We’d love you to help us to celebrate the amazing local women in business for International Women’s Day 2021. We’re introducing you to three amazing local women in business who despite everything began trading during lockdown. These women, particularly those in the creative industries, very strangely don’t always see themselves as business women. However, we believe they are all truly inspiring and amazing local women in business and we wish them the best of luck in all their adventures.
Showing Her True Colours
Katie Corrigan grew up dancing. A career in dance and theatre was, therefore, almost inevitable! In January 2020, along with her husband, Katie opened the doors of True Colours Performing Arts.
Katie developed her skills with local dance teachers around the area. This initial training led her to demonstrating for the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) and RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). From there she went on to become an associate of the Royal Birmingham Ballet. During this time she performed in the first cast of Sir Peter Wright’s ‘Nutcracker’. This is certainly an impressive achievement!
Behind the Scenes
Although much of her career was on stage, Katie is equally experienced behind the scenes. In fact, she met her husband, Peter, at Milton Keynes Theatre while working behind the stage. She also developed her teaching skills locally and fell in love with this work. It was while teaching for a local school that Katie decided she wanted more.
Soon after, she decided her dreams of opening her own studio could happen. She pushed herself and gained an IDTA (International Dance Teacher’s Association) teaching qualification. At the same time, her husband qualified with an IDTA Musical Theatre Teaching Diploma (Distinction).
Success Inspire of Lockdown
Naturally creative, Katie couldn’t wait to develop the brand and finally see little faces coming through the doors each week. Unbelievably, two months later, the school went into lockdown. Since then, teaching has varied between Zoom and face-to-face in the studio. Amazingly, Katie even has waiting lists for some of their classes – a testiment to their success.
Despite these challenges not one thought of giving up has entered her mind. Her passion for sharing her skills and seeing the joy and smiles from her students overrides everything. Katie and the other tutors are grateful, though, for the incredible support from parents and students.
Like, many other of the women in business we spoke to, Katie doesn’t see herself as a business woman. She sees her business as a simple process. She enjoys every minute of her work, and completes everything to an exceptionally high level. Although, the pandemic has taught her not to worry as much, her exacting standards may not allow this!
Dance for your Future
Dance unlocks many amazing traits in young people, from perseverance to confidence. For Katie, these are essential skills that can carry you through life. It doesn’t matter what level you are aiming to achieve, be it professional or for pure enjoyment. This creative skill also builds friendships. In fact, some of Katie’s closest and longest friendships come from her times in the studio.
Business owner, mother and valued cornet playing member of Milton Keynes Brass Band, Katie is certainly an inspiration. We are certain that she will have passed on the joy and made differences to the lives of many young people by the time she retires! If you are a local woman thinking about opening a business, Katie says, ‘Just go for it’.
To find out more about opportunties for dancing and performing arts.
Sharing the Love of Creating
When Anna Woodhead, took an extended break from teaching, she didn’t realise this would take her down an exciting new career path. While enjoying her special time off with her young family, Anna visited the Festival of Quilts. She fell in love with contempory quilting. Then, before she knew it she had achieved a City and Guilds Diploman in Stitched Textiles (Patchwork and Quilting).
She was shortlisted for a student bursary in 2018, following the recognition of her talents. At the same time, she knew she wanted to take her work forward and exhibit more. She also wanted to help others to develop their creative skills in textiles.
The Challenges of Learning
There is nothing like setting yourself a challenge and Anna is developing a bit of a track record! Three months before completing her Certificate course she had her baby. She didn’t stop there though, with that under her belt she embarked on completing the Diploma. Of course, with a small baby was no small feat!
While she says she had a lot of support around and also developed a talent for juggling tasks it was still challenging. COVID has brought other challenges. With her youngest child starting school, Anna decided it was perfect time to start her business. Before she knew it, she had to cancel workshops and exhibitions and put her business on hold. She then took on the role of home educator with children, once again, at home.
A Passion for Creation
She loves the process of coming up with designs for clothe and the art. Anna is patient and she can’t wait to help students discover their creative talents. For Anna, the joy of seeing students design a unique piece is the best part of the job.
Just like for Jane, Anna knew starting up a business during a pandemic was never going to be easy, but she too is enjoying the challenge. Interestingly, Anna doesn’t see herself as a woman in business, she sees herself as an artist and teacher. She believes it is her art and teaching that is the business. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how Anna sees herself for her passion and desire to inspire others stands out. To us, she is a woman in business she is also an artist, a teacher and an amazingly talented woman.
Outside of her family and her business, you may recognise Anna as one of the many dedicated volunteers who works tirelessly every year in the lantern project in Stony Stratford.
Find out more about Anna’s work and get in touch with her through her FaceBook Page Anna Woodhead Textiles
Lockdown, A Good Time to Start a Business?
Jane Franks worked within the corporate world for over 25 years. She acheived the heady heights of director level when she decided she wanted a change of direction. Having worked for a franchised business for several years, Jane realised a franchise would give her the opportunity to be her own boss.
About this time last year, 2nd March, took the plunge and bought in to her new business Radfield Home Care. The business concept worked perfectly for her desire to help improve people’s lives. The model is based on providing home care to local residents, who need a small amount of extra help around the home and in life to needing a lot more.
Building Relationships Differently
Just as she was about to go full steam ahead, lockdown happened. While that gave her one or two more challenges than in the plan, she did not give up. The set back meant a delay in building relationships with groups like Willen Hospice, Age Concern and MacIntyres. Having said that Jane embraced technology and built some relationships over zoom. However, she believes face-to-face meetings are far more beneficial in getting to know people.
By September 2020, Jane’s hard work paid off and she had received her CQC registration. This is the mark of quality that allows her trade with confidence. She can now enjoy seeing the amazing difference that her quality home care brings to the lives of clients and their families. With every visit, the wonderful stories and amazing acheivements, make every minute worthwhile.
Because She Cares
Caring is probably in Jane’s nature. She has volunteered for Child Bereavement UK for a number of years. The pandemic has severely impacted the work this essential charity carries out. She hopes to support their incredible work in the future.
This Woman Can Do It!
We asked Jane what the one thing she wished she’d known before setting up. She said, avoid a pandemic! Although this strong woman also believes that this gave her the strength to believe. Her achievements certainly mean that if she can keep going through this she can work through anything.
In the corporate world, Jane was a woman on a predominately male board. Frustratingly, to be heard, against her male colleagues, Jane had to talk louder and fight harder. Within her new business, Jane’s values are integral to the type of workplace she believes is right. As she points out, things are improving but 15% of the 350 listed companies still have no female executives.
Get In Touch
If you would like to speak to Jane about home care around the Milton Keynes area click below to find out more.
Amazing Local Women In Business
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our amazing local women in business. If you did, and you run a business and think you could benefit from working with us, get in touch.