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Steve Etter

Steve Etter

Norah Elizabeth Lane was born in Manchester in 1945.  She and the rest of her family, all had a weight problem.  As she grew into adulthood, this prompted her to study nutrition, dietetics, and psychology and, after resolving her own weight problem, worked for other slimming clubs, for experience, before reaching the decision to start her own slimming organisation in 1976. She created her own diet plan, which was incorporated in The British Council’s British Medicine Guide in December 1978 and January 1979.

In 1980, Norah started her postal slimming course, Slim-By-Post for invalids or slimmer's unable to join one of her 50 plus classes that were operating at that time. In 1985, Norah researched Human Metabolism with medical practitioners and developed her now famous Metabolic Rate Rotation Plan.  This changed the structure of the business from classes into one-to-one private slimming clinics, where diets were planned to suit the individual metabolism, needs and lifestyle of each client.

The first interactive slimming web site was funded and launched by Norah in 1997.  It worked very successfully with clients from all the continents taking up Norah’s courses. Tameside MBC granted the company two prestigious Awards for their innovative web site.   At the same time Norah received ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ for her charity work, which raised over £100,000 for deserving causes through sponsored slimming   competitions that she arranged with her clients.

Norah was introduced to the horrors of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in 1999 by one of her clients, Sasha. From that meeting in Liverpool, Norah researched PCOS and with the help of PCOS volunteers, support groups and the medical profession, she developed, over a two-year period, the now famous PCOS Metabolic Rate Rotation diet plans.

Libby was the first Dietcare ‘PCOS’ baby.  Sasha McDonnell gave birth to Libby in April 2002, after she successfully piloted and followed the PCOS Metabolic Rate course. There have now been more than 200 PCOS healthy babies born to PCOS sufferers after they followed the Dietcare PCOS course.  A special PCOS website and Internet Course, including a help-line PCOS Support Group, monitored by PCOS advisers was launched by Norah on the world-wide web.

In 2005 the Manchester Chamber of Commerce offered Norah the opportunity to take part in New Products from Britain (NPFB) to promote her PCOS diets into the USA.

Norah has appeared many times on TV and spoken on the radio about obesity and PCOS.  She also specializes in helping children with weight problems and regularly gives health talks to children in schools.  She has joined Work Experience schemes to provide young teenagers with experience of applying for jobs, interviewing and office work.

She has been awarded the prestigious Disabled emblem for her positive attitude and services to disabled people, providing them with work and appropriate diets.

Norah has written three books: ‘Healthy Slimming Made Simple’ ‘The 13 Minute Diet’, and is about to publish her book on PCOS, ‘The Road To Recovery’.

She believes in healthy eating, with all Dietcare diets being based on healthy food, mainly organic, without pre-packaged food, pills, gimmicks or ‘fad’ diets.  Dietcare’s head office and training centre are based on an organic farm in Lymm in Cheshire.  More details can be obtained on or Telephone Number 01925 759425.

She is married to Francis, a retired bank manager, and has a son, Damian, who is an environmental manager with Manchester University.


Samantha Quinlan is the founder of the charity, LEAP EQUINE THERAPEUTIC CENTRE; her vision was to offer a foundation for people to learn about themselves - their choices, positive abilities, health needs and behaviours – through working therapeutically with horses, and creating opportunities for change.

Samantha has dedicated her time voluntarily to establishing and developing an organisation to further the treatment of people suffering from psychological, behavioural, emotional and related health problems through Equine Assisted Therapy.

The programmes she has developed with horses and humans over the years have helped thousands of people ranging from young to old.

Samantha manages a network of counsellors, psychologists, doctors, teachers and horse professionals that work with her to deliver programmes for client groups including, trauma survivors, young substance abusers, terminally ill, learning difficulties, autistic spectrum, young offenders and addiction.

“Through my own experiences and journey into recovery, I found that horses played a large part in telling me where I was within myself, my lack of confidence, self worth, fear and much much more.

It has been my goal to develop an organisation who's main aim is to provide a therapeutic programme that is both beneficial for our horses and our clients.

Whatever the primary issue, from self development to illness, Equine Therapy programmes enable us to get to the core elements that need to be processed held and cared for.”

LEAP is based in Gloucestershire at a purpose developed centre. They were the proud recipient of an award from Children in Need in 2010 towards work with  young people with a history of offending or displaying inappropriate behaviours as a result of abuse or trauma, providing the opportunity to develop self esteem in a non-threatening environment.


