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 Professor Jane Turner.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.
A. I am Professor Jane Turner OBE the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Engagement at Teesside University.
Q. What have you loved about growing up in the North?
A. I grew up in Guisborough and also spent a lot of weekends with my Grandmother who lived in Newcastle. So living in the North East was very much part of my childhood. I have always loved and respected the people, their honesty, candidness and brilliant sense of humour. I also loved the beauty of the landscape.
Q. Did you have any challenges growing up in the North?
A. Just the usual perception issues that can surround the North. I moved to London when I was 20 and was a considered a bit of an oddity in the workplace. I recall a group of colleagues asking me if we had shops like Marks and Spencer and how we managed to survive the long cold winters.
Q. Have you or do you face any challenges being female?
A. I experienced some challenges when working as a senior manager in a male dominated environment. I wasn’t the ‘norm’ and people didn’t know quite how to approach me. It was a significant learning journey for me and also the largely male culture. My challenge now is a very positive one, which is to help disrupt the status quo and create greater equality.
Q. What or who inspired your journey to where you are now?
A. I had my son and daughter when I was relatively young and never really knew what I wanted to become. I had worked in my parent’s manufacturing business when I was a teenager and loved the cut and thrust of business, the risk taking, the problem solving, observing the responsibility that you carry as an employer. So, at the age of 23, I nervously enrolled on a finance and business programme and the rest is history. I was and still am inspired by ‘learning’. Pushing to be the best one can be and seeking to always be a positive role model for my grown-up children and our students.
Q. What advice would you to give to girls growing up in the North?
A. Be audacious, be bold. Set backs are normal, it’s how you respond to them that defines you. Now is your time, so don’t waste it.
Q. How do you think we can encourage more young people about the importance of gender equality?
A. By being open, honest and respectful with each other. To create the platforms to have the courageous conversations and recognise the power of collaboration. It gets things done.
Q. Tell us some of your favourite Northern places.
A. The Quayside Newcastle. Osmotherley and Sheepwash. Sandsend, where we spent many summer holidays, it’s a magical place. Hutton Le Hole. Basically, the North Yorkshire Moors are absolutely beautiful.
Q. Who are your favourite Northern people (alive or dead?)
A. Gertrude Bell. An incredible pioneer, talent and adventurer. Way ahead of her time and that’s impressive.
Q. Explain your love of the North in one sentence.
A. A liberating place with a culture of candour and ripe for opportunity
Q. What would you like to see the #ThisNorthernGirlCan movement do?
A. Build collaborations with like-minded people that smash through barriers and challenges to create a seismic shift in perceptions and realities
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