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Women’s Leadership Programme supports the appointment of a new Executive at Start-Rite Shoes

An iconic Norfolk business has promoted Jo Westaway to the role of Finance Director and Company Secretary following her successful completion of Pure’s Women’s Leadership Programme.

When Start-Rite Shoes, a business first established in Norwich more than 200 years ago, announced Jo’s appointment to the Executive team it credited the Women’s Leadership Programme as one of the driving forces behind the promotion.

The programme, run by Pure in conjunction with strategic HR consultancy People & Performance, has supported more than 70 aspiring female leaders in the eastern region since it was first established in 2014.

Caroline Batchelor, Director at Pure, said: “Diversity is widely understood to be fundamental to the sustained growth of any business and our Women’s Leadership Programme has been designed to provide employers with a proactive opportunity to develop and retain their female talent and to build a more balanced Executive team. Jo’s promotion is a fantastic example of just how effective the programme can be in achieving this and we’re extremely proud that such a renowned local organisation has credited the programme as playing a significant role in its latest appointment. We’d like to congratulate Jo and wish her all the best in her new role. We look forward to welcoming her to future Women’s Leadership Programme alumni events. She will be a great role model for inspiring other potential female leaders and organisations committed to addressing their gender-balance.”

The Women’s Leadership Programme has been created to provide an innovative dual approach which not only supports women to strengthen their authentic leadership skills but also to support the organisations. Through the role of the sponsor, organisations are supported in removing any barriers to progression and in creating an inclusive culture where everyone can work in a way which makes them feel productive and engaged.

Start-Rite CEO Ian Watson, who acted as Jo’s sponsor on the programme, said: “We’re thrilled to appoint Jo as our new Finance Director and Company Secretary. Over the last 18 months she has shown great potential and has developed through a number of courses including the Women’s Leadership Programme, which will prove invaluable to the business as we move forward.”

Formally Head of People and Financial Controller at Start-Rite, Jo will work with the Finance, ICT and HR functions as well as with the wider business to further strengthen the management team at Start-Rite.

Jo, a CIMA qualified accountant, added: “After 19 years with Start-Rite I have a solid understanding of the business, but more importantly of the plans afoot to successfully develop our strategic business aims for the future. I am delighted to have been appointed as Finance Director and Company Secretary and very much look forward to working with the executive and senior management teams and the exciting journey we have ahead of us.”

Read the announcement from Start-Rite