Karen King-Aribisala was born in Guyana. She has travelled widely, having been educated in Guyana, Barbados, Italy, Nigeria and England. She is now living and working in Nigeria where she is an Associate Professor of English in the department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Karen is a writer of non-fiction and fiction and regarding the latter she has published several short stories and poems in various journals such as Wasafiri, Presence Africaine, The Griot and Bim. Her first collection of short stories, Our Wife and Other Stories, won the Best First Book Prize in the Commonwealth Prize (African Region) 1990/91. Her second work, Kicking Tongues, is a blending of poetry and prose, in which she transposes Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to modern-day Nigeria. Furthermore she has written a novel entitled The Hangman’s Game and two collections of short stories – Bitter Leaf Soup and Virginity Yam and Latinized Black.

She is the recipient of a number of awards such as two James Mitchner Fellowships for creative writing at the University of Miami, a Ford Foundation Grant and British Council grants. She is married with one son.

Karen King-Aribisala won the Best Book prize in the Commonwealth Literature Prize (2008)(African Region)

She received a Camargo Foundation Fellowship, France-2008 and a Djerassi Foundation fellowship California--2008.

Was interivewed on the B.B.C. Bush House-on her novel 'The Hangman's Game'--2008

Gave a reading at the British Museum, London--2008


Dame Kate Harcourt was born on 16th June 1927 in North Canterbury, New Zealand. Her professional career began in the 1960s with the pre-school radio programme Listen with Mother and Junior Magazine, a weekly WNTV1 weekly children’s programme. Since then she has worked extensively on radio, television, film and in theatre.

In 1990 and 1991 she toured internationally with Colin McColl’s Downstage Theatre production of Hedda Gabler to the Edinburgh Festival, Oslo, London and Sydney. She was a founder member of Hen's Teeth, the Women’s Comedy Group which has toured most of New Zealand and to the Adelaide Festival. In 1996 she appeared with her daughter, Miranda, in the International Festival production of Flowers from my Mother's Garden, written by Miranda and her husband, Stuart McKenzie, which subsequently toured both the North and South Islands.

Since then Kate has appeared in three productions of The Vagina Monologues, one of which toured to Nelson and Christchurch and in The Musicians of Bremen for the National Children’s Theatre, which toured to the Taranaki Festival, Hawera, Palmerston North and Auckland. She was part of the ‘ loop group’ which recorded ‘voice offs’ for The Lord of the Rings; she appeared in the stage adaptation of Maurice Gee’s The Half Men of O for Calico Theatre in Napier; performed in The Truth about Love in Circa’s Studio for Christmas 2003; in Joe Musaphia’s Ugly Customers; in 2005 Blood, Guts & Khaki in the Circa theatre Studio and in Renee’s Wednesday to Come at Downstage Theatre.

Kate has adjudicated for the Sheilah Wynn Shakespeare Festival and has taught Speech and Drama at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre. She is on the Board of Studies at Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School and a tutor at the National Singing School in Napier. Kate is also a patron of several arts organisations. In 1996 was honoured to be made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to theatre, and in 1997 she was chosen as The Evening Post’s Wellingtonian of the Year.


Dr Kusoom Vadgama was born in Kenya in 1932, and studied optometry in London and the Illinois College of Optometry. Kusoom also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. In 1961 she set up her optometry practice in London.

Kusoom is also an authority on the history of the Indian peoples in the British Empire and has published three well-received books.

India in Britain 1852-1947 with forewords by Prince Charles and The Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi,

British-Indian campaigns in Britain for Indian reforms, justice and freedom 1831-1947.

“An Indian Portia: Selected Writings of Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1954)."

An Indian Portia won Kusoom the prestigious Asian Achievers Award Gold Award. She was presented with the Editor of the Asian Voice Award for Research and Compilation at the 2011 Asian Achievers Awards in London.

I'm going to be doing the exhibition panel documents today, but fear not! I will return to the missing women/biogs/photos tomorrow.


Lena was born in Bangalore, where she received her schooling and undergraduate degree in Child Development. After completing her postgraduate degree in Nutrition and a higher post graduate research degree in rural and social development at Reading University, UK, in 1979, she dedicated her life to international development and remained a senior development professional working in Asia and Africa. She was Deputy Director for MYRADA in India,  OXFAM, GB’s Field Director for India, Asia Manager for Marie Stopes International, South Asia Regional Adviser for International Planned Parenthood Federation, Director of the Confederation of Indian Organisations, Executive Director of European Multicultural Foundation, Asia Regional Manager for Water Aid, Tear Fund,  Head of International Programmes for Interact Worldwide, East Africa  Regional Manager for Merlin and currently is the Head of Programmes, Asia for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Lena is also passionately committed to the promotion of the Inter-Faith movement and founded the Mosaic Community Trust, which is based in Westminster, London.  Lena is married to Howard Salter, a London based Solicitor and her daughter Anjalee is a Classics graduate from Edinburgh.



