Our Team

Assist is a voluntary organisation, as you will see we are made up of Tees Valley women from all sectors who have a clear passion to make a difference to our corner of the world for our women and young people that live within it. Our Teams welcomes all businesses and professional women aged 16+ who live or work within the Tees Valley. Our Team are welcoming of all and completely inclusive regardless of an individuals race, nationality, disabilities, sexual preferences, religion and beliefs. We act as a channel for business promotion, networking and a platform to share knowledge and experiences for all members. We have the drive to push both you and us to achieve our aims, provide support and development opportunities for Women in Business and Professional Women. #WomenSupportWomen

Our Committee

Assist is a constituted committee with a Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.

Dianne Casey – Treasurer

Dianne worked in the community sector for over 25 years. Creative facilitator, disabled Standup poet. Active member for Assist Women’s Network, supporting businesswomen in Tees Valley, Tees Women Poets collective & girl powering in Teesside for Girlkind NE. https://theconversation.com/amp/what-its-like-growing-up-as-a-girl-in-the-north-of-england-104615?__twitter_impression=true Co~creator with women from across the North, on the production of CrackleDust with company_others unveiling stories […]

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Nicola Myers – Secretary

Middlesbrough born Nicola is a Company Director for her family business and also a bookkeeper.  She joined Assist in 2018 as events coordinator and is now secretary, in addition to providing operational and events support to the board and committee whilst also raising two daughters. In 2017, Nicola decided she would study towards further qualifications […]

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Ann Stonehouse – Founder and Chair

Ann, a business owner of 20 years working as an accountant predominately with SMEs in the NE of England.  Ann is founder and Chair of Assist Women’s Network, now in its 11th year.  The organisation has clear aims and objectives to empower, support and connect business and professional women.  Mentoring has been an underlying theme […]

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Core Team

Here are the voluntary women who make Assist happen...

Andrea Glazebrook – Events Coordinator

Andrea is Middlesbrough born, owner and company director of a small family business. I am excited to have just joined the Assist Team as events coordinator and find being part of this women’s networking group very supportive & inspiring whilst helping other women in the Teeside area. I have three grown up children and have […]

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Helen Beattie – Journalist

Helen Beattie, journalist/Researcher…I am a 38 years old mother of two, mature student in my second year of my degree in Journalism. I currently, alongside my studies, work on student radio presenting my own show and produce content, I also write for the university news platform TUXtra.  I joined Assist at the end of 2019, […]

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Emma Morris – Design and Website Executive

Emma, from Middlesbrough, is a student graphic designer and illustrator. She joined Assist in 2019 as a graphic designer. She provides help and support with the creative aspects of Assist, such as promoting and advertising events, enhancing Assist as a brand and working frequently with the online aspects of Assist. Emma works closely with the […]

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Laura May – Business Manager

Laura, from Guisborough, is a student at Teesside University who is studying towards a degree in Accounting and Finance. Joining Assist in the summer of 2019 as business manager; her role involves marketing and establishing/ developing projects and events. Some key projects she has worked on is the Goodwill Ambassador, assisting in the development and […]

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Emily Myers – Events Coordinator

Emily is from Middlesbrough and is an Accounting and Finance student at Teeside University currently on placement year at Cummins. She joined Assist in summer 2019 and helps with the planning and marketing of Events. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking and travelling.

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Assist Focus

Assist Focus

Wendy Parvin

Business Development Manager for Creative Fuse Tees Valley, Wendy Parvin is an entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity educator with over 30 years of experience working within higher education, businesses and the non – profit sector, both nationally and internationally. With a successful track record in research-led education, small business management and developmental mentoring, she hold  a […]

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Katie Kendall

Recruitment Manager, Hays Recruitment. Katie is co-chair for Assist’s Focus Group. I believe that women should always be unapologetically themselves. We are all unique, no one is perfect, and we learn daily. I now work in business in the Teesside and Tyneside and I am incredibly proud of my achievements. I am currently working in […]

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Sue Thompson

Catch Design Management. I have over a decade of experience running my own design and marketing business, which helps me to understand what small businesses need to market themselves where budgets can be an issue. I have worked in PR, design  and marketing my entire career, both in public and private sector. I set up […]

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Liza Pontone

Based at Active Chartered Financial Planners, a firm of experienced IFAs helping Private Individuals, Businesses and Professional Practices.  20 + years experience as a Financial Adviser offering advice in all areas of financial planning.  In 2018 I gained Fellowship status from the PFS the highest qualification awarded by the CII.  Shortlisted – Women in Financial […]

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Hayley McLean

First and foremost, I’m a mother striving for a better world for my children to grow up in. I want to see people succeed most specifically I want to see people on Teesside succeed. My professional persona is a Chartered Accountant and Business Finance Professional living and working on Teesside trying to help people succeed […]

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Lesley Hawke

Business Advisor at Tees Valley Combined Authority. Lesley is co-chair for Assist’s Focus Group. I am a woman who is still growing and learning about myself. Gained strength through adversity and also self care. Passionate about the Teesside area and helping businesses grow. I have two children who make me get up everyday and be […]

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Assist Strategy Board

The purpose of the Strategy Board (SB) is to work alongside and with the committee on the longer-term aims and objectives of Assist. The Strategy Board, one of the Assist steering groups is a space for the team to look at the bigger picture with prime focus on Tees Valley Business and Professional women. Key areas right now are Inclusion and Diversity, Visibility of Tees Valley women in the mainstream and the Impacts of Covid locally on women.

