When a woman is empowered, women are empowered. Each new achievement reinforces us all.

Our Team

We are stronger together

The success of The Women’s Organisation is thanks to the dedication and hard work of our entire team, from the board of directors / trustees, management and staff, through to our dozens of amazing volunteers who give their time and their expertise freely for the benefit of others. We are incredibly fortunate to have such an inspired and inspiring group of people who share our vision and our values and make our mission their own.

Board of Directors / Trustees 

Our charity and its trading arm are led by voluntary boards of trustees and directors who are drawn from the private, public and social economy sectors.  The charity board is chaired by Professor Alison Price, supported by Gill Moglione as Vice Chair and Susan Oshikanlu as Treasurer. The trading arm which reinvests all of its profits into the charity is chaired by Pat Shea Halson. The Women’s Organisation place a strong emphasis on attracting and retaining a diverse board of trustees with the requisite values, qualifications, skills, and experience to set the organisations strategic direction and to oversee the effective stewardship of its resources and activities. There is a strong commitment to stakeholder and community involvement at board level and therefore ex-service users, entrepreneurs, educators, charity, legal, finance and communities of interest reflect the board profile. Ensuring that women who have experienced diverse life journeys have the opportunity to influence and have a voice at the leadership table is central to the organisations philosophy and approach to governance and this has ensured that services and activities remain relevant and effective to our service users and stakeholders. Our approach to strong, effective and representative governance has also enabled us to maintain an accountable organisation that delivers high quality services for almost two decades.  The respective Boards are committed to the continuing improvement of the organisation and the systems and procedures that underpin its activities. We also owe a great debt to our co-founder, Rita Bebbington, who is sadly no longer with us but whose commitment to equality and social justice continues to influence our work.

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Leadership team

Our senior management team comprises Chief Executive Officer, Maggie O’Carroll, Chief of Finance and Operations Helen Millne and our Enterprise Director Jackie Williams.

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Engaging, enabling and training

To support the ever developing roster of advice, training and services offered by The Women’s Organisation, we have a superb staff of community engagers, enablers and trainers, who use their extensive business experience and technical expertise to reach out into the local community, identify their needs and provide accessible solutions, to help women become more self-confident and more economically active.

These teams are supported by a committed administration, finance and conferencing team, who keep our organisation running smoothly and take care of everything, from day to day accounts to on-going performance monitoring.

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At The Women’s Organisation, we are privileged to have the support of a large pool of highly experienced associate consultants who support the work of our staff teams. Our associates are all expert practitioners, many of whom are currently working at the forefront of women’s issues around the world.

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Our volunteers provide unwavering help and support across a wide range of our operations, from fundraising to community outreach projects. We could not operate without them and we are hugely grateful for their enthusiasm and energy.

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We are delighted to have an extensive list of former clients who have gone on to success as entrepreneurs, and who return to The Women’s Organisation to share their experience with others as they embark on their own journey.

This hands on, real world advice adds an invaluable perspective to our organisation and offers our current clients a unique opportunity to learn from women who have been through what they are currently undertaking.

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Entrepreneur in Residence - Elaine Clarke

Elaine Clarke is our Entrepreneur in Residence for 2013 -2014. Elaine is committed to promoting women’s enterprise locally and nationally and acts as a role model to other aspiring women entrepreneurs. She provides mentoring and guidance to other women entrepreneurs and is an advocate for the enterprise agenda.       

Elaine Clarke is a perfect example of how hard work, tenacity and determination can change your life. While attending Liverpool’s La Sagesse RC Grammar School in Liverpool, Elaine began working as a waitress at her aunt’s café, Tabac. It was here that Elaine’s passion and talent for the licensed trade and business came to the fore. Elaine’s vision to create a credible, independent bar with contemporary music, unique design - that was also good value and atmospheric - was achieved in Baa Bar. This ‘DNA’ of the business was defined by Elaine and has been developed into the ‘Science of Baa Bar’ as the brand has grown. With Elaine at the helm, Baa Bar launched in Manchester in 2000 in the iconic Deansgate Locks and a further concept, Bumper, in Liverpool in 2004.

From a £250,000 turnover in 1992 to £10.9m in 2013, the portfolio of bars is now eleven strong, including eight under the Baa Bar brand and employs a total of 340 staff. Net Assets of the business now stand at over £2.4m. The company now has four venues in Manchester, five in Liverpool, one in Nottingham and one in Leeds, and intends to open a further three venues this year including Sheffield and Birmingham.