"Re-inventing oneself is the joy of life!"

Leonora van Gils was born on 6th April 1948 in Hereford, UK but grew up in Copenhagen where her father was the physician to the Royal Court. At the age of 13 she was sent to boarding school in England.

She wanted to become a physciatrist but got diverted into films and advertising just as she was leaving school. It was not until the age of 46, when her own daughter had left full-time education, that she shifted her focus of work and entered the world of complementary medicine. Finally, she had found an avenue for satisfying her passion to help other people. She realised that for a person to be well, the body, mind and spirit needed to be addressed to come back to wholeness. She first studied to become an iridologist at Queen Elisabeth Hospital. Then followed a qualification in reflexology, followed by a qualification as a P.E.P. counsellor. During this time she also studied an ancient art of healing and became a Reiki Master after 5 years of study. She had many clients worldwide including members of the Royal family.

In 1998 she decided to set up a healing centre in Florida, where she studied the healing effects of wild dolphins. Many people came from all over the world to have dolphin and healing therapy, which appealed to families with sick children, especially autistic and dying children. During this time she also worked with Dr Horace Dobbs to formulate a Dolphin Healing Dome that would allow a dolphin experience without real dolphins being involved. In 2001 she came back to the UK and set up a Healing and Retreat Centre in Suffolk.

Her passion for theology and wanting to draw on the spiritual aspect of the human mind, she studied at the Inter-Faith Seminary in London and was ordained as an Inter-Faith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor in August 2005.

She has a deep desire to help people help themselves back to wellness in body, mind and spirit and believes that with all her studies and experience over the past decade, she has a lot to offer people as well as the Asha Foundation whose dreams and aspirations mirror her own.

Ordained an Inter-Faith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor since 2005 and also Allergy Specialist since 2006.

In her free time Leonora fund-raises for Orphans in India, especially HIV orphans.


Lila Poonawalla was born on September 16th, 1944 in Hyderabad Sindh and came to India as a refugee. She was one of five siblings and moved from a camp to Pune with the support of relatives. She was the first female mechanical engineering student at the Government College of Engineering, Pune. Being a woman in a male-dominated engineering field made Lila even more determined to prove herself. She graduated with a First Class Degree, in 1967.

She went on to be the first lady Mechanical Engineer in India, and rose from being an apprentice to becoming the Chairman and Managing Director of a Swedish multinational company, Alfa Laval, in less than twenty years.

Her rich professional experience and dynamic leadership have resulted in steady engagements with companies, institutions and NGOs that seek her advice. She has been sharing, and ensuring that they build on her leadership values and successful management strategies. She is currently on the Boards of a number of Companies.

She has undergone many management-training programmes at IIM Ahmedabad, Sweden, and Harvard and Stanford Universities in USA.

She is recipient of many awards, most important being the Padmashree conferred on her by the President of India in 1989 and in August 2003 she has been recognized internationally. His Majesty, The King of Sweden, conferred the Royal Order of the POLAR STAR, naming her as an Officer of the Royal Order for her valuable services to Sweden in many ways and through many years.

She also runs her own foundation, the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, which gives financial support for post-graduate studies to first class girls who are economically needy. “I wanted to motivate women to step into the next millennium with confidence and encourage them to meet the challenges. I recognized the need to provide financial assistance to deserving girls in pursuit of higher education, and in shaping their own destinies. It was this consideration that motivated me to institute the foundation”.

This Foundation is unique in a way that it makes an all out effort to communicate regularly with all the past Lila Fellows through a quarterly newsletter called ‘INSPIRA’ and also through an E-group, no matter in which part of the world the young girls are either studying or working. Also the Foundation is arranging various Training Programmers, Personality Development Programmers, Picnics, Study Tours, and New Year Party etc. Through phone calls, email and personal meeting the Foundation encourages Lila Fellows to participate in various programmers. The Foundation has distinctive approach towards keeping touch with the Lila Fellows. Every Lila Fellow receives a birthday greeting and those in Pune also receive a small gift from Mrs. Poonawalla.

