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Chamber Sharing Ideas


The recent North East England Chamber of Commerce Inspiring Females event at Newcastle High School for Girls heard two influential women speak about their careers in very different fields.

Lesley Moody’s from AES Digital Solutions in Billingham, explained how she had set up her business 25 years ago with business partner Joe Telford.

The company was originally set up to provide educational training tools and websites for clients like British Steel, when websites were a relative rarity in the business world. Now AES Digital Solutions has clients all over the world and an office in Taiwan to exploit the growing Asian market.

The company’s specialisms have now developed and primarily cover the pharma and food sector where they have offer bespoke computer software to help businesses manage systematic controls of products, to ensure consistency.

HR talent management and volunteer management systems have also been designed by Lesley Moody’s team and are similarly successful. The use of these programmes have helped a number of local authorities including Sunderland City Council make substantial savings by successfully redeploying employees who might otherwise have to have been made redundant.

The second speaker at the IF event was Lucy Phillipson, chief executive of Comrades of Children Overseas (COCO) an international charity based in Newcastle. She worked her way up from being a volunteer with the organisation to her current role, shaping the development and direction of COCO’s fundraising, governance and project management.

Lucy said: “The charity’s pledge is to tackle the cause of poverty not just the crisis. COCO is committed to long term sustainable development and it is for that reason that we focus on empowering communities to pull themselves out of poverty. One of the major campaigns we are currently undertaking is contribute to the alleviation of famine in East Africa, where the UN estimates that 20 million people are in need of humanitarian relief, including 2.7 million people in Kenya, where we work.

“Famine in East Africa has been caused by drought due to a lack of rain.
We are launching an East Africa Appeal to invest in sustainable water sources to protect communities from famine in the long term.”

Lucy also gave examples of inspirational women in Africa who had set up their own successful businesses.

Suzanne McKenna from the charity Parkinsons UK said: “I really enjoy these events as they are a great opportunity to develop and learn from inspirational women. It is also a real benefit on a personal level, to meet with like-minded women.”