Celebrating International Women’s Day at Meadow

International Women’s Day (8th March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

At Meadow, fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce is our priority. Not only do healthy work environments keep our staff working collaboratively, but they also help keep us innovative, productive and efficient.

At present, statistics show that there are approximately 1.98 million men employed in the manufacturing sector across the UK, compared to 710,000 women.

With tightening labour shortages and an increasing need for sustainability initiatives across the sector, it is all the more important that companies foster a diverse and inclusive work environment.

This year’s IWD campaign theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’. In honour of this, we would like to spotlight some of our successful women working in the manufacturing industry.  We spoke to some of the female members of our team about their careers and experiences in work as a woman. At Meadow, our people are the essential ingredient in running our business, and we are committed to equality for all of our colleagues.

Isabel Sapwell – Commercial Placement Student at Meadow

Izzy is a newcomer at Meadow. She is studying Agricultural Food Marketing with Business at Harper Adams University and joined us on an industrial placement scheme in 2023. She is currently working within the commercial team, gaining experience across sales, marketing and insights.

‘‘Meadow has a very strong community throughout all the sites, making the start of my placement year working for Meadow very enjoyable. Everyone drives each other equally to keep pushing themselves to be better and motivate each other in the best way possible.’’

Izzy specifically feels that Meadow is an inspirational place to work as a female. ‘‘There are many women I am inspired by at Meadow, who have achieved success in different ways. A lot of them are in managerial roles, which promotes a culture of diverse leadership.’’

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed having Izzy on board over the last year and are delighted to have been able to provide her with exposure to many aspects of working life at Meadow. Izzy is full of determination and drive, which is demonstrated through her training for the London marathon in April. Good luck Izzy!

We asked Izzy to describe her perfect day, which is a summer’s day by the sea. ‘‘A sunrise walk to the beach before riding my horse and a BBQ lunch with family, followed by an evening in a pub garden with my friends.’’ Sounds good to us!

Emma Seel – HR Business Partner at Meadow

Emma is a HR Business Partner at Meadow. She works closely with the wider HR team at head office, as well as the operational management team at our Chester site.

Emma says that in her role every day is different! She thrives from the variety her job offers her whilst working closely with the wider HR team and head office functions, as well as the operational management team on site at Chester.

As a wellbeing and employee engagement representative, Emma shares her thoughts about the importance of having a fair and equal recruitment process:

“Maintaining a dynamic and inclusive culture is a must when it comes to attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talent. Within the evolving world of work, inclusion is imperative to future proof the organisation.’’

The manufacturing industry is predominantly male-dominated, however Emma finds it extremely refreshing that she and several other women in our business are included in the operations management team in roles such as quality managers and production team leaders.

For the last five years, Emma has also been studying with The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and will soon be completing her Level 7 degree. She says that Meadow ‘‘has shown me nothing but support to further my education and to continually develop both professionally and personally.’’

Kelly Capper, Production Site Lead at Meadow

Kelly has worked for Meadow for almost 4 years and oversees our production facility at Chester. She loves that no two days are the same and says there is always something new to learn.

As a female working in manufacturing, Kelly feels that more should be done to drive inclusivity within the industry however Meadow has enabled her to work in a senior leadership role within the production environment, which is often very male-dominated.

‘‘I enjoy having the opportunity to use my skills and experience to make real improvements at Meadow.’’

Kelly’s perfect working day is one where everything is running smoothly and targets are achieved, whilst also spending time with team members to catch up on life both in and out of work. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her horse (and sometimes her husband!!)

Helen Riley – Development Director at Naked Foods

With a highly commendable 38 years of industry experience, Helen Riley is in charge of the Innovation team at Naked Foods, a food and beverage manufacturer that was acquired by Meadow last year.

She has a great deal of experience working in what has historically been a very male-dominated field, however she says the attitude towards women in business has definitely changed over recent years and, in her words, ‘‘we are no longer seen as Little Women!’’

When considering what she enjoys most about her job, Helen loves how different every day can be, and forging strong relationships with her colleagues and customers.

‘‘One phone call or email can totally change the direction of the day. I love speaking with people, developing relationships and seeing this successfully deliver new products.’’

Helen says her greatest achievement is her daughter, but professionally she did feel proud to have her name quoted on a Pret a Manger napkin for a while after Naked’s fruit compotes were used as an essential ingredient in some of their products!

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