In short, as our Lila Fellows says “It is the Foundation which has human face and heart.” Its motto is Leading Indian Ladies Ahead (LILA)


After graduating from Nepal University with a Master’s Degree in Sociology, Lily Thapa became involved with helping women coming from remote districts. Since 1994 she has been devoting herself to establishing her organization as a strong and recognized presence for single women and has helped set up similar single women’s groups in 34 other districts of Nepal. Inviting Nepali widows out of isolation and dependency in their homes, Lily Thapa connects them with each other in single women’s groups that are spreading throughout Nepal. The groups give the widows – or single women, a term Lily uses to replace the heavily symbolic “widow” – an encouragement to build a new future. Her work moves isolated women who have been considered unlucky and unwanted, into a possible force for change in themselves and their communities. She is founding Director of Women for Human Rights, a single women’s group, and also currently lectures in Sociology.

The impact of Lily’s work is also evident in the increased attention to single women’s issues on the government agenda in the 10th Five Year Plan. This is seen as an extremely strategic and positive step for the advancement of single women. These programmes are being implemented through the Ministry of Women and Children, the Social Welfare Council, NGO’s and local government agencies from the first year after it is passed by the Parliament. Lily found herself widowed at the young age of 34 when her husband Major Dr. Amir Thapa died in the Gulf War in 1992. She fought for the compensation of her husband and received it only after 3 years after legally fighting for it through the UN.


Her Excellency, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza, was born in Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

She began her career in 1962 teaching English and Zulu Literature at Manzini Central School in Swaziland, followed by lecturing in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Between 1969 and 1979 she became Assistant Professor of Literature and History at Ohio University and then moved to Zambia to take up a position as a radio journalist with the African National Congress's Radio Freedom. She was also Editor of the Voice of Women, a journal by African National Congress women, and Chairperson of the African National Congress Cultural Committee in Zambia.

Her publications include: "Malibongwe", "One Never Knows" - poetry and short stories by African Congress Women; "From ANC to Sweden", "Letter to Letta", "Africa to me", "Voices that Lead" - poetry collections.

During the period of 1979 to 1987 she represented the African National Congress in Scandinavian countries based in Sweden. She facilitated the opening of African National Congress offices in Denmark, Norway and Finland. From 1989 to 1994 she was the Chief Representative of the African National Congress to the United States and opened an office in Washington DC. Member of Parliament, Republic of South Africa, 1994-95; Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, 1995-.

Honorary Ph.D., University of Durban-Westville, South Africa, 1993;
Yari Yari Award for contributions to Human Rights and Literature, New York University, 1997

Lisette Talate was born on 19th March 1941 in Diego Garcia, the Chagos Islands, located in the Indian Ocean. She describes her childhood in the Chagos as idyllic where she wanted for nothing.

In 1974, her life and that of all the islanders was thrown into turmoil when they were forcibly removed from the Chagos by the British colonial government, who wanted to clear the islands for the US government to create a strategic placed naval base in Diego Garcia. The islanders were promised housing, education and employment in Mauritius, however the reality was that they were left to fend for themselves at the margins of society.

For over thirty years, Lisette has been a leading figure in the plight of the Chagossian people to return to the islands, being voted as the Vice President of the group, Refugies Chagos. In 2000, the Chagossians had a symbolic victory in the British High Court; this victory was quashed by subsequent actions of the UK government to undermine the judgement and block the Chagossians right of return.

Lisette is also a prominent member of the women’s movement in her community. She believes that women are responsible for the family’s financial security, and ensure that all the family’s needs are provided for with savings to spare. Her role models are Nelson Mandela – a real source of her inspiration – and Anjalay Coupen, a woman worker in the 1940s who was killed by policemen while militating for better working terms and conditions.

In 2005, Lisette’s tremendous and ongoing work was recognized by the international community, and she was one of the 1000 women who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lisette passed away on Jan 4th 2012


Her Excellency Ambassador Lyutha Sultan Al-Mughairy

Oman's Permanent Representative to United Nations Mission in New York

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sultanate of Oman

Lyutha Al-Mughairy was brought up in Egypt.  She was awarded a full scholarship to study at the American University in Cairo, where she worked as a broadcaster, programme producer and translator at Cairo Radio.  Upon graduation with a BA Degree in Sociology and Anthropology, she was offered a Fullbright Scholarship.  At the same time, she was invited to start English Radio and Television in Abu Dhabi, and she chose the latter. While in Abu Dhabi, she helped launch the first Women’s Society of that country. She later completed her postgraduate studies at the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in the United Kingdom and then at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.