Elaine has been recognised for her business acumen by winning 32 national business awards including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Named as one of the most influential Scousers on the Planet in 2008, one of the 42 under 42 by North West Business Insider.

In addition to her significant responsibility running the Baa Bar Group, Elaine also values the opportunity to extend her contribution to organisations she is passionate about throughout the North West.  Elaine is on the board of directors for Manchester Pride, Patron of Liverpool HIV and AIDS charity, Sahir House and also works with the Black Health Agency in Manchester. As mother to 17 year old Oliver, Elaine also juggles her work commitments with her home-life.

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Key Staff Biographies


Gill Moglione - the women's Organisation Chair

Gill has a degree in Economics and started her career at the TUC and WEA delivering courses to trade union representatives, Gill pioneered women only courses and encouraged women to get involved in trades unions at their workplaces. In 1989 after the birth of her fifth child she became Deputy Director of the Women's Technology Scheme which trained socially and economically excluded women in ICT, and co led the £5m redevelopment of Blackburne House Women's Centre in 1994 and co led its development as a highly successful social enterprise in the City of Liverpool. She developed all key financial, HR and marketing systems and procedures whilst at Blackburn House and secured bids and tenders worth millions of pounds from European Programmes including ERDF, ESF and Community Initiatives, Learning and Skills Council, and the Further Education Council. She is an expert in voluntary sector organisational management and compliance having started her own business in 2000 has undertaken consultancy worked with numerous public and third sector organisations. She is currently focused on domestic abuse within Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities. She is an independent member on the Liverpool Safeguarding Children Board and holds Directorship at Merseyside Welfare Rights and South Liverpool CAB. As a woman of dual heritage, she is totally dedicated to women's equality and progression both in and out of the workplace. Her involvement with The Women's Organisation is a true reflection of the values that continue to influence her personal and professional life.

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Susan Oshikanlu - Treasurer

Susan is Finance Manager for the local charity Health Energy Advice Ltd, and has extensive experience in the running of publicly funded services, including undertaking the management and accounting for public and charitable funds. She has developed and implemented a range of highly effective systems at The Women’s Organisation to ensure financial probity.

As a resident of the Toxteth community, Susan is acutely aware of the barriers and issues faced by local communities, and is committed to ensuring that local services are in place to reverse the trend of social and economic exclusion.

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Pat Shea

Pat Shea Halson - Chair of Trading Arm

Pat Shea Halson first became involved after undertaking one of the original Train 2000 higher level business skills courses; a Certificate in Supervisory Management in conjunction with John Moore's University. Having benefited greatly from the programme, she joined the board of directors as part of her commitment to ensuring other women had similar opportunities to access high quality support. Pat has run the Centre for Personal Development for over ten years, providing training for would-be counselors and helping women to build their communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.

Pat's achievements were recognised in November 2008, when she won two National Training Awards. Pat received the National Training Award for the North West Region and the UK National Training Award for Exceptional Achievement. 

Pat is passionate about the work of The Women’s Organisation and says that she believes that the organisation plays a vital role in assisting women into enterprise and employment, but recognises that much more needs to be done to ensure equality of opportunity for all women.

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Maggie O'Carroll

Maggie O'Carroll - Chief Executive

Starting her career in the United States, Maggie moved to Liverpool in 1991 where she successfully started and grew her own management consultancy business. In 1996 she started The Women’s Organisation to promote female enterprise policy and practice having identified it as a huge untapped entrepreneurial market for the UK. She has led the businesses development as an award winning social enterprise and it is now the largest and most successful dedicated Women’s Business Support Charity and Social Business in the UK. She is responsible for the overall strategic development of the business and has recently led the creation of a £5.3m International Centre for Women’s Enterprise Development in Liverpool. Maggie is actively involved in female economic development policy influencing on an international, national and regional basis and is Chair of the UK Women’s Enterprise Policy Group and a member of the Women’s Budget Group. She is a Business graduate with a Masters in Community Enterprise from the Judge Business School, Cambridge University. Maggie has lectured on a part time at Liverpool University Management School on Entrepreneurship and Liverpool John Moores University, on Measuring Social Impact within their Masters in Social and Community Enterprise programmes. She is an Entrepreneurial Scholar in residence at Simmon's Collage, Boston, USA. She is also currently chairperson of Vivark Ltd, a local social enterprise with over 250 employees a multimillion turnover and a group board member of First Ark, a registered social housing provider with over 13,000 properties in Knowsley. She is a regular contributor to conferences in the UK, and aboard, on issues relating to women's education, employment, entrepreneurship and social enterprise.

