International Women’s Day

Remarkable female founders who have certainly inspired us!

The 8th of March, the annual international celebration of women’s achievements. A day that connects people from around the world, raises awareness for women’s equality and calls for positive and progressive changes towards an equal society.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” encourages everyone to embrace the strength found in the collective voices of women, promoting an environment where every woman feels heard, valued and included.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Allia team have spoken to some of our incredible female founders and Allia team to find out who and what inspires them.

Hannah Standen- CEO and Co-Founder of Alterist:

Hannah, who was part of our recent Female Founders Impact Accelerator, co-founded an upcycle fashion marketplace with a mission to reduce textile waste. Alterist unites a community of upcycled fashion designers who utilise creativity to drive change and make a positive impact on our planet.

What women have inspired you to think more inclusively?                     ‘A keysource of inspiration behind Alterist, is the women who have used fashion as a platform for activism, using the power of creativity to drive change. 


We believe in the women of every day who have shown us that you can use fashion to make a statement, challenge the status quo and make the industry a more inclusive place. Creating an industry that considers people and the planet.’ 

How is this translated in your work?                                                                                                                     
‘We believe in the power of collective action, which is why one of our core values at Alterist is community. We want to empower everyone we work with. Creating a community for like-minded people to come together and work together to create a better future.

This collaborative effort is key to producing innovative solutions that can make a real impact. Working together allows us to achieve more, but honestly, it makes the whole process a lot more creative and fun.’ 

What do you think has been the best advice you had in making your life more inclusive?                                 It might sound simple but create a space where everyone feels welcome and able to express themselves. The essence of inclusivity is to listen, learn, and be open to changing your perspective. It is about making everyone feel valued and part of the conversation.’

Marina Pritchard on Lorena Pritchard:

Marina, Allia’s Cambridge Programme Manager in our venture support team is inspired by her sister!
My twin sister Lorena is my best friend. Her strength and creativity never ceases to amaze me. Through her pottery/ Art classes she creates these warm and inclusive spaces where everyone feels like they belong. I’ve really gotten to appreciate how creativity isn’t just about making things; it’s a way to bring people together and build community.”

Shelley Gregory on Harriet Kelsall: 

Shelley Gregory-Jones, Head of Funding at Allia, shares her perspective on International Women’s Day and tells us who inspires her.

There are so many amazing female entrepreneurs out there – women who have followed their passion, overcome the odds, harnessed their skills, and achieved success – often making the world a better place in the process.’

Shelley chooses to celebrate Harriet Kelsall, a talented jeweler and businesswoman whose entrepreneurial journey began as a kitchen table start-up.

Harriet’s creative ability and ability and innate business acumen, has grown to four design studios and shops in Cambridge, London, St Albans and Baldock –

Harriet’s success extends beyond commerce, as she advocates for reducing injustice in jewelry supply chains, using Fairtrade gold, and ensuring the ethical sourcing of metals and gems.
Harriet and her team also champion circularity by redesigning and breathing new life into older pieces. Even the jewelry boxes are made from sustainable bamboo.

Despite facing the challenges of dyslexia, Harriet embraced its advantages, such as creative problem-solving, and wrote a book, “The Creatives Guide To Starting A Business,” to support fellow creatives and entrepreneurs on their path to success.
Finally, Harriet has achieved her success while being very dyslexic. Rather than allowing it to become a barrier, she has leant into the advantages dyslexia brings – such as her creative problem-solving ability.

Laura Rose on Ruth Wood:

Laura Rose, Allia’s Group Head of Marketing Communications is inspired by her twin sister too!

My twin sister Ruth has been an inspiration to me for years – she is always focused on inclusion, compassion and standing up for those who are disadvantaged. Whether that is through her work managing a Therapeutic Horticulture project for a local Cambridge homelessness charity, where all participants are encouraged to have a say in planning and activities; or helping to cycle warm dinners around to those in need as part of Cambridge Community Kitchen (and supporting numerous other causes and charities)”.