In 1975, Ambassador Al-Mughairy left the UAE when she was invited back home to Oman to establish and run English Radio and TV Stations. While in Oman, she spent one summer working for BBC London and another participating in a programme in the United States with American Women in Radio and Television, where she visited many TV networks and gave interviews about the Oman Renaissance. Ambassador Al-Mughairy’s functions in Oman extended beyond her media responsibilities as they included planning and organising exhibitions on Oman in Europe and lecturing on Oman to universities and groups in Europe and the USA.

At the end of 1979, Ambassador Al-Mughairy accepted the invitation of the United Nations to serve as Information Officer for the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) thus becoming the first Omani admitted under the Omani quota.  This was the first time that the situation of people with disabilities was to receive focused international attention. At the UN, she initiated and conducted a wide range of activities concerning the disabled, including awareness campaigns, mobilising national and international NGOs, and organising and participating in seminars and conferences.  Ambassador Al-Mughairy also raised funds for a wide range of projects to benefit people with disabilities all over the world and, specifically, she was able to collect 1.3 million US dollars in one year to support the activities of the International Year for the Disabled Persons.

With the considerable success of her work at IYDP, Ambassador Al-Mughairy was promoted to Chief of the News Distribution Section of the newly created Office for the Research and Collection of Information of the UN. This was the UN’s first attempt to set up a research and analysis arm within the Secretariat to keep abreast of trends and development worldwide.  Her delicate task, among others, was to create, innovate and implement an effective mechanism in the collection and dissemination of this information on a daily basis.  Other tasks included the preparation of analysis reports of Security Council and General Assembly meetings which served as a daily press briefing for the UN Secretary-General and other senior officials, as well as to the Directors of various information centres.

She was next promoted to the position of Principal Officer of the Electoral Assistance Division.  Among her responsibilities, she undertook needs assessment missions, which included discussions and negotiations to resolve disputes among the various national factions, visiting Ethiopia, Eritrea, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Mexico and many other countries.

In 1995, Ambassador Al-Mughairy was invited to head the Public Liaison Service of the UN’s Department of Public Information. In that capacity she organised international conferences and other meetings and briefings to better explain the work of the UN, as well as preparing international exhibits and managing the UN’s Public Enquiries and Guided Tours Units.

However, she did not forget Oman and the Arab culture of which she is so proud. Keen to see a greater appreciation and understanding of that culture and language, she proposed to the Omani Government that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos provide a special endowment to guarantee the teaching of Arabic at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York.  His Majesty graciously agreed to the proposal and, in 2001, set up the endowment.

In 2002, she accepted the post of Chief of the Information Centres Service comprising the far-flung network of UN Information Offices around the world. In this capacity, she oversaw the activities of 64 Centres, 6 Information Services and 8 information components across the globe with approximately 375 staff members.

In 2003 Ambassador Al-Mughairy was the first US-based recipient of the Distinguished Alumnae Award from the American University in Cairo. In 2005, she was awarded a long-service staff recognition award by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. A year later, upon her retirement, she received a plaque of appreciation from the UN staff for her efforts on their behalf.

In 2006 she took early retirement from the United Nations and returned to live in Oman. In 2008 she was appointed Ambassador and Head of the Department of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, becoming the first woman to head a Department in the Ministry.

Ambassador Al-Mughairy was also appointed the Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations in New York with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Ambassador Al-Mughairy is married with one daughter.


Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal is a theatre actress in India, and owns a production company, Poor Box Productions.

Educated at the J.B. Petit High School in Mumbai, she continued her studies at St Xavier's College and obtained two BSc degrees in Microbiology-Chemistry and Geology-Chemistry.

Despite Mahabanoo starting her professional career in the theatre rather late, she has worked with renowned film and theatre personalities in India and the UK. She has produced/directed/acted in Shirley Valentine, Art, Once I Was Young...Now I'm Wonderful!, (W)hole in the Head, Two Hot to Handle, The Vagina Monologues, amongst others.

The Vagina Monologues, which she brought to India in 2003, has helped to raise lakhs of rupees for two shelters for battered and abused women situated in the slums of Mumbai.

Mahabanoo lives life on her own terms and believes that she has not been put on earth to win a popularity contest. She has two children, Dr. Kaizaad Kotwal (who is a professor of films and theatre at Ohio State University, USA) and Nairika Kotwal-Cornett who lives in Georgia, USA.


Maja Daruwala has been working to advocate for rights and social justice for the past 20 years. A barrister who restarted her studies and took her final bar exams after 10 years of marriage and two children, Maja knew that both her vocation and avocation had come together from the first time she opened a law book and found echoed in it all her own till then inchoate belief in justice and equity.

