Yorkshire women in business: home and design

Women in Business

Women in Business - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

6 of the finest minds in Yorkshire when it comes to women in the home, property and design business

Helen Mercer-Jones

Helen Mercer-Jones - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, ERE Property

A good day at work means...

A good day at work means; starting with a seat rather than standing room only on the train, getting all the tasks on my daily planning sheet completed and taking the time to speak with all of my colleagues, hopefully in the process managing to inspire & motivate them. Planning for the next day, getting a seat on the train home, having dinner with my family and not having to work late into the night!

Proudest moment?

My proudest moment outside of reaching the top of Kilimanjaro was being promoted to Managing Director. Not just because I got the promotion, (I know how hard I'd worked for it), but also my 21 year old Son, who I have raised to be a gorgeous young man, as a single parent for 7 years giving me the biggest hug and saying "Well done Mum, I am proud of you, you deserve it".

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Three qualities that sum me up...

The three qualities that sum me up would be: diligent, determined and not afraid to roll my sleeves up!

21 Queen Street, Leeds LS1 2TW 0113 380 8930 ereproperty.com

Gina Powell

Gina Powell - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, Simon Blyth Estate Agents

Proudest moment?

Passing my RICS qualification to become a Chartered Surveyor. It involved a lot of work whilst working full time but was worth the stress and is something I have for the rest of my career.

Work life balance - how do you do it?

Live by the motto work hard, play hard! It is increasingly hard to switch off when at home or on holiday these days with iPhones & being able to access your email practically any where in the world so its important to remember to switch off when you have the opportunity as you will have certainly earned the right to!

Three qualities that sum me up...

Motivated, hard working, and fun.

Fairfield House, Hollowgate, Holmfirth HD9 2DG 01484 689689 simonblyth.co.uk

Lisa Tyler

Lisa Tyler - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, Willowgreen Estate Agents

A good day at work means...

My best days are the ones where we complete on the sale of a property and see the joy on the faces of the purchasers when they collect the keys to their new home and a Willowgreen Hamper. There is a huge sense of pride to be had, knowing that we have provided a fantastic service for all concerned which is a major event in most peoples lives. The Willowgreen office is always welcoming and fun and so even on the less eventful days, it is always a pleasure to come to work.

Proudest moment?

My proudest moment was taking my team to London and being awarded 'Gold' by the prestigious Best Estate Agent Guide after fewer than 3 years in business thus ranking us in the top 3% of all UK estate agents for the second year running. I'm also thrilled to have been twice nominated for Business Personality of the Year.

Three qualities that sum me up...

Honest, loyal and hard working.

6-8 Market Street, Malton YO17 7LY 01653 916600 willowgreenestateagents.co.uk

Ann Marie Cousins

Ann Marie Cousins - Credit: Archant


Owner and Interior Designer, AMC Design

What's special about your business?

Everything really. It's a privilege to be invited into someone's house and be asked to create interiors in which they feel comfortable and that they will love for years to come.

What's your best piece of business advice?

Have faith in yourself, but know the limit of your skills and find people who will plug those gaps. Surround yourself with great people.

What do you love about your job?

No one day is like another and it's the perfect role for me as an ex-lawyer who has yearned for a creative outlet. I relish the opportunity to design beautiful and sympathetic spaces, and enjoy working alongside talented suppliers, creatives and trades to ensure the final designs come to life exactly as we envisaged. The best part is visiting a client after a project is completed and seeing them happy and comfortable in their home.

Unit 5, 14a the Grove, Ilkley LS29 9EG 01943 700125 & 07801 364238 amcinteriordesign.co.uk

Victoria Golding

Victoria Golding - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, The Carriage

A good day at work means...

We sell amazing beds, but not everyone (including myself 4 years ago!) understands what makes a bed, an amazing bed, it's a whole subject in itself. A good day at work is where I've had those conversations with customers, they've tried the range of beds we have and they've made the best informed choice for them or at least understand a lot more about it than when they first came in. For most people buying a bed or mattress is a major purchase and they quite rightly want to understand exactly what they are investing in, our focus is helping them to do that knowing that the quality of the beds we sell is a given.

Proudest moment?

Winning Independent Retailer of the Year 2019 in the Ilkley Business Awards . We sell (mainly) locally made beds (Harrison Spinks Somnus) to (mainly) local customers, recognition of what we do by the Ilkley Business Awards committee was the icing on the cake!

Work life balance - how do you do it?

I haven't managed it yet I'm afraid, I'm hoping 2020 will be the year that I do!

91 Main Street , Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley LS29 7BU 01943 864372 thecarriageburley.co.uk

Val Evans

Val Evans - Credit: Archant


Managing Director, Evans International Ltd

A good day at work means...

Being able to close the office door knowing that I have done the best that I can for my customers. I often deal with very stressed and anxious people, and I feel my role in the removal process is to help alleviate this stress and anxiety. My solutions based, forward thinking and calming nature is often commented upon by my clients. I aim to reassure them when the going gets tough and this flows through to my employees who are exceptional at what they do. I often have to think outside of the box and re-act to situations at the click of a finger.

Work life balance - how do you do it?

Still working on this one!! When you are in business for yourself this is difficult to get right and after 30+ years of being in business, where I am passionate about what I do and fully committed to getting it right, I am still too much work and not enough play. Although my grandson is very much a defining factor in making me reassess my priorities.

Three qualities that sum me up...

Intuitive and compassionate, solutions provider and strong-minded.

Unit 5 Melmerby Green Road, Barker Business Park, Melmerby, Ripon HG4 5NB 01765 640882 evans-int.com