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Helen Millne

Helen Millne - Chief of Finance and Operations

Helen has over 20 years’ experience working at a senior management and executive level across the public, private and social economy sectors. She is educated to Masters level holding an MBA with distinction and is also published in the field of social impact assessment and female entrepreneurship. She is a qualified Social Accountant and is experienced in acting as verification panel chair.

She operates on a local, national and international level in the development of a range of social impact, economic development business growth and competitiveness programmes. Her previous roles included Regional Training Officer for the National Association of Citizens' Advice Bureaux, and Social Enterprise Development Manager for Liverpool City Council where she led the creation of the Social Enterprise Network and co-designed the first Social Accounting and Auditing support programme for the Liverpool City Region. Helen is a recognised expert in the field of Social Accounting and Auditing, which enables organisations to develop their Social Value Frameworks to measure and improve their social impact. Her work in the field has been rolled out nationally and internationally. Helen has also run a highly successful business consultancy practice specialising governance, organizational audit and implementation of a range of public and private investment tools and programmes including European Structural Fund project access, deployment and management, social enterprise development and business growth and improvement programmes.

Helen currently provides financial and operational leadership within The Women’s Organisation, taking responsibility for management and operational development, financial audit and compliance. She has successfully led a number of high value capital projects including The Women’s Organisation £5.3 physical flagship development, 54 St James Street. Helen is fully conversant with a range of public sector programmes and contracts including the SFA, LEP, RGF Local Authority and European Structural Funds and has specific expertise large scale, multi partner and international project management.

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Jackie Williams

Jackie Williams - Enterprise Director

Jackie Williams – Enterprise Director is responsible for enterprise and employment programme development and implementation. She drives the enterprise and employment support programme quality and innovation on behalf of the organisation and directly oversees the successful delivery of employment, enterprise promotion, start up, growth, mentoring, business club, grants and finance services.

She currently directs a number of international, national and local enterprise and employment services and manages a range of large and multi partner service delivery contracts. She represents the organisation at local, national and international fora and is a considered an expert in her field of enterprise programme development.

Jackie has previously held leading corporate roles culminating as a head buyer for a leading UK retailer House of Fraser, exposing her to global supply chain sourcing and working in an international context. She subsequently ran her own successful business facilitating her to retrain as a Health and Advice Case worker and then Business Advisor. Her unique combination of private, senior corporate and social economy experience coupled with her own personal diverse and successful journey has enabled her to design effective enterprise support services for women starting and growing their own business.

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Rita Bebbington

Rita Bebbington 1956-2010  - Founder of The Women’s Organisation

As one of the founding members of Train 2000, the forerunner to The Women’s Organisation, Rita played an instrumental role, not only as a board member but also by dedicating a great deal of time, energy and passion on a voluntary basis. She devoted much of her working career to women's economic and social inclusion and was an active campaigner on equal pay for women and low pay issues, forging a distinguished career within the Transport and General Workers Union.

Rita had a keen interest in the development of a centre for women entrepreneurs and worked tirelessly to help secure funding support for the impressive WICED (Women's International Centre for Economic Development), which opened shortly after her death in 2010.

Rita was very proud of the many achievements made by Train 2000, and subsequently The Women’s Organisation, in raising the profile of women entrepreneurs and in changing the lives of the many thousands of women that the organisation has supported, encouraged and inspired. Her memory lives on in all of us as we strive to live up to her goal to change and improve the economic position of women.

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More than twice as many men than women are self employed: 14% of men, 6% of women.
source: Fawcett - The changing labour market
Women in full-time work currently earn an average of 15% less per hour than men
source: Fawcett - The changing labour market
"I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself, that is the best combination"
source: Dame Judi Dench
In 2010, 104 million women in 59 countries started and managed new business ventures
source: GEM 2010 - Women's Report
30,000 women every year lose their jobs as a result of becoming pregnant.
source: GEM 2010 - Women's Report
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any"
source: Alice Walker


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