Born in India, Maja has lived and worked in England, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Back in India, she has practiced for a short while in the Supreme Court but then left to work full-time at the Ford Foundation as a programme officer for South Asia. Since 1996 she has headed up the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO based in New Delhi that works for the practical realisation of human rights. Maja’s interests lie particularly in the area of systemic reforms. She has concentrated her energies on issues of accountability, particularly promoting police reform and the right to information. Both these issues are, she believes, essential underpinnings for attaining good governance and realising human rights.

Maja is the founder-chair of the People’s Watch in Tamil Nadu, and sits on several charitable boards, including the Open Society Institute-Justice Initiative, New York, and the International Women’s Health Coalition, New York. Maja believes: the only way to be optimistic about the future is to invent it!


Margaret Sheehy has made her home in the UK. She is a cultural animateur with a background in theatre as a director, writer and producer. The particular focus of her work is in the nature of community engagement and participatory practice, and in the development of arts and cultural policy.

Working in Sydney in the 1970s she established an innovative young peoples’ theatre group before becoming Sydney’s first community drama director. Moving to the UK in 1976 she set up her own theatre company and worked on the London fringe as a director and producer. Progressively her work extended across the UK into small and large-scale community and participatory projects and festivals.

She has championed participatory arts practice, lobbying the arts funding establishment for recognition of the work and training other practitioners. In the mid 90s she led on a major bid to the Arts Lottery, which resulted in a five-year project to collate and establish the Community Plays Archive and Database, now lodged with the Theatre Museum.

She has a strong commitment to training and individual development. In the 1980s she headed the Directors Guild Symposium on Director Training that led to a Gulbenkian Foundation review and a radical change in the provision for director training. She was also instrumental in that decade’s campaigns for more equality of opportunity for women in theatre. She continues to mentor and to support younger practitioners, and to teach and train others.

More recently her work has focused on cultural policy and on the intersection of participatory arts and social change. She gained a doctorate in Community and Celebration and currently works as a consultant and project manager across the arts, local government, the education sector, the heritage sector and social change programmes. In recent years she has headed a year-long millennium festival programme in the East End, launched the first two London Creative Partnership zones and convened the Lower Lea Valley cultural consultation for the London 2012 Olympics.


As a Public Relations Consultant, Marian Rivman has enhanced the reputation and visibility of clients ranging from United Nations agencies, programmes and world conferences to celebrities from the scuba diving industry to retail giants and world-renowned scientists. She is known for her unbounded energy and her skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for a variety of audiences.

Rivman’s eclectic background –anthropology student, Peace Corps volunteer, consumer researcher, ad agency executive, school teacher – gave her a breadth of experience and a sensitivity to clients’ varying needs that few consultants can offer. She has a unique ability to view a situation through a kaleidoscope of perspectives, tailoring communications strategies and media plans to serve a multitude of needs. Reporters and clients alike value her interpretive skills and collegial style.

As a media advisor to the conference secretariats for the United Nations Earth Summit, The Beijing Womens Conference and the General Assembly Special Sessions on Children and Women, Rivman worked collaboratively with UN communications officers to position stories, develop press materials, supply support services for journalists and organize special events. In addition, she was instrumental in creating the prestigious Global 500 Award for the United Nations Environment Programme.

In 1998 Rivman wrote a 20-part series chronicling her journey around the world for MSNBC Online’s Travel section.


Born on 5th September 1957, Martina Milburn’s full life has now led her to be the Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust. Formerly Chief Executive of the BBC Children in Need Appeal since 2000, she oversaw nine regional offices, and sat on the trading subsidiary Children in Need Ltd. She was also a member of the BBC's Corporate Social Responsibility Board.

Martina trained and began her career as a journalist, established the Press and Communications function for the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and worked on a freelance basis for a range of charities.

She then held the post of Chief Executive of the Association of Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (ASPIRE) - a service delivery charity - for seven years, growing the staff from five to 100. In this role Martina was responsible for the development of Europe's first integrated arts, sports and rehabilitation centre.


For many years, Maureen Mannion has been known to make people happy through entertaining with light-hearted dialogue, encouraging the aged and people suffering from diabetes, strokes, cancer, blindness and arthritis to laugh, to release their endorphins and forget their problems for a while.

Maureen is an interpretative actress for the Jersey Heritage Trust, bringing history to life in a 17th century museum. She teaches Jersey children to appreciate their culture in an enjoyable manner and introduces locals and tourists to significant accounts of Jersey’s history.