Sharon MacArthur

Sharon MacArthur is the owner of Miss Menopause which was set up over 3 years ago in response to the lack of information about menopause in the workplace. Sharon works face to face and online around the country. Sharon is passionate about educating everyone where ignorance can no longer be an excuse. She has appeared […]

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Yasmin Khan

Halo Project. Yasmin Khan is Assist’s Goodwill Ambassador for 2020. Welsh Government National Advisor – for Violence against Women Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. Founder / Chief Officer of Halo Project – National Charity for Forced Marriages, HBV and FGM Yasmin has secured the role of a Government Advisor in Wales, she provides expertise on […]

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Jessica Williams

Just Williams. Jessica Williams is a Non-Executive Director, Entrepreneur, Managing Director, Board Member and Mentor. Jessica was appointed as a NED to Darlington Building Society in 2019 as the youngest ever Non-Executive Director to serve on a Building Society board in the UK. Jessica founded Just Williams in 2015 and Just Williams Sales Academy in […]

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Laura Hepburn

Greenology. An experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working with award winning, forward thinking & diverse sectors. Skilled in all areas of Business, Marketing and Management. I am a dot connecter, career chameleon, who will never be pigeon holed. I thrive on problem solving and providing solutions. Even better if it helps other people […]

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Linda Edworthy

33 years’ experience working in the public sector with the private sector in NE England to deliver economic growth and regeneration. I have mentored and encouraged the development of work colleagues and staff females to support them in achieving their ambitions in quite a male dominated sector. 33 years’ experience working in the public sector […]

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Sharlein Smales

Tees Valley Together. An individual who has a passion for everything she does. Sharlein will take on a challenge and give it 100%. A procurement professional in the workplace, employed with South Tees Development Corporation, the first Mayoral Development Corporation outside of London and is currently the UK’s largest regeneration programme. There is a projected […]

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Gemma Gouder

Paul J Watson Solicitor. Chartered Manager of a Middlesbrough Law Firm in criminal defence and family law.  I have worked in the legal sector for over 20 years.  During that time, I have had the opportunity to run a variety of community projects, with refugees and asylum seekers, underprivileged youths, domestic abuse survivors and kinship […]

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Our Assist Tees Valley Hosts

We have networked, connected and collaborated across the whole of the Tees Valley for almost 12 years. We have a networks within each of the five Tees Valley towns; Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton. Our Networking Hosts are keen to welcome new Assist’ers and old. You can network in your local town and build strong relationships as you buy local, however our region is such a small one, we do encourage you to network across all, we are here to help you build your business and social circles.

Lyndsay Hogg

Hartlepool Networking Host. We are Lyndsay and Helen Hogg from Hogg Global Logistics LTD. We are an award winning new business set up in May 2019. We are international Freight Forwarders, we arrange on behalf of our customers to collect goods from their premises and deliver to their chosen destination anywhere in the world.

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Julie Burniston

Middlesbrough Networking Host. Julie was born and raised in Eston, but moved to London in her late teens to follow her dream of becoming a journalist. She worked for IPC magazine for ten years as a features Editor at MIZZ magazine before turning freelance and working for a variety of national magazines and daily newspapers […]

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Chloë Clover

Middlesbrough Networking Host. Chloë Clover! Co-Founder and Creative Director of Wander Films! We create high impact, engaging video helping businesses #BeatTheScroll on social media! Basically, we are award winning video marketing, we create amazing content for our clients and then help to pump it out across their social media for the world to see! Pretty cool, […]

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Barbara Pugh

Redcar and Cleveland Networking Host. I am delighted to be part of Assist, working to support and inspire other ladies. With a 30+ year career in finance and being a full time mum, I understand the challenges and rewards of achieving high and reaching your potential. My passion is to support others and show through […]

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Sue Hewison

Darlington Networking Host. A Private Banker and Trusted Adviser for Handelsbanken in Darlington with over 30 years professional experience. We offer individual and corporate banking as well as wealth management with high levels of bespoke customer service. Our customers are financially prudent and are looking for a long-term relationship with their Bank. I am delighted […]

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Liza Pontone

Darlington Networking Host. A Chartered Financial Planner Based at Active Financial with 20+ years experience providing advice in all areas of financial planning to private and commercial clients over Teesside, Darlington and Barnard Castle  I pride myself on maintaining excellent relationships with my clients, providing outstanding customer service, which reflects a high level of client […]

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Erica Turner

Stockton Networking Host. Erica is a Partner in the commercial property team at Jacksons law firm.  She is a former Teesside University graduate and a local girl through and through!  Erica is also the company secretary for Teesside Hospice and is a member of its audit and governance board.  In her spare time Erica enjoys […]

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Julie Craig

Redcar and Cleveland Networking Host. My name is Julie Craig, I am a business owner and company director of a community interest company based in Skelton, which is also where I live. In May 2019 I was elected as a ward councillor for Skelton East. I am passionate about working with my amazing community and […]

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Assist Social

Assist podcast and book club

Joanna Andrews

I am the managing director of Charm Productions UK Ltd. An entertainment production company based in Redcar & Cleveland and performing shows nationwide. I have been working in performing arts professionally for over 10 years in stage, radio, TV & Film. My varied experiences have provided the most valuable lessons that I have taken on […]

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