Ann Stonehouse

Chair & Founder

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 14th year. The organisation has clear aims and objectives to empower, support and connect women across the Tees Valley, not only business and professional women, women from all sectors

Mentoring has been an underlying theme for over 18+years. Firstly through the Princes Trust, supporting young women who launched their start-up business. In them same years Ann worked with Young Enterprise in both Primary and Secondary schools, this role took the shape of enterprise training, mentoring and judging.  There was diversification within the business, alongside accountancy and tax returns Ann was asked to write practical training workshops for start-ups and social entrepreneurs within Teesside University and other institutions, this also included some years of mentoring graduates as they took their first entrepreneurial steps, along with sponsoring the Universities Blue Print Awards. 

Ann took the role of a Director and Vice-Chair of Women into the Network (WIN) as it was converted from the University of Durham funded programme into a commercial organisation. As Finance Director Ann was part of the team managing the North East Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

In 2014 Ann was honoured with a life time achievement award, Queens Award of Enterprise Promotion (QAEP) following a nomination by her fellow Directors for the voluntary work that reached across the North East of England.

Ann took part of Inspire2Learn’s Inspiring Girls for IWD for many years, this was a day spent working with 100+ school girls, running short sessions with other women to inspire, followed by a debate session to close the day.

As a TVCA Careers and Enterprise Adviser working with Trinity Catholic College since 2017, and the Kings Academy since 2019, these roles bridges the students and the school with the business community to help meet the required careers curriculum  benchmarks.     

Ann was awarded with the Lifelong Inspiration Award 2019, a Tees Business Women Award. This gives recognition to the voluntary work with women and the younger generations locally.

Ann was part of a19/20 PlanUK project, addressing findings from research some years ago, ‘Middlesbrough is the worst place for girls to grow up’ as part of the AssistHER team, we ran a programme #ThisBoroGirlCan with the findings making up part of the official Plan UK report launched in January.

Ann is part of the GENE (Gender Entrepreneurial North East) Advisory Board, leading steering groups locally as the team collects data and evidence for this academic research, entrepreneurial policy change is planned using these findings and that of additional data.  

Mentoring and supporting local people is something Ann does daily basis with and without formalities.  She mentored through The Girls Network in the Tees Valley 2020 first cohort working with teenage girls, Ann still works with her mentee who has joined the Assist Team as a volunteer. Ann mentors business women each year on a 121 basis as a matter of course, also organic informal mentoring is a constant, and this year Ann is mentoring through the Assist mentoring project.

Further and more recent voluntary positions include a couple years on the TRAC Steering Group for the annual WOW Gatherings, a Trustee for Tees Valley Together CIO and an Ambassador for the Taste of Africa. 

Ann, may work hard, giving a good bit of time alongside so many to better our corner of the planet, she also does get plenty of family and friends time! With two children, three grandchildren, two crazy dogs life is brimming with fun and Ann does it with a smile!

Connect with Ann