Maureen is a raconteur of the German occupation of World War II and the takes of people being evacuated during that time. She is eager for those harsh memories to be forgiven but not forgotten.


Excerpt from Honours nomination:

“Maureen Milgram Forrest was born in London 73 years ago.  She has  lived for the past 30 years with her husband and journalist, Alan Forrest, in North West Leicestershire of which she spent 4 years in London as Project Director for the BRIT School."

She is retired and together with Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt is Founding Chair of the LeicestHERday Trust, a registered charity empowering and enabling women and girls in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.  The Trust is the women’s sector lead for the Leicester Partnership and represents gender on the Equality & Diversity Partnership.  The LeicestHERday Trust is devoted to assisting women in their own development.

She is also a Founder of the Ken Chamberlain Trust, an environmental charity, a director of the Toys on the Table Trust assisting young people in need across diverse backgrounds at the holidays season, a regional director of the Prince’s Trust East Midlands, and many more.

In the UK, she held many directorships and trusteeships of a series of charities and good causes nationally, regionally and locally.

She and her husband Alan formed a charity to assist young people in their careers in memory of their families’ contributions in countries where they have lived and worked.

She was the Project Director creating the British Record Industry Trust School for the Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon.  This groundbreaking school for 13 to 19 year-olds is still going from strength to strength.  Maureen is still involved but now as a patron of the Maureen Milgram Scholarships given annually to students for creation and innovation.

She was the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton upon Trent and took the Centre out of deep financial debit in the late 1990s.

She created multi cultural and cultural events to celebrate professional and amateur performances. The One World festival she started in the 1998 is still going today.

She was the Project Director for the British Columbia Festival of the Arts with 100,000 participants competing in seven arts disciplines at the world’s largest young people’s arts festival. It was officially opened in 1986 by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Once met, always remembered. She has friends around the world who acknowledge the difference she has made to their lives. In 2005, a twenty-year anniversary of a twin city project between Morioka (Japan) and Victoria (Canada) was celebrated. Maureen was on the initial team that made this twinning happen and she contributed to the book that mark the anniversary ceremonies.

She rolls up her sleeves and pitches in for all kinds of good causes, including personal commitment to the welfare of those around her.

She has lived and worked on three continents, Europe, North America and Asia and has formed friendships that have lasted her lifetime.

She has received many awards and recognition, including Victoria Woman of the Year, Rotary and University honours and the acknowledgement of her peers as noted at the 2004 Woman of the Year Awards.  She has been a judge of the Awards for the last five years and is also a Judge for the Leicestershire First Awards.

In 2010, she was nominated for and received the Queen’s Award for Excellence and travelled to the UK to receive the award from Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

In recognition of her work in the East Midlands, at the Jubilee Awards in Leicester in 2010 she was the awards judge and present at the award given in her name for a woman who has contributed significantly to the women of the region.  The first award was given to Velma Simms Stewart of the Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service.

Awarded: Queen’s Award for Excellence, Entrepreneurship (for work with women) Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 July 19, London England

Jubilee Awards, Maureen Milgram Forrest Award 2010 to date

Lifetime Achievement Award, East Midlands Development Agency 2010

Chairman, Learning & Skills Council, Leicestershire 2005 to Feb 2008

Board Member, Interim Learning & Skills Board East Midlands 2005 to August 2009

Board Member, Prince's Trust East Midlands 2009, 2010

Board Member, Novas Scarman Trust National Board, 2008 to 2010

Chair, Scarman Trust National Board 2006-7

Founding Chair, LeicestHERday Trust, 2001 to date Co-Chair 2005 to 2008 Chair 2009/2010, Patron 2010 to date

Founding Director, Ken Chamberlain Trust  2001 to 2010

Founding Director, Toys on the Table Trust 2005 to 2010

Women’s Business Ambassador, emda 2007 to 2010

Director Action Deafness 2009-10

Interim Chair, Highfields Community Centre, Steering Committee, 2007 /8

Champion, Enterprise Week, emda, 2006 to date

Director, LEAP, Leicester Economic Action Partnership 2006 to 2007

Observer, LSEP, 2005 to 2007

Mentor, Hinckley Burbage Age Concern Strategy 2005- 2006

Advisor, Leicester Strategic Economic Partnership, 2005 to 2007

Advisor, CREME- Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship

Member, County Council Gender Equality Committee  2006 to date

Director, Milgram Forrest Trust 1987 to date

Mentor, Scarman Trust 2005 to 2007 working with Sri Lankan woman to bring human rights to women in her country.

