Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we caught up with a few of the female team members here at Governors for Schools, to talk about the women who inspire them.

Abigail’s inspiration

Abigail Bush

What do you do at Governors for Schools?

I’m an Area Manager for Yorkshire and the North East, so I find and place volunteers in schools in those areas. I also work with businesses in the region to encourage more people to volunteer.

What brought you to Governors for Schools?

I knew I wanted to work in the charity sector, so I started looking in that area when I finished my Masters. I’ve always been interested in education – I studied children’s rights at university, so a child’s rights to a good education is something I believe in. Governors for Schools shares those values.

What woman inspires you? And how?

My mum inspires me, even though she doesn’t realise it a lot of the time. My mum is one of the strongest people I know, and she’s always fought for what she felt was best for me and my sister. I can now see that she does the same thing for her granddaughter (my niece).

There are lots of women in my life that I find inspiring. I have a strong group of friends at home in the Cayman Islands and here in the UK, and they’re all doing really well, pursuing things they’re passionate about. I work with a lot of inspiring women at Governors for Schools and I take inspiration from many of the people I work with in my day to day. Everyone has something that makes them inspiring in their own way.

   Governors for Schools


Katie’s inspiration

Katie Punter

What do you do at Governors for Schools?

I’m the South London Area Manager for Governors for Schools – I manage 10 boroughs and also account manage some of our corporate partnerships.

What brought you to Governors for Schools?

I received a CELTA to teach English to adults before I joined Governors for Schools and was working teaching English to adults. I’ve always been interested in education – every job I’ve had has involved working in education in some way. I hadn’t realised that education was the thread that brought all my roles together. I first joined Governors for Schools on a temporary basis and then decided to stay as I really believe in the charity’s mission.

Who inspires you? And how?

Caitlin Moran for her books and her writing for The Times. She’s made me proud to call myself a strident feminist and that has been a formative influence on me, reading what she writes and not being afraid to say things that haven’t been said before about women.

I’m also inspired by Bryony Gordon, a journalist who writes for the Telegraph. She’s single-handily made OCD less scary by writing about the condition and her experience with it. I think it’s great when women are unafraid to break taboos and say things we don’t commonly in the public domain, especially about things that a lot of people – often specifically women – deal with. I look up to any woman or person who stands up and shouts against injustice, in any form.


Eleanor’s inspiration

Eleanor Horswill

What do you do at Governors for Schools?

I’m the School Engagement Officer in our London team. I act as a port of call for schools when they are in need of governors and I’m always looking to increase our impact across London schools.

What brought you to Governors for Schools?

I’ve always wanted to work for an organisation where social impact is key. I used to work in Outreach for my university (UEA) as an Ambassador, and was part of a pilot scheme using educational workshops to raise student’s aspirations. When the opportunity arose to become part of an organisation delivering educational impact, I was excited and knew this job was a great fit for me.

Who inspires you? And how?

Cliché I know, but I’m surrounded by people who inspire me. My family and friends all contribute to how I think, act and feel inspired.

My parents, in particular, have impacted who I have aspired to be from a young age, and who I am today. My mum’s nursing career and the way in which she cares for others was always a powerful message – she proved to me the impact you can have as an individual if you aspire to make society a better place. My dad has always role modelled self-belief and a strong work ethic- and proved its value for as long as I can remember.

I recently read Michelle Obama’s book ‘Becoming’ and was completely absorbed by her life story and inspired to achieve more. What stood out most for me was how she spoke about the male role models she’s had throughout her life, and how these relationships have contributed to how she feels about her own abilities. I am passionate that women should feel and be empowered by everyone. It’s powerful when women empower other women and those around you – who through their small, kind acts every day – have the power to influence who you are too.

   Michelle Obama


Julie’s inspiration

Julie Thiberg

What do you do at Governors for Schools?

I oversee our relationships with new potential corporate partners and develop a strategy to make sure we continue to see growth in volunteer recruitment. I also line manage marketing and our governor support services.

What brought you to Governors for Schools?

I wanted to work in social enterprise, particularly in education, after many years in the private sector. Working somewhere diverse is important to me – diversity makes organisations more efficient, especially compared to my previous companies that were particularly male-dominated (my last company had a male-only senior team and board). Governors for Schools is much more modern and fast-thinking, which I enjoy AND I firmly believe in what we do as a charity.

Who inspires you? And how?

My biggest role model is my mum. She had a fantastic career as a child psychologist. She’s retired now, but during the last couple of years of her career, she travelled around the country giving speeches about her life working with children. I find how she worked hard to develop and progress in her career fascinating.

I’m from Denmark, where men and women work equally, so it’s been hard for her to see me in situations where I had to fight to progress and be heard as a woman. She’s been supportive in telling me that I can do anything I want to do in the workplace – all whilst being there for my two little children at home. My mum gives me so much inspiration in life and has always told me to confidently go in the direction of my dreams. I’ve lived all over the world with her support and never regretted a minute of it – and despite her living in another country, we speak almost every day.


Vanessa’s inspiration

Vanessa Johnson

What do you do at Governors for Schools?

I’m the Marketing Executive for Governors for Schools and look after all our design work and social media channels.

What brought you to Governors for Schools?

I’ve always been interested in education and I wanted to be part of a charity I know is doing valuable work.

Who inspires you? And how?

My role models are Maya Washington and Patricia Bright. They’re both Youtubers who have started their own successful businesses. Maya – aka ShamelessMaya – has been an inspiration of mine for years. I’ve watched her shamelessly challenge herself while building her own business and having the opportunity to photograph the late great – Prince! Patricia Bright also inspires me – she’s a black British woman who has built her own brand, written her own book, and even has her own lipstick with Mac.

Maya and Patricia both inspire me to never give up and to work for what I believe in. They also inspire me to not worry about what others think of me, and that being myself is the best thing I can be.

Maya Washington   Patricia Bright