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TGt Meets... Lorna Smith - IWD Special

To honour International Women's Day, we had a chat with local business owner Lorna Smith, about why we should celebrate this day and what it's like to be a woman in business!

Name: Lorna Smith

Location: Urban Green Cuisine, Swindon

Occupation: Local Small Business Owner

Which woman would you compare yourself to?

Wow what a question this is... I have never compared myself to anyone. I am what I am because of how I was raised as a child into adulthood. The values I hold have been passed on to me from my Father and Mother. As a teenager growing up I always wanted to be Dawn French. She always came across as a strong woman who knew her own mind and not scared of putting herself out their and so funny!

What would you say is your most valuable skill and why?

My organisation skills. Over the years I have gained a lot of experience through my project management work and have developed my multi-tasking skills combined being able to adhere to very strict deadlines. This is exactly the same as being in my kitchen, cooking from a set menu for a set number of people requires you to plan, prepare and deliver on time. Organisation is key in all that we do.

Why do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?

Why not celebrate what women contribute to business, politics and daily life. Women have come a long way since the Pankhurst movement, however, we still see in our daily lives and especially in the press the way that women can still be treated or paid in the workplace. We have a voice, we should use it, be loud and proud.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

By taking a stance and saying NO! Be nice to your self, you are not superhuman and keep this in mind when the next work email comes through at 10.30 at night. You are a long time dead... give yourself a break and take the time to be with your family and friends. 

Have you ever had to give up or miss out on anything in order to pursue your career?

I haven't had to give up anything in pursuit of a career and I have worked hard to achieve what I have. That said my circumstances in life have changed, but it wasn't about giving up or missing something. Sometimes the decision's we make result in a change of the pathway we were originally on. It's up to you whether or not you choose that new pathway? This is what makes life so interesting! 

Do you ever experience any discrimination in the workplace because of your gender?

I have never directly experienced discrimination however I have been made to feel like 'the little woman ' in the workplace at times... is this discrimination? Have we as women learned to accept these attitudes? It's all dependent on what sector or industry you work in. Unfortunately, it does happen however I am a strong enough personality to put an end to that kind of behaviour when I encounter it but I'm aware that some women are not so strong. Having the strength to challenge behaviour can work against you at times, but I would never change my values or what I believe. I would always stand up for my rights as a person in the workplace, being a woman should be irrelevant.

Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to fellow females looking to get into your profession?

Follow your dreams, and take a chance... if you have a passion that you truly believe in take it by the horns and run with it. Use your friends and family around you for support and reach out to other businesses around you for advice and support. Networking can not only benefit your business but it can benefit you, giving you reassurance, boosting your confidence and making you feel you're are doing the right thing. 

If you could have dinner with 5 inspirational women dead or alive, who would they be?

Mother Theresa, Dawn French, Princess Diana, Michelle Obama, Emmeline Pankhurst - What a great table eh!

As a successful female, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Being able to hand over my business to my son to carry on the work I have started, for him to grow and benefit from. Me? Discovering the delights of Asia maybe... learning how to create amazing dishes using the spices and ingredients available. Travelling the world, blogging my recipes! What an adventure that will be! 

Urban Green Cuisine

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