Shadow Director, YouthVOICE  1999 to 2002

Career Highlights:

Presenter, Just For Funds, BBC Radio Leicester

Millennium Champion, Leicester Mercury Special Executive

Project Director, British Record Industry Trust Performing Arts & Technology School

Partner, Bradgate Press

CEO and Director, The Organisers (now Milgram Forrest Trust)

General Manager, B.C. Festival of the Arts

Co-ordinator, Santas Anonymous C-FAX 1070

In addition:

I have had a varied career in media, arts and community.  Have worked in radio, television, theatre and education on three continents.  Have been a construction expediter in California with a contractor’s licence, and run a main stage theatre company in British Columbia.

Other background highlights:

Judge, Women of Achievement Awards, 2007 2008

Moderator, Leicester GELLM Project 2006

Moderator, LeicestHERday, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 2007 2008

Chair, Positive People Steering Group 1998 to 2001

Chair, Burton Festival Group, 1996, 1997

Member, Burton Business Link (Chamber representative) 1994-1996

Member, Burton Community Partnership SRB Sub Committee, 1994, 1997

Member, Advisory Board, Burton Technical College Performing Arts

Moderator and Director, BARD of the YEAR, 1993, 1994, 1995

Secretary, Friends of Malcolm Lowry, UK  1992-1994

Member of the Board, Poetry Digest, 1987 to 1997

Woman of the Year, 1986/87, Victoria, Canada

Executive posts, Victoria Chamber of Commerce, 1984 to 1987 including

Vice President, Economic Development Chair, Tourism Chair, Programme Chair

Founder, Tourism Victoria 1986

Co-ordinator, Chamber of Commerce Trade Mission to Japan, 1986

Chairman, Terry Fox Run, Victoria, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986

Chairman, Vancouver Island Odyssey, 1986

Broadcaster, World Figure Skating Championships, Tokyo, 1985

Sole Member, Sister City Trade Mission to Japan, 1985

Broadcaster, World Figure Skating Championships, Ottawa 1985

Broadcaster, Canada China Community Leaders Mission, China, 1984

Member of Development Committee, University of Victoria Leisure Studies Course, 1978-1979

Author: BRIT SCHOOL Founding

Author: MEDIA BOOK for the Community


Meera T. Gandhi is a well-known humanitarian and social activist who divides her time between New York City, London and Hong Kong. She is the founder of The Giving Back Foundation. Mrs. Gandhi is noted for her Life Motto, "We are to the universe only as much as we give back to it."
Meera Gandhi is the daughter of an Irish mother, Ellen Mary McCarthy of Dublin and an Indian father, Admiral Perbodh Nath Agarwal from Uttar Pradesh, India. She grew up in India, England and Ireland and was educated in India, Canada and the United States, where she received her MBA.

In 2007 Meera Gandhi completed the Executive Education Program from the Harvard Business School. She is married to Vikram Gandhi of Credit Suisse and they have three children, two daughters and a son who currently attend schools in Wales, the United States and England.

Through her Giving Back Foundation Meera Gandhi is devoting her life to charity and to helping those in need: abused and hungry children, widows, the sick, the deaf and blind. She is particularly interested in education as the stepping stone to success.

Mrs. Gandhi recently produced and directed an inspiring documentary, musical CD and coffee table book, all entitled Giving Back.

The “Giving Back” film and book include touching vignettes of Meera's prominent and not-so-prominent friends and illustrate how their philanthropic endeavors are indeed changing the world. Included are Cherie Blair, Kerry Kennedy, Patricia Velasquez, Kristi Yamaguchi, Steven Rockefeller, Francine Le Frak, Raj Loomba, Clodagh, Ronan Tynan, Deborah Norville, Narcisso Rodriguez and red carpet interviews with Bono and others. The film, book and CD were introduced in eight cities in 2010 and 2011: New York, London, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Delhi, Dublin, Paris and Istanbul. 100 percent of the proceeds from Meera Gandhi's brilliant Giving Back project will go to charity.

Donna Karan International recently honored Meera Gandhi by naming her as one of its small group of prestigious leaders in the Donna Karan International “Women Who Inspire” initiative.

In the words of Kerry Kennedy, "Meera Gandhi is one of those remarkable women whom the angels must have sent to teach us a lesson on how to conduct a fruitful life."

Recent publications include The Giving Back coffee table book with a forward by Cherie Blair.

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