International Women's Day in Newcastle upon Tyne

Celebrating Diversity in the North East #Balance for Better

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Robyn Townsend

Lab Engineer, TusPark Eagle Lab Newcastle


Newcastle Eagle Lab recently had the pleasure of hosting an International Women’s Day Breakfast organised by Michell Hua and Ravneet Kaur.

Michelle Hua is a public speaker, writer, Founder & CEO of Made With Glove Ltd. She is also the Ambassador for Women of Wearables, an organisation that supports, inspires and connects women in wearable tech, fashion tech, the IoT and AR/VR.

Ravneet is an Innovation Manager, ORE Catapult. She is a STEMs Ambassador and NELEP’s Enterprise Advisor, providing industrial careers advise to local secondary schools and promoting STEM careers amongst students. She also sits on the Alumni Advisory Panel for Department of International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur.

The event saw two speakers and a panel discussion surrounding all aspects of diversity and equality in the workplace.

Jenny Hartley, director at Invest Newcastle, opened the event with an engaging talk covering equality from family to workplace. Jenny encouraged “celebrating everyone who’s got your back” and argued that “a diverse workforce is a more productive workforce.”

The panel chaired by Michelle Hua included panellists Dr Kavitha Muthu, Business Applications UK Ambassador for the European Space Agency. Jamie Hardesty, Community Manager (North East) for Tech North. Katie Carroll, Managing Editor for Daily News, Americas & UK. And Gilbert Corrales, CEO and Founder of the music service

They answered questions from Michelle such as “What positive things have you seen in your organisation?”  Which Jamie elegantly answered with how Tech North is combating gender disparity in the tech industry with a bottom-up approach in their organisation.

As well as answering live questions from the audience such as “There are not many men amongst us this morning. How do we encourage more men to champion diversity and inclusion efforts and get behind tackling gender parity?” Which was answered across the panel with a request for everyone to keep the conversation flowing and continue to broaden awareness of other people experiences, and encourage others to do the same.

The final speaker was Alison Shaw from Newcastle University, who stressed whilst we should celebrate progress we should also “Reinforce the call to keep pushing forward with ever greater ambition”. Alison closed the event with a fitting anecdote about Greta Thunberg who at the age of 15 spoke at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference and reminded the world that “You are never too small to make a difference.”

Our Community Manager at TusPark Newcastle Eagle Lab Weiting Huang, has been supporting International Women's Day Breakfast events for two years. 

This event stressed that women's participation in the tech sector is essential for economies and communities to thrive. In our co-working space, we encourage and empower women to play a more active role in the tech and digital sectors through many actions and initiatives and we are already looking forward to next years event!


Additionally this month Hilton Hotels played host to a Barclays International Women’s Day event organised by Area Business Manager Rachel Bell.

Rachel opened the event with a heartwarming and thought-provoking video showing adults playing a game of high card with children they had not met. When it came to a King beating a Queen, the children asked “why?”, the video asked the question “Why don’t we change things?”.

There were three speakers at the Hilton. Christine Stephenson and Alison Stanley from Life of Riley who talked about their experiences raising autistic children, their work with autism awareness, as well as the play and short film they have produced.

Sarah Callendar from Duo Global Consulting delivered an engaging interactive session on “balance in our lives” and considering not only work-life balance but a balance between all of life's different identities.

Jenny Atkin, a senior associate from St James Square Law discussed her experiences as a woman in the legal profession and celebrated 2019 as 100 years since women were first allowed into the profession.

The final speaker Dr Joanna Berry, associate professor in entrepreneurship from The University of Durham talked about her life, career and family under the title “But I’m Fine” and closed the event with the thought “Because even if I’m fine, it’s not always fine”.


Robyn Townsend is based at Newcastle Eagle Lab

Newcastle Eagle Lab is a partnership with TusPark Newcastle, a Chinese high tech company supporting high growth businesses through a global network of business parks.

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