This week in the week that is important to women everywhere we are celebrating our home grown role models and introducing our Tees Valley #ThisNorthernGirlCan ambassadors. Today I have pleasure in introducing the #ThisNorthernGirlCan interview with Emily Conyard.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.
A. I’m Emily Conyard. I currently work as an Email Marketing Executive for Visualsoft. My job role involves me working with a range of clients on their email activity. This could be through managing their day-to-day output, training them on best practice or developing innovative digital campaigns by analysing data to create strategies.
Q. What have you loved about growing up in the North?
A. I’m extremely proud to come from the North of England. I love that we’re close to some of the world’s UNESCO sites, we’re only a stone throw away from the beach and beautiful National Trust areas surround us.
Q. Did you have any challenges growing up in the North?
A. When I was younger, not too much. This was due to the fact that I was too busy deciding what to study! However, in Higher Education, it was apparent some of the challenges the North faced. Whether it was due to under representation or the job market, it felt like when we began to get bad press everything became a struggle. I was encouraged to study in the North East but, when I graduated, every job seemed to be based in the South.
I believe the North East is beginning to change, we’re now a thriving digital hub and some of the best agencies are based here – we’re starting to define a niche. Us Northerner’s are always proud of our roots!
Q. Have you or do you face any challenges being female?
A. At university I helped co-found Miss Represented, a website dedicated to celebrating inspirational stories and promoting equality. We decided that we were sick of reading negative perceptions around feminism and women’s rights, we wanted to develop a positive community that discussed and debated topical issues. It was an extremely fun project and one that I’ll always look back on as the best time of my life – I certainly met some inspirational people along the way!
Q. What or who inspired your journey to where you are now?
A. I’m lucky to have a range of inspirational people surrounding me. Whether it’s my mum who has triumphed over adversity at every opportunity and is one of the strongest people I know. Or my lecturers at university who opened my mind to all things possible in the North.
Q. What advice would you to give to girls growing up in the North?
A. Always be proud of who you are and where you come from, stand your ground and use your voice.
Q. How do you think we can encourage more young people about the importance of gender equality?
A. Education, education, education as Blair once said. Certainly when I was younger it was never a topic discussed, that’s why I never realised it was an issue until higher education when we debated it at both college and university level. Now I believe it’s more important than ever that we stand together and continue to use our voice.
Q. Tell us some of your favourite Northern places.
A. Fountains Abbey, Roseberry Topping, Saltburn, Whitby. I feel like this could go on forever…
Q. Who are your favourite Northern people (alive or dead?)
A. Bob Mortimer. Everytime I see him on TV I feel a surge of pride, as with many other Northern TV personalities. Also Mackenzie Thorpe, I’ve studied his art from a young age and now his pieces sit in Middlesbrough Train Station for those new to the area to see. I feel like he paints the North in a positive light and really helps capture our love for where we come from.
Q. Explain your love of the North in one sentence.
A. A wide variety of cultures, food (the ‘parmo’, goes without saying), people and historical areas. So many undiscovered beauties that aren’t shouted about.
Q. What would you like to see the #ThisNorthernGirlCan movement do?
A. I’d love it to inspire people. Make them jump out of their chair and feel motivated, counteract the bad press we receive and generate positivity in the area. We’ve got so much to offer and that’s only going to continue. It’s about time we stood up and shouted about how great we are, the more we continue to sing the more voices we’ll gain.
I hope we can create a community of Northerner’s from all walks of life and sectors working together to help give advice, support each other and promote the area.
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