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IWD 2022 – Ruth Conner

International Women's Day 2022 -

Q&A with Ruth Conner - Communications Manager at Active Financial Planners.

Career Stories

Please tell us about your background, younger ambitions, interests, education.

I left school at 16 to start an apprenticeship (Youth Training Scheme) in Business Administration with Middlesbrough (was Kirby) college. I was never academic, but I worked really hard. I was much happier when I left school and started my journey in the world of work.

How did you get to where you are today, successful women in business? How did you gain your skills and knowledge to do what you’re doing?

My second job was as Marketing Assistant at Teesside Airport, which I loved! From there I went on to a similar role at Newcastle Airport. Leaving travel I went on to work at a Design & Marketing Agency in Gateshead and they paid for me to study part time for the CIM Diploma in Marketing. Gaining a professional qualification took me to another level in my career and I went on to be Marketing Manager at Country Valley Foods in Billingham. I loved my time there and stayed for 8 years, until I had another baby and wanted to reduce my hours. I came to Active as I knew Karl and we had chatted over the years about possibly working for Active. The time was right. I dropped my days (I work 2.5 days) and haven’t looked back in 6 years. Active is an amazing place to work and I have made some lifelong friends here.

Have you faced challenging times in the past or any times you have failed at something? How did you face this?

When I had my first baby, I found moving from full time working to part time (3 days) a challenge. Although my boss was supportive, I felt I had to cram 5 days worth of work in to 3 days so I ended up taking work home. Being a working mum in general (regardless of how many days you work) is a challenge – you end up feeling guilty a lot of the time. Also having a partner who works long hours, I wanted to be at home more for our girls.

Can you tell us about times that have inspired you throughout your life and where do you get your inspiration and motivation from?

I have been continually inspired by people that I work with – both male and female and not only by my bosses (although they have played a huge part). With each job I have grown a little and learned more about the corporate world.

What makes you feel empowered?

Watching my daughters, Beatrice (10) and Esther (7) working hard and achieving their goals (in and out of school). They make me burst with pride! Bea is starting secondary school in September – she is going to a different school to her friends and the way she is coping with the change has amazed me.

What are your future goals?

At Active we are encouraged to develop professionally, so I am currently studying to be a chartered marketer. I also want to continue to grow in my role and get more involved in the two charities that we support – The High Tide Foundation and The Teesside Charity

If you could give one piece of advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?

Listen to people and take advice from those who are more experienced. Also, try and concentrate more and don’t talk so much!

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