Wednesday 24th March 2021

WISH North East Spring News 2021

The North East region welcomes a new chair, new Board members and introduces a WISH List which is making waves in the region and beyond!

The North East region welcomes a new chair, new Board members and introduces a WISH List which is making waves in the region and beyond!

Hear from our new North East Chair, Crystal Hicks, as she shares why building networks are so important, the impact of the WISH List and her mission moving forward in her new role!


“Three and a bit years ago a wonderful woman, I hardly knew, invited me to be one of her guests at the North East Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. I dug out a 'black tie' frock and wondered who might be on our table. I was not disappointed. Our host decided to sit me next to Caroline Gitsham and it is fair to say we hit it off - putting the world to rights on all things equality. Looking back now I didn't realise then that I was missing a network of women around me, very much fighting on the battlefield of inequality as a solo warrior. Sure, I had inspiring women in my life but what I didn't appreciate is that a network is SO much more than that. Caroline set up the WISH North East board and invited me to join in and what a journey it has been. We've achieved so much under Caroline's leadership of the Board and had some real fun along the way. I am evangelistic about the value of having a network around you now; it is without a doubt the single most valuable asset I have in my cause to champion true equality - and in keeping me sane day in, day out. It humbles and heartens me to see what the WISH NE Board has achieved these past three years and I'll be forever grateful for the introduction from that wonderful women I hardly knew.


“So, the focus for me as I take over as Chair of the WISH NE Board is going to be supporting women to create their own network. As we navigate the space between now and the transformed ‘work place', following the impact of the Covid pandemic, I am convinced more than ever that for many women the value of their network (that they might yet find) is going to be so important to ensuring equality and inclusion are secured for all moving forward. It isn't lost on me that I stumbled upon my network through an introduction made by a woman I didn't really know that well - convincing me that supporting women to create their very own network doesn't need to be a time consuming thing; we just need to be focused on creating them.


“I’m delighted to be welcoming two new Board members to the WISH North East region. Sona Kaur, a Customer Experience Analyst from Beyond Housing, and Jayne Lawson, Head of Innovation and Marketing at Thirteen Group, who will really help boost the work we’re doing across the North East to challenge, champion and promote more diverse and inclusive workplaces.


“Another legacy from Caroline is our AMAZING ‘What Women Want WISH List.’ Having surveyed and consulted with women working in the North East, we now have a list of the things they want from their employers. What a gift! It won't surprise you to hear what's on the list; Trust, Empowerment, Authenticity. We launched the WISH list at our recent Choose To Challenge International Women’s Day event and the reaction was incredible, with the list really inspiring positive action and engagement for employers to do more, to take steps to make their workplaces more inclusive, flexible and supportive environments for their staff. Our work in the next year is to help embed the list into practice across the region and start to gather examples of what good practice looks like; often a key jigsaw piece missing from the EDI agenda. 


“I am so privileged to be taking on the precious role of WISH NE Chair and for the support of my employer Your Homes Newcastle in empowering me to do so. There is so much I want us to achieve, and we are now building upon strong foundations. We've got strong advocates, both male and female, to support us on our mission and we are committed to playing our part in the whole EDI discussion, recognising that what works well for women is often what works for everyone - a win win future has to be our focus.” 

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