“Everything that we do at She Inspires Foundation is a small building block to creating a bridge for those in need to the help that could really make the difference. Sometimes between life and death.”

Gulnaz Brennan, co-founder of the She Inspires Foundation speaks to Good News Shared about building these blocks which are supporting survivors of abuse in this one-stop portal. The three-fold network includes the She Inspires Awards, the She Inspires Leaders Academy and the She Inspires Foundation. 

The She Inspires Foundation acts as a bridge supporting victims and survivors with their next steps. Whilst charities, refuges, government departments and support services are better equipped with helping survivors or victims of abuse, the foundation fills the gap without duplicating previous work. For instance, after survivors are supported by charities, She Inspires are able to match them with employers to contribute to their financial independence. Employers are asked to keep an open mind and interview those who meet the minimum criteria. Having already secured support from The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the largest chamber in the country there’s no doubt She Inspires Foundation are helping survivors on their new route to life.

Meet Gulnaz Brennan, founder of She Inspires: celebrating the next generation of inspirational women

This initiative is part of their #WeAreOrange pledge helping survivors of domestic abuse back in the workplace. In support of the United Nations Secretary-General’s theme ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!’ marking the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the She Inspires Foundation are wholly committed to ‘We Are Orange’ every day, 365 days a year. In fact, at the She Inspires Awards, four finalists are celebrated as ‘Orange Champions’ and therefore awarded £250 to spend on their own projects to raise awareness of the ‘We Are Orange’ pledge. 

Initially awarding those in Bolton and the NorthWest, the awards have expanded showcasing regional, national and international women from Turkey to South Africa and from America to Malaysia. Now in its eighth year, the She Inspires Awards breaks the norms of award ceremonies. Usually, we see women’s achievements celebrated in business in terms of money and balance sheets, but Gulnaz notes how She Inspires aims to highlight women’s successes across all different fields. 

Most recently, this year the awards introduced a new category to honour women in Health and Medical Services. Previous awards categories include the SHEro Award which celebrates inspiring women from all walks of life, the HER Abilities Award for a special woman who despite her disabilities inspires others by her positive contribution to the community and the Young Achiever Award for an outstanding young woman. Along with awards like the HeForShe Award which celebrates men who have supported women in their endeavours and Team of the Year Award, there’s no doubt these awards pay homage to unsung SHEros and Heroes in all sectors.

The element of giving back distinguishes the She Inspires Awards from the rest as winners are asked to join the platform as either judges or category leads. Gulnaz shares “I think that’s our strength as the winners don’t just take the trophy and go away, they’re expected to give back. And giving back isn’t necessarily to us, we support a list of charities of which they give a few hours of their time.” Community centred work is at the heart of She Inspires empowering women to achieve wherever they are.

“All of our winners are in their own way, smashing the glass ceiling breaking the bias and actually, challenging the bias and the existing norms. Each one is inspiring. So whilst they contribute to the category, so a woman in business, yes, of course, they are doing amazing work. But also, it’s just not about the category. It’s about what else they’re doing in order to support other women. And that’s a really important component of our awards. It’s what they are doing other than what they’re supposed to do, and how helping others and how they have actually forged a path for themselves and for others to follow.”

This year Gulnaz looks forward to developing the She Inspires Leaders Academy. Having already written a book, ‘100 Women 100 Stories’ featuring the inspirational narratives of women going above and beyond, she is in the process of writing a book about 22 women leaders to mark 2022. Covering women leaders who are redefining success including an in-depth study of these different leaders from a range of sectors.

Nominations for the She Inspires awards are currently open for 2022 and will close on 31st March. Nominate and celebrate someone who inspires you here!

If you’re an employer, commit to the ‘We Are Orange’ pledge here.
Visit She Inspires Awards for more information.

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About Author

Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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