Inspirational Women

There are already many amazing women who are helping to shape Wales and the UK in a number of ways; as Public Appointees, Trustees of charities, Board members of public and private organisations and alongside volunteering there are also some inspirational role models working to further the equality of opportunity in public life.

We wanted to highlight the journey these women have made towards success to show that barriers can be overcome and inspire more women to take steps to achieving a public appointment themselves.

If you are or know of a woman who is an inspiration to others get in touch so that we can share your story.

Melanie Hawthorne

Melanie HawthorneMelanie Hawthorne is a Trustee for the Arts Council of Wales, a voluntary role which is appointed by the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage.

Melanie is a creative professional, holding a degree in Drama and has a professional history which includes project management across a range of art and entertainment disciplines.  She is currently the Creative Development Officer for the University of South Wales.

Melanie’s passion for the many forms of creative and artistic expression helped her to build a raft of experience and knowledge of the cultural and creative sector in Wales – from traditional art forms such as theatre and dance to digital media and music.  “When I saw the advertisement for the Arts Council role I thought, I’d like to do that, be an advocate for creativity and the arts, promoting excellence and present an alternative perspective.”

Melanie finds the most enjoyable part of the role is working collectively with the other Board members, making sure that the money invested in the Arts Council by the Welsh Government and the National Lottery is being effectively spent and accounted for.  “Nothing can be achieved by an individual in isolation; as part of a team can we truly achieve great things.”   

Unfortunately, Melanie has experienced the barriers that can, and do, exist here in Wales.  As a creative professional who is not only female, but a woman of colour, Melanie believes that the issues are far more complex than just being subjective to misogynist and / or racist tensions. 

Melanie believes that contemporary Wales is a generally tolerant nation, but that there continues to be barriers to progression, particularly in relation to promotional opportunities to senior positions for women.  Her way of overcoming this is to continually strive for excellence in her own work, confident in the belief that she did the best she could.

There are a number of people who have inspired, believed, supported, nurtured and encouraged Melanie to live her dream - women such as Oprah Winfrey and Christine LaGarde.  But, just as important to Melanie are the women (and men) who are not as high profile, those who have been open and candid in their practical support and encouragement.  “Everyday people inspire me, people are important and everyone has a story to tell.”

Melanie’s advice to other women is “just give it a go… you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”   Her biggest tip is to ignore anyone and everyone whose criticism isn’t objective or helpful, “their negativity will affect your confidence and if you feel passionate about something then you have a valid contribution to make.” 

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