Inspiring Women unite for Biz Week dinner

Culture and the corporate world came together as HullBID assembled an audience of the city centre’s most influential businesswomen for its annual Humber Business Week dinner.

BID’s third annual Inspiring Women event lived up to the title by attracting glowing feedback after highly professional and powerful presentations using photography to explore the impact of war and highlighting the importance of culture in creating and developing communities.

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID City Centre Manager, said: “It is remarkable that we have been able to set and maintain such a high standard with the speakers at three Inspiring Women dinners, and that quality has helped to establish our event as a key attraction during Business Week.

“With so many activities going on as part of a packed schedule you can never take it for granted that people will respond in numbers but Inspiring Women was once again fully booked and guests were treated to presentations which covered very different subjects but which were equally compelling.

“The Business Week schedule is such that you never have to travel far or wait very long for feedback, and at the very next event that I attended I bumped into people who were with us at Inspiring Women. They made it clear that they found the evening fascinating and uplifting, although that sets us another challenge for next year!”

The dinner at the Holiday Inn Hull Marina attracted around 80 businesswomen from a wide range of sectors including retail, leisure and various professional firms and business support services.

They were enthralled by the work of Hull-born journalist and documentary photographer Dr Lee Karen Stow, who displayed some of the pictures which she has taken and the stories of women of war and women peace campaigners around the world.

Lee, whose exhibition “TORN” will be launched for Hull City of Culture in November 2017, said: “I was thrilled to be able to talk about my documentary photography and to share stories of some of the incredibly inspiring women I meet during the course of my work – and lo and behold I find myself in a room packed with equally inspiring women! It was an honour.

Equally important was the opportunity to show what I do, day in and day out. My 'job' is highly unusual. I'm a bit of a cuckoo. I am often out in the field alone, with no team, no back up. So I often wonder if anyone is listening. Does anyone care? Are my images contributing anything of significance?

However the response and positive feedback from the women at the dinner – and in Tweets and emails afterwards ­– has assured me that this work has real value. The encouragement and genuine interest I received compels me to continue. I am so grateful for that.

Jenny Howard-Coombes, Executive Director of the Freedom Festival Arts Trust, spoke of the importance of culture at the epicentre of Hull’s transformation and of the growing understanding between arts and industry of the benefits of working together.

She said: “Cross-sector collaboration is fundamental to the long-term transformation of people and place. The two go hand in hand. Our communities are wonderfully rich and diverse with multiple layers of representation from people, businesses, social enterprises, public sector and academia. We can’t and shouldn’t operate in silos. We each have so much to learn from each other and change comes from creating opportunities to listen and hear other perspectives.

“Hull has always been home to a strong, creative scene and now what we’re seeing is the arts being incredibly transformative for people and place, encouraging social community, driving health and wellbeing and encouraging future wealth makers to invest and enable talent development at a local level. All of these benefits offer significant advantages to businesses.


“We’re at the beginning of a new journey for the city and I’m excited to see what is to come in 2018 and beyond. I hope it is a future where we are all brave enough to test out new things, to work together to support and invest in the continuous evolution of Hull.”

Share your ideas

We want to hear from you

To propose a project, add your support to an initiative or to share your views, call Catherine Goble on 01482 611802 or email

We're tweeting

RT @YumFoodFest: Oh, there is just the small matter of several hundred dominoes being pushed over and ending in the Yum! Festival on Saturd… 10:49 - 19/07/2018

Business highlight

Focus on...Think Employment

One of Hull’s most well-known adult training providers is set to deliver more free training to jobseekers in the city, after being awarded a contract with ESFA.

latest news