Bridget is the founder of dream on. She is passionate about bringing out the best in people and providing the support and encouragement to others that she has had through her life.
Bridget is married to Chris and lives in Suffolk. She and Chris have restored a small woodland and are both active in the local community where they live. Bridget has two stepchildren and five grandchildren and a dog called Newkibrown.
If someone had said to her teachers, her friends or her parents when she left school that Bridget would become the CEO of an insurance company and be one of only sixteen women to be a FTSE 100 executive director they all would have laughed as she was not a “top student or achiever “ at school. Bridget did not discover her passion until she left the academic world and joined the world of business.
She was fortunate however, despite her average school achievements. She was always encouraged by her parents to be herself and to approach life with confidence.
She went to university and gained an average degree in business and started her first job as a trainee accountant. She qualified eighteen months later in record time (she suddenly found something she enjoyed and amazingly her results were good) and spent the first ten years of her career working in many different businesses varying from car manufacturing to book publishing, from radar development to consulting. She gained a broad understanding of business and financial management.
She found that she worked well with people. She could lead and motivate teams. She had positive energy and enthusiasm that helped people achieve what might feel impossible goals.
So, for the first ten years of her career, Bridget was very driven, and working incredibly hard. She found that she was starting to fit the mould of the “achieving business woman”. It was at this stage that Bridget was offered some money from her employee that she could invest in any kind of training she wanted. She decided she wanted to understand leadership. She found a week long course run by a company called Harthill that was to make a huge impression on Bridget’s life. It sowed the seeds for dream on.
On the course Bridget noticed a lot about the dynamics of the people on the course. She was encouraged to speak up about her feelings and emotions (ummm…not often encouraged in corporate life). She found as she did, people addressed issues they were avoiding and that discussion opened up and thinking improved. She was appreciated for her style and her ideas.
She found a good connection with one of the leaders on the course, Jackie. She asked Jackie if she would become her mentor. Immediately Bridget started to benefit from the time they spent together working out who Bridget was, what she wanted from the whole of her life, how to deal with specific work issues and most importantly how to be herself. It is this experience that Bridget wants to make available to women in all walks of life through dream on.
So, Bridget’s career continued to progress. She discovered she both loved leading and she could inspire people to follow. She moved to work at Norwich Union (now known as Aviva) in financial services. She started as finance manager and her career in financial services culminated at RSA where she was UK CEO. She planned her career moves carefully. She took risks and made choices based on what she was passionate about. She broadened her experience all of the time and developed a strong understanding of all aspects of business. She knew in 2008 that the corporate world, whilst having been a huge part of her life, wasn’t where she wanted to spend all of her time. She wanted to stay connected with it but also wanted to set up a business devoted to women ….the start of dream on.
Bridget loves fashion and style. On a few occasions she has had help with creating her own individual look. She found that when she was doing something new or hard, what she wore gave her more confidence. So, she wanted to build this into dream on. She talked with her friend Amanda, (known for more than 25 years and a fellow attendee of Clothes Show since it began), and they decided not only did they want to help with style but also find interesting clothes to sell. dream on is also about having a fit healthy body. In the late 1990’s Bridget was in two minor car accidents. These resulted in whiplash injuries. Bridget found that her job and the demands of travelling meant she was often in a lot of pain. She then got interested in what she could do (rather than painkillers) to manage the discomfort. So, she learnt the Alexander Technique, the Shaw method of swimming and pilates.
Today she has a life of variety. As founder of dream on, she works with the team setting the plans for the business, helping with workshops and offers coaching to women. She stays connected to the business world through non-executive director roles and some advisory work. She finds time to be creative, painting, sculpting, spending time with her family and grandchildren and helping out where she can at her local community church. And oooh …she is always in training – this time open water swimming. She loves the outdoors and enjoys spending time walking in the countryside.