beforehand to gear herself up for it. It was refreshing to hear that someone so accomplished still experienced feelings of self-doubt and made me realise the importance of constantly working on ourselves and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. I respected her so much that I then went on to study the exact same degree as she had years before, and at the same Uni too!
Whilst at university, I felt honoured to be surrounded by such talented, accomplished, ambitious women on a daily basis. From my dissertation supervisor Dr Laura Rattray, founder of the Transatlantic Literary Women Series, Reader in American Literature at Glasgow University and creator of the brilliant senior honours course in Modern American Women’s Writing; to Dr Kirsteen McCue, Professor of Scottish Literature and Song Culture who herself studied at Glasgow and won the prestigious Herkless Prize for top woman graduate in the Faculty of Arts, with much of her work now focusing on women writers in 18th and 19th centuries and beyond. I really feel like I had the chance to learn from the best whilst at Uni, but seminars with both Laura and Kirsteen were particularly engaging, stimulating, and inspiring.
My last blog post talked about my transition from university to the workplace and how patient all my new colleagues have been in showing me the ropes at Red. Our office is filled with women – our poor (sorry, *lucky!) MD Matt really is outnumbered, and Karen, Stacey, Leigh and Louise are all so hard working and passionate about what they do – I can only mirror their enthusiasm! I’ve been lucky to have a chat with each of them individually about their specific field/industry and I’ve learned so much in the past week from interior design, to engineering and the maritime industry, to the finance sector – the girls have really shown me what a wealth of knowledge we have at Red and inspired me to strive to be my best self.
But my favourite teacher of all has to be my mum, Maxine or Mrs Rowe as she’s been known for the last thirty years of her life. My mum was the first in her family to go to Uni, studying English Lit joint with Primary Teaching and has had a huge impact on education ever since, beginning her career in the North East of England before moving to the West Coast of Scotland – swapping large, city school life for the more rural countryside classroom setting. She made the difficult decision to leave teaching last summer and I embarrassed her by doing a little Facebook post, not expecting the number of responses that it got! As I read through the hundred or so comments from her fellow teachers, former pupils, and the parents of former pupils I felt my eyes filling up and an immense feeling of pride for my mum and the lives she’s impacted over the years. And all the while, she was still number one mum. She worked full time as a headteacher, yet she was always there to help with homework in the evening, ferry me and my brother to and from endless after school activities, cook the most scrumptious dinners (her cooking really is *chefs kiss*), make me clothes on her sewing machine, chat books with me, look after the dogs, chickens, ferret and pet lamb Snowy, and support my Dad in his dream to do his second self-build as a family home when we relocated from England to Scotland. Looking back, I feel such guilt at how I just took it all for granted, but that was partly because she made it seem so effortless. My mum isn’t just my inspirational woman, but I know there’s so many kids, teachers, and parents out there who would also have her on their list. She’s the sort of person that many would feel lucky to call their friend, but I get to call her mum and for that I feel extremely lucky.
Another big focus in my last blog post was on how we never stop learning. Every day I learn from the inspirational women around me: my colleagues, family members and brilliant friends. I know for a fact that I’ll encounter many more inspirational female teachers over the coming years and that’s the beauty of supporting other women – by doing so, we’re constantly learning and adding to each other’s strengths. Let's celebrate that, today and everyday.


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