Award Winner Blog Series: Grace Dyke, Winner of One to Watch 2017

On a mission to make ethical business the normal way to do business is Grace Dyke, strategic director of media and communications social enterprise – Yellow Jigsaw. And she is certainly living up to her ‘one to watch’ Northern Power Women award win.

The 27-year-old, who walked away from the University of Liverpool with a first class honours degree in Business Studies, opted to start her career working with regional and national charities to hone her passion for social justice and now has extended that passion and motivation to running her own business in Greater Manchester that is only 12 months old.

Grace was nominated for the NPW award after the success of Yellow Jigsaw’s #imnotjohn campaign that aimed to inspire women across the North West to believe they can become leaders in their chosen careers. The campaign reached half a million people from Knutsford to New York and now she aims to transform the campaign goals into further action.

“I am motivated by social justice, so any advancements that can be made to help society have inspired my career choices.

“I have been lucky enough to work with role models in the workplace who inspired me to want to become a leader – and to not be afraid of sticking to your guns if you believe you are working with integrity and with the end goal in sight.

“I have always wanted to be my own boss, so to launch Yellow Jigsaw in 2015 was a personal milestone for me and a professional achievement that stands out above the rest. Being able to now make a difference through our pro bono work and charity clients at Yellow Jigsaw is incredibly satisfying.

“As a young female leader, I have received offhand comments and judgements. I was once told I was invited to speak at an international conference due to being ‘the attractive young’ member of the team, rather than due to my results at work. The said person hadn’t been invited, so I took it on the chin and used the comments as motivation to prove him wrong!

“I would advise other young females to use any negativity as motivation, and also tell them to try not to fall victim to imposter syndrome. Build on your strengths, work on your weakness and have every confidence in your right to be a leader.

“Being a part of the Northern Power Women awards has been incredible, and to win was both a shock and a fantastic opportunity. The awards have brought together men and women who are campaigning for change, and it is exciting to be a part of it!

“Yellow Jigsaw has since won ROSA funding to continue our #Imnotjohn campaign; by winning the One To Watch award I have a profile that I can use to keep up the #Imnotjohn momentum and inspire more women to believe you don’t have to be John to be the boss.

“Now I am continuing to build Yellow Jigsaw’s client base across the North West, and as a result our pro bono work – in particularly our journalism clubs for young people and our leadership equality campaign #Imnotjohn- will continue to grow. Thanks to Northern Power Women, it has been an incredible start to the year. Watch this space!”

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