Dame Julie A Kenny

Chair Of The Board Of Trustees at Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

The thoughts and perspectives from Dame Julie Kenny, Chair Of The Board Of Trustees at Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

March 7, 2022
Mar 8, 2022
International Women's Day
Introduction and Biography

Dame Julie Kenny is a successful South Yorkshire based entrepreneur.  Following the sale in 2016 of award winning Pyronix Limited which she built from start up in 1986, Julie continues her involvement in serving business and local communities.

Founding Chair of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust which is committed to securing a sustainable future for the largest restoration project in the Country. A true Levelling Up project in the North.  Julie also Chairs Robson Handling Technology Limited, a NED of AES Engineering, Chair of Maltby Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust Chair of RISC and Joint Chair of SRGP, two national committees dealing with Security, Resilience and Growth for the Defence, Security and Tech UK Sector.

Julie served as an Intervention Commissioner with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council between 2015 and 2018.

Julie was honoured in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2019 with a Damehood for her work with heritage.  Julie’s CBE in 2002 and Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in 2005 were conferred in recognition of her contribution to business in the region. Julie was awarded Freewoman of Rotherham in 2020.

Our relationship with Dame Julie began a few years ago when we were mutually involvement in a Charity event. There is so much to admire about the work Julie has done and continues to do. A very successful business woman, we hold in very high regard and who has done so much to inspire others.

Who has been your role model / most inspirational figure?

No one and everyone.  When you look around yourself you can see good and inspirational aspects in everyone’s lives – from those that are carers of the young and old – those in the nursing sectors – Mums juggling their daily life with the children and the pressures of work – for those who volunteer to help others or charities – for those living with illness or a disability.  If you look hard enough almost everyone has a special talent and can be an inspiration.

What are good strategies to help woman achieve success in the work place?

Firstly, believe in yourself and your talents.  Do not let others damage your confidence. Keep focused and work hard. Consider volunteering on a board or other organisation.  I promise you – you will learn many things that you can take back into your career which will help you succeed.  I learned so much from volunteering and time spent on many different boards which has contributed to who I am today.  Plus, you make some great friends and colleagues.

The latest FTSE board report found that FTSE 350 companies have met the target of 33%  women on boards. This sounds positive, but the number in executive (against  non-executive) is only 14%. What is your view on this number?

Whilst we might have reached the target of women on boards.  How many of those women serve on more than one board?  Many I would suspect.  For executive jobs I believe today there is still an unconscious bias when appointing women to the top jobs. In addition, research shows that when a man looks at a job description and goes down the list of essential requirements if he can tick most of them, he will apply for the job.  Women feel the need to tick all the boxes.  We do not need to. Be brave, apply for your dream job.

What do you think 2022 has in store for UK businesses?

Keep positive, For those exporting the world post Brexit posts some challenges but you can overcome them. There are increased NI contributions and energy costs so try and look to improving productivity – try and take out costs by reviewing processes and stopping those that do not add value to your business.  Look after your staff and yourself.  Happy staff makes improved productivity.  We have all learned a lot of new things in Covid times keep the best of that learning and bring it into your business.  I know I will do ensure I do more teams meetings than before and this will save on fuel and time which can be put to better use in your business..

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