Women’s Week: See list of 20 influential women in Suffolk

Campaigner and fundraiser Gina Long MBE. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Campaigner and fundraiser Gina Long MBE. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Archant

Reporter Gemma Mitchell has compiled a varied but by no means exhaustive list of influential women who have made their mark in Suffolk, from business and charity leaders, to educators and campaigners.

Poli Mohan at the 2016 Indian Summer Mela. Picture: LUCY TAYOR

Poli Mohan at the 2016 Indian Summer Mela. Picture: LUCY TAYOR

Gina Long MBE

Gina, from Fornham St Martin, was awarded an MBE in 2015 after raising around £2.5million for local people facing life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses.

She is the co-founder of Suffolk Breast Cancer Now Group; she started Sir Bobby’s Online Auction and Ball in 2011 and most recently she created The GeeWizz Charitable Foundation.

Sarah Howard MBE. Picture: SUFFOLK CHAMBER

Sarah Howard MBE. Picture: SUFFOLK CHAMBER - Credit: Archant

Poli Mohan


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Kenya-born Poli has worked for the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association since 2007, starting out as secretary and moving up to chairwoman.

The charity provides information and support for Indian people in the county, and runs community events like the Indian Summer Mela and Holi Festival of Colour.

Bal Kaur Howard. Picture: BAL KAUR HOWARD

Bal Kaur Howard. Picture: BAL KAUR HOWARD - Credit: BAL KAUR HOWARD

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Sarah Howard MBE

Sarah completed a three-year term as president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and last month was elected vice president of British Chambers of Commerce.

She is a former chairwoman of the One Haverhill economic partnership and was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to the community of Haverhill.

Founder of Fresh Start New Beginnings, Diana Porter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Founder of Fresh Start New Beginnings, Diana Porter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bal Kaur Howard

Since fleeing a forced marriage, Bal has dedicated her life to supporting victims of domestic abuse.

In 2009 she began working at Suffolk Constabulary as project and performance officer for honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Director of racing, Amy Starkey
Newmarket 15.4.15 Pic: Edward whitaker

Director of racing, Amy Starkey Newmarket 15.4.15 Pic: Edward whitaker

Bal, who was born in India and now lives in Ipswich, left the police in 2015 and has since set-up her own safeguarding training company.

Diana Porter

Diana set up Fresh Start – new beginnings in 2012 with the redundancy pay she received from her previous employer.

Clare Marx, a surgeon at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: RCS ENG PHOTOGRAPHIC UNIT

Clare Marx, a surgeon at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: RCS ENG PHOTOGRAPHIC UNIT - Credit: Archant

Since then the charity has offered therapeutic support to hundreds of sexually abused children across Suffolk, Norfolk and north Essex.

Amy Starkey

Amy has been regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses in the East of England since September 2012.

Mischa Pearson, co-founder of The Teapot Project. Picture: MISCHA PEARSON

Mischa Pearson, co-founder of The Teapot Project. Picture: MISCHA PEARSON - Credit: MISCHA PEARSON

She is responsible for both racecourses at Newmarket, as well as those in Huntingdon, Market Rasen and Nottingham.

Clare Marx DBE

Ipswich Hospital surgeon Clare Marx was made a dame in the 2018 New Year Honours.

Franstine Jones of Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Franstine Jones of Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Clare was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England from July 2014 to July 2017, the first woman to hold the position.

Mischa Pearson

After a turbulent childhood that left her homeless for two years, mother-of-one Mischa co-founded The Teapot Project in 2015.

Maureen Reynel, who started FIND. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Maureen Reynel, who started FIND. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Ipswich community interest company intercepts food destined for landfill and turns it into meals for vulnerable people.

Franstine Jones

Ipswich trailblazer Franstine is the first woman to be elected president of the National Black Police Association.

Minnie Moll, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Minnie Moll, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The former Stoke High School pupil is a specialist in equality and diversity at Suffolk Constabulary.

Maureen Reynel MBE

Maureen set up charity Families in Need (Find) in 1990 to provide food and emergency help to needy people in the Ipswich area.

Bee Kemball.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bee Kemball. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Since then she has received an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk and she received a MBE in 2009 for voluntary service.

Minnie Moll

Business leader Minnie holds many roles in the region, including joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op.

Barbara Gale, chief exeectuive of St Nicholas Hospice Care. Picture: ST NICHOLAS HOSPICE CARE

Barbara Gale, chief exeectuive of St Nicholas Hospice Care. Picture: ST NICHOLAS HOSPICE CARE - Credit: ST NICHOLAS HOSPICE CARE

Minnie bravely went public with her own tale of childhood sexual abuse when she became ambassador for charity Fresh Start - new beginnings last year.

Bee Kemball

Since 1992, Bee has managed logistics company Debach Enterprises.

Karen Simpson, director of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MICK MEDLEY

Karen Simpson, director of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: MICK MEDLEY - Credit: Archant

Bee is also a trustee of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, which runs The Suffolk Show, and in 2016 she became the first woman to hold the title of honorary show director.

Barbara Gale

Barbara is chief executive of St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St Edmunds.

Sally Chicken. Picture: DAVID GARRARD

Sally Chicken. Picture: DAVID GARRARD

She is also a visiting senior fellow in end of life care in the department of nursing studies at the University of Suffolk.

Karen Simpson

Karen is director of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

Lady Caroline Cranbrook. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Lady Caroline Cranbrook. Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Su Anderson

She has held artistic and executive leadership roles within the theatre industry for more than three decades.

Sally Chicken

Sally is a director of the Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union and chairwoman of the Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union.

Sue Cook, interim chief executive of Suffolk County Council. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Sue Cook, interim chief executive of Suffolk County Council. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

She is also vice chairman of the Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society.

Lady Caroline Cranbrook OBE

Aristocrat Caroline is as a food quality campaigner.

Emma Bond. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

Emma Bond. Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK - Credit: Archant

She was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to the red meat industry and is president of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival.

Sue Cook

Sue is Suffolk County Council’s interim chief executive.

Lady Clare Euston. Picture: ALEX KILBEE

Lady Clare Euston. Picture: ALEX KILBEE - Credit: Alex Kilbee

Within her previous roles at the council, Sue has helped to improve school standards and educational attainment across Suffolk.

Professor Emma Bond

Online safeguarding expert Emma is professor of socio-technical research at the University of Suffolk.

Joanna Carrick, artistic director at Red Rose Chain in Ipswich. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Joanna Carrick, artistic director at Red Rose Chain in Ipswich. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Emma has conducted pioneering research which has received international and national acclaim.

Clare Euston

In December 2014, Lady Clare was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.

She has held top positions in the voluntary sector, such as chairwoman of the Foundation for People with Learning Difficulties and trustee of the Henry Smith Charity.

Joanna Carrick

Joanna is artistic director at Red Rose Chain in Ipswich.

She is celebrated for creating her own acclaimed new plays and re-inventing classic stories.

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