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Category: CQ Women in STEM

Leaders in Heels launches in the UK

Jackie CookRotherham based businesswoman, Jackie Cook has become a UK stockist for Leaders in Heels products.  Leaders in Heels is an Australian concept that has an online community and a stationery brand created to nurture, inspire and empower women.  They design inspirational stationery to help women develop habits of successful leaders and to encourage them to go after their dreams and make their mark on the world.


Jackie Cook, Managing Director and Founder of CQ Strategic Marketing and CQ Marketing Academy, said “I am delighted to promote the Leaders in Heels brand in the UK, these products have helped me identify my goals and develop actions plans to achieve success both personally and professionally, keeping me focused and positive on a day-to-day basis.”


“With all the media attention on the gender pay gap I see these products as great tools to support other business women, who frequently have ‘imposter syndrome’ and listen too much to their ‘inner critic’ instead of believing in themselves and pursuing their dreams.”


“I work in the still very male-dominated sector of manufacturing and engineering, according to the latest report from Engineering UK only 12% of those working in engineering are female.  The sector has a large skills shortage with the industry needing 203,000 people with Level 3+ engineering skills every year to meet demand through to 2024.  Many of my clients are facing this issue on a day to day basis struggling to hire the skills they need, with many of them reintroducing apprenticeship schemes to develop the skills required in-house.”


A report produced by WISE Campaign in June 2018 supports the business case for increasing diversity particularly in these industries includes:

  • Better choice of skilled workers
  • Better platform for innovation and creativity
  • Better workforce productivity
  • Better customer experience
  • Better financial performance

Organisations that lead the way on gender diversity so often lead on performance and even profitability. Those that ignore diversity risk losing out to the competition. This is not, of course, simple cause and effect. But the correlation between improved diversity and business results is striking.


Kasia Gospos, Founder of Leaders in Heels said “I created the Leaders in Heels Manifesto to bring to life the main qualities that make you a Leader in Heels, successful and good at what you do in your daily life – moving up the corporate ladder, turning passion to profit and empowering other women to also reach their potential.”


“Leaders in Heels content, stationery, e-books and events are inspired by our manifesto – a set of ideas and traits exemplified by the dynamic and successful women in the community.  Through our work we strive to encourage women to follow their passion, be creative and innovative in their lives, feel confident and determined in their endeavours and to maintain a kind heart on the path to success.”


Government figures for women on boards of FTSE companies published on 6th February by BoardEx, a business intelligence provider, show:

  • FTSE 100 is at 28.7%, up from 27.7% in October
  • FTSE 250 is at 23.4%, up from 22.8%
  • FTSE 350 is at 25.2%, up from 24.5%
  • All-male boards are down from 10 to 8

The number of women Chairs across the FTSE 350 has gone up from 17 to 20.

What led me to Leaders in Heels?

Jackie CookAt 16, I wanted to get married, have a family and be a PA.

At 41, I am single, own my own home, have a dog and run my own successful marketing consultancy businesses operating across South and West Yorkshire, accomplished at supporting international manufacturing businesses at board level.

To make this change I realise I’ve removed my own glass ceiling as I was expecting myself to fill a certain role that our culture is geared towards. My life has evolved, as everyone’s does, it doesn’t always go to plan, your experiences change you, relationships don’t always work out, you meet new people who inspire you, you experience health problems and overall your passions and dreams change.

I have had all the above in my life, and a lot of it in the last seven years, some challenges including the end of my relationship which meant cancelling the wedding, the realisation that the large corporate world with the senior level organisational politics that is often involved is not for me. That time in my life led me to suffer with daily anxiety attacks. Even with the low self-confidence and self-esteem I was struggling with, I recognised something had to change.

Thankfully I have some amazing business mentors, former colleagues and friends and I had an idea for a business – marketing support for SME manufacturing businesses with no in-house marketing.  So, in 2011, I took a pot of savings to live off, about half the salary I had been on, and resigned from my full-time national Marketing Manager role. It was scary, as I had no work lined up and so I set about starting my own business.

It has been a rollercoaster journey but six years later I am in business, with clients in Leeds, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield. I have a team of sub-contractors who I work with to bring in expertise on particular projects.  I have brought in HR, IT, Admin and Accounts to support the business and me with these specialist skills.  I’ve had to hire and fire as work has ebbed and flowed.

There is so much help out there and so many business people and organisations willing to help another small business – it is amazing. I’ve had to take on sales, develop account management skills the list in endless of what I’ve learnt in six years and there is still so much to learn.

2014/15 was a tough year as my Dad became ill and passed away in the October and then I became ill needing surgery in April 2015, it took a few months to get back on track but by the end of 2015 and into 2016 the business went really well. I was feeling healthy and business grew, I hired staff and we doubled in turnover 2 years running.

This meant in 2016 I managed to do what I’d been wanting to do since my relationship split 6 years earlier, I managed to buy a 2-bed house with a garden, I knew my dog would love that, but to give us both the outside space too as we had been in a 1 bed flat with no garden.

So, with this back drop at the end of 2017, after some business setbacks I was looking for something to help me with developing my goals, future direction and keep me being more positive on a day-to-day basis. This is when I found Leaders in Heels, an Australian concept with a range of products to support women identify and achieve their dreams, whatever they may be.  I recognised the values of being passionate, creative, innovative, confident, determined and kind as being a part of who I am.

These products, in particular the Phenomenal Woman Planner and the Make your Mark Journal have helped me change my mindset this year, identify and focus on my goals not just at work but in my personal life too.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and self-confidence they have helped me recognise how much I have achieved and got in my life, personally – independence, my own home, my dog, friends and family, and professionally – set up a regional, profitable business, gained Chartered status, Fellowship of my professional body, a Masters degree, I am a mentor and marketing speaker, have great mentors, clients, colleagues and business network.  I have a clear focus on my goals along with my wider vision/legacy including:

  • Raising the profile of the manufacturing sector for the diversity, capability and careers available;
  • Increasing marketing representation at board level with a focus on ROI to prove added value;
  • Increasing gender diversity in STEM careers particularly in management and board level roles within manufacturing.

The Leaders in Heels products give you a weekly focus on the positive things – the wins, what you are grateful for.  Along with a monthly review which makes me realise how much I do and stop beating myself up for not making enough progress instead of enjoying my success!

One of my core values, that I identified on this journey, and makes me happy is helping others achieve their goals.  I do this in every part of my life, through my consultancy business, mentoring, and my friendships.  I see Leaders in Heels products as a way to leave a legacy of a way to help other women open up their thinking, consider other possibilities to…

Dream, Define and Do!

Jackie Cook