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  • Annabel Lumsden

The Consult Centre has invited local business professionals to write a guest blog. This week, we hear from Annabel Lumsden of TP Financial Solutions....

If you were asked to describe the type of company who designed the black box flight recording programming software for Concorde, what would your immediate answer be?

A high tech, highly qualified, male dominated conglomerate in the USA?

This programming was designed by a group of female software specialists, working from home in the UK, in the 1960s, led by their CEO ‘Steve’.

Dame Stephanie Shirley introduced herself as ‘Steve’ to prospective clients in her communications, to get through the door, after those signed Stephanie were ignored.

In 2021, 50 years on, I’m sure we’d all like to think that we no longer judge capability based on gender but a conversation with my seven-year-old daughter showed me that this change is by no means yet a done deal.

Whilst getting excited about the Women’s FA Cup Final, she shared this with the children in her class at school and was told by the boys that she was lying and they didn’t believe her because ‘girls don’t play football’.

She was frustrated and confused by this and thankfully her teacher led a discussion with the class about the capability of both boys and girls to excel. But surely, this instinct to assume based on perceived gender ‘roles’ should no longer be a part of our society.

Annabel Lumsden

As women working in financial services and now running our own financial planning practice, my wife and I often face questions at conferences such as ‘whose P.A. are you?’, ‘which adviser do you work for?’ – no preamble or introduction – just an assumption that as young females, we are the administration staff rather than highly qualified professional advisers.

As a supposed move in the right direction, some women’s events were launched through our previous network but when the Managing Director of this FTSE 100 firm referred to us throughout the meeting as ‘lady advisers’, this seemed to fall well short.

To challenge this makes for an uncomfortable stand off and being labelled as feminists in a negative sense when all that’s required is a level playing field where we achieve based on capability not ‘in spite’ of being male or female.

In a previous role within a large financial organisation I witnessed comments directed towards an excellent senior manager, who happened to be female, about her being ‘short and sweet’ and ‘the best looking manager in the business’ – to her face – and watched, enraged, as she felt the same as me, unwilling to challenge the comments.

In a meeting to raise my discomfort with her, she decided to confront one of the main offenders and was met with the response – ‘Ah come on, it’s just banter, don’t be so uptight’.

Whether we’re talking toxic masculinity where ‘boys’ must be ‘boys’ or misogyny where women are capable of little more than cooking and cleaning, it is up to us all to realise the implications of this and to challenge it, even is this makes for an uncomfortable situation.

When researching this article, I discovered a word I’d not come across before – misandry – the prejudice against men and boys. To have never heard this word made me realise even further the imbalance we are facing still.

The demands on us all to achieve are based on hard work, commitment, and sacrifice – regardless of gender and so those achievements should be recognised as such.

Capability comes down to the merit of the individual and no child or adult in our society should be dissuaded from reaching for their goals because it’s ‘not very manly’ or ‘not very lady like’.

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In this week's blog we caught up with Ruth to find out all about The Consult Centre podcast!

The Consult Centre Podcast

The podcast hasn't been going very long but is already making its mark in the small business world.

Ruth explained why she decided to launch the podcast.

"There wasn't really a locally focussed podcast on local businesses," she said.

"There are some businesses doing some amazing things, not just in their business, but for the wider community.

"And they don't often get the opportunity to tell their stories and get that exposure.

"The great thing about a podcast is that it's a way of connecting to people on lots of different levels, and the consumer can listen in at a time that's convenient for them."

The Consult Centre Podcast has been so successful that we are getting guests from around the UK, even overseas!

The podcast has featured Andrew from Wild View Retreat in Portugal, as well as local business owners including Matt Jackson from Lancaster Brewery , Tarnia and Annabel from TP Financial Solutions, Jacob from Zebra Electrical, Nicola Combe from Morecambe Bay Wills & Estates , Ben Yates from BY Design , Catherine Hunt from Prime Wellbeing Foundation, Sally Wilkinson and many many more.

"It's also about people who have seen it and done it, sharing their experiences in their business, to help others," said Ruth.

"And there's always a highlight, in every conversation.

"We had Dominic Mellonie, the head of HR from Motorsport Network. He told me a story about how he nearly became an MI5 agent, and how he once mistook an MI5 agent for an air conditioning repair man!"

There are more fun and interesting stories to come on The Consult Centre Podcast in the upcoming weeks too.

And if you run a small business, we would love to hear your story too!

If you would like to appear on our podcast, please contact us at The Consult Centre; email enquiries@theconsultcentre.com

How to listen to The Consult Centre Podcast:

Apple Podcasts



The Consult Centre website

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The Consult Centre has invited local business professionals to write a guest blog. This week, it's the turn of Catherine Hunt from Prime Wellbeing Foundation...

Catherine Hunt from Prime Wellbeing Foundation

Working through the programme for Health Creation has been a journey, with subtle twists and turns, with not so subtle heartfelt learnings and instilling a rooted fire in my belly.

You often hear people saying "it came just at the right time for me" and last March, when my clinic had to close, I delved deep into the monthly process of self-assessments and calls with a mentor.

Over the subsequent months I saw a sense of how the programme was helping me revive my connection to living a fulfilling life.

There have been dramatic changes. Not the "that's it, i'm going to join the circus and travel the world" type insights, more an unveiling of deep desires to refine and design a lifestyle I've been knowing was possible.

Becoming True to Yourself is the principle I am working on right now.

Prime Wellbeing is based in Grange-over-Sands

Homework assignments have been to 'rise rested', 'centre in' and 'I choose' affirmations to keep me focussed. What I love about the programme is the guidance the mentor has instilled in me to be my own guide, to find my own affirmations to dispel limiting beliefs and to return to a place where i am truly being more me.

Now we are drawing to the end of the taught aspect of the course I'm looking for people to be guided through the process themselves as case studies to hone my skills as a mentor.

Health Creation looks to address underlying health issues, either those that are current or in a preventative aspect. In looking at key areas of your life that effect your physical and mental health, considering your environment, key relationships and how you choose to live, you can effect your vital life force.

Each month you are invited to complete a questionnaire that creates a Picture of Health that assesses your Life Energy Factor. Between 30% and 70% can indicate a need to address health concerns to increase your vitality. Over 70% you have the opportunity to revive your lifestyle to maintain optimum health.

I am looking for 3 people to work with, and I have 11 colleagues who are also looking for a 6 month commitment to be mentored through the Health Creation programme.

The Health Creation programme

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

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